A surfacing material has to offer more than strong aesthetics to suit today’s interiors: It must also support occupancy health and sustainable resource management. Whether made from repurposed post consumer materials or designed to dampen noise, the following products support a healthy environment from the factory floor to the finished project.
Designed by Japanese artist Tokujin Yoshioka, the Phenomenon collection (features natural textures for walls and floors. Air, (pictured above), is a multidimensional mosaic of 1-inch unglazed porcelain tiles on a square foot of mesh backing. It comes in four neutral colorways with coordinating trim.
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A custom designed, prefabricated panel system of white aluminum and glass brings a softer aesthetic to a new development in Norway.
For the Barcode district in Norway—a new, mixed-use high-rise development along the waterfront in central Oslo—the architectural arm of design firm Snøhetta recently completed a 215,000-square-foot building. Two retail levels and 12 levels of workspace for real estate firm Deloitte are wrapped in a prefabricated aluminum and triple-glazed glass facade. Designed to establish a new presence in the Oslo skyline, the firm developed the facade to stand out within the guidelines of the rectilinear master plan and maintains the overall rhythm of the district’s high rises.
In his school project, Puzzle Facade, Spanish designer Javier Lloret decided to transform the exterior of an Austrian museum into an interactive piece of architectural entertainment: a giant Rubik’s Cube. Lloret wirelessly connected a 3D-printed handheld cube to a laptop responsible for controlling colors on the facade of a nearby building roughly shaped like a cube: the Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. The building proved to be an ideal canvas for the project as it was already furnished with an LED-lit media facade.
Ma Yansong & MAD presented their installation, dubbed the Shanshui Experiment Complex at the the Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture. The elaborate model is based on Nanjing Zendai Thumb Plaza, the firm’s new master-plan for the Chinese city. The model, and the proposal more generally, are indicative of the firm’s commitment to meeting the demands of modern urban China through naturalistic architectural efforts.
More Nine Inch Nails than Mount Rushmore, the upcoming Sochi Olympics will feature a new giant pinscreen that renders impressions of the faces of visitors to the Games. The pavilion for Russian mobile phone giants Megafon will play host to the installation, which was designed by British architect Asif Khan.
While architects are often accused of wanting to be artists (albeit ones with wealthy clients) artists are also sometimes guilty of wanting to be architects. There are, of course, artists whose work crosses into architectural themes like James Casebere and Ernesto Neto to name only two but there are artists who want to actually build. Think of Donald Judd in Marfa, Ai Weiwei, Olafur Eliasson, and now Damien Hirst.
London-based firm Studio Octopi has a vision for a system of swimming pools that would make use of water redirected from the Thames. The proposal comes on the heels of Thames Water‘s controversial plan to revamp the city’s Victorian sewerage system in order to prevent the flow of excess sewage into the river. Octopi developed the project in collaboration with fellow locals Civic Engineers and Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects.
Lord Norman Foster’s pickle-shaped 30 St. Mary Axe building in London, widely known as “the gherkin,” has been featured in an advertisement for a UK chemist that sells erectile dysfunction pills at £6 a pop. The print ad for Lloyds Pharmacy features the interrogative headline “Lost the perk-in your gherkin,” illustrated with a photo-shopped image of a drooping 30 St Mary Axe. The ad goes on to exhort readers not to “let a hard day stop a hard night.”
Paris has its answer to Silicon Valley, with plans to convert an historic train station into the world’s largest home for digital entrepreneurship. Architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte has been entrusted to rehabilitate the landmark building, situated on the southern bank of the river Seine, into a technological hub to accommodate 1,000 start-up companies by the year 2016.
The hidden door has long been a standby of Scooby Doo episodes and spy movies. It’s even found a place in Mitt Romney’s new Utah mansion. Now Russian designer Vlad Mishin has created a modern and practical take on the popular Hollywood gag through his Transformer Wall, a visually striking means of adding new levels of flexibility to a small apartment interior.