Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dear God,

Dear-god.net is a new blog site that I recently discovered. It gives people the chance to publicly write personal letters to God. This site is similar to PostSecret. Visitors have the chance and thrill of peering into the private lives of strangers. Messages to God can be posted under the following categories: belief, confessions, death, dreams, faith, family, friendship, hope, humor, joy, love, money, sex, work, stress, gratitude, & health.
This article from TheCoolHunter is a good follow-up from my Alcoholic Architecture post last week. Here, instead of drinkable architecture, we now have drinkable art. Artist Hannes Broecker created an interactive art installation of framed colored liquid for visitors. By the end of the night the liquids had all been drained and consumed.

Acqua Veritas

I had a bottle of SEI water the other day. It is bottled from the same source as my tap. Today, bottled water is a billion dollar industry, and major contributor to plastic bottle waste. The city of Venice has begun to rebrand its tap water, calling it Acqua Veritas, in order to compete with bottled water companies. Check out the full article on BldgBlog

Can the Spam

Digital communication isn’t always green. This report on the Economist describes the environmental impact of spam email and messages on the internet. In 2008, 62 trillion unsolicited e-mails were delivered, using 33 terawatt hours of electricity. That’s the same amount of energy that 3.1 million cars use in a year.

Best Cities for Millenials

BusinessWeek listed the top cities for Millenials to survive during our current Recession. Big cities top the list because they provide a “thick” job market. But also key are cities with a “thick” social meeting market. Networking is key for Gen Y’s to finding jobs. #1 City – Boulder, Colorado


In July Amsterdam’s CityCargo is set to go live! All goods for inner-city stores will now be transported via a specially equipped tram. Some addition questions presented on this Pantopicon post are: What if these trams would also carry waste out of town? Or filter/clean city air while running?

10 Creative Rubik's Cubes

This article from Core77 showcases 10 rubix cube spin-offs. These spin-off show the power of a good idea/product. For every good object/idea created, more often than not, spin-offs will emerge. They will try to ride on the tail of success of the original, try to top it, and improve upon it. Usually, they come across as gimmicks.

Friday, June 12, 2009

USB subculture

Connect. Universal plug. The USB subculture project by dialog05 takes everyday objects and outfits them with USB capabilities. They are playing with the concept of making all objects able to connect digitally. Merging physical with digital! This is a reflection of how technology, Internet, digital are spreading throughout our physical world. This post was found on EclecticCow.


So, I love sharp angles and strong geometry. So when I saw the design for the Baubike, I fell in love. Only one problem, the wheels are still round! The CoolHunter blog features the Bauhaus-inspired bike created by Danish designer Michael Ubbesen Jakobsen. I love that he took it back to basics. Next, Baucar? Bauplane?

Atmospheric Intoxication

Would you like something to drink with your architecture? A new bar in London, created by Bompas & Parr called “Alcoholic Architecture” recently opened. Instead of drinking from a glass, visitors drink from the air! The bar has a Gin Room that is filled with a Gin fog! Architecture merging with food + drink… makes me hungry for more! Check out the entire BldgBlog post.

Tempting Fruit

Smart phones are here! The Economist article about Apple’s new iphone launch also describes the launch and soon-to-be launch of several other smart phones. What I like about more smart phones entering the market is that they become less expensive for me! The iphone’s price has been cut in half! Check out the new Pre from Palm.

Twitter Hype?

This article from Businessweek discusses a Harvard study on Twitter. The Harvard Business School discovered that only 10% of Twitter users generate 90% of the content. Most all other users, only use Twitter passively. The concept of active – passive ratio in media is not new. For example, Wikipedia is extremely popular and successful. 1% of Wiki users produce 90% of the content, most are passive consumers. The Harvard Twitter study was trying to prove Twitter as being hype. The truth is, Twitter is being consumed, it’s not hype!

Flooded London

This is a follow-up to my “We Will Migrate into the Sky” post (architectural solution should NYC flood). This article from Pantopicon has images of London (should it flood) created by Squint Opera. Natural disaster related architecture, art, and design seem to be all the rage!

Apple’s kick-ass App Display Wall

Apple’s display grid of 20 monitors loaded with icons for iPhone apps up at the Moscone Center. The cool part: Every time an app was purchased, it pulsated on-screen. This artwork was a great way to visually show how big the iPhone, and concept of apps has become. Apps will definitely find there way into other products in the future. Check out the post on Core77!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Vilvi, only Cool

This typographic poster for Vilvi e-zine was found on the type blog Inquietto. It is another example of a typeface which uses depth, light, and material. This rubberband or ribbon-like font flows elegantly from letter to letter. I’ve become very interested in fonts that use space as a main characteristic.

Tara Donovan – From Paper Cups to Genius

What makes Tara Donovan’s artwork so amazing is her ability to take everyday objects and transform them into something new, fresh, and interesting. This 38-year old NY artist has made her fame by multiplying everyday objects to create unusual interior terrains. Tara’s work is relatively inexpensive to produce because she uses inexpensive, usually donated, everyday object. However, she recently received a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ grant. It will be exciting to see what she is able to produce in the next 5 years. Check out her work on Coolhunter.


This project by Marina Nicollier of Rice University on BldgBlog explores the possibility of architecture being used to heal – architecture as medicine. Humans are affected by their environments and surrounding in subtle ways. Experiments in spatial and environmental healing may be used in the future as an alternative or in conjunction with other forms of medicine. Could architecture become addicting like prescription drugs?

Touching the Future

This article from the Economist details the history of touch screens (all the way back the 1950s) and describes their possibilities for the future. The most interesting aspect of touch screens is the need (or maybe natural evolution) for gestures. “Gestures” are the actions of the hand or input device on the screen, which create a certain action. How great would it be to create this standard touch language? … and facing the task of making distinct motion gestures for the device to understand, but simple enough for the user to learn. Touch screens are helping the computer become tactile, 3-dimensional and taking on more physical qualities than ever before.

How Companies Use Twitter

This article is fascinating. I haven’t really understood the benefits of Twitter until this BusinessWeek article.  Rachael King makes several benefits of companies using Twitter. #1. Getting to know co-workers. #2. Connecting with customers on a more casual, approachable level. #3. Discover problems, find solutions.// There is a Big Brother factor when companies eaves drop on Twitter, but this is a tool for them to learn honest opinions and problems about the company, and then device solutions.

Secondary Forests

What is really happening? An article from the International Herald Tribune found on Pantopicon exposes an interesting countertrend, which may shift our perspective on rainforest destruction. Farmers in Latin America, Asia, and other tropic locations have been moving to cities in recent years. By one estimate, for every half hectare of rain forest cut down each year, more than 20 hectares of new forest is growing on old farmland. However, a global recession may cause those looking for jobs in cities to move back to the farms.

Good Resource for Infographics

Bookmark Good Magazine's Transparencies Archive from Core77 for next time you're tasked with presenting research data in a visually engaging way. Awesome resource for infographics! I especially like the ones that present data three-dimensionally. These really seem to pull me in, and it gives and extra dimension of power/impact. Another obvious element of infographics (after looking at the archive) is the importance of color!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Living on Exhbit

Architects Pieter and Silvia Mertens took a 8’ wide space between two buildings, erected a steel skeleton in it and installed four wooden floors, one each for work, dining, relaxing and sleeping, plus a bath tub on the roof. Two concepts arise from this Coolhunter Blog post: Voyerism and Sustainablity. First, this building puts all parts of their lives on public display. We are living in a world were the rules of privacy are constantly changing and adapting. Second, they have successfully maximized the use of a space not traditionally intended to be habitable.

I Want 2 C Your Body in the Dark

Similar to Emil Olsson’s Void Typeface blog post last week, Marc Kremers “I Want 2 C Your Body in the Dark” video plays with type using light and depth. His portfolio can be found on EclecticCow. The digital era, and new-media design is starting to merge with typography. Digital design software is allowing designing to create type with physical environments and dynamic elements.

We Will Migrate into the Sky

NY architects at Studio Lindfors offer a design solution to New York City should it be hit and destroyed by a hurricane. Cloud City provides “connected” inflatable blimp housing for urban cities after a disaster. What I love about the concept is the use of air as a design solution. I have been exploring for my thesis the overlooked resource of air as a vast, dynamic, and whimsical design solution. Read the article on BldgBlog.

The Revolution that Wasn't

This article from the Economist answers the question about DVR’s effect on advertising. Ever since I got a DVR, I’ve been curious about it’s effect on television advertising, and whether the fear of it destroying television funding was actually happening. Surprising, this article shows that DVRs may be helping the television industry. Apparently, people with DVRs skip about 50% of recorded ads. But the DVR also has America watching much more TV, supplementing skipped ads. I think I have 4 shows recording tonight!

Facebook Privacy Flop-Gen Yers Demand Control

This post is in response to a recent attack on my facebook account. My account was hacked and infected with a facebook virus this week. As a result, either the virus, or someone else took control of the account, and sent all of my friends a random message. I’m not the biggest fan of facebook, and it actually took some time to convince me to join the site. After this week’s infection, I’ve considered ending my account. But facebook has become so crucial to staying connected with my friends, this really wasn’t an option. Please read this article from BusinessWeek about Facebook Privacy.

Gesture Speak

Oblong Industries’ G-speak takes the interactive screen to the next level and scale. The G-speak is yet another example of our world merging with the cyberworld. Walls/architecture become giant interactive computer screens. The G-speak user become part machine when he/she wears the “cyber-gloves” with digital chips that work with the computer/motion software. This article was found on Pantopicon.

Howeler+Yoon's "Spatial Valve"

Howeler+Yoon’s are exploring a new concept of architecture “spatial valve architecture” Besides it being un-Rhino-able (the concept can only be explained the old-fashioned way through hand-built models), it presents architecture with the ability to fluctuate from extreme density to extreme porosity. In one form it acts as barrier, in the other, a passage.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Void Typeface

Besides the exciting technique of revealing and concealing, Emil Olsson’s Void Typeface video introduces the concept of a typeface merged with a dynamic light source. Depth is instantly created, and spatial qualities must be considered. Should the light source be dynamic? Should the type be dynamic? Should both? What kind of rules should be set in this relationship? Will typefaces in the future be video files with more dynamic qualities including light and sound characteristics? Will keyboards be used to type these new video typefaces with the same kerning, style changes, sizing flexibility as static typefaces?

The School Food Trust

Blending graphic design, branding, and interior design, The Applemore College Canteen (cafeteria) becomes a transformed dining experience with a small budget. Clean lines, geometric patterns, and a fresh industrial color pallete attracted me to this article. Graphic design and branding should be utilized more often and with more creative intentions in our physical environments rather than just on paper and screen.

The Hills Have Eyes

I’ve always loved the concept of using the surface of architecture as a canvas. Many of my architecture projects in undergrad involved buildings clad with large video billboards. Photographer JR turns an entire Rio favel community into a cubist-inspired canvas. This reminds me of my trip to La Boca, a poor neighborhood in Argentina painted with primary colors. It instantly functioned as a design technique to bring in tourists. With JR’s work, the question is whether the contrast of art and slum architecture becomes a spectacle.

Getting a Handle on Design

I’m excited to see Gary Hustwit’s documentary about industrial design “Objectified.” Gary’s film “Helvetica” was insightful and extremely interesting. Objectified seems similar to Helvetica, in that it makes people aware that everything around us has been designed and has a history of development. My dad said to me once “it’s strange how I forget that everything was designed by someone” It’s true though, we are surrounded by so much stuff, we often block it all out and take it for granted. Read the New York Times review by Stephen Holden.

Is Human Fat The Ultimate Bio-Diesel Fuel?

After reading this article, you will discover that human fat has been used as a source of energy to power the Earthrace bio-boat. Bruce Nussbaum uses the concept of human-fat fuel to talk about the problem of obesity. I see obesity as a good thing in this situation. While ethics may be an issue, fat harvested from humans after they die, can be used to power the globe… so the fatter the population, the more fuel we have! Then again, maybe Nussbaum was right. the fatter the population, more energy will be used to grow more food, which will be consumed at a faster rate. And more energy will also be exhausted to transport heavier loads.

Future Shock: The Movie(s)

Studying and researching ideas related to the concept of our physical world merging with the digital world has become my hobby. It has also made me more aware of technological progressions and their effects of societal trends. Check out these movies from the book Future Shock written by Alvin Toffler. Even though it was written 40 years ago, the themes may be more relevant today than ever before.

Turning 24 Clocks into One

Swedish design firm “humans since 1982” turn 24 clocks into one giant clock. The idea of multiplying a single object to become a form of itself again is very interesting. The clock also goes through a transformation of analog to digital when it multiplies. The piece becomes less about telling time, and more about telling a story of transformation. The clocks now dance and perform a choreographed piece, and the object’s initial function takes a backseat. Check out the review on Core77