Sunday, 19 August 2012

Floating Islands Add 100,000 Square Feet to Downtown Seoul

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Floating Islands Add 100,000 Square Feet to Downtown Seoul: [ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Many of the most densely-populated cities in the world reside along bodies of water, from canals and sounds to seas and oceans. Beyond merely extending solid ground, this three-island project creates new mobile infrastructure right out on the waves.

In the case of Seoul, the Han River (spanned only by periodic fast-paced bridges) splits the city down the middle. To bridge the gap, this bold new project by New York firm H Architecture establishes institutional uses stunning in architectural style and engineering audacity. Each island  floats on pontoons, carefully anchored against gravity, wind and water loads, capable of withstanding monsoons.

ArchDaily summarizes the scope of the project: “Programmatically, the islands contain several cultural, educational, and recreational functions. They will be the venue for many featured events in the city. The design concept stems from the stages of a blooming flower: a seed, bud, and blossom. Each of the islands take on the form of one of these stages, manifesting as delicate yet bold structures of glass, wood, and steel.”

The smallest island (Terra) revolves around water sports, with club rooms, rooftop terraces and water slides. The next island (Viva) takes entertainment up a level, with performance and exhibit spaces. The largest (Vista) features a huge indoor space for festivals, concerts and plays. Together, they also add visual interest, both day and night, to this heretofore untapped source of potential skyline.

Space-Age Home: 5 Futuristic Sensory Appliances

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Space-Age Home: 5 Futuristic Sensory Appliances: [ By Steph in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

Home appliances like washing machines, refrigerators, irons and blenders are concerned, first and foremost, with practicality. But should we expect more? This year’s Electrolux Design Lab challenge asked international design students to come up with appliances that engage the senses in new and surprising ways, drawing inspiration from ‘experience creators’ like professional chefs and interior designers. The top 30 semi-finalists have been announced, and ten finalists will present their entries in Milan on October 25th, 2012. Here are 5 of the most intriguing entries.
Hurricane by Kuan-ting Ho

The wheel-shaped ‘Hurricane’ by Kuan-ting Ho looks like a cool addition to a space-age tablescape. But it’s much more than just decor – it’s a blender that produces the perfect mixed drink. Browse a programmed library, choose your drink and a recipe will instruct you to insert certain ingredients into a spout on the top of the gadget. The mixer will do the rest.
Treat by Amy Mon-Chu Liu

Tree + Eat = Treat. Amy Mon-Chu Lu’s ‘Treat’ is a tree-shaped device that helps you store food properly and keep track of its freshness using mobile technology. Vacuum-sealed pods serve as food containers that change color to warn you when your food is nearing its use-by date, and they’re actually dropped from the tree when they expire.
Touch by Markus Marks

Throwing on an outfit, only to find that it’s wrinkled and needs to be ironed, is the worst when you’re in a hurry to get out the door – and especially when you’re traveling and don’t have a lot of extra clothes with you. ‘Touch’ by marks Marks ensures that you look presentable at all times. It’s a portable ‘iron’ that uses infrared light rather than heat to smooth the fabric of your clothes while you’re wearing them. It doesn’t even need to be turned on or off – it automatically starts working when it senses the fabric.
Wine Steward by Roman Blahnyka

Wine connoisseurs go through a lot of trouble to be sure that the wine they’re drinking is served at precisely the right temperature, but most casual wine drinkers don’t have the time or inclination to follow suit. That doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy wine to its fullest potential. The Wine Steward by Roman Blahnyka maintains the perfect temperature for any type of wine, also creating a vacuum within the bottle to ensure that your leftover wine never goes to waste.
Memory by WenYao Cal

You like your coffee balanced and fruity, while your partner prefers it dark and intense. This gadget uses your handprint to remember exactly how you like your coffee, so you don’t have to compromise. ‘Memory’ by WenYao Cai scans your hand and then serves your coffee just right – perfect for people who can barely function until they’ve had a cup.

Scary Seas: 21 Terrifying Deep Ocean Creatures

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Scary Seas: 21 Terrifying Deep Ocean Creatures: [ By Marc in Global & Travel & Places. ]

The last true frontier on Earth is deep in the ocean. Any expedition to the dark depths is incredibly expensive, yet invariably comes back with a host of newly discovered species that are about as alien to land dwellers as it’s possible to get on this planet.

(Images via thedailygreen, seasweetie, wikipedia, uncommondescent, weird-funnythings)
The Kiwa is a blind, furry crab that resides 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. As unusual as it appears, for sheer terror it’s better to take a look at the Japanese Spider Crab, which can grow as long as 12 feet from leg tip to leg tip. Thankfully these critters roam the ocean floor and don’t get out on the beach much. This blind lobster is a great example of creatures that look similar to those we’re familiar with, but have creepy adaptations to help them survive in the dark depths. The giant isopod pictured above looks like it could have stepped straight out of a time warp from millions of years ago, yet it is an abundant species on the ocean floor.

(Images via thedailygreen, unknownskywalker, xcitefun, fuckyeahstrangecreatures)
This marvelous creature looks like a jellyfish, but it’s actually a sea cucumber called the Pink See-through Fantasia. This interesting looking inhabitant of the deep was found nearly 11,100 feet under the surface of the ocean and was only discovered two years ago by a UK diving expedition. These amazing jellyfish are just two of an incredible variety that inhabit the world’s oceans. They float serenely along with the currents, eating anything that stumbles into their “arms”.

(Images via mongabay, oceancaresolutions, listverse, seaslugforum)
This snailfish’s fins look wing-like and majestic, but the only flying it will do is 7,000 feet underwater. The Glaucus Atlanticus Sea Slug, pictured twice above, is breath-taking, and really really small. It certainly looks cute compared to the Long-Nosed Chimera, which surfs along the ocean floor using its nose to gather up prey in the sand.

(Images via rocketboom, thetruthbehindthescenes, yahoo, whentalking)
The Frilled Shark is straight out of a horror movie, and was thought to be extinct until one was found in shallow water in 2011 (the previous sighting had been a dead one, in the 19th century). The wild looking Sea Pig is actually a type of sea cucumber. This Ocean Sunfish (known as a Mola Mola) can weigh up to 2,200 pounds. This fearsome looking Anglerfish dangles its bioluminescent light to attract prey towards its gaping jaws.

(Images via mentalfloss, lumpysoceanlife, irbob-strangeanimals, h3al, littlepawz)
There are over 700 species of sea urchin, and they’re all as fantastic and different as this one, known as “Exquisitus”. The Isopod featured above looks almost like a bundle of sticks covered in ketchup, and is an excellent example of the variety of life on this planet. The Vampire Squid may seem very large in this photo, but it can only reach a maximum of 6 inches in length. This eel looks positively normal compared to most of the creatures found deep under the sea, and its partner in crime, the giant jellyfish from hell.

Your First Pet Lamp: Bug-Legged Desktop Illuminations

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Your First Pet Lamp: Bug-Legged Desktop Illuminations:

A cute product with well-matched packaging, this Bug Light series strikes a series of insect-like poses using the bare minimum of materials necessary to create a lamp.

A lack of shades or screens means you should keep the bulbs small and low in wattage, but as accent pieces they are rather adorable creations by industrial designer (and bug lover) Omer Inbar.

Just like a real bug, you don’t want to get near the head or mouth when it is awake and active – in this case, you would be looking at a burn rather than a bite, but still … the breathing holes in the box should give you a laugh, if not pause.

Tea With a Romantic Twist: Pivoting Set Encourages Convos

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Tea With a Romantic Twist: Pivoting Set Encourages Convos:

The simple ceremony of preparing, pouring and sharing tea can be a wonderfully relaxing way to share some time with someone special. The Tea for Two set from designer Mark Huang blends the function of a traditional tea set with a romantic flair.

The set includes two mugs, a candle and a teapot all on a wooden base. The teapot sits on the base and pivots from one side to the other, making it simple to pour tea into both of the cups. The resulting aesthetic is rather sweet and enchanting.

Beneath the teapot, the candle (when lit) provides some heat to keep the tea warm to the very last drop. With the lovely set resting between you and a special person, there is very little chance that the tea or the conversation will run cold.

Superfoam Seat Cast Around Blown-Up & Popped Balloons

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Superfoam Seat Cast Around Blown-Up & Popped Balloons:

Design and craft can be as much (or more) about process as product – certainly the case for this odd hand-crafted chair that owes its shape to a confluence of strange structural circumstances.
Created by Rich Gilbert as an experiment in casting solids around spherical voids (formed by everyday plastic balloons), the result has both solidity and flexibility reflective of its method of making.

“An experiment in redesigning natural structures. SuperFoam is a re-creation of naturally occurring reticulated foam structures through a casting process that facilitates designing the properties of the foam itself.”

“By developing the casting process the properties of the foam could be controlled so the chair flexed and deformed to create a supportive structure.”

Compact Modular Kitchen-in-a-Box Has it All, Including Sink

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Compact Modular Kitchen-in-a-Box Has it All, Including Sink:

If making the most out of small spaces is an art, meet two of the most impressions modern masters: Maria Lobisch and Andreas Näther.

The Justin Case is a contemporary response to an age-old problem of compact living, particularly when it comes to all of the bits, pieces and moving parts that go into making a space to cook, eat and clean.

Constructed of steel, wood and synthetic webbing, this space-saving wonder has a more-spacious sidekick that can be used for eating and food storage as needed.

Per DesignBoom, “the unit affords many possible configurations and features a belt system which holds the design together. The prototype is divided into two halves, one equipped with sink, drying rack, shelving system, while the other serves as a dining table for four. The separation of the box halves allows for greater efficiencies in different tasks. each is arranged so that when collapsed, the essential elements are still accessible.”

Coffree: Flat-Pack Instant Coffee & Cup for Mobile Freedom

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Coffree: Flat-Pack Instant Coffee & Cup for Mobile Freedom:

Instant coffee has gone from jars to single-use bags, but there are still a few missing elements: hot water and cups on the go. This nifty design addresses the latter, at least, bringing us one step closer to fully-mobile travel coffee.

Young-an Seok, Young-woo Choi & Se-ryung Nam created an essentially flat-pack cup with the grounds already inside, a tear-and-serve strategy that fits neatly in a bag.

While it is bio-degradeable, this itself is nothing really new – a paper cup is too. The mobility (assuming it manages stability) of a cup that displaces no volume when packed, however, would be a big step forward itself.

Serial Toast Printer Pops Out Up to Six Slices in a Row

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Serial Toast Printer Pops Out Up to Six Slices in a Row:

Making more than two pieces of toast most mornings, but hate the clutter of a four-piece machine? This is the device for you.

Othmar Muhlebach created this crafty toast-printing wonder to have a smaller footprint on your counter top, while giving you a fresh look at your freshly-toasted bread.

Each piece of bread is stacked simply along the top (up to a half-dozen or more at a time), then slides through and ejects below, much like the process of a traditional paper printer.

When not in use, the cord conveniently wraps inside a notched space around the base, hugging the inside curve then hiding below the bottom plate. One last thing they could add: a built-in way to slice parts of loafs, so you could feed in larger bits of bread. Maybe in the next iteration.

Twisted Geometry: Modern Home Echoes Family’s Growth

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Twisted Geometry: Modern Home Echoes Family’s Growth:

Situated like a stack of offset geometric shapes, the Dupli Casa by J. Mayer H. provides a singularly unusual home for a vibrant family just outside of Luxembourg, Germany.

The home, much like the family within it, has grown organically over time. The original home was built in 1984 and underwent many modifications and additions throughout the years.

In August of 2008, the new home was completed. The 12,800 square foot residence blends interior and exterior almost seamlessly with ample access to breathtaking scenic views and huge, clear windows.

Public spaces on the first and third floors are more open to the outdoors via huge windows, while the private spaces on the middle floor are protected by the protruding elevations above and below.

Light Rail: LED Hand Railings to Safely Light Up Staircases

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Light Rail: LED Hand Railings to Safely Light Up Staircases:

Ever notice how brightly-lit stairways are? This is obviously for safety reasons, but less obviously: each and every last corner needs to be illuminated to make sure you don’t step into (and trip within) a stray shadow.

Since railings are also essential elements for safe staircases, it makes sense to let them light each tread and riser while also providing visual guidance for landings and other changes in direction or shape as one descends.

Zoran Sunjic envisions this as an extruded, heavy-duty tube or LED light rope strung between supports and able to change color, potentially (for example) to illuminate what level you are on within a building (another helpful way-finding aspect). Still, as anything other than emergency lights, there may be one problem: too much illumination at eye level.

Flexibin: Wonderfully Minimalist Wireframe Trash Receptacle

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Flexibin: Wonderfully Minimalist Wireframe Trash Receptacle:

One piece of metal wraps and twists to form what may be the lightest and thinnest garbage can in the world – not even a can so much as a means of holding up a plastic trash bag.

Thanks to its less-defined shape, it can suitably hold all kinds of recycled bags without seeming over- or under-sized to the task. No need to worry about color clashing with the simple reflective steel, either.

The natural flexibility of the malleable material makes it easy to add and remove bags as well. Li Jianye is a Chinese product and systems designer who has worked in Beijing and Hong Kong; he regularly publishes side projects and concepts on his blog.

Sleeker Inflatable Solution Reinvents Basic Walk-In Bathtub

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Sleeker Inflatable Solution Reinvents Basic Walk-In Bathtub:

Designers have a difficult time making walk-in tubs look anything but, well, ugly. There are a lot of requirements (like size) that lead to a default solution that seems clunky in an otherwise-nice bathroom space.

This solution by Su Pin Chia works around these issues in a few interesting ways. First, its strong horizontals and divided sections break up the monotony of the megalithic form. Second, when not in use, it is simply much smaller since the sides can remain down rather than up. Finally, the use of two materials – one hard, one soft – make it seem more like two elements than one.

So how does it work? Instead of folding up, it fills up – the sides are inflatable via the water-propelled jacuzzi mechanism already built in. Whether it would work in reality is a good question, but the concept is quite cool regardless.

Purr-fect Playground: Human Sofa Doubles as Feline Toy

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Purr-fect Playground: Human Sofa Doubles as Feline Toy:

There is no question that cat lovers will do just about anything to keep their companion animals happy. In a small living space, though, it is not always easy to give your feline friends the space and toys they crave. Designer Seungji Mun came up with this sofa in an effort to keep domestic kitties happy and active.

The sofa includes regular seats for humans, but it also incorporates a play tunnel for cats. The tunnel, which doubles as a backrest for human sitters, loops behind the human seating area, putting one entrance on the floor and one at the level of the seats. A peek-a-boo hole in the tunnel’s midsection allows you to interact with your cats as they hide and frolic in the tube.

Mun’s design came as a reaction to the increasing number of companion animals in Korea. He noticed that furniture is a common ground, something that both the cats and the humans can utilize to their mutual enjoyment. Maybe the future of living with animals includes ridding the house of complicated cat-only and human-only zones in favor of shared furniture all around.