// Blog Archive
Amidst the financiapocalypse, Cleveland, Ohio, has 13,000 homes and other structures in such disrepair that they need to be torn down. It’s a $4 billion job. And at least one designer is trying to find the bright side.
Daniel Cuffaro, department chair at the Cleveland Institute of Art and founder of Abeo Design, has created a modular workspace called the Hive Workstation. It’s similar to the premium corporate furnishings offered by companies like Steelcase, but there’s a key difference: Hive is built from the failed housing projects of Cleveland itself. Every piece has a secondary purpose, to “literally create value from the rubble of economic collapse.”
“From a design perspective, the biggest challenge is creating something that does not look like an old wood shed!” Cuffaro tells Co.Design. And his greatest asset in this task may be local groups A Piece of Cleveland andBenchmark Craftsmen. Together, they reclaim materials from old buildings, and cost-effectively de-nail and refinish them, transforming otherwise junked wood into the stuff of premium furniture.
Very few people have stepped inside Google’s data centers, and for good reason: our first priority is the privacy and security of your data, and we go to great lengths to protect it, keeping our sites under close guard. While we’ve shared many of ourdesigns and best practices, and we’ve been publishing our efficiency data since 2008, only a small set of employees have access to the server floor itself.
Today, for the first time, you can see inside our data centers and pay them a virtual visit. On Where the Internet lives, our new site featuring beautiful photographs byConnie Zhou, you’ll get a never-before-seen look at the technology, the people and the places that keep Google running.
Fourteen years ago, back when Google was a student research project, Larry and Sergey powered their new search engine using a few cheap, off-the-shelf servers stacked in creative ways. We’ve grown a bit since then, and we hope you enjoy this glimpse at what we’ve built. In the coming days we’ll share a series of posts on theGoogle Green Blog that explore some of the photographs in more detail, so stay tuned for more!
In an abandoned warehouse on New York’s Lower East Side, a radical new kind of park is taking shape. Among the peeling paint and old neon signs advertising food, fruit, and meat, an intensive period of design development has yielded a prototype of the LowLine, an underground park whose name riffs off Chelsea’s now-famous High Line.
On April 6, the LowLine, it was merely a pie-in-the-sky pitch. Now, 600 individually rendered pieces of anodized aluminum make up a 36-foot-radius canopy suspended over a piece of cozy park.
The project is into its next and much more real phase: an exhibit of the underground park prototype, a proof of concept which will be free and open to the public until the end of this month. In partnership with Audi and Columbia University, A First Glimpse of a Future Underground, does indeed feel like just that–a peephole into what a new, green, subterranean landscape could be.
The web-like structure–designed by Edward Jacobs and Brandt Graves is an exercise in bringing a design sensibility to NASA space telescope technology. It culminated in brute strength, as the assembly was hoisted to the ceiling so as to look like it’s levitating. The exhibit is essentially a core sample of what all 60,000 square feet of the LowLine park, a stone’s throw away from the exhibit, would eventually look like–a subterranean, dreamlike space in the middle of the city.
At the heart of the project is a network of tubes, which bring sunlight where there was none before. “With the solar technology that James invented, we now have the chance to make use of space which wasn’t possible by horticultural standards before,” says Misty Gonzalez, the lead environmental designer for the project. “A lot of space exists that we don’t use well enough. We don’t need more or new.”
The technology to create a sunlit, underground, green park is complex. Using six tubes called collimators controlled by a computer and GPS system, the system channels natural sunlight 15 feet down through a series of lenses and suspended reflectors, which then bounce light back onto the anodized aluminum parabolic curve. The lens-and-curve method of light diffusion is essentially the same as that used by the James Webb Space telescope–“a large, infrared-optimized space telescope” that is being developed to observe stars forming under extreme conditions. For the LowLine’s life-size prototype, the curve shape was made entirely of flat pieces to obviate the need for tooling, the cost of which could have run into the millions of dollars. Instead, each piece was laser or water-jet cut and fabricated entirely in Brooklyn, right across the river.
In spite of the high-tech nature of the project, the team members emphasize the idea of a forest floor: “It’s like you’re walking in the forest, and you turn a corner and see a fallen tree illuminated in a shaft of light,” James analogizes. It’s that element of the unexpected that James hoped visitors to the exhibit opening last Saturday would experience. “People will turn a dark corner, be confronted with this, and just be taken aback by the magic.”
The LowLine has more exhibits, fundraisers, events, and outreach planned. Constantly engaging their stakeholders, they will be submitting a formal proposal for the former trolley site as early as next year.
The easiest way for always-struggling airlines to maximize revenue is to get people sitting in their premium seats. Without buying new planes or rethinking routes, business class means that precious plane real estate can sell for more per square foot. But what do the airlines really have to work with? Space is finite. Serve them food, a glass of wine, and what else? Design the space better.
So in the late 2000s, Lufthansa invited designers to reimagine their business class seats. “Basically since Lufthansa had designed the previous seat the business class market had moved on significantly. It was necessary to introduce a fully flat bed which up to now had not been Lufthansa’s offer,” explains Luke Pearson of PearsonLloyd. But they had one big requirement: While other airlines had rotated chairs like Tetris pieces to make reclining possible, Lufthansa wanted all seats to face the direction of travel for optimal flyer comfort.
PearsonLloyd ended up winning the contract with a novel approach, by shaping the seats like a V. It sounds intimate at first, with two passengers facing in toward one another. But ultimately, this places passengers further apart. And when people actually lay down, their heads are partitioned off by their own consoles. Meanwhile, this hypotenuse-like approach buys precious leg room. The beds recline to almost 6.5 feet in length.
“This principle is not unique in aviation seating design,” Pearson admits. “However, the way in which the layout we utilised within the aircraft and the specific functions of the seat are unique to this design and Lufthansa in this case.” Indeed, it was the small details, details carved out over several years of mockups, user testing, then test flights, that didn’t just make their design as spacious as possible, but as comfortable as possible.
I asked Pearson why many of these pretty obvious improvements hadn’t been made before, why if V-shaped seating is so efficient, it wasn’t simply implemented in the first place?
“Simply because design and engineering knowledge evolves,” he responded. “People never arrive immediately at the optimum solution.” Which makes you wonder, with a few more great ideas, how wonderful could Lufthansa’s next new business class be?
02 Jul / Element fan by Big Ass Fans
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Markus Kayser, like so many humans before him, is fascinated by the sun. The 28-year-old German has made a name for himself designing objects that harness, or mimic, the flaming star at the center of our solar system. For example, the project that launched Kayser’s career, Solar Sinter, used a solar-powered 3D printer to shape objects from sand in the Egyptian desert.
At the opening of Design Miami/Basel on Monday, Kayser introduced LIGHTzeit, another project based on the effects of the sun. But unlike Solar Sinter, LIGHTzeit seeks to recreate natural light in an indoor setting, artificially.
Commissioned by W Hotels as part of their Designer of the Future Award, Kayser’s chandelier looks like a humble fluorescent tube mounted on a rotating fixture. But as the tube light slowly rotates, the tone and brightness of the light change to mimic the natural conditions outside. The tube will have made a full 360-degree revolution by the time the day is over.
There’s also a geographic component to the piece. On the floor next to the light, a halved metal globe stands on a pedestal. A lasercut map of the earth is mounted inside - point its metal hands at a particular location, and the light adjusts to mimic what time of day it is there. Kayser, who is heading to MIT for a Master’s program next year, describes his work as an attempt to overcome the conflict between nature and technology. He’s hoping that LIGHTzeit will bring a little of nature’s spontaneity to artificial environments.
“Most artificial light sources are entirely static,” explains the designer in a brief. The idea with LIGHTzeit (which will hang in W Hotel properties), is to replicate “how natural light constantly changes through motion, intensity and color rendering.”
Hamburg based german-japanese firm kawahara krause architects have developed ‘line, surface, space’ for the 2012 summer architectural triennial in hamburg, germany. The installation plays with the perception of space. It is a fragile structure of threads stretching from floor to ceiling that seems to dissolve and recompose into new appearances in the room. Varying between transparent and closed surfaces, the spatial perception changes with each step taken through the exhibition.
It is erected on the plan of three interlocking twisted squares of different sizes. While the threads of the outer box suggest the edges of an imaginary area, the more densely arranged strings move toward the middle appearing to create surfaces. The ordinary filaments evolve into lines in space that create facades which seem to comprise of volumes. Profiles and faces overlap in various constellations to develop a fragile structure that grows and changes its appearance on approaching, walking around or through it.
12 May / Camper Lyon by Studio Makkink & Bey
When Dutch designers Rianne Makkink and Jurgen Bey were commissioned by Camper to design a footwear store in Lyon, France, they appropriately looked to the basic movements of walking for inspiration.
‘Walking, as the most primary way of moving through space, has shaped the interior design with its lines of movement and the physical structures that form the landscapes in which we walk,’ Bey says.
The shop is filled with the illusion of walkable spaces, as graphic line drawings of staircases, stepladders and ladders cover the walls and floors. Amongst these images there are also real stairs and stools amongst the store – outlined with red edges – which are used to display shoes or offer shoppers a place to sit and try products.
‘To achieve modularity, we’ve designed furniture in various sizes and made the entire structure stand on its own: it’s a box that slots inside the existing store space,’ Makkink explains. The ‘prêt-à-porter’ designs can be moved throughout the store, adding to the shop’s mixed sense of perspective.
Photos courtesy Sanchez y Montoro.
- Graphic Design
- Industrial Design