Kengo Kuma weaves bamboo and carbon fiber into a nest-like structure at the V&A Museum

October 2, 2019 by  
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At the 2019 London Design Festival, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has crafted a new eye-catching outdoor installation in the John Madejski Garden at the V&A Museum — just one year after his completion of the V&A Dundee museum in Scotland. Dubbed Bamboo (?) Ring, or ‘Take-wa ??’, the temporary doughnut-shaped structure is woven from rings of bamboo and carbon fiber. The sculpture was developed in partnership with Chinese consumer electronics brand OPPO. Best known for his design of the New National Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, architect Kengo Kuma has won international acclaim for his contemporary projects that draw inspiration from traditional Japanese design and emphasize natural materials . A recurring theme in his work is the expression of lightness and transparency, qualities that have also guided the design of the Bamboo (?) Ring.  Curated by Clare Farrow, the cocoon-like structure is based on a 2-meter diameter ring made from strips of the bamboo Phyllostachys edulis reinforced with carbon fiber used to laminate each ring. “For Kuma, working with Ejiri Structural Engineers and the Kengo Kuma Laboratory at The University of Tokyo, the installation is an exploration of pliancy, precision, lightness and strength: by pulling two ends, it naturally de-forms and half of the woven structure is lifted into the air,” reads the London Design Festival 2019 press release. “Bamboo (?) Ring, or ‘Take-wa ??’, is intended to be a catalyst for weaving people and place.” Related: Kengo Kuma unveils bold timber museum in Turkey that pays homage to the region’s Ottoman heritage Kuma’s installation was on display at 35 Baker Street for the duration of the London Design Festival , from September 14 to September 22, 2019. The project was developed in partnership with Chinese electronics brand OPPO, which recently built an OPPO design center in London during its new smartphone series launch. The experience center’s temporary installation, called “Essence of Discovery,” blended technology and art to introduce their smartphone products during the festival. + Kengo Kuma Images via Sassy Films

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Kengo Kuma weaves bamboo and carbon fiber into a nest-like structure at the V&A Museum

Psychedelic installation in NYC spotlights environmental issues with immersive art

September 12, 2019 by  
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The call for environmental awareness and action has been given a new voice in a visually stunning art installation that just opened its doors in New York City. Entitled Arcadia Earth , the temporary art exhibition immerses guests in a multi-sensory journey spotlighting pressing ecological issues — such as overfishing, plastic pollution, food waste, deforestation and climate change — with vivid artworks designed with upcycled and reusable materials. The 18-room exhibition is powered by augmented and virtual reality to create a large-scale interactive environment that encompasses a variety of landscapes, from underwater worlds to fantastical forests. Founded and designed by experiential artist Valentino Vettori, Arcadia Earth is billed as the “first immersive augmented reality journey through Planet Earth.” The art installation was created in collaboration with 12 leading environmental artists , including Samuelle Green, Tamara Kotianovsky, Etty Yaniv, Cindy Pease Roe, Poramit Thantapalit, Jesse Harrod, Justin Bolognino/META, Katie Donahue, Katharina Hoerath, Charlotte Becket and Emmy Mikelson. The project has been presented in association with its educational and charity partner, Oceanic Global , which will receive part of the proceeds from ticket sales. To highlight environmental issues, Arcadia Earth created a series of spectacular naturescapes afflicted by human-caused environmental problems that are accompanied with educational commentary. In the underwater ocean scene, for instance, guests can take in views of shrinking coral beds, plastic-coated jellyfish and life-size fishing nets representative of overfishing. One underwater cave is built from 44,000 recycled plastic bags to represent the number used in New York state per minute. Related: Giant totems in Poland warn against climate change catastrophe Fortunately, the hauntingly beautiful art exhibition doesn’t only project images of a doomed future. Arcadia Earth provides actionable suggestions that visitors can adopt to reduce their environmental impact . The visit also culminates in a “vow room,” where visitors can sign a petition and make personal vows to help the planet. Arcadia Earth is located at 718 Broadway and will be on display until January 2020. A tree will be planted for every ticket sold.  + Arcadia Earth Images by David Mitchell for Arcadia Earth

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Psychedelic installation in NYC spotlights environmental issues with immersive art

Canadas largest shipping container market welcomes crowds in Toronto

September 12, 2019 by  
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The people of Toronto are enjoying the country’s largest shipping container market, courtesy of local firm LGA Architectural Partners . Located on a two-block, 2.4 acre site, the Stackt market is comprised of various repurposed shipping containers, configured to make the most of the space in order to create a vibrant market area that serves as a community hub. The project is located at Bathurst and Front Streets. The lot is slated to be converted into a public park in the future, but in the meantime, LGA Architectural Partners collaborated with the local council to utilize the space to build the temporary market. Accordingly, the shipping container project had to be designed to not only serve as a community-centered public space but also in a way that it could be dismantled and installed in another area in the future. Related: Repurposed shipping containers turned into solar-powered Cycle Hubs The design of the Stackt market was focused on creating a welcoming social hub for the community. The multiple repurposed shipping containers are strategically stacked to create an open, light-filled market punctuated with several open-air courtyards. The ground level is comprised of a network of detached buildings with single- and double-height interiors that house a number of retail shops as well separate containers that have been installed with the basic utilities needed to support the businesses, such as heating and cooling systems, water infrastructure and more. The top containers are arranged in grid-like formations to create side passageways and courtyards that can be used for cultural events. The third story of containers are arranged in a staggered design that adds a unique, eye-catching dynamic to the marketplace. The market contains anchor and pop-up stores as well as several food and beverage spots, including an onsite brewery . All of the storefronts have a uniform design to create a cohesive look to the market and reduce visual clutter. While some of the stores are permanent, pop-up spaces will change with the seasons. According to Janna Levitt, partner at LGA Architectural Partners, the prime focus of the shipping container project was to create a lively space that currently meets the needs of this community and possibly another one down the road without leaving a permanent impact on the landscape . “As our world becomes more digital, retailers are looking for unique physical spaces and experiential opportunities for their customers,” Levitt said. “Shipping containers suggest an unusual and immersive retail experience while also offering a practical and sustainable building solution. Their inherent modularity means that the project can be disassembled and deployed elsewhere to create future Stackt developments, while leaving the site unscathed.” + LGA Architectural Partners Photography via Industryous Photography

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Canadas largest shipping container market welcomes crowds in Toronto

A playful home built of recycled materials takes in sunrise views in Ecuador

August 19, 2019 by  
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Built largely from recycled materials, the home that architect Daniel Moreno Flores recently completed for an artistically inclined client in Ecuador oozes playfulness and creativity as well as a reduced environmental footprint. Located in the town of Pifo less than an hour’s drive east from Quito, the House of the Flying Tiles is strategically sited to embrace views. The house is named after its massive installation of hanging tiles — reclaimed and new — placed at the entrance to create visual interest and help shield the glass-walled home from unwanted solar heat gain. When deciding where to place the home, Flores began with a site study. Along with the client, he arrived early at the site to observe the direction of the sunrise and the best positions for framing landscape views. To make the home look “as if it had always been there,” Flores also let the site-specific placement of the home be informed by the existing trees and fauna. No trees were removed during the construction process. Related: This staggered, residential tower is draped with greenery in Quito “The house is oriented to the view, for the contemplation of the mountain, of the neighborhoods, and of all the plants and trees of the place,” Flores explained. “These spaces seek an intensification in the relationship with some externalities such as the mountain, the low vegetation, the sky and with the Guirachuro (a kind of bird of the place).” Using a mix of new materials and reclaimed wood and tiles from three houses in Quito , the architect created a 130-square-meter home with three main spaces: a double-height living area that opens up to an outdoor reading terrace and connects to a mezzanine office space; the bedroom area that overlooks mountain views; and the ground-floor bathroom that is built around an existing tree. The roofs of the structure are also designed to be accessible to create a variety of vantage points for enjoying the landscape. + Daniel Moreno Flores Photography by JAG Studio , Santiago Vaca Jaramillo and Daniel Moreno Flores

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A playful home built of recycled materials takes in sunrise views in Ecuador

Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C.

July 26, 2019 by  
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In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized access to clean water as a human right. To raise awareness about the “questionable privatizations” and climate change threatening this human right, Spanish design collective Luzinterruptus created ‘Let’s Go Fetch Water!’, a temporary art installation made from recycled plastic. Located on the grounds of the Spanish Embassy and the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., the art installation features an eye-catching waterfall effect created by a series of angled buckets cascading water sourced from a closed-loop system. When designing Let’s Go Fetch Water!, Luzinterruptus wanted to reference the daily toils that many people — mostly women — around the world must go through to fetch water for their family’s basic supply. As a result, buckets that are used to draw and transport water became the main motif for the piece. “These buckets transport this precious liquid from fountains and wells and are even hoisted down to the depths of the Earth in order to get it,” the designers explained. “They later carry them through long perilous trails during grueling journeys, where not even a drop must be spilled.” Related: A glowing river of books creates a traffic-free haven in Ann Arbor To minimize the loss of water, Luzinterruptus used a slow-flowing current and closed-loop system for the waterfall effect. The designers were also adamant about using buckets made from recycled materials rather than take the easy route of purchasing cheap buckets made in China. The buckets were mounted onto a wooden frame, and all of the materials will be recycled after the installation is dismantled in September. The installation is on display from May 16 to September 27 and will be lit up and functional at night as well. “We all know water is scarce,” Luzinterruptus said. “ Climate change is one of the main reasons; however, questionable privatizations are also to be blamed. Governments lacking financial resources give up this resource to private companies in exchange for supply infrastructures. Other governments just sell their aquifers and springs to large food and beverage corporations, which exploit these and everything around dry, leaving local inhabitants in deep crisis. We have enjoyed this particular commission since we have, for a long time, been dealing with issues concerning the recycling of plastic material, and we have experienced firsthand how these companies that sell someone else’s water, and seem to be especially focused on launching awareness campaigns for a responsible use of plastic, only try to deviate attention from this uncomfortable privatization issue.” + Luzinterruptus Photography by David Keith via Luzinterruptus

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Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C.

A glowing river of books creates a traffic-free haven in Ann Arbor

December 6, 2018 by  
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In their latest installment of Literature vs Traffic, Spanish design collective luzinterruptus transformed a major street in Ann Arbor , Michigan, into a glowing river of 11,000 books. Carried out to bring attention to the importance of pedestrian-friendly spaces, the large-scale installation turned an area typically marred by the sounds and pollution of cars into a quiet haven. At the end of the night, all the books were quickly “recycled” and taken home by visitors as a keepsake of the temporary event. Luzinterruptus’ most recent installation of Literature vs Traffic—the artwork had previously been displayed in Toronto, Melbourne, Madrid and New York—was briefly brought to life at Ann Arbor on October 23, 2018 thanks to the invitation of the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities and its curator, Amanda Krugliak. The design collective felt the Michigan city was a fitting choice due to its reputation as a book loving college town and its proximity to Detroit , the birthplace of the U.S. automobile industry. “We want literature to take over the streets and to become the conqueror of all public places, offering passersby a traffic-free area that will, for a few hours, surrender to the humble might of the written word,” explain the designers. “Thus, a place in the city usually dedicated to speed, pollution , and noise, shall turn, for one night, into a place of peace, quiet, and coexistence, lighted by the soft dim light issued from the book pages.” Related: Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires The university organized a book donation drive to collect the 11,000 books used in the installation and also helped to temporarily close the major intersection of State Street and Liberty Street for 24 hours. A team of 90 volunteers also pitched in to help prepare and embed the books with tiny lights. On October 23, a glowing river of books was laid out for a few hours until nightfall, when visitors were invited to enter the ‘river’ and take the books home. All the books disappeared in less than two hours, leaving the street clean and empty by midnight. + luzinterruptus Images by Melisa Hernández and John Eikost  

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A glowing river of books creates a traffic-free haven in Ann Arbor

Corona announces pilot program for 100% plastic-free 6-pack rings in 2019

December 6, 2018 by  
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Corona has announced that it will be launching a pilot program in 2019 for 100 percent plastic-free six-pack rings, making it the first global beer brand to attempt such eco-friendly packaging. The company says it will introduce the new rings in select markets at the beginning of the new year as part of its commitment with Parley for the Oceans to lead the multi-billion dollar beer industry in doing its part to protect the world’s oceans from plastic pollution . Corona beer is mostly packaged with glass and fiberboard, but the company does see an opportunity for improvement when it comes to the six-pack rings. The industry standard plastic rings — made from a photodegradable form of polyethylene — break down into increasingly smaller pieces when they aren’t recycled. Related: Danish brewer Carlsberg to swap plastic 6-pack rings for glue However, the plastic-free rings that Corona will be testing are made from plant-based biodegradable fibers and a mix of by-product waste and compostable materials. When they are left in the environment, they are not harmful to wildlife and will break down into organic material. “Our oceans are under attack. We are taking their life in rapid speed, destroying the chemistry that allows us to be here,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder and CEO of Parley for the Oceans. “Therefore, we are bidding on the few who take the lead in true change. The ones who are shaping the future with us. Corona is such an Ocean Champion, a powerful ally in our war against marine plastic pollution — and in building the material revolution that will lead us beyond it. We share the goal of phasing plastic out for good, because we simply can’t afford its toxic impact anymore.” Approximately 8 MM metric tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year, so Corona has adopted Parley’s strategy to avoid and intercept as much plastic as possible while creating alternative solutions to plastic packaging. This reality is motivation for Corona to avoid plastic entirely, so it will be piloting the new rings in the company’s home country of Mexico at the beginning of next year. It also plans to test the new rings in the U.K. Corona’s decision could have a major influence on the beer industry. The company hopes that this solution of plastic-free rings will become the new standard. + Corona Images via Corona

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Corona announces pilot program for 100% plastic-free 6-pack rings in 2019

Luminous LEDs transform Pragues historic Mirror Chapel into an interactive art space

November 6, 2018 by  
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The lavish interiors of Prague, Czech Republic’s Mirror Chapel were recently transformed into a psychedelic art space thanks to New York-based design studio SOFTlab . Commissioned by the 2018 Signal Festival that concluded last month, the designers inserted an interactive and circular art installation made of responsive mirrors and LEDs . Dubbed Iris, the luminous artwork reacted to ambient sound and the movement of people through the rotation of mirrors, creating vertically fragmented images for a dream-like effect. Built in the early 18th century, the Mirror Chapel has long drawn visitors for its sumptuous interiors dressed with marble, mirrors, gilded stucco decorations and frescoed and painted ceilings. In the 1930s, the beautiful chapel — which belongs to the historic complex of buildings in Prague called Clementinum — began being used for secular purposes such as concerts and exhibitions. The building has also been a popular destination for the Signal Festival of Lights , the largest cultural event in the Czech Republic that unites art, urban space and modern technology and has drawn crowds of more than two million people since it was launched five years ago. One of the many invited international design practices, SOFTlab crafted a site-specific artwork for Mirror Chapel that takes inspiration from the building’s many mirrored surfaces. Arranged as a circular array, the Iris art installation reacts to sound and movement to create a bewildering display of light and reflections evocative of a ‘mise en abyme’ — a French term describing the technique of putting a copy of an image within itself — that mixes elements of the chapel, viewers and light into a series of recursive and panoramic images. Related: MAD reactivates an abandoned Japanese tunnel using surreal immersive art “Both the intricate nature of the Mirror Chapel’s architecture and its use as a classical concert hall drive the design of the installation,” the designers explained. “A mirrored object in the round reflects the ornate surroundings externally while reflecting the viewer infinitely on the interior of the circular enclosure. This reflective enclosure is disrupted as people approach for a closer look. In this way, it is curiosity and sound that activate the installation. A closer look has the potential to produce a delightful bewilderment as the exterior leaks in while space and sound become multiplied in unexpected ways. In that sense, Iris is not an object, image or artifact on its own, but relies on the existing space as the medium. As it bends, multiplies and conflates light and sound, it calls into question the lenses (both mechanical and cultural) that limit or expand our spatial experiences.” + SOFTlab Images via Signal Festival of Lights / SOFTlab

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Luminous LEDs transform Pragues historic Mirror Chapel into an interactive art space

Hydroponic gardens and a mini mountain promote fun and well-being in this creative office

November 6, 2018 by  
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A running track, elevated hydroponic gardens and a miniature “mountain” combine in this fun, new office headquarters for the non-profit Leping Foundation in Beijing , China. Designed by the prolific local design practice People’s Architecture Office (PAO), the mostly open-plan office landscape was created to foster health and wellness. Covering an area of 1,100 square meters, the Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation Headquarters unites four of the company’s departments with a suspended vegetated loop and a running track underneath. Known for its social innovation work, the headquarters of the Leping Foundation covers four distinct fields: job training for migrant workers, agricultural research, preschool education and microfinance. To cultivate a sense of community among the different fields, the People’s Architecture Office created an office that fosters collaboration and interaction. The activity loop track that snakes through the various departments encourages office workers to take breaks and walk laps around the office. In addition to the open kitchen, dining area and lounge, the architects also added a “mini mountain” integrated with stairs to give workers a way to “hike” up to the mezzanine level. The office also includes a separate gym, a meditation space and a meeting room. “The wall design reminds users of the importance of staying active and changing positions,” the architects explained. “Gradating bands of blue span the height of the walls and columns at 60-cm intervals. Recommended periods of time spent at each height are given and each of these correspond with certain postures and activities, which include laying down, sitting, walking and climbing.” Related: China’s rival to AirBnB opens new Beijing office with cutting-edge interior design The suspended hydroponic gardens that are filled with edible plants and aromatic herbs not only add beauty and a source of food for the office, but they also help clean the indoor air. The gardens are complemented with an advanced air filtration system — an important addition given Beijing’s notoriety for severe air pollution . Indoor air quality data is regularly collected, monitored and displayed in real time above the running track. + People’s Architecture Office Photography by Jing Weiqi via People’s Architecture Office

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Hydroponic gardens and a mini mountain promote fun and well-being in this creative office

Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires

June 22, 2018 by  
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Over 15,000 plastic bottles were temporarily given a new lease on life as a glowing labyrinth in Vatican Square, one of Buenos Aires’ most celebrated public spaces. Designed by environmental art collective Luzinterruptus , the Plastic Waste Labyrinth calls attention to the staggering amount of waste generated everyday in a thought-provoking installation. Commissioned by the Department of Environmental and Public Areas of Buenos Aires City Government, Ciudad Verde, the immersive artwork was installed for one week and open 24 hours a day as part of Global Recycling Day. Previously installed in Madrid and Katowice, the Plastic Waste Labyrinth is a site-specific piece constructed from waste collected from the surrounding area. To show which beverage brands generate the highest amount of waste in Buenos Aires, the architects left the bottle labels on. More than 15,000 plastic bottles were collected from the city with the help of several urban recycling cooperatives. After the plastic bottles were cleaned and sorted into clear plastic bags , Luzinterruptus built a labyrinth that stretches over 650 feet in length and covers an area of 1,550 square feet. “We created an immersive labyrinthine piece where visitors would feel disoriented and anxiously look for an exit,” explained the arts collective. “This experience intended to beget a thought, a conversation, or perhaps an intention to improve our way to use or get rid of plastic. We want to take the opportunity here to bring attention to the uncontrolled use of bottled liquids which is causing great problems in poor countries while reservoirs are being privatized and bought by large corporations and their selfish interests, thus owning water, Earth’s most important resource and a fundamental right of all its inhabitants.” Related: Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for “plastic binge” awareness The labyrinth is illuminated with cool white LEDs that turn the labyrinth into a glowing space at night. At the end of the event, the Plastic Waste Labyrinth was dismantled and all the plastic was recycled. The bottles, cleaned and sorted by color, were sent back to the city’s recycling cooperatives, while the bags were returned to the manufacturing plant, where they would be melted. + Luzinterruptus Images via Luzinterruptus

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Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires

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