Otherworldly pavilion in Japan seems to float above the landscape

July 11, 2017 by  
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Japanese contemporary artist  Kohei Nawa  collaborated with art studio SANDWICH to create the ship-like KOHTEI art pavilion . The wooden building is nestled into the grounds of the Shinshoji Zen Museum and Gardens in Fukuyama-city, Japan as a quiet space for peaceful contemplation that seems to float above the ground. It was built using traditional Japanese techniques and materials – including bamboo nails and thousands of thin wood panels. The new pavilion is part of the Tenshinzan Shinshoji temple, which was built by the eponymous shipbuilding company as a respectful location to console the spirit of those who perish at sea. The building is clad in Japanese cypress and hovers over a rocky landscape, surrounded by greenery. Related: Ron Shenkin’s cemetery meeting space is a forest-like concrete canopy in Israel The “floating” roof design was created using the Kokera-buki technique, a traditional roofing craft that uses bamboo nails to connect multiple layers of thin wood panels as shingles. In fact, to create the KOHTEI roof, a whopping 340,000 pieces were laid by a roofing master based in Kyoto. The underlayer of the roof, the soffit, is comprised of 250,000 pieces of wooden cypress tiles. The result is a monolithic structure that – despite its abundance of sturdy wooden planks – appears to be light as a feather. Visitors to the pavilion are encouraged to walk through the building, exploring its expansive views. The flooring of the pavilion is made of large, smooth stones that represent the smoothness of the ocean. A walking path leads up to the building and weaves under the structure and out through the surrounding landscape. The path gradually leads into the interior of the structure through a small entrance of the vessel-like roof. Inside, a dark room with a water installation is barely illuminated by candlelight. According to the artist, the installation represents the immensity of the ocean and is designed to provide visitors with an opportunity to contemplate the sensibility and philosophy of Zen. + Kohei Nawa + SANDWICH Art Studio Via Archdaily Photography by Nobutada Omote

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Otherworldly pavilion in Japan seems to float above the landscape

Gorgeous Japanese-inspired reading nook breathes new life into a Frank Gehry-designed home

June 16, 2017 by  
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A slice of reading heaven has been inserted into this Frank Gehry -designed home in Los Angeles’ Sawtelle Japantown. Local studio Dan Brunn Architecture gutted and renovated the 1970s house named Hide Out with a minimalist aesthetic that pays homage to Gehry’s original design. Commissioned by a pair of art collectors, the stylish home disrupts its art gallery-like feel with large walnut surfaces that add warmth and even carve out an enviable reading nook by the garden. Formerly owned by the Janss Family, the 3,600-square-foot Hide Out house was overhauled to create an open-air area on the first floor for displaying the work of the new owner, artist James Jean. Since the Janss Family discarded some of Gehry’s signature details in the original construction of the home, Dan Brunn Architecture used the renovation as an opportunity to bring back those lost architectural details. In addition to the oversized rectangular skylight in the center of the home—the only major architectural detail from Gehry’s design that the Janss retained—the architects added dynamic shapes and a simple material palette typical of Gehry’s style in the 1970s and 1980s. The renovated Hide Out features a simple material palette of walnut , concrete, and glass and is filled with natural light from the rectangular skylight and new glazed openings. White walls and pale concrete floors are broken up by eye-catching walnut surfaces, such as the handcrafted and beautifully sculptural walnut staircase at the heart of the home. The open-plan layout is decorated with minimal furnishings to keep focus on the art. Related: How Frank Gehry’s provocative designs go from concept to reality In reference to the home’s surroundings in the Little Osaka neighborhood, the architects drew inspiration from Japanese design for multiple aspects of the home, including furnishing. The reclaimed timber coffee table, for instance, was custom made with traditional Japanese joinery. Traditional Japanese tearooms provided inspiration for an inserted walnut volume that functions as a reading nook, meeting space, or meditation room. The room overlooks a garden planted with traditional Japanese species of bamboo, gingko, and maple. + Dan Brunn Architecture Via Dezeen Images © Brandon Shigeta

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Gorgeous Japanese-inspired reading nook breathes new life into a Frank Gehry-designed home

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

New Book and Bed hostel in Japan lets book lovers tuck in with their favorite novel

December 1, 2016 by  
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Travelers to Japan who love nothing more than curling up with a good book at bedtime, take note: the Bed & Book Hostel has opened a second location in enchanting Kyoto. The ‘accommodation bookshop,’ which first opened in Tokyo last November , allows traveling bibliophiles to cozy up with their favorite title in one of several beds hidden behind floor-to-ceiling book shelves. The hostel was conceived by Japan’s real estate website, R-STORE, which partners with local businesses to create uniquely designed spaces. Designed to be a welcoming haven for serious book worms, the minimalist reading space is aimed at creating that “blissful instant of falling asleep” while totally engrossed in a really good book. Related: Book and Bed offers a novel lodging experience for readers in Tokyo The Kyoto hostel offers two types of lodging arrangements for such sleepy heads: the “Bookshelf,” tucked in behind the book shelves, or the “Riverview,” a room with views of the adjacent Kamogawa River. Although guests will have to share a bathroom, each small bunk is equipped with book lights and WiFi connection. + Book and Bed Via Spoon & Tamago Images via Book and Bed

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California valley cabin is a dreamy weekend escape unplugged from the grid

December 1, 2016 by  
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When the Baird family sought a weekend escape from the city, they asked Malcolm Davis Architecture to design a second home that would immerse them in a remote and sunny valley of Sonoma County, California. The San Francisco-based architects, who also designed the Bairds’ home in Berkeley, delivered a stunning off-grid cabin that focuses on the outdoors. The solar-powered retreat, named Camp Baird, is a modern interpretation of the traditional dogtrot home and is naturally cooled with no need for air conditioning. Set within 165 wooded acres west of Healdsburg, Camp Baird offers indoor and outdoor living within two structures—a prefabricated car-and-barn-equipment metal shed and a main custom cabin—placed in an L-shaped formation. The buildings are clad in Corten metal to minimize fire threat and topped with galvanized metal roofs that reduce heat build up. Full-height glazing opens the home to the south where the living footprint is extended to an expansive ipe wood porch and an 82-foot-long solar-heated lap pool. The south-facing backyard also features a concrete outdoor fireplace for grilling and cooking, a partially screened outdoor shower, and a variety of recreational features including a treehouse, rope swing, and archery area. Related: Rugged eco-friendly cabins offer off-grid lodging in Norway’s wilderness The off-grid and energy-efficient Camp Baird houses three rooms that can be fully heated by Rais wood stoves. Heavy insulation keeps the interior cool on hot summer days. Landscape architect Cary Bush of Merge Studio designed the landscaping made up of drought-resistant native plantings. The rooms are set on a concrete slab floor and are divided into two halves by a breezeway that allows for cross ventilation. + Malcolm Davis Architecture Via Dwell Images © Joe Fletcher

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California valley cabin is a dreamy weekend escape unplugged from the grid

Kengo Kuma unveils spiraling new timber-clad library design for Sydney

March 16, 2016 by  
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How two amazing teenage girls convinced Bali to ban plastic bags

March 16, 2016 by  
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Two teenage sisters have taken a stand against pollution in Bali – and they’ve convinced the government to ban plastic bags by the year 2018. The island suffers from a crushing plastic pollution problem, so Isabel and Melati Wijsen decided to take action and start Bye Bye Plastic Bags to mobilize other kids and adults to work toward a cleaner Bali. To achieve the goal, the girls have organized beach clean-ups, put on a fashion show, given a TED talk, gone on a hunger strike, and met with the UN Secretary General. Read the rest of How two amazing teenage girls convinced Bali to ban plastic bags

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Bold campus expansion in Japan features two wildly juxtaposed new structures

March 3, 2016 by  
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Solar Impulse 2 is ready to soar with the sun again

March 3, 2016 by  
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Solar Impulse 2 , the solar-powered plane piloted by André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, is ready to continue its revolutionary voyage around the world. After the craft was grounded in Hawaii last July due to overheated batteries, it was repaired and upgraded, and a recent initial test flight proved successful. Read the rest of Solar Impulse 2 is ready to soar with the sun again

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