This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne

July 17, 2018 by  
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What if renewable energy infrastructure could be both functional and beautiful? Exploring that notion is Italian architectural practice Antonio Maccà, who designed ‘Sun Ray,’ a massive solar collector that could generate enough energy to power 220 Melbourne homes — with approximately 1,100 MWh of electricity produced annually. Shortlisted for this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative Melbourne design competition, the conceptual design was conceived as a symbol for the future of sustainable energy that also doubles as public artwork. Envisioned for the City of Port Phillip in Melbourne , Sun Ray consists of a series of flat mirrors — each with a single-axis tracking system — laid out in a round shape with a diameter of 279 feet and elevated atop slender steel columns. To capture the sun’s energy, Antonio Maccà tapped into linear Fresnel reflector technology, in which mirrors are used to focus sunlight onto a solar receiver. A power block tucked underground transforms the solar energy into electricity before feeding it into the city power grid. “Sun Ray is a new symbol of renewable energy, lighting the way to the State of Victoria’s zero- greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target,” explained Antonio Maccà in his project statement. “It is also a cultural attractor for Melbourne, an investigation of light as a physical and symbolic source of illumination for life. It is a place for reflection, relaxation, learning and play — and it is a linear Fresnel reflector solar power plant that provides heat and electricity for hundreds of homes in St Kilda.” Related: This gigantic solar hourglass could power 1,000 Danish homes Residents and visitors can interact with the Sun Ray by using it as a shade canopy. The 50 primary mirror lines cast shade over the public park space, while the mirrors create a constantly changing play of light and shadow as they turn to track the sun. The winning design of the 2018 Land Art Generator Initiative Melbourne will be announced on October 11. + Land Art Generator Initiative Renderings by Antonio Maccà

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This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne

Gigantic murals of local flora sprout on buildings around the world

February 13, 2018 by  
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These larger-than-life plant murals bring buildings back to nature – and they’re popping up all over the world. Muralist Mona Caron creates these intricate artworks by selecting plants native to each city and teaming up with local and international organizations to bring them to life, while also bringing a variety of social and environmental causes to public attention. The San Francisco -based artist selects plants that she finds in each city where she paints and uses them as symbolic references to local history and social issues. Her work both celebrates nature and examines current issues. She describes her Weeds series as a tribute to the resilience of all those beings who no one made room for, were not part of the plan, and yet keep coming back, pushing through and rising up. Related: Artists are turning the U.S.-Mexico border fence into the world’s longest peace-themed mural “Weeds break through even the hardest cement, the most seemingly invincible constraints, reconnecting earth to sky, like life to its dreams,” Caron explains. “It’s happening everywhere at the margins of things, we’re just not paying attention.” + Mona Caron Via This is Colossal

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Gigantic murals of local flora sprout on buildings around the world

Memorizing light installation is powered by visitors’ collective heartbeat

December 28, 2017 by  
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Artist Pablo González Vargas  created a massive light installation that reacts to the collective heartbeat of its viewers. Ilumina is a 37-foot tall art sculpture that invites spectators to plug into a heart monitor and meditate while they watch the tower. As the viewers’ individual heartbeats begin to merge into a “collective state of coherence,” the tower’s lights begin to shine as they rise up the structure, resulting in a vibrant majestic glow. Working under the ethos that “We are all Connected. We are the Universe,” Ilumina – which made its debut this year at Burning Man – invites the viewer to connect to themselves, each other and the universe. A series of hi-tech lounge chairs surround the immense art installation . Once seated, each participant is asked to connect the heart monitor to their earlobe as they join in the three-minute meditation exercise. Related: Entering this mind-blowing mirrored room is like walking inside a diamond Using a unique algorithm technology, the individual collective heart rhythms are then measured to find the state of coherence, at which point, the lights, and music begin to react. The deeper the state of collective coherence, the brighter Ilumina shines. + Pablo González Vargas + Ilumina Images via Ilumina

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China reveals more than 18,000 officials failed to protect the environment

December 28, 2017 by  
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Many of China’s major cities are devastated by pollution – but the nation is making efforts to clean up its skies and waterways. The past year has seen factory closures and the creation of an environmental police force in Beijing – and now a national crackdown has revealed that more than 18,000 officials either didn’t take action or didn’t perform well in their jobs to safeguard the environment since 2016. National Environmental Inspection Office deputy director Liu Changgen told reporters, “We will not let the inspection become a passing gust of wind. It needs to keep blowing all the time.” Beijing inspectors went to some of the most polluted cities in the world, according to Reuters , to discover thousands of officials had failed in their roles to care for the environment. In one example, sewage from 150,000 people in Jingdezhen was dumped straight into rivers because of a lack of treatment plants. Whole cities were blamed for air pollution spikes, and the ministry attributed issues to administrative failures. According to Liu, “The names of the officials, their jobs and their violations will be reported up the chain of command, who will decide how the officials will be punished.” Related: 40% of China’s factories shuttered in pollution crackdown Liu said the next step entails scrutinizing cases from prior inspections to “identify any higher-ranking officials for ill management.” Northern China has launched a program to transition millions of households from coal to natural gas for heating. Per a 143-page plan released in August, the Ministry of Environmental Protection hopes to slash average concentrations of PM 2.5 particles by more than 15 percent in 28 cities during winter in the smog-afflicted provinces of Shandong, Henan, Shanxi, and Hebei, where Beijing is located. They also aim to reduce average PM 2.5 in Beijing to under 60 micrograms per cubic meter. China’s official air quality standard is 35 micrograms – but the World Health Organization recommends levels shouldn’t be greater than 10 micrograms. Via Reuters Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Worlds first solar panel mural unveiled in San Antonio

November 17, 2017 by  
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In a world where solar farms are shaped like giant pandas, there’s certainly room for some solar butterflies. Determined to beautify our cities by converting solar panels into creative works of public art , the Seattle-based Land Art Generator Initiative just unveiled the world’s first solar mural installation, called La Monarca, by San Antonio artist Cruz Ortiz. La Mariposa solar mural – recently unveiled at the San Antonio Arts Festival, Luminaria – was created through advanced PV Film technology that lets light easily pass through the printed film that adheres to the panels. The beautiful mural is just the first step in the Land Art Generator’s plan to combine sustainable energy infrastructures with public art. Working with local artists, architects, landscape architects, engineers and scientists, the organization hopes to provide more collaborative platforms that enable cities to put a new artsy spin on their clean energy generation . Related: World’s cutest solar farm in China is shaped like a panda According to the artist, La Monarca was inspired by San Antonio’s status as the National Wildlife Federation’s first Monarch Butterfly Champion City . A fitting symbol to be put on a clean energy installation , the monarch butterfly represents the threat that wildlife faces due to global warming and climate change. After the festival, the solar art mural will be moved to its permanent home inside a pollinator garden on the EPICenter campus in San Antonio where it will be used to generate solar energy directly into the building. + Land Art Generator Initiative Images by Land Art Generator Initiative

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Worlds first solar panel mural unveiled in San Antonio

Durable canvas cloth with embedded solar cells generates 120 watts per square meter

November 17, 2017 by  
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Tents , sun shades, and canopies could generate renewable energy with Norway-based company Tarpon Solar’s solar canvas . They created flexible tarpaulins, integrated with bendy solar cells from Swedish company Midsummer . Instead of simply finding shade from the sun, with Tarpon Solar’s product people could obtain clean power from the sunlight striking a canopy or tent. Tarpon Solar laminated solar cells onto a flexible canvas to create a product with numerous potential applications – shade for a restaurant patio, a swimming pool covering, or canopies in refugee camps are just a few of the possibilities. The company says the canvas can also be included in a passive home design. The product could even open up the possibility of solar power generation in places where traditional solar panels couldn’t easily be deployed, according to Tarpon Solar’s website. Related: New solar canopy provides both shade and clean energy Tarpon Solar utilized Midsummer’s solar cells in a product that recently won first place in the MTI Technology Award competition. The CIGS cells, or copper-indium-gallium-selenium, are made without cadmium, a toxic material Midsummer says is often used in CIGS or thin film solar cells. They listed the benefits of CIGS cells as having high efficiency, low weight, durability, and flexibility. The solar cells generate around 120 watts per square meter. Tarpon Solar technical manager Marius Borg-Heggedal said in a statement each canvas is custom made, so the type of fiber and amount of fabric varies among products. The company’s website says the laminated cloth is that utilized in the sailing industry. Borg-Heggedal said solar cells are integrated during production and “become part of the material.” Midsummer described the canvases as very light, saying in a statement with the solar cells integrated “the weight becomes almost the same as with conventional PVC material and the canvas is also stronger and more durable.” + Tarpon Solar + Midsummer Images courtesy of Tarpon Solar and Midsummer

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Durable canvas cloth with embedded solar cells generates 120 watts per square meter

Provocative street art installation shows baby peering over US-Mexico border wall

September 18, 2017 by  
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Renowned street artist JR has installed a provocative new piece on the US-Mexico border. Best-known for his artistic commentary on social issues, JR reportedly designed a poster of a large baby peering over the border fence from the Mexican side. MyModernMet reported that the piece was installed in response to Donald Trump’s border wall rhetoric, as well as his efforts to rescind the DACA program that protects children of undocumented immigrants from being deported. The installation, entitled Kikito, is visible from the American side. Marc Azoulay, who manages JR’s New York Studio, said Kikito is the nickname of a 1-year-old Mexican boy who resides in Tecate, Mexico, where the installation is located. The activist and his team constructed an enormous wooden frame to support the gigantic poster. The project organized with renowned curator Pedro Alonzo  (who has worked with  Os Gemeos ,  Banksy , and  Swoon ) is still a work in progress. Work in progress on the Mexican side of the US/MEXICO border A post shared by JR (@jr) on Sep 6, 2017 at 1:33pm PDT Related: Street artist uses reverse graffiti to transform dirty cars into animal art As MyModernMet reports, JR’s work always centers on faces. His goal is to prove that if we look at one another without prejudice, the world would be a much different and better place. For his work on the separation wall between Israel and Palestine , for instance, the street artist pasted Palestinian portraits on the Israeli side and Israeli portraits on the Palestinian side. When all was done, people couldn’t distinguish one from the other. This newest installation is additional evidence that JR isn’t afraid to tackle difficult topics. JR told MyModernMet : “I think there is no such thing as art trying to change the world. But being an artist and creating art in tons of different contexts, no matter what the mood is and sometimes against the codes that stand around you, is a way of breaking society and changing the world—just by trying.” It was immensely gratifying to work on this project on the US/Mexico border with @JR and his amazing team. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. A post shared by Pedro Alonzo (@trucatriche) on Sep 6, 2017 at 11:09pm PDT ART PROJECT at the US/MEXICAN border – live now A post shared by JR (@jr) on Sep 5, 2017 at 10:46am PDT + JR Via MyModernMet Images via JR

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Explosion of color takes over an abandoned Puerto Rican factory

April 26, 2017 by  
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An artist’s brilliance breathes new life into a desolate tobacco factory in Caguas, Puerto Rico . Bright sprays and colorful drips have seemingly exploded all over the factory’s formerly lifeless walls in local artist Sofia Maldonado’s eye-popping intervention, Kalaña. Created as part of Cromática: Caguas a Color , the community engagement piece transformed the building into a piece of art and new home to educational workshops, presentations, and other artistic events. Puerto Rican artist Sofia Maldonado and her team of helpers used all parts of the factory interior as canvas. Florescent blues to neon pink and yellows are splashed across the concrete walls punctuated by a few scribbled tags while old graffiti peeks out from behind the latex paint. “My work is mainly inspired by colors and also the Caribbean way of living, and experiencing light and color,” said Maldonado. “The idea of the project is to inspire and open the door to different projects that reuse abandoned spaces. Kalaña is my interpretation of public art . It’s intended for the public to explore to get inside an abandoned building and to experience an explosion of color. But it is also a piece that is activated by different social engagements. That’s one of my main goals: how can I integrate the community in my artwork.” Related: Javier de Riba graffitis gorgeous geometric patterns onto the floors of abandoned buildings Kalaña injects a welcoming energy to the space and the bright colors help set the tone for positive community collaboration. Maldonado was one of seven artists to explore the intersection between art, community, and abandoned architecture in Cromática: Caguas a Color. The piece was completed in 2015. + Sofia Maldonado Via Popup City Images via Sofia Maldonado

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Ai Weiwei to build 100 fences in NYC to shed light on immigration issues

March 28, 2017 by  
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As debates over immigration policy and the refugee crisis continue to rage across the United States, Ai Weiwei , the Beijing-born provocateur, has revealed his plans to raise more than 100 wire security fences across New York City. On view from October 12 through February 11, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”  will be a commentary on the barriers, both psychic and physical, that divide us as a people. The multi-site installation, which is expected to span locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, will be one of Ai’s largest public art projects to date. Indeed it’s the most ambitious to be commissioned by the Public Art Fund , which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. “Ai Weiwei transforms an ordinary architectural element into a series of striking installations,” said Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund. “’Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ invites us to consider the role of the fence in a modern society as well as our own relationship to the object in question: Does this fence serve a purpose? Does it feel imposed or like it belongs? What does it separate me from? What side of the fence am I on? Does it protect me, or do I feel constrained?” Ai’s exhibition takes its name from “Mending Wall,” a poem by Robert Frost about a stone wall that separates the narrator’s property from his neighbor’s. The pieces will appear to grow out of the urban landscape in unexpected contexts, Baume said, including on rooftops, the spaces between buildings, and on bus shelters. Related: Wool art installation repurposed into blankets for Syrian refugees For Ai, who lived in New York for a time, the political is personal. “I was an immigrant in New York in the 1980s for 10 years and the issue with the migration crisis has been a longtime focus of my practice,” Ai said. “The fence has always been a tool in the vocabulary of political landscaping and evokes associations with words like ‘border,’ ‘security,’ and ‘neighbor,’ which are connected to the current global political environment. But what’s important to remember is that while barriers have been used to divide us, as humans we are all the same. Some are more privileged than others, but with that privilege comes a responsibility to do more.” + Ai Weiwei + Public Art Fund Via the New York Times

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Ai Weiwei to build 100 fences in NYC to shed light on immigration issues

Tiny ice pods provide shelter for cold weather adventurers

February 10, 2017 by  
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Czech architecture firm Mjölk Architekti has built a series of tiny ice pods, the design of which took first place in the Warming Huts Competition five years ago, in their home town of Liberec. The “Polar Hens” sit adjacent to the Liberec dam so that local hikers and ice skaters can take a break in the  icy retreats . The igloo pods are made out of a  very thick ice shell  of compressed frozen river water. To construct the pods, a large inflatable balloon is equipped with a sprinkler connected to a compressor and generator. A water pump sprays icy water over the air-filled silicone balloon, creating a thick wall of ice that glows with a light blue tint . When the walls are thick enough, the inflatable base is removed, leaving a nicely formed igloo in its place. Although the pods look small from the outside, the smooth interior is quite spacious, and provides a nice haven for cold weather adventurers. Related: Ice Sculptures Embedded with Seeds Repopulate Riverbeds as they Melt The Polar Hen design won the Warming Huts Competition in 2012 . The annual event features architecture firms from all over the world showcasing their unique cold-weather shelter designs along the Red River Mutual Trail in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The winning designs are chosen by a “blind” jury who judge the entries based on creativity in terms of materials, shelter characteristics , assembly and form, along with integration with the landscape. + Mjölk Architekti Via Archdaily Images via Mjölk Architekti

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