Algae Lamps are a work of art and natural shade in one

September 19, 2019 by  
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Algae is one of the newest materials to hit the market as a multi-purpose fiber. While it has been hauled out of the ocean, cultivated, dried and processed into myriad products, it typically loses some of its allure in the process — until now. Having spent years figuring out a way to use algae so that it maintains its natural essence, even when molded into a final product, algae has now taken form in the shape of a lamp. Algae Lamps are a product of this effort with lamp shades that are contoured for unique outcomes in shape and style. Each shade is different due to the flexibility of the algae — a quality that took years to master. With a goal in mind, the challenge was finding a way to change the color of the green algae without breaking down the composition of the plant. Additionally, the end product had to be malleable rather than rigid or brittle. Through the course of many trials, a workable formula finally netted the desired result. Related: This biodegradable T-shirt is made from trees and algae Nea Studio, a name that gives the nod to its founder Nina Edwards Anker, began in 2006 with a focus on sustainable design and has maintained that target throughout a host of projects through the years. The Algae Lamp is no exception. Sourcing algae as a natural product replaces the need for petroleum based products like plastic.  More than a sustainable lamp shade option, the Algae Lamp is a work of art, flowing and eye-catching with functionality as a bonus.  Each shade is morphed into a cylinder-like shape to both capture and direct the light within. The internal glow of the bulb creates a warm and calming ambiance in the space. The flared and rippled outer edges mirror the movement of algae in its natural habitat with each shade having its own individual design . A variety of shades grouped together create a chandelier that illuminates a room through the filter of the translucent Algae Shades. With the customizable design, the shades can be used as a single lamp or sconce and the material is adaptable for all types of bases, such as brass or wood. + Nea Studio Images via Nea Studio

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Algae Lamps are a work of art and natural shade in one

Zaha Hadid Architects undulating riverside promenade doubles as a flood barrier in Hamburg

August 22, 2019 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects has raised both the cultural cachet and the storm surge barriers in the German city of Hamburg with their recently completed upgrade to the Elbe River promenade and flood barrier at Niederhafen. Designed with an undulating shape that mimics the ebb and flow of tides, the revamped promenade reconnects the river to the surrounding urban fabric and boosts the popular riverside walkway appeal with a modern redesign large enough to accommodate a wide variety of groups, from pedestrians and joggers to street performers and food vendors.  Built in the 1960s, the Elbe River flood barrier was created following a devastating series of storm surge floods in 1962 that claimed 315 lives and destroyed the homes of 60,000 residents. In 2006, when the city of Hamburg discovered that the Niederhafen’s existing flood barrier was in need of significant reinforcement and should be raised to protect against threats of flooding, the government hosted a competition and selected Zaha Hadid Architects to lead the redesign. Nearly a decade after the competition, the architecture firm has now completed all stages of construction. Although the flood barrier primarily serves as a mode of defense, it has also become an iconic public space for the city, where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy the riverside walkway. A minimum width of ten meters along the promenade ensures enough space for a diversity of activities, while dedicated cycle lanes at street level run the length of the flood protection barrier. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects break ground on an eco-sensitive multimodal bridge in Taiwan Split into two sections, the river promenade features a “larger scale” zone on the west side that overlooks views of shipping activity on the river, while the east side offers a more intimate atmosphere with access down to the water’s edge. Pedestrian areas of the promenade are clad in a dark, anthracite-colored granite that pop against the light gray granite used for the staircases and amphitheaters that punctuate the walkway and frame views of the river and city. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images © Piet Niemann

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Zaha Hadid Architects undulating riverside promenade doubles as a flood barrier in Hamburg

This lake house in Chile was designed to complement the surrounding environment

July 29, 2019 by  
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The BEG House by Rudolphy + Bizama Arquitectos is located off of Lake Riñihue in the Los Ríos Region of Chile. With stunning views of the lake and the Andes Mountains to the south, the designers made sure to prioritize these vistas from each of the main spaces. Sunlight brightens the home through two large northern skylights and spreads through the use of circulation spaces. The walls to the south are made almost completely out of glass sliding doors, so the residents can either open them to enjoy the fresh air or close them while still receiving a majestic lake view. To provide even more light and ventilation, there are several interior courtyards built into the home as well. The region is known for rain, so the windows and glass doors separating the interior to the courtyards give one the feeling of being outside and enjoying the cool rain while staying comfortable and dry inside. These courtyards also allow for the merging of the property with the surrounding natural spaces for the home and the environment to work as one. Related: Contemporary A-frame home soaks up lakeside views in Mexico The dark color of the exterior of the house, constructed of pre-painted metal sheets, helps the structure blend into the environment with thoughtful pops of brightly-colored wood used as a slight contrast. The metal brings the walls and the roof together, and the slopes of the roof on the interior are built at different heights to mimic nature. The natural, organic shades of wood on the interior gives the residents even more connection to the setting while contrasting beautifully with the dark metal exterior. With the exception of the kitchen, the entire inside is unpainted to show off the light wood. The abundance of rain also nourishes the dense, rainforest shrubbery that surrounds the property, creating plenty of greenery to complement the lake views and make this home truly unique. + Rudolphy + Bizama Arquitectos Images via Rudolphy + Bizama Arquitectos

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This lake house in Chile was designed to complement the surrounding environment

7 tips for decorating a tiny home

July 8, 2019 by  
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Tiny homes mean less room for items of all kinds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add decor that fits your personality and lifestyle. Decor includes furniture but also those little touches that gel your interior design style, whether that be eclectic, zen or cultural. With a few tips in mind, you’ll be able to pull together a look while adding function and flair. Pick a theme Your tiny home doesn’t have to fall into one category of interior design, but take the time to think about what makes you happy. Do you want to be surrounded by images of waterfalls or native objects from your travels? Is it more important to have a vase of flowers, a jar of paint brushes or a fruit bowl? The easiest way to funnel down the myriad decor options you face is to choose a theme of sorts. Select certain colors, fabrics or styles that appeal to that theme, at least in a general way. If you’re aiming for a beach-y feel, incorporate shells, sand and the natural tans and blues of the coastline. If southwestern appeal is your thing, opt for cacti, rock art and tribal prints. For a retro vibe, add in some old records, classic small appliances and a vinyl cover for the sofa. Related: Is a tiny home right for you? Think multipurpose With exceedingly limited space, every item in a tiny home should serve dual functions — especially those related to decor . There are endless ways to achieve this goal, so aim to source decor items that serve multiple functions. For example, that adorable small trunk you just have to have for the bookcase can hold candles, office supplies, paperwork, medicine or any number of other needed household items. Any bench, bed or table should allow for storage, too, so while it’s functional on its own as furniture, it also doubles as a storage cabinet. Be selective If you’ve begun your tiny living lifestyle, you’ve already whittled down the kitchen accessories, clothing options and bathroom clutter. The same process applies to decor. Be selective so that each item you choose has the impact you want without adding clutter. Don’t keep any items out of guilt, say those you feel obligated to keep because it was a family heirloom or a gift. Items kept out of guilt will not bring joy to your space. Let it go, and replace it with an item that brings positive feelings of contentment, satisfaction or inspiration. Choose versatile pieces With minimalism and tiny living becoming increasingly more popular, modern designs aim to offer two or more products in one. Look for wall art or tapestries that have a different design on each side. This offers an easy way to change your decor by simply flipping it over. For the kitchen, tile art in a frame can be swapped out with different tiles to freshen the look or welcome a new season. You can even use this idea at the front door with rubber mats that allow you to switch out the carpet in the center to accommodate different holidays without replacing the mat altogether. Go big In a small space, one large item creates a cleaner look than several smaller items grouped together. Plus, that larger ottoman on the floor or stainless steel canister on the counter can provide a storage option that small items cannot. This is an idea that also allows you to display larger items that you may not have cupboard space for, such as a colorful water pitcher or an appealing serving platter on a stand. Embrace the light Tiny spaces can mean less windows and natural light . Take advantage of the windows you do have by making sure the light isn’t blocked out by furniture or bulky window coverings. Counterbalance the dark with light colors throughout your decor theme. From sand to white walls to soft textiles, create a foundation of neutral colors for a brightening effect on the entire space. You can fulfill your desire for color with a sprinkle here and there throughout the home. Your color splashes will have a bigger impact against a muted background than in a bold space. While we’re on the topic of light, make sure to add plenty of lighting options to your decor, too. LED strip lighting on stairs and ladders adds a cozy touch and a safety measure. Task lighting in the kitchen and bathroom will aid in your daily activities, and efficient overhead lighting will provide a general glow to the home. Use wall space While attempting to find adequate storage in your tiny space, remember the walls go all the way to the ceiling. Use that vertical space to your advantage, but make sure you keep it from becoming overly cluttered. Attach hooks for your more attractive shopping bags, umbrellas, canes and coats. Add shelving and line it with attractive baskets that discreetly hide hats, gloves and scarves. Also use wall space to mount hanging plants so that you don’t have to rely on the limited surfaces available in the living area. Save the kitchen counter and tables for daily activities instead of decor. Mount canning jars filled with herbs to the wall, and provide a hanger for a hot pad and kitchen towel. Tiny living doesn’t have to equal tiny decor. In fact, streamlining your selections with a focus on the overall design can easily provide a homier feel than a large house crammed with clutter. Images via B&C Productions , Tiny Home Builders , Perch & Nest , Modern Tiny Living , A Tiny House Resort , Mint Tiny Homes , Borealis Tiny Homes and Tiny Heirloom

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This new community in Tampa is set to be the worlds healthiest neighborhood

June 28, 2019 by  
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A Tampa neighborhood design just became the first in the world to earn a WELL Design & Operations designation from the Delos International WELL Building Institute, a global community standard for wellness. You may have heard of the Delos company from advocates such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Bill Clinton, or you may have heard about it for creating the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a global movement designed to transform communities and buildings in ways that promote health and wellness. The IWBI WELL Community Standard studies how well a community’s public spaces positively impact individuals in their general well-being, sustainability and health. Under those standards, the WELL Design & Operations (“D&O”) certification recognizes implemented design and policy strategies aimed to improve the lives of local residents through the concepts of: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Sound, Mind, Temperature, Materials and Community. Related: LEED Gold eco hotel in the Wine Country was built using reclaimed wood The only neighborhood design to earn a D&O title so far? Water Street Tampa , an aptly-named $3 billion, 53-acre waterfront community project being brought to life entirely with wellness in mind by Strategic Property Partners, Elkus Manfredi Architects and designer Reed Hilderbrand. The vision, which will create 13 acres of parks and public spaces and one million square feet of new retail, cultural, educational and entertainment spaces, is being built from the ground up to promote healthy living. Some of the ways Water Street will achieve these wellness standards is by building sidewalks with a width of 14 to 45 feet (exceeding the city of Tampa’s requirements), creating outdoor community activity programs such as yoga, offering free filtered water bottle filling stations, reducing light pollution through required light dimming times in designated public spaces, offering recycling in every building and implementing tree canopies and light-colored pavement to reduce urban heat. Additionally, Water Street will also have free public WIFI, app-based parking, a community wellness center, consistent farmers markets and a public kitchen with regularly scheduled chef-led classes in healthy cooking techniques. “Phase One” of the project is scheduled to be completed between 2020 and 2021 and will include over one million square feet of new office space, 300,000 square feet of new retail space (including a grocery store and a gym) and 1,300 new residential units that promise to provide a variety of price points and styles. + International WELL Building Institute Images via WELL

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This new community in Tampa is set to be the worlds healthiest neighborhood

Cool ways to skip the air conditioning and still keep your home chill

June 17, 2019 by  
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Summer is right around the corner, and the rising temperatures in many areas have already arrived. As the searing summer months approach and drag on, finding ways to keep your house cool will make you more comfortable. Chilling out without the use of energy-thirsty air conditioning will not only save you money but is good for the planet, too. For thousands of years, humans found ways to stay cool, even in the hottest climates, without the use of AC. Take a card from that playbook to keep your home comfortable without relying on energy-intensive resources by incorporating the ideas below. Related: A modern home in India stays naturally cool without AC Open the windows Creating a cross-breeze is one of the most effective ways to cool a home. Many resorts and vacation homes in tropical areas rely on this technique instead of installing AC for a good reason — it works. The key to effective breeze cooling is figuring out which direction the wind blows. In some areas, it’s fairly consistent, commonly coming from the same direction during the same times each day (most often in the afternoon). Open up windows during that “window” of breeze to encourage the flow through your home. Also take advantage of cooler nighttime and early morning temperatures. Leave screened windows open to allow the cool air to come inside. Then, trap it by shutting windows on each side of the house as the sun hits it, i.e. the east side in the morning and the west side in the afternoon. Rely on the blinds When your windows are closed, also close off heat absorption by closing the blinds. For windows that are in direct sunlight for a good portion of the day, consider installing shutters or rolling blinds on the outside of the window as well. If you don’t want to block out the light entirely, install window film that is made to insulate against heat while letting light into the room. Blackout the light The most effective way to keep the sun from injecting blistering heat into a room is to keep it dark. Completely close off rooms when they are not being used. If you don’t mind being left in the dark, install blackout curtains, which effectively block the heat from entering the room through the window. Become a fan of fans Both ceiling fans and box fans are effective in cooling a space without cranking up the energy bill. For ceiling fans, make sure they are rotating in a counterclockwise direction during the warm months. Most ceiling fans have a switch near the top that changes the direction in which the blades rotate. This is so that the fan pushes cooler air downward during the summer. Reverse the blades during the winter, which pulls cool air up toward the ceiling to keep the living space warmer. Box and other fans help keep the air flowing throughout the space for a cooling effect. To create cooler air, place a container of ice directly in front of the fan. The air from the fan will bounce off the ice and direct the cool air across the room. Insulate against the heat With all of this talk about the importance of air flow, it seems counter-intuitive to mention insulation . However, keeping hot air from entering your space prevents from having to then cool it. Just like with cold air during the winter, evaluate any place that hot air may seep in. Close the damper in your fireplace. Feel around your doors and windows for airflow, and install weatherstripping as needed. Grab a package of insulation foam for your light switches and outlets. Related: 7 eco-friendly insulation alternatives for a green home Turn off appliances Even during the sizzling days of summer, you need to eat and do laundry , but appliances in the home generate a lot of heat and compromise your success in the battle against a hot house. Plan ahead to avoid turning on appliances as much as possible. Dust off that slow cooker book and cook dinner without turning on the stove. Also enjoy some summer grilling that takes the hot cooking outdoors. Better yet, on very hot days, go with a cold sandwich or salad and avoid cooking altogether. You can also keep the clothes dryer from heating up your space by hanging clothes to dry or only running it at night after the temperature drops. Even the dishwasher sends out heat, so wash dishes by hand and allow them to air dry in the warm space, or run the dishwasher without the final dry cycle that produces heat. Give your refrigerator a bit of a break. It works hard during hot weather, so keep up maintenance by cleaning the vent in the front and the coils in the back. Keep food away from the edges inside the fridge, so air can flow freely. Get shade from plants Keeping the home cool on the inside starts on the outside. Your landscape design can have a huge impact on the temperature inside your house. Plan ahead by placing trees where they will block intense sun rays during the height of the season. Put shrubs and vines on south- and west-facing walls to help insulate against the heat. Stop unwanted heat gain with awnings For a long-term, albeit less natural, approach, build permanent awnings or invest in retractable awnings over corridors, decks and windows. This will also make enjoying the outdoors on super hot days a little easier! Images via Shutterstock

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Cool ways to skip the air conditioning and still keep your home chill

A firefighter’s stunning skoolie features a bespoke interior design

June 17, 2019 by  
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A man with big dreams now has a big skoolie to bring them to fruition. This beautiful bus conversion by Paved to Pines saw a 38′ Thomas Built transformed into The Doghouse, a spectacular tiny home on wheels for Toronto firefighter and entrepreneur Christian and his beloved pup. When Christian was looking for a tiny home on wheels that would offer him and his furry sidekick flexibility to travel as well as work, he tasked the experienced team from Paved to Pines with the job, and the results are simply spectacular. Related: Slide down a fire pole in this classic fire truck converted into a quirky hotel The Doghouse is a stunning skoolie with a sophisticated, light-filled living space. Starting with the exterior, the old bus was painted, of course, in a fire truck red in homage to Christian’s job as a firefighter. Although the red and white exterior is quite eye-catching, it is the interior design that is truly on fire. The living area is bright and airy, enhanced by plenty of natural light. White walls line the space, contrasting nicely with the stained pine tongue and groove ceiling. This cozy, functional space is complete with custom furnishings . The lounge area is made up of a built-in, L-shaped sofa that faces a gorgeous faux brick feature wall. A mounted flatscreen television is hooked up to the home’s surround sound system, making it the place to settle down and watch movies. With ample storage space, the kitchen boasts a beautiful butcher block counter, a full sink, an oven and a fridge. Adjacent to this area is a comfy dining or working area with a storage bench and an Acacia wood table and bar top. Beyond the kitchen, a narrow wooden door leads to a compact bathroom with a full-sized shower and RV toilet. Farther back is the light-filled master bedroom, which is big enough for a queen-sized bed. + Paved to Pines Via Tiny House Talk Images via Paved to Pines

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A firefighter’s stunning skoolie features a bespoke interior design

Desmond Tutu Clinic welcomes HIV patients with a striking sawtooth roof

June 12, 2019 by  
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In the Cape Town township of Masiphumelele, approximately 30 percent of the residents are infected with HIV. To help the low-income community, South African architectural practice theMAAK partnered with the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) to build a striking new public building to serve the area. Topped with a sawtooth roof, the humanitarian structure sports a dynamic facade that puts forth a confident and welcoming face for the DTHF. Located next to Masiphumelele High School, the recently completed Desmond Tutu Clinic spans nearly 5,400 square feet and is one of several clinics that the DTHF has built in communities around South Africa. The clinic not only serves as a new home for the Foundation’s industry-leading medical work, but also takes the social needs of the area into consideration by welcoming visitors with a new social forecourt. Related: Incredible luxury tree house is hidden away in a Cape Town forest “Balancing ‘striking and welcoming’, ‘bold and subtle’, the sawtoothed building appropriately addresses both the ambition and prestige of the internationally acclaimed research of DTHF as well as the sensitive human nature of their work,” the architects said. “It is on arrival that the new building shows its proudest face. From this angle, the north-facing aluminium facade fins optically compound to form a confident new image for DTHF. Seeing this strong formal presence as you approach the scheme, clearly marks a positive and impressive move forward for the Foundation and their growing footprint in developing communities around South Africa. Moving across the site, and changing one’s angle of view, the dynamic facade thins to subtly reveal the inner workings of the facility.” The zigzagging outline of the sawtooth roof is most visible on the north and south facades; the northern facade was made more prominent to mark the entrance. The roof’s geometry calls attention to the public building and lets in southern light into offices on the upper floor, while overhangs help shield the light-sensitive lab spaces on the ground floor. + theMAAK Photography by theMAAK and Anton Scholtz

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Solar-powered prefab cabins keep naturally cool in Portugal

June 11, 2019 by  
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When a client approached Lisbon-based architectural practice Studio 3A for a small residential project in the seaside village of Comporta, the architects knew that a major challenge would be keeping the house naturally cool during the oppressively hot summers. In keeping with their commitment to sustainable architecture, the architects used passive solar strategies and efficient insulation to mitigate solar heat gain. The firm also teamed up with design studio Mima Housing to prefabricate the buildings, named Cabanas in Comporta, which were topped with solar panels and sheathed in charred timber for a durable and maintenance-free finish. The architecture of Cabanas in Comporta follows a modular design of three types: the “intimate module” that houses the bedroom and bathroom; the “social module” for the living spaces with room for an outdoor pool; and the “service module” that also serves as storage for items such as the client’s car collection. Together with Mima Housing, Studio 3A prefabricated the modular buildings with oriented strand board sandwich panels and wooden joints. The facades are clad in timber charred black using the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban. Related: The elegant MIMA Light prefab home ‘floats’ on thin air “As local connoisseurs, we based our construction method on the traditional fishermen huts/cabanas as an inspiration for our project,” explain the architects. These huts have been built in this area for years and are very functional and quick to build which were another important point of our brief. With this construction type we had a couple of challenges to face which was the hot-summer Mediterranean climate and the mosquitos which are well known to bug you in the area. We implemented various sustainable strategies to reduce the heat sensation such as the calculated overhangs in front of the main windows, low emissivity window panes and a tensioned solar shading system in between the cabana modules.” Heat gain is further controlled with a double blind system installed in both the interior and exterior. The external blind also zips down to protect the home from mosquito invasions. Strategic placement of the buildings optimizes solar orientation and access to cooling breezes. Dark cement flooring is used to take advantage of thermal mass, while photovoltaic panels and heat pumps help heat the buildings in winter. + Studio 3A Images by Nelson Garrido

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Solar-powered prefab cabins keep naturally cool in Portugal

A 1923 building in Quebec is now a light-filled public market complete with aquaponics systems

June 7, 2019 by  
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Discerning foodies in Quebec will soon have a beautiful new market to buy their locally grown fare. Local architectural firms Bisson Associés and Atelier Pierre Thibault are at the final stages of converting the Pavillon du Commerce, which dates back to 1923, into the light-filled Grand Marché, a public market that features aquaponics systems. As one of Quebec’s most beloved buildings, the architects were determined to retain as many original features of the nearly century-old Pavillon du Commerce as possible while turning it into a modern public market . The renovation managed to conserve the building’s beautiful wooden ceilings and brick walls as well as its original columns and pediments. Related: MVRDV-designed market in Taiwan will grow food on a massive green roof Although the new market, which boasts a whopping 96,875 square feet, retains a lot of the building’s original features, the architectural team managed to implement a number of modern materials into the new space. For instance, the interior facades of the building as well as the individual stalls were all constructed using CLT panels . The market will also be equipped with an on-site food waste management system that collects organic matter to be sent to the city’s biomethanation plant. According to the architects, the new market was designed to be a city landmark and general meeting place. The stalls are carefully placed in a village-like layout meant to foster socialization. The interior space is bathed in natural light thanks to large skylights and fully-opening windows on the south-facing facade, and it also features a wooden, bleacher-like staircase where people can sit and chat. In addition to selling local fare, the market will include a family space for workshops, a cooking school, an urban gardening education center and a technology showcase that highlights agro-food innovation. To focus on sustainable food growth, the market is working with the Institute on Nutrition and Functional Foods to install an aquaponics system and a mycelium incubator in the market. Not only will this space be used to sustainably grow food, but it will also be designed as a training and research center for the general public. + Bisson Associés + Atelier Pierre Thibault Photography by Maxime Brouillet via v2com

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A 1923 building in Quebec is now a light-filled public market complete with aquaponics systems

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