Dec 25, 2009

Copenhagen Wheel

I don't like cars, honestly; I love flexible and pleasurable bicycles, especially one fitted with something as cool as this Copenhagen Wheel developed by the MIT.

My most likely impossible wish for the coming new year is the extinction of cars, people get around by taking monorails or cycling and that's it.

Happy New Year


Villa Vals - SeARCH + CMA

via SeARCH

Shouldn’t it be possible to conceal a house in an Alpine slope while still exploiting the wonderful views and allowing light to enter the building?

Surprised that it was permissible to construct a pair of dwellings so close to the world famous thermal bath of Vals, the client seized the opportunity to develop the site, without disturbing the bath’s expansive views. The introduction of a central patio into the steep incline creates a large façade with considerable potential for window openings. The viewing angle from the building is slightly inclined, giving an even more dramatic view of the strikingly beautiful mountains on the opposite side of the narrow valley. (to find out more..)

Lovely! A courtyard created by subtraction of mass that also feels like an additional balcony or deck. Rarely a space feels so private and public at the same time. Perhaps all these issues don't matter anymore when you're talking about being embraced by the spectacular sceneries in an Alpine valley.

Underground bunkers are typically nerve wrecking thanks to extreme strength and claustrophobic solidity of the walls. Villa Vals is a bunker punctured all over; ample warm daylight and cool Alpine breeze floods through cracks and openings into every corner of the rooms. After all this could had been the kind of scenario soldiers at war would emotionally wish for.

Not just quality, the rich variety of spatial experiences is also evident from the pictures, which is the nicest thing to me. Underground architectures in such setting, like Villa Vals and Zumthor's Thermal Vals (a stones throw away), not only enable people to fully enjoy the breath-taking views, but also accentuate the existence and experience of what we often don't feel yet always present before our eyes - the incredibly gigantic rock mass of the mountains. It's always better to look below the surface.


Dec 14, 2009

Design for Life

Design for Life from design on Vimeo.

As far as we are concerned, the X factor has come to the end with Joe being crowned as the winner. If you are wondering what you should look up next, this is definitely it! A Designer's life show consisting 12 selected candidates from hundred over entries and the ultimate winner will be granted for a placement in the famous designer Philippe Starck's firm at Paris for 6 months. Better don't miss out!

midori mizu

Dec 10, 2009

slender and (but) heavy

This is perhaps a tiny, trivial part of an inspiring conversation we had during our first visit to Kevin Mark Low’s house (the Lightwell House) for project documentation. I was lifting a very slender, traditional looking rattan chair when its disproportional weight surprised me. He then asked: “Why do you think is it so heavy?” I thought (too much) it was a ‘design’ question when the answer was as simple as ‘the reinforcement within is of pre-stressed steel’ I knew, alright.

So I realized.. the weight was not an intention, but a compromise.

I’ve since noticed several chair designs which seem deceivingly thin and light, ie. the very recent chord-chair by nendo in collaboration with maruni, paper chair by Junya Ishigami, and of course the aforementioned rattan chair by Kevin.

chord-chair (for it's members slender like cable chords), by nendo x maruni.

paper chair (for obvious reason, and even with sketches on the white surface), by Junya Ishigami.

By means of concealment by light materials on surface, or by immaterial whiteness of paint finish, all hide under the disguise of the preconception “thinness equals weightlessness”
I personally do like all these chairs, they’re extremely comfortable to look at, and perhaps to sit onto, but I guess there’ll be that faint feeling of disappointment while lifting them.
Websites state their dimensions clearly, but never the weights.

If visual is a realm in which we’d succeeded, how much more time until we conquer mass and thus, weight? Then we can sculpt a thin, slender and paper-weight chair that 'Is what it seems to be'.
I’m looking forward to nano technology; just don’t lose the human touches.


Dec 1, 2009

carpets . nanimarquina

Nanimarquina, led by Nani Marquina, is a rug/carpet designer and manufacturer based in Barcelona.

Coming across her works, I recalled what Adolf Loos once said,

"The architect's general task is to provide a warm and liveable space. Carpets are warm and liveable. He decides for this reason to spread out one carpet on the floor and to hang up four of them to form the four walls."

'liveable space' from a sensual perspective.

Indeed, for any of us who loves simplistic, minimalist interiors, carpet is one of the major things that never fail to enliven a space. Carpets lend -visual and physical - softness and warmth to the otherwise hard and cold atmosphere often exist in minimal, functional spaces to name a few. Imagine how it'd probably make a difference if every prison cells are provided with one warm coloured, woolly carpet. I might like to nap on the floor more often if there's one fine rug in the room.

Well, nanimarquina has a fairly pleasant website, very browsing friendly. Features wide selections of rug designs from classic to contemporary, plus a few other textile products as likeable.
You will be able to find your cup of tea.

One of my favourite images showing how carpet helps humanizing space:
House A, by Ryue Nishizawa, Tokyo. (not carpet from nanimarquina, I think)

images edited by afterrabbit.


3D_20th Competition

International Student Competition
Digital surveying and representation based on Panoramic Imaging and Image-Based-Modeling

The International Union of Architects announces the launch of an international competition that will invite architecture students from around the world to create imagemodels of examples of significant architectural creativity realised during the 20th century.

This competition is an opportunity for the architects of tomorrow to enrich the web index with their own expression of an architectural realisation from the last century, using today's design tools.
The image models to be designed for this competition need to be based on digital photographs created using Autodesk® ImageModeler® and Autodesk® Stitcher® Unlimited software.
This software will be made available by Autodesk® to the competitors for use free of charge for the duration of the competition.
All phases of the competition will be conducted on-line.

Students are free to choose the structure they wish to represent, from a major landmark to an unknown building, with the condition that it was built between 1901 and 2000.

Entries can be architectural descriptions based on panoramic images and/or 3D models of the structure in its current state.
Students may also work in groups, on different elements or structures in an architectural or urban complex.
Competitors should register on-line through the competition website from October 19, 2009 until March 26, 2010.
Submissions may be transmitted on-line from April 5, to April 26, 2010.

The full competition regulations are available at the competiton web site.

posted by afterrabbit

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