Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Flying ‘Air Cruise’ Ship: Luxury Living by Land, Sea & Sky

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Flying ‘Air Cruise’ Ship: Luxury Living by Land, Sea & Sky: [ Filed under House Boats or in the Architecture category ]

Mobile living is no longer just for land lovers, and floating mini-cities are no longer just a vision for the open oceans or high seas – why not blend the best aspects of portable homes, cruise ships and air trips into a single stylish and sustainable airship designed to fly, float, drift or drive anywhere the wind blows?

Yes, airships are back in style – but why? Perhaps we have finally come back around to the idea that flying could once again be a sustainable way to travel as new alternative fuels and off-the-grid energy technologies begin to take over from classic CO2-producing combustible alternatives.Seymourpowell presents an option that looks far-fetched but is remarkably plausible – at least insofar as they have done a great deal of research into potential materials, construction techniques and technologies.

Moreover, there is continued material research into structural systems that have the ideal blend of flexibility and stability – perfect for the dual needs of large flying machines. Hydrogen gas keeps the entire thousand-foot-tall structure aloft while hydrogen fuel cells provide power for other uses and sufficient water is stored for short trips through the air. Who knows – it may start with hotel rooms and apartment rentals but could end with full-blown flying condos for sale.

Private duplex living, dining and sleeping spaces in individual apartments are complemented in this concept by bar, lounge and other community spaces. And how long would it take to travel? Cruising speeds are estimated at being around the same as those of sea-faring ships, meaning you could make it halfway around the world in a few days depending upon the weather – and which places your airship plans to stop along the way. Of course, you have to dock sometimes – or maybe that is just a yet-unsolved design problem for those who wish to remain permanently aloft!

Wow Chow: 10 Radical Restaurant, Bistro and Cafe Designs

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Wow Chow: 10 Radical Restaurant, Bistro and Cafe Designs: [ By Elizah in Architecture & Design, Furniture & Interiors, Urban & Street Art. ]

Feeling a little peckish? Longing for a dining experience that transcends the ordinary, taking your taste buds on an otherworldly journey into hot damnnnn territory? Fret not, foodies, for the act of eating can be easily elevated to that of a culinary adventure when good food melds with even greater digs. Tantalizing our taste buds traditionally begins with fresh ingredients, masterful preparation and an aesthetically pleasing arrangement, but once the extra ingredient of architectural genius is added to the mix, a perfectly satisfying meal becomes that of an event that lingers within our minds long after we unceremoniously lap up the last scrumptious crumb from plates. (Waste not, want not…mom would definitely approve.) You might want to make a point of visiting at least one or two of the following radically designed chow palaces for an experience you’ll undoubtedly dine for!

Germany’s Fully Automated, Quick-n-Quirky Restaurant

(Images via: Crust Station, s Baggers, Be Update, Anita Coco, 2Day Blog)

Boasting a Wallace and Gromit-like, spiral-configured and entirely automated gravity feed rail system, Michael Mack is the brainchild behind ’s Baggers highly entertaining and quite efficient automated ordering and direct-to-table delivery service. Essentially rendering waiters and waitresses obsolete, his patented, computer-networked process could enable other restaurateurs to focus on the business of serving good food and pass their saved personnel costs onto patrons. Endowing diners with greater control over the pace of their meals, the novelty aspect alone is enough to help Mack gain a devoted following and court fast food chains like McDonald’s, which he is very eager to license the idea to.

Japan’s Deeply Rooted Eatery

(Images via: Storm Seed, RVM Gratz, Cube Me, Best House Design, Cyana Trendland)

Upon initial review, this novelty restaurant perched atop a rustic looking tree is quite impressive with its 20 foot tall weathered foundation and internal elevator which transports patrons up to the main dining area. The hearty vines ensconcing the trunk add to the overall impression that this is a tree with a storied life, but in actuality, it possesses the heart and soul of plain old concrete. In spite of that buzz kill, the Naha Harbor Diner has earned a reputation as offering an outstanding view of Onoyama Park and the harbor as well as serving up really tasty, locally sourced organic ethnic cuisine running the gamut from Japanese and Indian to Italian.

A Maldivian Deep Sea Spectacle

(Images via: Elite Choice, Sydney Table, Koormann, Trip Advisor, Funking Dave)

For those who never quite got their sea legs down pat but still long for the hypnotic views that only the ocean can provide will undoubtedly be enamored with the Maldivian spectacle known as Ithaa, which in the region’s native tongue means “pearl”. Indeed, the $5 million restaurant is an ocean bound treasure, located 15 feet below the Indian Ocean to be precise, but you better be prepared to sell off any spare gold dental fillings you might have or at least a whole bunch of platelets to afford their $120 lunch or $250 dinner. Still, some might feel that it’s an experience well worth the bank account damage. Situated on Rangali Island, Ithaa restaurant is believed to be a one-of-a-kind underwater restaurant encapsulated entirely in very thick clear, aquarium style R-Cast acrylic, enabling patrons to enjoy 270 degree views of coral reefs and the naturally indigenous marine life.

Funky French Archipelago Dining Design is Especially Tres Fine

(Images via: Komokokomoko)

In a land dotted with endlessly quaint outdoor cafes, French designer Matali Crasset conceived of a vibrant indoor eating configuration that offers a modern interpretation of an archipelago with multiple satellite dining zones. Located inside a shopping mall at Cab 3000, St Laurent du Var, this Nouveau cafe design concept offers a dash of eye candy as well as a festive indoor solution to the open air dining culture that is so intrinsically a part of the French lifestyle. Even better, the designer created a fully movable unit which can be easily relocated to future locations that may be more optimal.

The Bee’s Knees For Diners Who Speak Chinese

(Images via: Ricarch, Shenzen Party)

Have you heard what all the buzz is about in Shenzhen, China? Ever since SAKO Architects constructed the 1300 square meter Honeycomb restaurant, area residents have been enjoying its large public space for special events as well as its intimate dinner nooks, all stylistically divided with a white spiral honeycomb-studded staircase. Featuring sleek transparent acrylic plastic partitions, undulating wave-like white aerated room sectionals, black granite flooring and mirror-like ceilings, the contrast of carefully appointed details with a space-age undercurrent work harmoniously to create a dynamic dining space that any diligent worker bee would happily want to cool their heels off in.

Pricey Crane-Bound Vittles a Light-Headed Thrill (or Chill)

(Images via: Spot Cool Stuff Travel)

Better not be afraid of heights if you step on board the swinging platform of Dinner in the Sky’s instant movable restaurant with a view. Hatched up by an apparently wacky and thrill-seeking Belgium company, they seem to be doing quite well given the fact that they are offering their distinctive crane-hoisted experience in major cities around the globe, including directly above the Grand Canyon, Paris’ Notre Dame, the Las Vegas Strip and naturally, glitzy Dubai. For the equivalent of an average blue collar salary ($30,000), you too can achieve new heights of dining glory with (hopefully) 22 of your closest seriously seat-buckled friends as you clink glasses at a height of 162 feet for two ever-so-brief yet undoubtedly memorable hours. Mangia!

Darkness Abounds in a Lviv, Ukraine Din-Din Shroud

(Images via: English Russia)

A Ukrainian undertaker and funeral home director must have thought to himself, “Egads! I know what’s been missing from the dining scene for far too long…a little dash of death to help us digest the bitter pill of our mortality!!” In keeping with his whopper of a brainstorm, the enterprising entrepreneur created a massive pine coffin restaurant replica called Eternity — acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the largest in the world — and adhered to dreary thematic touches such as funeral music, depressingly crummy carnation wreaths and multiple human-sized coffins propped up against the black landscape plastic-lined walls. Whoo-eee, that’s one heavy scene. Who’s craving a Hello Kitty eatery instead?

Dining Kiwi-Style at What Seems Like a Mile (High, That Is…)

(Images via: Homedit, Cibo Archittetura, NZ Tramping, Springwise, Technovegy)

Standing 12 feet tall and spanning an equally impressive 10 feet in width, New Zealand’s plantation poplar-constructed Yellow Treehouse restaurant – nestled on the forest edge and accessible via a meandering 60 meter pathway – accommodates 18 diners in seriously lofty style. With its chrysalis-like vibe that spirals upward toward an open ended top, the organic design employs structural timber trusses which work in tandem with its central Redwood tree base to support the entire restaurant. Overall, the final look is one of an enchanting childhood fantasy come to life.

Airy, Woven Beauty With a Japanese-Themed Interior

(Images via: Dezeen, Design Boom)

With its bi-layer steel lattice exterior offering a practical yet highly dynamic way to repurpose what was previously an old house, Tori Tori Restaurant – located in Mexico City – is the exciting result of a collaboration between industrial designer Hector Esrawe and Rojkind Arquitectos. Filtered light streams through its open air pattern and into the perimeter of the very successful Japanese eatery, creating what seems to be an organic yet structured representation of the surrounding ivy-covered walls. This is one of those stop-and-stare structures that easily demonstrates that the days of cookie cutter box designs are fortunately over and done with – good riddance!

Sky-High Wood Pile (Better Keep the Splinters Out Of Your Eyes!)

(Images via: Ricarch)

Without its chaotic cacophony of criss-crossed wooden pieces streaming from four central cores and emanating up onto the ceiling, Sliver restaurant might easily be relegated to the ranks of attractive, modern dining spaces that are nevertheless easily forgettable at the end of the day. Fortunately, Russian based Dark Design Group exceeds our wildest design expectations with their simple yet incredibly compelling effect…as if a turbulent tornado of stripped trees is swirling overhead. Just be sure to shield your dinner plate from the splintery fall-out!

See-Through Walls: 4 Clever Modern Sliding Door Designs

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See-Through Walls: 4 Clever Modern Sliding Door Designs: [ Filed under Fixtures or in the Doors & Windows category ]

Sliding doors can be sleek, simple, and space-saving divider systems if swings get in your way and decorative hinges are not quite your style. These door designs in particular are made for balancing an elegant contemporary look with a classic style of craft, transforming opaque walls into translucent moving works of modern art.

Semi-transparent, wood-framed, sliding screen doors from Raydor are much like the classic rice-paper ones of Japan, these models come with a bit of a twist: each individual door has a design, but moving them creates layered 3D patterns out of flat 2D door frames – ever-changing compositions as they slide back and forth in front of one another. A crafty DIYer could probably even make their own variants.

Sold-wood interior door solutions can make for great space and sound dividers, but sometimes it is nice to let some light, air and visibility between adjacent rooms rather than cut them off completely from one another. For people who prefer there art to be part of active design, this provides an integrated interior concept without having to buy artworks or learn how to build display niches in your walls.

Wild Edible … Flavor Paper? 0-Calorie, Fat-Free ‘Slim Chips’

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Wild Edible … Flavor Paper? 0-Calorie, Fat-Free ‘Slim Chips’: [ Filed under More or in the Industrial Design category ]

Counting calories? Worried about your weight or just want to worry less about what you consume? Forget food: if all you want is something tasty to snack on without the calorie or fat content, why limit yourself to eating things normally classified as ‘edible’ … when you could just have organic flavor-packed paper in a bag?

Yes, Hafsteinn Juliusson brought these to Milan where most people were exhibiting furniture, furnishing or fixture designs. Instead of bringing his own work of art or interior design object, he supplied visitors with strange and unique faux food filled with the tastes of peppermint, blueberry, cheddar, wasabi or sweet potato (and likewise unusually vibrant colors).

It sounds strange, but it makes quite a bit of sense from a dietary perspective – no-calorie treats that can replace the habit of eating normal fat-filled potato chips complete with the same shape, size, texture and plastic packaging. And the flavors are varied enough for any taste: sweet, spicy, savory – artificial flavoring makes it possible.

Fresh-tasting and much more filling than air, getting stuffed full on these calorie-free concept chips is nonetheless just as healthy as breathing. How long before we see packages of this in your typical chip aisle or the diet section of the grocery store? Who knows, this may be the beginning of a healthy alternative future for our favorite junk foods.

Wild Living Interiors: Seeding Your Space In Multiple Green Ways

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Wild Living Interiors: Seeding Your Space In Multiple Green Ways: [ By Elizah in Art & Design, Home & Garden, Uncategorized. ]

Once found exclusively tucked away among the deepest realms of the forest floor, moss continues to enjoy a vibrant green décor renaissance now that people are onto its innate ability to endow just about anything with a verdure je ne sais quoi. With well over 12,000 species known to mankind, the relatively compact tufts of greenery – possessing an amazing array of physical incarnations and reflecting every conceivable tone of the vegetation rainbow – require one main ingredient to thrive…water. Even better than the Bryophyta family’s minimal nutritional requirements is the fact that you don’t need to break out the weed whipper or employ a fleet of guinea pigs to mow it into immaculately groomed perfection. Designers have taken note by conjuring up some inventive interior accents using moss as well as its grassy and higher maintenance botanical counterparts that will take your interior environment from yawnsville to greenie central without skipping a beat.

(Images Via: James Peat, Inhabitat)

Every single one of us has at one point in our lives shunned our shoes in favor of the liberating sensation of walking barefoot on a sprawling carpet of grass while out in the park or amid the solace of our own backyards. There’s nothing quite like allowing the soft green blades to envelope our tootsies, so why limit ourselves exclusively to such a fleeting outdoor pleasure? Even the most compromised green thumbs can still effortlessly cultivate Uri Romano and Assaf Yogev’s rectangular and easily portable nine99 Design grass squares. While their collaborative concept may not offer ample real estate with which we can stretch out and sun ourselves, it still enables us to appreciate the great outdoors from the convenience of our desks or coffee table. Those who are particularly inspired might even consider tucking their tootsies into their mini grassy refuge for a brief spell or indulging in a bit of zen-like lawn maintenance with a pair of sharp scissors…just don’t forget to drop your clippings in the closest compost pile when you’re done.

If you’d prefer to take your training wheels off by expanding your plot o’ indoor greenery jussst a little, then perhaps you’d like to ponder these intriguing options. Jinsun Park & Seonkeun Park’s Breathing Partitions inject dreary office spaces with a hint of cheerful and thankfully low maintenance greenery that is set off by the pièce de résistance – a lush green grassy mat to park your weary worker feet upon. Once you return home after a long day at the office, it’s comforting to know that following a Calgon, Take Me Away bubble bath, you can allow whatever dewy moisture remains on your skin to trickle down and hydrate Nguyen La Chanh’s living moss bath mat. Studded with forest, ball and island moss varieties, its decay free stone-like base is actually composed of plastazote, a lightweight foam that will hold up to the rigors of a bathroom existence.

(Images Via:, Charles and Hudson, GreenFortune)

Potted plants have long been the domain of the green lifestyle enthusiast who longs for a spot of Momma Nature to warm up their personal dwelling, but increasingly more companies are liberating greenery from their claustrophobic plastic containers and instead allowing them to live long and prosper in vertical arrangements. Sure, we’ve seen countless examples of plants clinging artfully to the exteriors of buildings, but now they’re benefitting from a distinct change of scenery. Whether you consider emulating Green Fortune’s elaborate Plantwall installation or an equally impressive Biowall system (both of which are anchored into textile bases that contain built-in drip hydration and fertilization systems), your walls will be transformed into filtering lungs that are capable of scrubbing the VOCs right out of your air! Interested in tackling this décor upgrade in a way that respects a realistic budget? Then the indoor living wall kit might be just the thing for you…or if you’re a DIY maven, you might consider putting on your thinking cap and devising a recycler’s alternative at mere pennies on the dollar. Your plants won’t know the difference!

(Images Via: Archithings, Products With Style, Tokyo Green Space, Inhabitat)

If green walls offer the solution to what ails your urbanite soul, the Wooly Pocket company manufactures soft sided modular wall systems made from locally sourced 100% recycled PET plastic felt that are surprisingly breathable, allowing the roots of your selected botanicals to benefit from a constant stream of oxygen. Aside from setting up a drip irrigation system to ensure that your Wooly Pocketed plants thrive, the company claims that you can pretty much just sit back and enjoy the fruits of your passive green thumb(s)…but even THAT can be an intimidating commitment for those of us with particularly jam-packed schedules to tackle, so here’s a fantastic maintenance-free alternative. Nendo Studio’s climbing vine wall treatment offers the best of all greenie worlds by injecting indoor spaces with a jolt of vivid jade that is achieved by none other than the strategic application of dried moss. No watering, no trimming…frankly, the only thing you really have to concern yourself with is how to prevent inquisitive house pets and kiddies from picking (or licking) any moss within their reach. Oh, you know it’s gonna happen…

(Images Via: Inhabitat)

When all is said and done, nothing makes more of a dynamic clean-green living impact than rolling out the mossy carpet, which Terramac makes possible with a stroke of technological brilliance. Their polylactid acid-based transparent spun fiber base anchors the roots of assorted moss plants, enabling the amateur/professional gardener or interior designer to create vast swaths of ambling greenery throughout interior spaces in dynamically grand fashion. Even more appealing than the designer effect of having live moss carving a pathway across your floor is the simple fact that its plastic-like Terramac base actually biodegrades within 10 years, leaving nothing more than water and carbon dioxide — two notoriously plant-nourishing elements — in its wake. This could quite possibly be the next best thing to soaking up the sights and sounds of the forest during a weekend hike…well, almost. You’ve got to admit that with sustainable design elements like this, the prospect of living in a suburban box becomes far more green-ful!

Feats of Strength: 6 Amazing/Surprising Animal Superpowers

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Feats of Strength: 6 Amazing/Surprising Animal Superpowers: [ By Chris in Animals & Habitats, Nature & Ecosystems. ]

(Images via: Reef Seekers, Mirror, Less Loss, Beke, Rocking Facts, What’s That Bug)

From daredevil damselfish and borneo ninja slugs to super-seeing bees and incredibly strong dung beetles, animals that seem rather ordinary on the surface will occasionally surprise us humans with incredible feats or unusual behavior reminiscent of fictional superpowers.

Hardly Damsels in Distress: Damselfish Daredevils

(Images via: Ralph Fuller, Sea Baja, Nova, Flickr, Dive Rosa)

While recently studying personality traits of damselfish, researchers were surprised when this species of fish suddenly became more aggressive and bold in the water. Turns out that increases in water temperature cause these fish to be more active than usual, particularly when another fish was made visible outside the water during a controlled study. On average, the damselfish were four times more aggressive and bold than normal when water temperatures increased. Since damselfish are cold-blooded to begin with, warmer temperatures provide them with more energy to pursue food and take more chances, which could also be their end doing if not keeping lookout for larger predators. Such are the risks of being damselfish daredevils.

Borneo Hills Ninja Slugs

(Images via: Flickr, Flickr, Flickr, Dawn)

Recently in the mountains of the Malaysian port of Borneo, researchers discovered a slug with a tail three times the length of its head and a unique ability to initiate the reproduction process. Shooting calcium carbonate and hormone-filled darts at potential mates, the new species was dubbed the Borneo ninja slug, even though its martial arts skills are up for debate.

Beyond the Sting: Super-Seeing and Sniffing Bees

(Images via: Eye Design Book, Ugly Overload, ASM International)

How it’s currently good to be a bumblebee. With spring having arrived, these fellas will be out and about in droves soon enough, ready to invade summer picnics and even sting when necessary. With the ability to see the world five times faster than humans, it’s no wonder that bees are so quick to pick up on freshly served food during summer grill outs and to navigate many different situations in the wild, including shady, unclear bushes. And it appears that some super-seeing bees are only getting stronger. To combat a recent decline in honeybees killed by a parasite called varroa mites, scientists have bred super-sniffing bees that will better allow them to locate and root out these pests when present in their hives. Guess this superpower is worth having if it will ensure future populations of honeybees and bottles of honey. In related news, super-smelling wasps have recently been trained to mimic sniffing dogs capable of uncovering illegal drugs and toxic chemicals while desert ants also have been shown to use olfactory cues like maps when navigating back to their nests.

Greater Mouse-Eared Bat Signal: The Sunset

(Images via: Democratic Underground, Wild Things Bap, J Waller, Bats)

Like desert ants, the greater mouse-eared bat always seems to know where it’s at in relation to its roosting site. Despite being creatures of the night, these bats utilize the position of the sun at sunset to determine direction. These bats then calibrate their magnetic fields with the sun, ultimately using this gigantic orb as a compass to orient themselves, according to recent research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Even when placed in unfamiliar settings, these bats were able to find their way home rather quickly based on this uncanny and envious tracking system.

Stop-and-Go Elephants: Equipped with Four-Wheel Drive

(Images via: The BS Report, Hansen Maud, Best Week Ever, Flickr, Telegraph)

Not only do elephants look like SUVs, they work like them. According to fascinating new research, elephants are believed to be the only four-legged animals in the wild to have four-wheel drive, which refers to power being applied independently to each limb, ultimately allowing them to brake and accelerate with each leg. All other four-legged animals are believed to have rear-wheel drive, where the hind legs are used to accelerate and the front legs are used to brake. According to researchers, four-wheel drive makes elephants less efficient and much slower runners. However, elephants do have more power over their movements as a result of their self-contained 4-wheel drive.

Dung Beetles: Super Strong and Apparently Steroid Free

(Images via: The Age, Science Score, Terrenoire, Flickr)

The dung beetle (Onthophagus taurus) was recently declared the world’s strongest insect after demonstrating the ability to pull 1,141 times its body weight. In comparable terms, that would be equivalent to a human being lifting almost 180,000 pounds. Not all dung beetles are this strong; for those that are not, they compensate in different ways. According to recent research in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, dung beetles that are not blessed with the strength to fight other males for female mates are known for having much bigger testicles than their stronger counterparts. With this advantage, these less strong dung beetles are able to produce much more sperm, thus giving them their own special appeal to females.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Glowing Green Cash: Designer Glow-in-the-Dark Currency

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Glowing Green Cash: Designer Glow-in-the-Dark Currency: [ Filed under More or in the Industrial Design category ]

Ever fumble through your purse or wallet in a dark bar or mood-lit restaurant, looking for the right bills with which to pay? Or at the least: do you find yourself flipping through to find the right denomination? Jaesik Heo, Hojoon Lim & Dahaeng Lim have come up with a simple, cheap and easy solution that lets you grab the correct bill with ease and spot errant cash before it slides down between your sofa cushions.

Green is the classic color of American money, but it is also the default for glow-in-the-dark designs. It was only a matter of time before somehow had this ingenious idea to fuse the two concepts into one creative and functional alternative to standard currencies – with slightly varied hues to allow people easy identification between denominations.

There are already so many intensive design elements in the cash we carry delay, from highly specialized paper and inks to embedded metal strips, holograms and other optical illusions – adding a little glowing strip to the sides should not be too much trouble, right? The problem with printing these from a governmental perspective is probably security-related: after all, you could spot these at quite some distance, which might prove dangerous in some circumstances (such as someone walking down the street late at night with a bill or two tucked in their pocket).

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Shanghai(d) Expo 2010: 15 Cutting-Edge Architectural Designs

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Shanghai(d) Expo 2010: 15 Cutting-Edge Architectural Designs: [ By Elizah in Architecture & Design, Environment & Nature, Urban & Street Art. ]

(Images via: Shanghai Cultural China,, Arch Daily)

When you’re awarded the highly coveted position of official host city to the world’s latest, greatest and inarguably grandest exhibition fair, you better be prepared to spend some major dinero (or in this case, Yuan) to put on the glitz. At a personal expense of $4.2 billion dollars, China is definitely pulling out the stops for the anticipated 70 million visitors of their upcoming Shanghai World Expo, taking place in the Pudong District along the bank of the Huangpu River from May 1 to October 31, 2010. Their developing nation status should be easily forgotten now that they’re embracing a 21st century cultural and economic sensibility as reflected in their Expo theme “Better City – Better Life”. It will be hard to outshine China’s ambitious pavilion plans, but with 42 additional countries setting up shop for the duration of the event and enormous budgets being earmarked for their own respective architectural spectacles, the proof’s in the pudding. Behold the most eye-catching, heart-stopping, structurally visionary creations that visitors will be treated to when they plunk down their $24 admission fee.

Australia’s Pavilion

(Images via: Shanghai Cultural China, Chenzen)

Inspired by the colossal and entirely sacred Ayers Rock landmark that juts out of the Northern Territory of Australia, their color-changing “Uluru” pavilion emulates the earthy ochre-red appearance of its namesake due to the gradually-oxidizing steel façade. At an expense of $76 million, the land down under asks its pavilion guests to discover the real Australia through a combination of “ImagiNation” cultural exhibits, interactive displays, artistic representations of their history and…naturally, the indigenous tastes of their distinctive cuisine.

Brazil’s Pavilion

(Images via: Shanghai Cultural China, Expo 2010, Arch Daily)

Said to be among the largest of all the pavilion structures this year, Brazil’s rectangular design – created by Architect Fernando Brandão — pays homage to Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Game National Stadium (a.k.a the “Bird’s Nest”). Its “Pulsing Cities” theme acknowledges how Brazil continues to pursue sustainable development while still balancing the livelihood of its residents. The unusual looking design — composed of a metallic framework with thousands upon thousands of recycled wooden pieces interlocking within a mesh exterior — is taken one step further with the addition of a liberal coat of retina-searing green paint. It offers a complementary backdrop to their goal of educating the public about the country’s strategic management of their precious natural resources and dedication to using green energy alternatives.

Denmark’s Pavilion

(Images via: World Expo Blog, Nuts Bike, Dezeen)

One of the most notable features of Denmark, which was brought to light during the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, is its bicycle friendly infrastructure – an integral design component in their roof top pavilion. Incorporating 1500 eco-friendly two wheelers for visitors to take advantage of, the Danish Pavilion revolves around the notion that its traditional fairy tales can be appreciated while attendees put their pedals to the metal so to speak. The spiral knot-tied architecture – really just a looping bicycle and pedestrian-friendly ramp — contains a pond at its core as well as the original “Little Mermaid” statue from Copenhagen Harbor.

France’s Pavilion

(Images via: World Expo Blog, China Briefing, Expo 2010)

With a “Sensual City” design scheme, the tres cultural birthplace of impossibly thin supermodel women who perpetually indulge in croissants, gallons of wine and decadent truffles is shelling out $74.4 million to bankroll their water-surrounded, seemingly floating 6,000 square foot structure. Purportedly a “shining example of energy efficiency and recycling techniques,” the airy box-woven design – which contains lush French-style gardens within – is (unlike its brethren) constructed for long term permanence and will be given to China as a gift after the Expo has concluded. Those who appreciate artistic masterpieces will be able to get their fix when France displays works from such masters as Rodin, Millet and Van Gogh, all under its lush, botanical ensconced pavilion roof.

Germany’s Pavilion

(Images via: China, World Expo Blog, Shanghai Government, Xinhuanet

Architect Lennart Wiechell is the brainchild behind Germany’s $67 million 6,000 square foot pavilion, which reflects the theme of balance amid cultural identity, globalization, modernization and preservation. With four separate architectural components, the unit as whole appears to be precariously positioned, and yet that’s the whole point of the design – to convey a sense of intrinsic support when all the features work together as a unit. The piece de resistance, located in the “source of power” exhibition hall, is a 3 meter wide, 1.2 ton, noise and movement activated revolving metal sphere studded with 400,000 LED lights.

Great Britain’s Pavilion

(Images via:, Yatzer)

Reflecting the relationship between the built environment and what exists untouched in Mother Nature, the outrageously audacious 20-meter-high porcupine-like Seed Cathedral consists of 60,000 narrow 7 meter long translucent fiber optic acrylic rods, each tip embedded with varying seeds that are representative of the ensured future and longevity of mankind. Designed by the innovative, forward-thinking and internationally acclaimed team of Heatherwick Studio, the product of their efforts has to be the most extraordinarily risky yet phenomenally successful example of modern art on an architectural level. Radiating ambient light during the day and a self-illuminating structural glow once the sun goes down, the design even responds to breeze patterns by undulating accordingly, providing a multi-sensory event for all to witness.

Italy’s Pavilion

(Images via: Shanghai Cultural China, World Expo Blog)

Have you ever seen a shimmering vision in concrete? Italy’s modular pavilion slabs, embedded with optical glass fibers, yield a 3,600-square-meter structure that appears to be translucent in nature and ever-changing as the sun progresses through the sky. Consisting of 20 unique shapes representative of the county’s distinctive geographical regions and bound together by intersecting lines (or “pick up sticks”), the most interesting thing about this design is that it will be recycled and reconfigured simply by removing the anchoring pieces.

The Netherlands’ Pavilion

(Images via: PR Log,, Shanghai Scrap)

Designer John Kormeling’s Dutch Pavilion, entitled “Joy Street”, is a literal figure-eight-shaped assemblage of 26 mismatched yet oddly harmonious structures that come together in cartoonishly cheerful nature. Seemingly plucked straight from the pages of a classic Seussian tale, the artist did his best to embody the classic traditional architectural styles emblematic of his country while also paying close attention to sustainable and eco-responsible factors. Honoring Chinese traditions of luck and good fortune, the eight shaped appearance is just as strategic a design decision as the exterior paint color of decisive, statement-making red (which is in the process of being slathered on).

Poland’s Pavilion

(Images via: PR Log, Expo 2010 China)

The site of three ecologically treasured circumboreal regions, Poland is known for many unique national treasures — including Maria Curie, distinctive baroque architecture, delectable pierogi — and now they can add their absolutely stunning folk-art inspired 3,000 square meter pavilion to the list. Reflecting the look of traditional hand cut, intricately patterned paper, the exterior of the entirely original architectural masterpiece is composed mainly of laser-cut plywood with polycarbonate, glass, hydro and/or UV resistant panel wall accents which also serve as movie screens upon which Polish cultural films will be shown. It is worth noting that the design team of Wojciech Kakowski, Natalia Paszkowska and Marcin Mostafa earned top honors in the design category of the 2010 EXPO’s architectural pavilion offerings for their eye-catching concept.

Russia’s Pavilion

(Images via: Expo 2010, Shanghai Scrap)

Yet another imaginative design seemingly torn from the pages of a treasured story book, the inspiration for the Russian pavilion actually stems from the historical patterns found on women’s clothing and the desire to present a magical world as seen through the eyes of a child. When you look past the pleasing textural contradictions, the 6,000 square meter design encompasses one 15 meter tall main structure linked to 12 irregularly shaped red, white and gold 20 meter tall towers (which represent the full calendar year).

Saudi Arabia’s Pavilion

(Images via: E China Cities, Expo 2010, Shanghai Daily)

Saudi Arabia’s surreal $146 million pavilion desert scape – believed to be the most expensive among the 2010 World Expo offerings — is distinctive not only for its natural contrasts but particularly for the top deck of its suspended “moon boat” shaped structure. Boasting water features as well as 150 rooftop date palms, it has the extra-added bonus of a 1,600 square-meter cinema screen (about a quarter the size of a soccer pitch), reportedly the largest one on earth.

Spain’s Pavilion

(Images via:, Design World, World Expo Blog)

With its steel inner workings and 8,524 multi-colored, waterproofed, woven wicker exterior tiles, Spain’s $2.6 million 8,500 square meter structure is unlike anything else that will be on display at the 2010 World Expo. One of the visual benefits of using rattan covered exterior panels is that an ethereal light streaming effect is generated which also helps to ensure that the inner structure maintains a comfortably consistent temperature. Furthermore, if you look closely at the beige brown and black exterior, you can identify Chinese characters that are representative of natural elements such as the moon and the sun.

Switzerland’s Pavilion

(Images via: Arch Daily, Expo 2010, EcoFriend, World Expo Blog)

Switzerland’s inspiringly sustainable yin and yang concept, created by Buchner Brundler Architects, is immediately striking due to its exterior biodegradable soybean fiber curtain which breaks down within two weeks after being covered with soil. Incorporating dye-sensitized electricity-generating solar cells, the curtain conveys a forest like appearance that appears to illuminate from within long after the sun has set. The 4,000 square meter pavilion, which cost $18.52 million to execute, even has a rooftop cable car system which leads visitors to a flowering meadow.

Turkey’s Pavilion

(Images via: Shanghai Scrap, Expo 2010 China, Arch Daily)

Daring to make its competition quiver with intimidation and a severe inferiority complex, the fantastically dramatic 2,000 square foot Turkey pavilion embraces its cultural roots by recreating design elements found in Neolithic “Catalhoyuk” settlements and adhering to a “Cradle of Civilization” theme. Never has a red and beige tinted box looked so good with its built-in animal sculpture, artistic open air cutouts and maze like interior swirl.

The United Arab Emirates’ Pavilion

(Images via: Cultural China, Vyonyx,Expo 2010 China, Arch Daily)

Always inclined to embrace a ‘bigger is better’ philosophy, the UAE’s 6,000 square foot “Sand Dune” pavilion seems to defy the laws of architectural physics with its somewhat undulating appearance which mimics what might happen if a gust of wind were to lift up a patch of desert sand and help it to take flight. In actuality, the Empty Quarter sand dunes are its fitting artistic inspiration. Interestingly, the north side of the structure allows sunlight to stream in while the south side is impervious so that solar heating is minimized. Even more remarkable is the fact that the country, long criticized for its irresponsible excess and lack of eco-responsibility, is surprisingly breaking down the entire pavilion at the event’s conclusion and reassembling somewhere in the UAE.