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Design

A Striking Curved Wall Swells Upward Across Three Stories of a Taipei Home by Yuan Architects

February 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images via Yuan Architects

Nestled in the mountainous region of Taipei’s Xindian district is a new home by Yuan Architects that mirrors the stately landscape outdoors. In “Lan Villa,” the international design firm constructed a central, curved wall that sweeps upward as it follows the two staircases from ground floor to ceiling. It mimics the roving scenery that can be viewed through the large, glass windows covering the back facade.

Cloaked in wooden slats, the striking enclosure spans all three stories of the 2,390-square-foot home, which features a kitchen, dining area, and large deck on the first level, main entrance and mezzanine on the second, and bedrooms on the uppermost floor. The bowed wall “represents the flow of life through an architectural structure,” the firm says in a statement about the project. “As a collector of seasonal changes outdoors as well as an interface of the living space, the wall reflects every variation of light and color on the rolling hills and casts different colors of light into the living space accordingly.”

Take a virtual tour of the home below, and see more photographs of the elegant, swelling feature on Yuan Architects’ site. You also can follow the firm’s work on Instagram. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Art Design Illustration

The First USPS Stamp Designed by an Alaska Native Artist Features a Trickster Raven as It Steals the Sun

February 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Raven Story.” Image courtesy of U.S.P.S.

When it’s released later this summer, a new stamp from the U.S. Postal Service will illuminate a piece of Indigenous culture that’s long been associated with an escape from darkness. Titled “Raven Story,” the history-making postage features an iconic animal rendered by Rico Lanáat’ Worl, who is the first Tlingit and Athabascan artist to be featured by U.S.P.S. Awash with twinkling stars, the stamp portrays a black bird grasping the sun in its beak as it breaks from its human family. The motif is based on the story of “Raven And The Box Of Daylight,” traditional Tlingit lore about the trickster animal bringing the stars, moon, and sun to the universe after a series of heists.

In a statement, Worl shares that the raven is a prominent figure in Tlinglit culture, and the stamp depicts the pinnacle of this often-recounted tale. He writes:

Raven is trying to grab as many stars as he can, some stuck in his feathers and in his hands or in his beak. Some falling around him. It’s a frazzled moment of adrenaline. Partially still in human form, as depicted as his hand still being human, as he carries the stars away. I think it depicts a moment we all have experienced, the cusp of failure and accomplishment.

Worl lives in Juneau, where he works with Sealaska Heritage Institute and co-runs Trickster Company, a design shop focused on Northwest Coast art, with his sister, Crystal. To coincide with the USPS launch, he plans to create pins, prints, and other goods featuring the design, which you can follow on Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 



Design

Tokyo's Kadokawa Culture Museum Houses an Arresting Kengo Kuma-Designed Bookshelf Theater

February 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © RK, shared with permission

Although it boasts more than 50,000 books, the massive library at the heart of the Kadokawa Culture Museum (previously) isn’t just for bibliophiles or curious readers hoping to stumble upon a new title. Designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma (previously), the towering venue is more accurately billed as a cultural gathering space than a traditional book collection, which Ryosuke Kosuge, who works as RK, recently documented a new series of photographs.

Just months after its opening, the Tokyo-area library already has hosted a variety of music and theater performances, with the staggered shelving and metal walkways serving as a backdrop. Many of the events—which you can see photographs of on Kadokawa’s Instagram—utilized the available projection mapping technology and embedded screens, creating immersive experiences that illuminate the largely wood-lined space with a candy-colored glow.

To see the multi-purpose venue from above, watch this drone tour, and find more of RK’s architectural photographs capturing city life on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

All images © RK, shared with permission

All images © RK, shared with permission

All images © RK, shared with permission

All images © RK, shared with permission

All images © RK, shared with permission

 

 



Design Music

OneClock: A Modern Take on the Analog Alarm Never Plays the Same Melody Twice

February 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © OneClock

Say goodbye to the days of being jarred awake by the alarm blaring from your iPhone. The creative team over at OneClock designed a streamlined device with the intention of rousing people in a more peaceful manner, one with soothing melodies that are in stark contrast to the startling sounds many of us hear every morning.

Minimal in aesthetic, the analog alarm is outfitted with more than 20 instrumental and vocal compositions created by musician Jon Natchez, a Grammy-award-winning artist who’s known for his work with The War on Drugs. Each of the sequences focuses on the tones, tempos, and frequencies most likely to wake even the groggiest sleeper. When it’s time to get up, the melodies gradually swell in volume. An AI music generator remixes a new composition each morning to stave off alarm fatigue, meaning that it never plays the same tune twice. OneClock also won’t allow snoozing, but it does emit music for about 20 minutes, giving drowsy folks a little extra time.

Although you’d probably be hard-pressed to find someone who agrees with OneClock that “sleep is great, but waking up is better,” the project is already is fully backed on Kickstarter with just more than two weeks to go. The retro, low-tech design, which features a built-in nightlight, currently is available in four colors and has a white oak front. Follow updates on its official launch on Instagram and its site. (via swissmiss)

 

 

 



Design

‘Same Energy’ is a New Visual Search Engine That Finds Related Images by Style and Mood

February 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

Toronto-based developer Jacob Jackson just launched a simple visual search engine that’s particularly adept at gathering results with similar patterns, compositions, and textures. Aptly named Same Energy, the tool is still in beta and minimal by design, with a focus on the image rather than keywords. Results are grouped together by category, which generates a more comprehensive set of findings than similar searches. “We believe it should integrate a rich visual understanding, capturing the artistic style and overall mood of an image, not just the objects in it,” a statement says.

Follow Jackson on Twitter for updates on the tool, and try it for yourself on the Same Energy site, where you also can save collections of your discoveries. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Design

A Nairobi Entrepreneur Is Recycling Plastic Waste into Bricks That Are More Durable Than Concrete

February 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

Collectively, we use a staggering amount of single-use plastic each year—we buy one million plastic bottles each minute around the world—most of which ends up in landfills, oceans, and other natural spaces. Nzambi Matee, a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Nairobi, is combatting this global crisis by recycling bags, containers, and other waste products into bricks used for patios and other construction projects.

Prior to launching her company, Gjenge Makers, Matee worked as a data analyst and oil-industry engineer. After encountering plastic waste along Nairobi’s streets, she decided to quit her job and created a small lab in her mother’s backyard, testing sand and plastic combinations. Matee eventually received a scholarship to study in the materials lab at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she ultimately developed a prototype for the machine that now produces the textured bricks.

Made from a combination of plastic and sand, the pavers have a melting point higher than 350°C and are more durable than their concrete counterparts. Matee and her team source much of the raw product from factories and recyclers, and sometimes it’s free, which allows the company to reduce the price point on the product and make it affordable for schools and homeowners. So far, Gjenge Makers has recycled more than 20 tons of plastic and created 112 job opportunities in the community.

“It is absurd that we still have this problem of providing decent shelter–a basic human need,” Matee said in a statement. “Plastic is a material that is misused and misunderstood. The potential is enormous, but its afterlife can be disastrous.”

Right now, the company generates between 1,000 and 1,500 bricks per day,  and Matee hopes to expand across Africa. You can see more of Gjenge Makers’ production and finished projects on Instagram. (via designboom)

 

Nzambi Matee. All images via Gjenge Makers