What’s great about the design of this house, called the FRP House after its fiber-reinforced polymer structure, is the experimental nature of the material. And by experimental, I don’t mean just different like an experimental hairstyle or the kind of experimenting that happens during college; instead, I appreciate that Atelier FCJZ, based in Beijing, is conducting tests and collecting data about an unusual structural system. By testing the compressive, tensile and bending strength of their design, the building mock-ups are approaching building reality. Someone had to be the the first to try reinforcing concrete with steel, right? Someone had to be the first to try braided hair.
The first person who braided his/her hair must have looked alien to folks who had never seen braided hair before. “What is… this… headropes?” But the design of this house is simple and modern in a way that doesn’t look so jarring. I can easily find articles published about fiber reinforced polymers in buildings systems from over a decade ago, and as this experimental material moves toward reality, it will confront new challenges (like how the enclosure system will work in this configuration). Still it’s nice to see architects experiment and to be reminded that building science didn’t stop progressing when we started using concrete and steel. Our future is an infinite series of new materials, the structures they enable, and the hairstyles we will wear inside them.
I stumbled upon Marta Bakowski’s work after she randomly tweeted at me, so of course, in my true Internet stalker style, I checked out her work and found a beautiful gem. She started this amazing self-initiated project to create toys with emotion. These toys are simple, made of simple materials and basic colors, but they’re absolutely charming and I’d love to own an entire set of these. Here’s what she had to say about the project:
Employing inherently playful materials such as springs, feathers, motors and gears, I created a series of small abstract, often geometrical constructions that I animated with a distinct rhythm and endearing characteristics, almost bringing each ‘creature’ to life.
This series of experiments resulted in a collection of colorful mechanical wooden toys, desirable to children and adults alike, which prove that fantasy is not necessarily a “stage one grows out of”.
You can check out some of her early prototypes in the video below, which gives you a great idea of exactly how fun these would be.
It’s only been recently that I’ve decided to opt for a nice pair of headphones, after trying out Kyle’s Sony MDR-V150′s.True audiophiles may balk, but consider this: I’ve used iPod headphones my entire life. The one thing I’ve noticed though is that there’s never really a great place to put my headphones, they’re just large enough to awkward. So when I spotted this MacHook by Workerman, I realized it was a perfect and elegant solution.
The MacHook is made in the USA from Baltic Birch, sealed with an all natural wax finish, and sticks to your computer with “nano-suction technology”, which sounds made up to me, but I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt. Major props to Adam Brackney for creating a really smart solution.
Although it’s not officially winter yet (December 22, for those who are curious), we can all agree that it gets dark too early in the winter (apologies to any nocturnal species reading.) The sun doesn’t rise as high in the sky durring the winter months, and as low as the sun rises, it doesn’t stay around as long. Maybe this starts to explain why our cities redress themselves for the winter holidays using electric accessories?
Take for instance Madrid, which might have some of the most interesting holiday lighting projects I’ve come across. All of the photos above are taken from the website of Ilmex, which recently released a design edition of holiday lighting featuring designers like Luis Urculo (you might remember him). If you had giant, illuminated eyeballs with eyelashes floating over your streets, would you complain about the extra hours of darkness?
The entire idea of Twitter has been simplified down to it’s essential pieces. You’re not presented with three main options: Home, Connect and Discover. The home is still where your feed of friends are, the Connect section shows your @ mentions as well as interactions, such as retweeting and favoriting of things you’ve tweeted. Clearly Discovery is a place to discover, and to my surprise the topics have been pretty much in line with things I’d enjoy, so good on Twitter.
Purely from a design point of view I love what they’ve done. They’ve taken out a lot of the heritage design elements and slimmed things down even more, which I didn’t realize was possible. The UI on the iPhone is stunning, I’d say nearly perfect. There are some new behaviors though, like flicking up on the Me tab to see your DM’s, which I found interesting. People don’t like change remember, so this will be hated at first. The web app itself is nice and about as minimal as it gets, just some modules on a background. I don’t use the web interface often, but I’ve been popping on there more since the redesign, and in turn neglecting Twitter for Mac.