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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

 

 

 



Art Design

Demented Toys by Obvious Plant Confront Harsh Realities and the Mundanity of Life

February 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Obvious Plant

Unless you want a distraught child, double-check the packaging of your next purchase in case you accidentally snag a one-off toy by Jeff Wysaski, aka Obvious Plant. For years, he’s been littering supermarket and drugstore shelves with his action figures and small games that cleverly comment on capitalism and the harsh realities we all experience, from a birthday for one—it “includes one party blower because that is all you will need”—to a “childless couple” riding matching jet skis. Sometimes parodying pop culture, the elaborate designs are paired with witty copy and a slew of intentional spelling errors, including warnings that “everybody dies, even bird.”

Many of the subversive products, shirts, and other goods are available in the Obvious Plant shop, although they sell out quickly. To stay up-to-date on the latest designs, follow Wysaski on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

An Elaborate Kamidana Shrine Designed by Naohiko Shimoda Wraps an Inner Corner

January 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Naohiko Shimoda, shared with permission

Architect Naohiko Shimoda’s interpretation of a kamidana—a small altar or “god shelf” that’s part of a tradition to bring Shinto shrines into private spaces—strays from the simple ledges most often found in Japanese homes. Designed with an intricate foundation and slatted roof, the wooden structure lines an inner corner and is installed high on the wall following the custom. The precise and detailed construction is built on a 1:1 scale, allowing it to “be regarded as architecture with unique proportions and beauty.”

The size of many Japanese houses today limits the placement of the miniature shrines, Shimoda says, which spurred the original 2018 design that’s similar in style but wraps around an outer corner. “Unlike other architectures, the kamidana is usually represented only in the front half of the building. It makes people imagine ‘something behind’ that was not represented and (setting it up) in a corner make it even more effective,” he says.

To see more of Nagaski-born designer’s architectural and renovation projects, head to his site and Instagram. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

 

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