“Damn you scientists for messing with nature”

In this week’s comments update, readers are infuriated by plans for an experiment to dim the sun

Bright sparks: readers are appalled to learn that Harvard scientists will attempt to replicate the climate-cooling effect of volcanic eruptions during the 2019 Strospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment – a controversial attempt to dim the sun.

“This can’t be allowed! This is the worst idea I have ever heard,” protested Buddyruff777.

Spadestick agreed: “Damn you scientists for messing with nature – haven’t you guys done enough damage to the earth? Cane toads, killer bees, genetically modified mosquitoes, nuclear winters…”

“News like this is put out to ease people into accepting what the government has already been doing for years. It’s called chemtrailing. But you were called a conspiracy theorist if you spoke about it,” suggested Mark Langford.

Jason was particularly angry: “They should be charged with assault against everyone they spray this crap over, along with environmental terrorism.”

This reader wasn’t keen on the experiment, but was on something else:

Have scientists gone too far this time? Join the discussion ›

Olafur Eliasson installs giant blocks of ice across London

Cold front: as a reminder of the impact of climate change on the environment, Olafur Eliasson has placed 30 blocks of glacial ice in public spaces across London. The temporary installation, called Ice Watch, has divided commenters. 

“What a pointless contribution to global warming. Heart sinking” said Geoff Dale in dismay.

James Beckett shared the sentiment: “How much embodied energy was used to create this installation? How about we leave the ice where it’s supposed to be.”

Not everyone was upset though, including John Curran: “I was quite floored when I discovered the work on an evening walk. It is both emotionally and intellectually engaging. If you have not actually seen it in person, you will not have understood it. It is magical to see people interact with it.”

“I quite like it” agreed Tko. “The impact of being able to see something slowly die and disappear in front of your eyes will leave a huge impression on those who view it.”

This reader also believes the installation will leave a lasting impression:

Do you think Ice Watch will melt from memory ? Join the discussion ›

House and Studio Lambeth, a new building by architecture office Carmody Groarke

Home comforts: readers think that House and Studio Lambeth, a new building that architecture office Carmody Groarke slotted into the shell of a Victorian warehouse in London, is lacking the “homely” feel.

“This may be a house but will never be a home,” commented Miles Teg.

“Brilliantly detailed joyless austerity,” elaborated Alex. “Is this where architecture is heading?”

Sir John V replied: “It’s already gone up there, up an architect’s in-situ concrete backside, out of which falls bricks.”

“Whoever thought the bedside table was a good idea (my head is hurting from hitting it) they stopped short of minimalism,” added Oli.

However one reader thought very highly of the project:

Would you want to live here? Join the discussion ›

Sustainable prayer mat by Shepherd studio

Job half done: Shepherd Design Studio has redesigned the traditional Islamic prayer mat. By reducing the volume of material used, the Saudi Arabian office aimed to make the product more sustainable. But not all readers agree it actually is.

“Is this a joke?” asked Quinoa.

HeywoodFloyd went on: “I might accept a student being ignorant of subtracted material being included with the total material used, but a professional should know better. What a joke.”

“Does creating a lot of useless off-cuts really make it more sustainable? Particularly given that the thin connecting strips which remain don’t look like they will stand up to much wear and tear?” asked PhilipP.

James Calbraith had different concerns: “This looks like it will tear easily.”

One reader was much more forgiving though:

What do you think of the reinterpretation? Join the discussion ›

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Marcel Breuer’s Lauck House in Princeton undergoes careful renovation

Designer Rafi Segal and architect Sara Segal have renovated their mid-century-modern home in New Jersey that was designed nearly 70 years ago by celebrated Hungarian designer Marcel Breuer.

Featuring wooden siding and a butterfly roof, the two-storey Lauck House is situated on a secluded lot in Princeton that spans four acres (1.6 hectares). The home, built in 1950, was designed by Breuer – who trained at the Bauhaus and migrated to America in the 1930s.

Marcel Breuer Lauck House restoration by Rafi Segal

The restoration was overseen by the home’s owners, Rafi and Sara Segal, both of whom studied architecture. Rafi leads Rafi Segal Architecture Urbanism, which has offices in Princeton and Tel Aviv, while Sara worked on the project as an independent architect.

Marcel Breuer Lauck House restoration by Rafi Segal

Encompassing 3,800 square feet (353 square metres), the home was designed by Breuer to be fluid and adaptable. One side of the dwelling contains the master bedroom, while the other encompasses the kids’ rooms. The kitchen and living room are situated in the centre of the plan. Ample windows, particularly on the south, provide a strong connection to the surrounding landscape.

Marcel Breuer Lauck House restoration by Rafi Segal

“The south-facing glass facade extends the interior outwards to the garden and captures direct sunlight and heat during the winter days, while the roof overhangs to create shade during the summer,” said the Segals.

The home was modelled after a demonstration house Breuer designed for a 1949 exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). As part of the House in the Garden exhibition, Breuer created a family home that was put on view in the museum’s sculpture garden. The show was part of MoMA’s effort to promote modern architecture in the US, while also addressing the rise of suburban living.

Marcel Breuer Lauck House restoration by Rafi Segal

“Breuer’s design introduced new ideas which have since become common practice in contemporary design of the single-family house,” said the Segals.

The Lauck House was commissioned by Gerold Lauck, a New York advertising executive who created the famous slogan “A Diamond is Forever”. Breuer was asked to re-create the MoMA house for Lauck, his wife and their son.

“The Lauck House presents a modern masterpiece that is simple in form and layout, yet rich in its materiality and spaces of intimacy and openness,” said the Segals. “The surrounding landscape is incorporated into the design in a way that being inside the house makes one feels an immediate sense of connection to the outdoors.”

Over the decades, the Lauck House has had four owners, including the Segals. In the mid 1980s, the second owner added a sunroom and gallery to the southwest corner of the home.

Marcel Breuer Lauck House restoration by Rafi Segal

The Segals purchased the dwelling in 2008 and began the renovation project, which was divided into two phases. The second phase, completed this year, entailed re-cladding the facade with cypress siding and refurbishing the steel-framed windows. The Segals also restored cabinetry, renovated two bathrooms, and painted the interior and exterior according to Breuer’s original colour scheme.

The first phase was completed in 2009 and was largely focused on the interior. The Segals rebuilt partitions that had been removed, updated the kitchen and bathrooms, and tracked down hardware that was identical to original pieces. They also removed paint from interior walls to reveal the home’s natural cedar panels.

Marcel Breuer Lauck House restoration by Rafi Segal

To assist with colour selection, the duo turned to the Rockefeller Foundation. After the MoMA show, the Rockefeller family purchased Breuer’s showhouse and had it assembled on their property in Pocantico Hills, New York. The foundation was able to provide the home’s original colour scheme and advise on how to recreate those colours based on current technology.

Determined to honour Breuer’s intent, the Segals have taken great care to restore the home’s original features.

Marcel Breuer Lauck House restoration by Rafi Segal

“The restoration and renovation work shed new light on this timeless icon, recreating the notion that Modern Architecture can be visually and spatially rich while creating a sense of home and place, and that great design has the power to enhance everyday life,” the architects said.

Breuer’s architecture in the USA ranges from private houses like the Lauck House, and a residence in New Canaan, Connecticut, that was expanded by Toshiko Mori, to public buildings like his New York home for the Whitney museum – now occupied by The Met.

Photography is by Jeff Tryon.

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Peak-a-Boo House by Post Architecture features tall lounge

Shuttered windows offer glimpses into a bright white living room, hidden behind the greyed walls of this house in Toronto that was renovated and extended by local studio Post Architecture.

Peak-a-Boo house by Post Architecture

Post Architecture‘s transformation of the residence in the Etobicoke suburb involved adding a gabled volume to the front, and extending the rear to include a first-floor level.

Peak-a-Boo house by Post Architecture

The overhaul resulted in two distinct volumes from the outside. Both comprise a grey brickwork base and a wood-clad top, to blend in with the style of surrounding residences.

The firm named it Peak-a-Boo, after the “unexpected” elements disguised behind this traditional exterior, as well as the pointed shape of the living room.

Peak-a-Boo house by Post Architecture

“This project owes its name to the playfulness of the interior spaces, the unexpected height (peak) upon entering, and the spatial relationships that constantly reveal new sight lines,” said Post Architecture in a project statement.

The house was renovated and extended for a couple who wanted extra space to host visiting family. As part of the reconfiguration, the firm was able to create three bedrooms and bathroom on the first level, and an open-plan living area.

Peak-a-Boo house by Post Architecture

Two bedrooms, including the master, are located at the rear of the first floor, with windows offering views of the back garden.

The third bedroom and the bathroom are positioned at the front, and have shuttered openings that overlook the living area on the floor below.

Peak-a-Boo house by Post Architecture

“They even allow for a peek not only to the the open concept living spaces below, but also to the surrounding streetscape and backyard beyond,” said the firm. “When left open, the 700-square-foot (65-square-metre) upper level feels much larger.”

Peak-a-Boo house by Post Architecture

Bright white-painted walls and wooden flooring run throughout the interiors, to create continuity between the different spaces. In the feature living area, this is made even more dramatic with the pointed ceiling and beams also painted white.

Peak-a-Boo house by Post Architecture

A number of black details provide a contrast to the pale surfaces, including the exposed beam that runs along the base of the floor plate and a long pendant light that hangs from the roof.

The hearth is also stained black, which offsets the white cabinetry above, and extends to form the first step of the wooden staircase.

Peak-a-Boo house by Post Architecture

Eclectic furnishings, including a decorative rug, fluffy cushions, wire chairs and a weathered wooden table, lift this neutral palette.

“Each material and element has been selected to play off the other’s strength in modest and simple ways,” said the firm. “Their combined effect, holistically, offers a warm and comforting home fit for the lifestyle of its inhabitants.”

Peak-a-Boo house by Post Architecture

The lounge forms part of the open-plan living area, with the kitchen and dining room set in the single-storey space at the rear.

Colour blocking continues here with black and white cabinetry, which Post Architecture rearranged to run along the side walls. This allowed for a glazed back wall to offer views to the garden.

Peak-a-Boo house by Post Architecture

Post Architecture employed similar monochrome hues at another overhauled Toronto house, while its other projects in the city include adding a protruding window box to a century-old brick house as part of a major renovation.

Photography is by Revelateur Studio.

Project credits:

Architecture and interiors: Post Architecture
General contractor: InLine Design Build
Stairs and hardwood: Peter Fabijanczyk at Premier Stairs and Floors
Custom millwork: Paul Clarke at Clarke’s Custom Woodworking
Countertops: Tonille Giovis at York Fabrica
Lighting: Yuri Ieremenko at Sescolite Lighting

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New hotels in the Middle East “whisper” say AHEAD MEA awards judges

High-end hotels in the Middle East are becoming increasingly refined and understated, say AHEAD MEA jury members in this movie Dezeen produced for the awards programme.

The AHEAD MEA 2018 awards, which took place last month at The Meydan Hotel in Dubai, celebrated the best in hotel and resort design across the Middle East and Africa.

It is the hospitality awards programme’s second year in the region, which saw an increased number of “understated luxury” hotels win prizes, according to the judges.

Form Hotel in Dubai won Concept of the Year 2018 at the AHEAD MEA Awards
FORM Hotel was named Concept of the Year at the AHEAD MEA 2018 awards

“I sense a bit of a backlash against the fast-fashion school of thought when it comes to hospitality design,” said Pallavi Dean, jury member and founder of Dubai interior design studio Roar.

“I think the gimmicky selfie, Instagram culture has taken a back seat now and we’re creating spaces that are timeless, that are crafted beautifully.”

The Bulgari Resort in Dubai won Hotel of the Year at the 2018 AHEAD MEA Awards
The Bulgari Resort in Dubai won four prizes, including the AHEAD MEA Hotel of the Year award

The Bulgari Resort in Dubai, designed by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel, was one of the big winners of the night. It scooped four prizes, including the AHEAD MEA Hotel of the Year award.

“The Bulgari Resort in Dubai is a great example of luxury that whispers rather than shouts,” said Pinar Calimano, jury member and director of design for InterContinental Hotels Group.

“We are moving towards contemporary and understated luxury.”

The Bulgari Resort in Dubai won Hotel of the Year at the 2018 AHEAD MEA Awards
The interior of the Bulgari Resort was designed by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel

Fellow judge Paul Bishop, founder of Bishop Design, added: “It is absolutely stunning when you go in there; the level of finishing is second-to-none.”

“The detailing is very simple and pure. Antonio Citterio really enhanced that space and brought to life Bulgari as a brand.”

FIVE Palm Hotel in Dubai
Other winning hotels included FIVE Palm Jumeirah in Dubai

Other winning hotels based in Dubai include FIVE Palm Jumeirah, The Renaissance Downtown and FORM Hotel Dubai, a new independent hotel brand that was named New Concept of the Year.

According to Dean and Calimano, the most successful hotels prioritised guest experience above all else.

The Renaissance Downtown in Dubai
The Renaissance Downtown in Dubai was also among the winners

“We thought in the last few years that our market was saturated, but I think this saturation brings health to design quality,” said Calimano.

“We are paying more attention to the storytelling and the guest experience, in order to differentiate ourselves from the offering next door.”

Dean added: “How do you create that magical experience, that experience that’s unforgettable, an experience that really puts the user at the centre of the space?”

The Bisate Eco Lodge in Rwanda won in the Lodges and Tented Camps category at the 2018 AHEAD MEA Awards
The Bisate Eco Lodge in Rwanda won the Lodges and Tented Camps category

Winning hotels outside of the Middle East region include the Bisate Eco Lodge in Rwanda, which won the Lodges and Tented Camps category.

“Bisate had a great narrative running through it,” said Bishop. “It was great to see a project like that up against the bigger players in the market.”

The Silo in Cape Town won in the Renovation, Restoration and Conservation category at the 2018 AHEAD MEA Awards
The Silo in Cape Town won the Renovation, Restoration and Conservation category

The Silo in Cape Town, South Africa, won the Renovation, Restoration and Conservation category. The hotel is located in the former grain silo building that also contains the Zeitz MOCAA museum by Heatherwick Studio.

“I think this year saw a wider range of entrants, not just within the Middle East but also Africa,” said Bishop.

“The Silo, as a piece of architectural renovation, is absolutely incredible.”

The Silo in Cape Town won in the Renovation, Restoration and Conservation category at the 2018 AHEAD MEA Awards
The hotel is located in the former grain silo building that also contains Zeitz MOCAA by Heatherwick Studio

This movie was produced by Dezeen for AHEAD. It was filmed at The Meydan Hotel in Dubai.

All images used in the movie and this story are courtesy of AHEAD.

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World’s first lab-grown steak is made from beef but slaughter-free

The first steak grown in a laboratory from cow cells as a meat alternative has been developed in Israel, and claims to have a texture and flavour similar to conventional meat.

Described as the world’s first slaughter-free steak, the product, which is still in its prototype phase, is made of four different types of cow cells that have been engineered to replicate the shape, texture and flavour of beef.

Scientists at food-tech startup Aleph Farms extracted the cells from a living cow, before nourishing them to interact with each other and multiply as they would inside an animal. The intention was to replicate a structure similar to muscle tissue.

World's first lab-grown steak is "slaughter-free"
The steak was made using a variety of cells extracted from a cow

The steak was manufactured in collaboration with Technion Israel Institute of Technology using a variety of cell types extracted from the cow – support cells, fat cells, blood vessel cells and muscle cells – which grow on a scaffold in a controlled setting.

The aim was to offer an alternative to a traditional steak that is not only slaughter-free, but also sustainable.

A number of scientific studies have pointed to a reduction in meat-eating as essential to lessening the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. One study found that avoiding meat and dairy products is the “single biggest way” to reduce people’s environmental impact on the world.

Lab-grown steak has meaty appearance

The lab-grown steak is five millimetres thick. It has the same meaty appearance and muscle-like texture of a conventional beef steak without the need for the acres of land, water, feed, and other resources necessary to raise cattle for meat.

According to the company, each of the thinly-sliced steak prototypes took between two and three weeks to produce and cost $50 (approximately £40) – a significant decrease in price from the first lab-grown burger in 2013, which cost scientists £225,000 to produce.

World's first lab-grown steak is "slaughter-free"
The thinly-sliced steak prototypes took between two and three weeks to produce

While other companies are also working on the creation of artificial meat from beef, chicken, duck and pork cells in laboratories, these tend to be processed items such as sausages, burgers and nuggets.

“We’re shaping the future of the meat industry, literally,” said Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms. “Making a patty or a sausage from cells cultured outside the animal is challenging enough, imagine how difficult it is to create a whole-muscle steak.”

“At Aleph Farms, this is not science fiction. We’ve transformed the vision into reality by growing a steak under controlled conditions,” he continued.

“The initial products are still relatively thin, but the technology we developed marks a great leap forward in producing a cell-grown steak.”

Slaughter-free steak to go on sale in three years

There are currently no lab-grown meat products on sale commercially, although there are some companies that have announced plans to supply meat to restaurants by the end of this year. Aleph Farms intends to sell its lab-grown steak commercially in three to four years.

An increasing number of researchers are turning to science to develop cruelty-free alternatives to meat, including a 3D-printed meat-free steak made from vegetable proteins, and hotdogs made from carrots and algae.

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Wooden sleeping pods by Reed Watts available to homeless in London

Modular sleeping pods made from easy-to-assemble wooden panels are providing temporary accommodation for homeless people in London.

Ten of the prefabricated pods, designed by London-based architecture studio Reed Watts, have been installed inside the 999 Club night shelter in Deptford.

They offer secure, temporary accommodation to people who might otherwise be sleeping on the streets.

Commonweal Pods to provide beds for homeless people, London, by Reed Watts

Reed Watts is also making the design available online through a Creative Commons license, so that anyone with the facilities can reproduce additional pods and make them available to people in need.

Architect and Reed Watts co-founder Matt Watts hopes that other companies across the capital will offer up vacant spaces.

“By releasing the design as a royalty-free Creative Commons license, we hope to give as many organisations as possible an opportunity to use the pods where there is a need for short-term shelter,” he said.

Commonweal Pods to provide beds for homeless people, London, by Reed Watts

The project was initiated by a competition in 2017 hosted by the charity Commonweal Housing, which called for ideas to help Romanian migrant workers who were being forced to set up camp in public parks or underpasses.

These migrants are among an estimated 170,000 homeless people in the UK capital – equivalent to 1 in 52 people.

Reed Watts won the competition with its design for “low-tech pods” that can be easily installed in spaces such as school halls or disused buildings.

Commonweal Pods to provide beds for homeless people, London, by Reed Watts

Prototype pods were previously installed in the 999 Club, as well as Housing Justice in Hillingdon, to allow the architects to test the concept. An adapted version of this design is the one that is now being rolled out.

Each pod consists of 18-millimetre-thick interlocking panels of fireproof birch plywood, which can be assembled by hand. Together they form an approximately cube-shaped structure, measuring 2.1 metres high, 2.1 metres long and 1.9 metres wide.

Every one comes with a mattress raised up on a platform that functions as a bed, a seat and a secure storage area. A curtain offers users the option of privacy.

The 10 in use at the 999 Club were constructed pro bono by local fabricator Aldworth James & Bond, using materials donated by Specialised Panel Products.

Commonweal Pods to provide beds for homeless people, London, by Reed Watts

Other examples of sleeping pods have been proposed and trialled in cities around the world. For instance, bamboo micro homes were proposed for inside factories in Hong Kong, while a design from Bangkok envisioned light-filled cubes being installed in unfinished high-rises.

According to Tim Fallon, chief executive of the 999 Club​​, Reed Watts’ pods are the first of their kind in the UK capital.

“They will provide very welcome privacy and a quiet space for people who come to our night shelter at their most vulnerable time,” he said.

The design is currently on show at The Building Centre, as part of the Factory-Made Housing exhibition continuing until 18 January 2019.

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Dezeen’s top 10 innovative materials of 2018

Designers experimented with unusual materials throughout 2018, from innovative new products to waste. Design editor Augusta Pownall picks out 10 of the best for our review of the year.

Materials roundup 2018


PVC plumbing pipes are about the least sexy material possible to imagine, but some designers this year were able to look beyond that.

Japanese designer Kodai Iwamoto applied the processes of glassblowing to heated plastic pipes to create delicate, undulating forms.

Lucas Muñoz used ventilation pipes for a series of pieces of furniture, whilst Christophe Machet and Phan Thao Dang both used sewage pipes to make vividly different collections of seating.

Materials roundup 2018


Sodium chloride has long been used for flavouring food, but this year designers such as Erez Nevi Pana and Lindsey Adelman used salt in their work.

Pana took waste materials, bound them together and dipped the resulting “stool” into the Dead Sea. After a few months, the surface was coated in salt crystals.

Adelman collaborated on a show at Milan design week, in which she showed versions of her brass Drop lighting system corroded with salt.

Materials roundup 2018


Graphene has a host of qualities – it is thin, strong, transparent, dense, a good conductor of electricity, the list goes on. Little wonder that designers applied the single layer of carbon to a wide range of projects this year.

Vollebak’s jacket acts as a radiator insulating the wearer. Meanwhile a wheelchair made from the material is incredibly light.

Other serious applications included an Australian scientific study that used graphene in a simple water filtration system. There were some more fun ideas too, like a graphene-based hair dye doesn’t damage hair.

Materials roundup 2018


In August we discovered that carrots could be the key to making stronger concrete, putting the most basic of all building materials back on the agenda.

Scientists at Exeter University found a way to make it even stronger, by incorporating graphene into the composite. Elsewhere, researchers at Imperial College in London developed an alternative that uses desert sand rather than its construction equivalent.

Materials roundup 2018


Designers played with our minds in 2018, by using electroencephalography (EEG) receptors to read signals from the brain.

Artist Thijs Biersteker and designer David Carson worked together on an installation in the Netherlands that required a pair of visitors to remain calm to keep an imaginary world in order. At London’s Design Museum this summer, the atrium was taken up with a huge air balloon that used visitors’ brainwaves to stay afloat.

Materials roundup 2018

Human waste

If there’s one material we’re not in danger of running out of it’s human waste.

Hair from the floor of a local hairdresser was one ingredient in Ellie Birkhead’s bricks made from a variety of waste products. Oskana Bondar also used the stuff to make a stool.

Pee also cropped up in design this year. Kim Sinae used human urine to glaze a series of pots based on the shape of the human bladder, a series she called Urine Ware. Researchers used the liquid for a zero-waste brick that hardens at room temperature rather than requiring firing in a kiln.

Materials roundup 2018


Real fur fell out of fashion this year, literally and figuratively. Stella McCartney was one of the catwalk queens cheering the fact that September’s London Fashion Week featured no real fur on its runways.

The gap was filled by a proliferation of furry furniture at Design Miami earlier this month, where the Campana Brothers, Porky Hefer and Guillermo Santomá all offered fluffy pieces to cuddle up in during the cold winter months.

Materials roundup 2018

Food waste

Making tableware to eat your food off from food waste, as Tokyo-based designer Kosuke Araki did with his Anima collection of cups, plates and bowls this year, is one thing. Making new treats with the stuff is quite another.

Elzelinde van Doleweerd did just that, 3D-printing a paste made from leftover sweet potato and rice, that she baked and dehydrated to create tasty crackers. Meanwhile, potato peelings were used for an MDF substitute and as ecological packaging.

Materials roundup 2018


Ocean plastic hit the mainstream in 2018, with many designers creating projects using plastic taken out of the seas, but bioplastic could offer a long-term solution to the problem of single-use plastics.

Reebok’s Corn + Cotton trainers come with a bioplastic sole, whilst Lego made its vegetation figures from a plastic made from sugar cane. With algae, corn starch and crustacean shells amongst the raw ingredients, there’s still plenty of scope for the next Tetra Pak to be made from bioplastic, with Nuatan leading the charge with an exhibition at the London Design Festival.

Materials roundup 2018

Photovoltaic surfaces

Solar panels were integrated into projects in interesting ways this year. Heliafilm was applied over a building in Lyon as part of a research project that the team plan to market in 2019, whilst Apple covered the entire roof of its new Cupertino headquarters with panels.

Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel’s greenhouse was installed in Somerset House as the Dutch entry for the London Design Biennale. The hydroponic greenhouse is intended to sit on a rooftop, and is powered by solar energy harvested from the glass walls of the structure.

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Scalloped cage fronts 18-square-metre corner apartment in Buenos Aires

Argentinian studio IR Arquitectura has transformed a leftover corner of a 1950s building in Buenos Aires into this small apartment, using built-in furniture and a caged balcony.

Tiny El Camarin apartment by IR Arquitectura

Called El Camarin, the renovated residence is located in Charcarita – a neighbourhood in the north-central portion of Argentina’s capital.

Tiny El Camarin apartment by IR Arquitectura

It occupies a triangular portion that was left empty after the mid-century building was broken up into different spaces.

The main building’s street corner is chamfered, giving the apartment an unusual shape. IR Arquitectura describes it as an “ochava”, which translates to chamfer.

Tiny El Camarin apartment by IR Arquitectura

“This small apartment, residual product of the fragmentation of a property built in the 1950s in the neighbourhood of Chacarita, forms an ‘ochava’ on the first floor with visuals open to the outside as exposed to the curious look from the street,” said IR Arquitectura in a project description.

Tiny El Camarin apartment by IR Arquitectura

To make the most of this unusual setting, the firm extended the front of the building with a curved terrace, adding an extra seven square metres to the existing 18-square-metre space.

Tiny El Camarin apartment by IR Arquitectura

Curved white mesh sections on the front offer street views and allow in plenty of natural light, while maintaining the privacy of the residents.

A series of similar caged balconies also flank a concrete tower that architecture firm Adamo-Faiden has recently completed in the city.

Tiny El Camarin apartment by IR Arquitectura

At El Camarin, plant pots and wooden stools decorate the balcony, with white beams and glass over the top. Folding glass doors with wooden frames open into the apartment behind, to let light in colder months and be opened up during hotter weather.

“The incorporation of spaced enclosures offers a new device, a diaphragm able to expand the use of the apartment in summer and to contract it in winter,” said the firm.

Tiny El Camarin apartment by IR Arquitectura

To make the most of the small and irregular space inside, IR Arquitectura designed built-in furniture for the other two walls, which serves the living room in between.

Tiny El Camarin apartment by IR Arquitectura

Cabinetry on one side features a small kitchen and encloses the bathroom behind. White doors with circular blue handles open to reveal the fridge and the washing machine, while another folds down to form a table that can be used for eating or as a study desk.

Tiny El Camarin apartment by IR Arquitectura

Shelving is arranged along the other wall to form a mini library for the residents’ books. A stepped platform is built up behind this, forming a bench and desk at the lower level, and the bed at the top.

Cushions and bedding in muted hues, greenery, and other possessions pick on the tones of the tiled entrance, adding splashes of colour to the otherwise neutral interior of white furniture and grey flooring.

Tiny El Camarin apartment by IR Arquitectura

As cities becoming increasingly dense, El Camarin joins a number of tiny residences that pack a punch in a small amount of space. Others include a 24-square-metre São Paulo flat with multi-functional furniture and a New York apartment that functions like one twice its size.

Photography is by Fernando Schapochnik.

Project credits:

Project team: Luciano Intile, Enrico Cavaglià, Fermín Indavere, Esteban Basili, Guillermo Mirochnic, Rodrigo Perez de Pedro, Cecile Elbel, Sabine Uldry, Tommaso Polli.

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WantedDesign founders awarded France’s Order of Arts and Letters

French duo Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, the co-founders and directors of New York’s WantedDesign fair, have received France’s Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for promoting the country’s design talent in the US.

Hainaut and Pijoulat will receive the award, which is credited as one of France’s highest honours, in recognition of their endeavours to bolster cultural relationships between the US and France.

“We are very honoured and proud to be part of the 2018 promotion receiving the prestigious title of ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’,” said the duo in a joint statement.

“We feel highly grateful, and hope we will be able to trigger more French-American cultural exchanges and friendship in 2019 and beyond.”

Zero Waste Bistro
Hainaut and Pijoulat are the co-founders of WantedDesign, which celebrated its eighth edition last year with installations like the Zero Waste Bistro

The pair established New York’s annual WantedDesign as a platform for showcasing design in 2011. The annual event has featured several French talents, such as Francois Brument, Philippe Nigro, Matali Crasset and Francois Azambourg

WantedDesign is also the main partner of the Oui Design Initiative, which was set up in 2016 to formally boost the cultural relationship between France and the US.

As part of Oui Design, Hainaut and Pijoulat produced the Transatlantic Creative Exchange, which teamed French and American designers to work on projects together, to be presented at WantedDesign.

Prior to meeting in New York in 2010, Hainaut and Pijoulat had both gained a varied experience in the industry. Hainaut, who was born in Paris, worked at the French international Design and Branding agency Raison Pure, moving to New York with the company in 1999.

Eight years later, she set up the city’s Gallery R’Pure, which is dedicated to collectible design.

Pijoulat was born in Annecy and moved to the New York to work in the US for French design house Roche Bobois. She left the company to focus on her own projects in 2010 – the same year she met Hainaut.

The duo organise WantedDesign to coincide with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), which takes place every May. It is celebrated as the “largest international off-site design exhibition in the history of New York City”.

WantedDesign’s inception marked the beginning of a New York design week. Planning for the citywide NYCxDesign festival began just one year later – Hainaut and Pijoulat were included in the committee – and the inaugural event took place in 2013.

Camille Walala at Wanted Design
Other highlights from last year’s WantedDesign event included this Memphis-style mural on a Brooklyn building

WantedDesign is a major part of the annual festival, and involves simultaneous showcases at Manhattan’s Terminal Stores and Brooklyn’s Industry City, as well as retail space. Highlights of last year’s installations included a Brooklyn building painted with Memphis-style graphics and a pop-up restaurant built from recycled food packaging.

France’s Order of Arts and Letters was established in 1957 to recognise those contributing to the country’s arts and culture activities.

Granted by the French Minister of Culture, it contains three grades that recipients can progress up. Hainaut and Pijoulat will receive the first tier, which is Chevalier, or Knight, while the upper two include Commander and then Officer.

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Bose sunglasses are also headphones and can make calls

American audio brand Bose’s latest product is a pair of sunglasses that let the wearer listen to music, make calls and access augmented-reality experiences.

Simply called Frames, the eyewear has a set of tiny, focused speakers in its arms that offer a listening experience similar to standard headphones.

Bose sunglasses are also headphones and can make calls

The wearable is an innovation on two fronts: first, it delivers personal audio without sitting in or directly over the ears, and second, it promises sound-based augmented-reality (AR) content.

“Bose Frames are both revolutionary and practical,” said Bose Frames director Mehul Trivedi. “They look and act like classic sunglasses — until you turn them on. And then you’re connected to your phone, contacts, the web, and all its audible content, just like headphones.”

Bose sunglasses are also headphones and can make calls

“There’s nothing else like them — they’re a breakthrough you have to see, wear and hear to believe,” continued Trivedi.

Unlike what is usually referred to as AR, Bose’s platform won’t use the visual sense. It won’t overlay information on a screen like Google Glass or smartphone-based applications such as Pokémon GO.

Instead, it is audio that will be overlaid on the physical world, with Bose Frames drawing on a nine-axis head motion sensor and the GPS from a paired iOS or Android device to sync up AR experiences with the wearer’s immediate reality.

Bose sunglasses are also headphones and can make calls

Bose expects to launch the first AR experiences a few months after Frames’ initial realise in January 2019, and promises to share an update at SXSW in March.

The brand highlights fitness, travel, learning, entertainment and gaming as possible uses for the Bose AR platform.

Bose sunglasses are also headphones and can make calls

The nylon frames come in two styles — a square, Ray Ban-esque model, and a rounder, slightly smaller design.

Both are matt black, with gold-plated steel hinges and charging pins. A pair of Frames weighs 45 grams — within the range of a standard pair of sunglasses.

A small microphone is embedded in the Frames, enabling voice control through Siri or Google Assistant and for the user to hold phone conversations. There is also a multi-function button near the right temple.

Bose sunglasses are also headphones and can make calls

Frames marks a new, third product category for Bose, which usually makes speakers and headphones.

It first announced it would be developing the Bose AR platform at this year’s SXSW, where it also unveiled concept designs for what would become Frames.

Bose sunglasses are also headphones and can make calls

At the time, it said it was collaborating with ASICS Studio, Strava, TripAdvisor, TuneIn and Yelp to develop apps for the platform, and that it would invest up to US$50 million (£39 million) in funding start-ups to do the same.

It is the first significant AR platform to focus on audio experiences, with Facebook and Apple among the major companies leaning into visual AR.

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