Posts Tagged: Architecture

Bubble and clique

Bubble and clique


Holidays. The perfect time to get away from it all. Forget about the stress and strains modern life. Treat yourself to a couple of weeks relaxing in the middle of nowhere. Well now it seems a couple of French entrepreneurs have taken the idea of ‘spending some time in your own bubble’ quite literally.

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Queen of the (Icon) Hill

If you want curves, then there’s only one woman to go to, and it’s not Christina Hendricks. Zaha Hadid (aka Queen of the Curves) is probably best known for designing the Opera House in Guangzhou and the Pavillion Bridge in Zaragoza.

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Smart billboards

Just because walls are flat doesn’t mean billboards have to be. IBM and Ogilvy France have launched a series of outdoor ads, each with a different shape and purpose. (Good spot, Jamie.) There’s one you can sit on. Another you can shelter under when it rains. And another that makes dragging your bag up steps that little bit easier.

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Architecture for Dogs is an “extremely sincere collection of architecture and a new medium, which makes dogs and their people happy.” Created by Muji’s creative guru Kenya Hara (whose previous projects include designing Olympic ceremonies) the project involved designing new structures for canine companions, including a body suit for a chihuahua and a cloud-like sleeping bag for a bichon frise. Barking, but beautiful all the same!

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A new form of storytelling

Check out these columns in the West Lobby of Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas. Created with LCD monitors behind a mirror, each column updates in real-time – featuring works of art and moving images. The columns also connect to virtual spaces on the internet, creating a ‘live’ conversation.

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Designing different realities

A new mental health clinic in Tokyo is practicing what it preaches – right down to the interior design.

Local architect’s, Nendo, has created a whole host of thought-provoking quirks. The door at the end of the hallway, for example, opens onto a window and the doors along the walls of the clinic don’t open at all. Instead, doctors and patients enter the consultation rooms by sliding bookshelves sideways.

Rather than getting patients back to a ‘zero’, a neutral starting place, which is the traditional model for mental health care, the clinic aims to provide patients with something extra: a deeper richness in their daily lives that wasn’t there before. The aim is to make the patients feel supported by ‘providing alternative perspectives for viewing the world’ and helping ‘visitors and staff members to experience opening new doors in their hearts’.

Mental health clinics are beginning to use this sort of intelligent design more and more, creating a new model for a traditionally restrained environment to further stimulate recuperation.


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‘Upcycling’ – a great idea still waiting to happen (again)

‘Upcycling’ is a 21st century term, coined by Cradle to Cradle authors William McDonough and Michael Braungart. But the idea of turning waste into useful products came to life brilliantly in 1963, with the Heineken WOBO (world bottle). Envisioned by beer brewer Alfred Heineken and designed by Dutch architect John Habraken, the ‘brick that holds beer’ was ahead of its ecodesign time, letting beer lovers and builders alike drink and design all in one sitting.
Mr. Heineken’s idea came after a visit to the Caribbean where he saw two problems: beaches littered with bottles and a lack of affordable building materials. The WOBO became his vision to solve both the recycling and housing challenges that he’d witnessed on the islands.
Crazily, a shed at the Heineken estate and a wall made of WOBOs at the Heineken Museum in Amsterdam are the only structures where the ‘beer brick’ was used. As to the remaining WOBOs, it’s not clear how many exist, or where, but the idea even some four decades later remains a lasting example in end-use innovation.

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What can you do to turn your world upside down?

Think like Dutch architects i29 and Snelder who have designed a school that inverts everything about traditional education buildings.

Gone are wall posters and notice boards, institutional green paint schemes and a jumble of colors. Instead, it’s all about poetry.

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