Heatherwick Studio updates 90-year-old grain silo in South Africa with pillowed glass windows

May 22, 2017 by  
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Prolific architecture firm  Heatherwick Studio has updated an abandoned silo in Cape Town with beautiful pillowed glass windows. The former silo building has sat at the heart of the Table Bay harbor since 1924 and, out of respect for the beloved landmark, the architects worked to retain much of the building’s original character during the renovation process. The team managed to retain 42 cylindrical storage silos that form the concrete skeleton, which houses the recently-opened luxury Royal Portfolio hotel, designed by Liz Biden. The old silo , which was used as an international grain trade and export facility, held court for some 80 years at the heart of Table Bay harbor, but was eventually closed down. As part of the city’s urban redesign plan , the silo was slated to be converted into a useful community-centered space, featuring a hotel and museum. The first part of the project, the hotel, which was designed by The Royal Portfolio , has recently been opened and features six floors of the luxury built in the space that once housed the old grain elevators. Related: Heatherwick Studio wants to build a tree-covered mountain in the middle of Shanghai Although the silo’s interior has been converted into a modern space, the building still retains some of its original aesthetic, namely the concrete exterior frame. Contrasting nicely with the concrete, large bulbous windows were installed and provide incredible views of the harbor as well as the Table Mountain in the background,  a view which is spectacular from the large open-air rooftop. Additionally, the glass facade will serve as a glowing beacon when illuminated at night. On the interior, the eclectic design pays homage to the area’s long history while blending in whimsical touches to the atmosphere. According to the designer, Liz Biden, the inspiration for the design was focused on balancing the old with the new, “My goal has always been to pay tribute to luxury and [provide] comfort for our guests,” said Biden. “This has meant balancing the stark and industrial style of the architecture with aspects of classic glamour and modern comfort.” Funky industrial features can be found throughout the hotel, such as chandeliers made out of original steel rings used inside the grain elevator. In addition to its design, the hotel will constantly feature plenty of local artists on its walls and even has its own private art gallery, The Vault, which will exhibit works by emerging African artists . Although the hotel conversion has just been completed, there is still more to be done on the overall silo conversion. Now, the focus is on the creation of the space underneath the hotel, which will house the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), also designed by Heatherwick Studio and slated to open in September of 2017. + Heatherwick Studio Via Dezeen

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Heatherwick Studio updates 90-year-old grain silo in South Africa with pillowed glass windows

You won’t believe the interior of Japan’s jaw-dropping new train

May 3, 2017 by  
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All aboard the swanky train! Japan just unveiled a new luxury sleeper train – and it’s jaw-droppingly beautiful. The gold-tinted Shiki-shima , which was designed by famed industrial designer Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama , features a sophisticated blend of modern and traditional Japanese materials such as washi paper walls and screens, cypress bathtubs, and lavish carpets. But the best part is the train’s amazing greenhouse-like cars that give you a panoramic view of your surroundings. The train’s design seeks to set the standard for modern train travel. The panoramic observation cars at either end of the 10-car train have large glazed wall panels that cover the walls and ceiling, offering sweeping views of the passing scenery. Comfy bentwood sofas that were made using traditional Japanese techniques are located throughout the communal lounge car, which is decorated with wall panels designed to “evoke the image of a quiet forest”. During the ride, guests will be able to enjoy select culinary specialties from their destination, served with nickel silver cutlery designed by well-known cutlery maker, Yamazaki Kinzoku Kogyo. Related: Japanese train station built around massive 700 year-old camphor tree The train has just 17 rooms: two large suite rooms and 15 smaller rooms. All of the rooms feature a bed, storage space and a private bathroom. Lucky guests of the luxury two-storey Shikishima suite will be able to enjoy a seating area and tatami mats , along with a rectangular cypress bathtub that provides a “fragrant bath-time experience.” The walls in the luxury suites are lined with floor-to-ceiling windows to provide customers with their own personal view. Of course, opulence this fine does not come cheap. Two to four day trips on the Train Suite Shiki-shima start at $2,865 and go up to a whopping $8,500. + Train Suite Shiki-shima Via Jalopnik

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You won’t believe the interior of Japan’s jaw-dropping new train

Zero-emission hydrogen-powered car is designed to revolutionize everyday travel

May 3, 2017 by  
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Dubai-based designer Niko Kapa unveiled an Audi unlike any other luxury car we’ve seen before. Designed for zero emissions , this unusual coupé concept car features a banana-yellow aerodynamic shape that exudes playfulness. Dubbed the Audi Cetus, the hydrogen-powered car took top prize at the 2017 European Product Design Awards. Winner of the Platinum Prize in the Transportation category , the conceptual Audi Cetus draws inspiration from the curved hydronamic forms of dolphins. The two-person car’s smooth and streamlined shape minimizes air turbulence in the back and also reduces drag and lift forces. The vehicle is also designed with smart sensors and with electrochromic glass windows that maximize natural light in the car and can be dimmed on demand. Related: World’s first zero-emissions hydrogen train aces maiden voyage “Audi Cetus is a hydrogen-powered , zero-emission city car, designed to change everyday city travel,” writes the designer. “The idea was to create a car for 2 people that will be likeable and fun, in an effort to restore excitement to the experience of driving. A playful conceptual exercise, truly embraces aerodynamics to both reduce energy consumption and form part of a future design aesthetic.” + Niko Kapa

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Zero-emission hydrogen-powered car is designed to revolutionize everyday travel

This amazing shipping container hotel can pop up anywhere in the world

May 2, 2017 by  
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Prague-based firm Artikul Architects has managed to combine two of our favorite things: shipping containers and wanderlust. The ContainHotel is a small boutique hotel made out of three repurposed shipping containers that can be easily disassembled and transported to different locations. The eco-hotel is made out of three large shipping containers , but has a total of five rooms that can accommodate up to 13 guests at a time. A horizontal row of four rooms was built into a 40-foot high cube container, which is supported by two perpendicular 20-foot containers on the bottom level. The ground level containers house the sanitary facilities, a technical room, a storeroom on one end and a four-bed guest room on the other. Related: Luxury Hotel Made from 35 Recycled Shipping Containers Opens Next Month in China Although compact, the rooms are open and airy, with minimal, but elegant features on the interior. Large windows provide tons of natural light for all of the rooms. The interiors are clad in birch plywood, which was also used for the custom-made furniture. All of the rooms open up to an elongated shared balcony that provides great views of the surrounding nature. Currently located in in Treboutice, Czech Republic, the hotel was designed to be a self-sufficient, eco-friendly hotel that can be easily demounted and transported to multiple locations. The structure was built on railroad sleepers to leave minimal footprint no matter where it is assembled. The building is connected to a local electric power source and has an integrated water reservoir that supplies the showers and sinks, all installed with water saving taps. To save on heating and cooling, the hotel awnings, which were made of reclaimed wood planks from a local sawmill, insulate the roof and provide shade in the summer months. + Artikul Architects Via Contemporist Photography by Michal Hurych

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This amazing shipping container hotel can pop up anywhere in the world

Explore incredible worlds inside these landscapes carved into books

May 2, 2017 by  
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Laramée, who has an extensive background in the arts, is best known for his topographical literary sculptures that take anywhere between days to months to complete. His sculptures have depicted breathtaking landscapes from iconic Petra in Jordan to China’s emerald karst mountains. In an interview with yatzer, Laramée say that these works of art aren’t so much about nature as they are about capturing and evoking the feeling of the sublime and spirituality inspired by extraordinary landscapes. The sculptures are all made by hand without computer modeling. Laramée uses a vast array of tools from band saws and chain saws to flexible shaft rotary tools and sand blasters to carve small magical worlds from tightly bound book pages. Mountainous landscapes, icy glaciers, canyons, and underground caverns are all masterfully represented in his prolific series. Laramée applies oil paints, inks, dry pastels, crayon, adhesives, and beeswax to bring the landscapes to life. “My work, in 3D as well as in painting, originates from the very idea that ultimate knowledge could very well be an erosion instead of an accumulation,” writes Laramée. “So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are.” + Guy Laramée Via Colossal

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Explore incredible worlds inside these landscapes carved into books

Hacienda San Jose Lavista is a fairytale retreat in San Miguel Allende

April 24, 2017 by  
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Set in the hills overlooking San Miguel Allende, the striking Hacienda San Jose Lavista is a beautiful retreat surrounded by expansive vineyards, lakes, and fields of wild flowers. Designed by architects Jose Seoane Castro and Pedro Urquiza to be a romantic getaway, the idyllic hotel pays respect to traditional building practices – including using adobe as the primary building material. Looking to colonial Mexican architecture for inspiration, Castro and Urquiza used traditional adobe as a primary building material. Adobe allowed the architects to forgo common structural elements, instead creating 50-centimeter thick walls to support the building’s mass. Related:Casa Xixim is an eco-friendly, self-sustaining resort in Mexico Castro and Urquiza reportedly designed the complex to be romantic retreat. In addition to the luxury suites, a picturesque chapel sits on a small pond, creating a picture-perfect setting for weddings or baptisms. Hotel guests can also enjoy various interior and exterior patios, game rooms, a pool and plenty of private nooks that look out over the gardens. Multiple pieces of local art and traditional furniture were used in the hotel’s interior design – another nod to the area’s long artisan history. + Hacienda San Jose Lavista Images via Hacienda San Jose Lavista

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Hacienda San Jose Lavista is a fairytale retreat in San Miguel Allende

Britain sees first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution

April 24, 2017 by  
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For the first time since Thomas Edison opened the first power station in London in 1882, Great Britain functioned without any coal-fired power plants last Friday. The milestone marks the first continuous 24-hour period without coal since the Industrial Revolution. This isn’t the first time Britain has gone without coal for a significant chunk of the day, but before this, 19 hours was the longest continuous time that coal power was able to go offline. Instead of coal, National Grid relied on a mix of 50.3% gas, 21.2% nuclear, 12.2% wind, 8.3% imports, 6.7% biomass, and 3.6% solar on Friday. While natural gas still isn’t a completely clean power source, it’s nowhere near as polluting as coal , and nuclear power , while it has very real risks, doesn’t spew greenhouse gasses into the environment. In an ideal world, a larger portion of the nation’s energy would come from renewable sources, but for now, simply ditching coal for a day is an accomplishment to celebrate. Days like this will become more and more common as time goes on – in 2016, the UK relied on coal for just 9% of its electricity needs, down from 23% in 2015. By 2025, the country’s last coal power station is slated to close as part of the government’s promises to meet its climate change commitments. Related: European electricity sector pledges no new coal plants after 2020 However, it’s important to remember that eliminating coal is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions: the UK government (and, indeed, other governments around the world) still need to tackle the huge amount of carbon generated by other infrastructure and the country’s transportation system. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )  

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Britain sees first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution

These hotels are fighting food waste, one guest at a time

March 23, 2017 by  
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Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental and Marriott are participating in a 12-week pilot aimed at prioritizing prevention.

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These hotels are fighting food waste, one guest at a time

Sweden’s new ICEHOTEL 365 uses solar cooling to stay open all year-round

December 2, 2016 by  
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Sweden’s famed ICEHOTEL , perhaps the “coolest” hotel in the world, has just unveiled a permanent luxury lodge made entirely of ice. The newly-designed ICEHOTEL 365 has all of the chilly charm of its sister hotel, but will be open 365 days a year thanks to state-of-the-art solar-powered cooling technology that will keep the structure frozen during summer months. Located 200 km north of the Arctic Circle in the Swedish village of Jukkasjarvi, ICEHOTEL rose to fame thanks to its unique igloo structure made out of “snice”, a mixture of snow and ice collected from the Torne River. The fantastical structure has been built and rebuilt every year since 1989. Related: World-Famous Swedish Ice Hotel Forced to Install Fire Alarms Despite Sub-Freezing Temperatures Now the new ICEHOTEL 365, which sits adjacent to the other temporary structure, has just been unveiled. Thanks to the solar-powered cooling technology , guests can now enjoy either cold or warm rooms year round, along with a cocktail room, saunas, and even an ice church. The cold rooms are kept between -5 and -8 degrees Celsius, and although the beds are made from blocks of ice, they have thick mattresses on top of wood crates for added comfort. Reindeer hides and thermal sleeping bags keep guests warm and comfy during the night. Like the original hotel, the 365 version has a series of thematic rooms called Art Suites. Each room has carved ice detailing created by artists from around the world. And if you really want to splurge, go for the Deluxe Suites. The largest suites in the hotel, the Deluxe Suites also have individually designed carvings as well as a private heated relaxation area, sauna, shower, and en suite bathrooms. + ICEHOTEL 365 Via Contemporist Photographs by Asaf Kliger and ICEHOTEL

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Sweden’s new ICEHOTEL 365 uses solar cooling to stay open all year-round

The Dutch Mountains is the ‘interactive work and residential environment of the future’

November 1, 2016 by  
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Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Dutch Mountains design is its shape. From the outside, it recalls the hull of an enormous ship just launched into a body of water, with either end curving upward to a height of 147 feet. An aerial view reveals that the building surrounds a private green space spanning nearly 43,000 square feet. There, workers and residents can relax in a park-like setting, hold outdoor meetings, or enjoy a picnic on the shore of a man-made pond—all while protected from the noise and pollution of the major highway running adjacent to the proposed site. The park is visible from all of the development’s amenities, offering a pleasant view of nature as opposed to looking out onto other buildings. Related: New Dutch housing model lets students stay at a senior living home for free The Dutch Mountains features a 52,000-square-foot lobby, which houses the reception area for offices upstairs. The entrance to restaurants, conference venues, a health club, an indoor swimming pool , a supermarket, and an exhibition space are also located on this level. Beyond the lobby is close to 100,000 square feet of office space, laboratories, and hotel rooms. The Dutch Mountains’ ideal tenants include large businesses as well as startups, as the building is designed to be flexible to the needs of each company. The mixed use project is proposed for De Run in the municipality of Veldhoven, in the Eindhoven area. The Dutch Mountains will support the claim that Eindhoven is the “smartest region in the world” by housing the Brainport Experience Center where business come to present their latest innovations. Also included in the plans are a field lab for innovative construction and energy technology, and a garden for food production. + Studio Marco Vermeulen + BLOC Images via Studio Marco Vermeulen

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The Dutch Mountains is the ‘interactive work and residential environment of the future’

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