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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)

 

 

 



Design

Varied Bricks and Ceramic Blocks Comprise the Asymmetric Facade of a Spacious Community Center in Bengal

January 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images via Abin Design Studio

What began as a task to install a new parking structure in Bansberia, India quickly morphed into an open community center awash with patterned brickwork. Conceived by Abin Design Studio, “Gallery House” spans 380-square-meters and combines multiple masonry techniques to form the asymmetric facade. The Kolkata-based team alternated ceramic blocks created by a local artist and a mixture of rectangular, chevron, and curved bricks sourced from a nearby field, resulting in a variegated, textured structure that mimics the terracotta temples of Bengal.

Positioned opposite the gaping ground entrance, a large staircase spills into the street and offers a seating area for residents hoping to watch the yearly festivities that pass by the building. A spacious hall fills the first floor with a lounge, pantry, and multi-purpose area used for yoga and other classes on the upper stories. When community members head home after the day’s activities, the rooms are converted into dormitories for the staff.

Explore more of the studio’s projects that focus on gathering and social support on its site. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Craft Design

Laser-Cut Paper Coils Into Intricate Vessels That Contrast Human Touch and Technology

January 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ibbini Studio, shared with permission

Human hands and machines converge in the meticulous process behind Ibbini Studio’s radial vessels. Collaborating since 2017, Abu Dhabi-based artist Julia Ibbini and computer scientist Stephane Noyer craft intricate sculptures informed by geometric principles and the divide between digital and analog techniques. The multi-faceted, sequential design culminates in Symbio Vessels, an exquisite series of works that wind from base to mouth in an algorithmically defined pattern.

To create the coiled containers, the artists first draw organic structures that mimic botanics and various tessellations before turning them over to custom parametric design software. This program refines and renders the original work in three-dimensions and develops the vessel’s final shape. Once a laser cuts out the individual rings from archival paper or card—watch this meticulous process in the video below—the pair glues the layers together, forming vases that spiral upward. “The final pieces display an idea of contrasts and collaboration,” the studio says. “The flaws which come with the human hand contribute to the beautiful end result.”

Beyond their delicately layered pieces, Ibbini and Noyer also construct a range of ornate works that evoke historical motifs, many of which you can see on their site and Instagram.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by ibbini studio (@juliaibbini)

 

 

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