Steel Mesh Kraken Sunken Off British Virgin Islands to Create an Artificial Reef

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http://weburbanist.com/?p=108012

[ By SA Rogers in Destinations & Sights & Travel. ]

Perched atop the Kodiak Queen, a former WW2-era Navy fuel barge, this 80-foot ‘Kraken’ now serves as the base of an artificial reef and marine research station on the ocean floor near the British Virgin Islands. The project, entitled BVI Art Reef, accomplishes a range of goals all at once: saving a decorated ship from destruction, transplanting coral to a new site in the hopes that it will flourish, creating an epic dive site and underwater art gallery, and providing a new habitat for marine life.

Photographer Owen Buggy documented the process, from the early stages of building the massive sea monster to sinking it in April 2017 to checking out the results a few months later. Sunken off the coast of the island Virgin Gorda with the help of tugboats and helicopters, the installation is already helping to rehabilitate heavily over-fished marine populations. Filmmaker Rob Sorrenti also got some great footage, presented as a documentary entitled ‘The Kodiak Queen,’ which is due for release in early 2018.

“This is the story of learning from past lessons and coming together to create something greater; rooted in joy and fueled by the power of play,” reads the BVI website. “This is the story of a group of friends from around the world who fell in love with the BVIs… and turned a weapon of war into a platform for unity – and a catalyst for new growth. This charitable kick-off in the British Virgin Islands combine art, ocean conservation, world history, marine science and economy… to solve a series of challenges in the BVIs by asking: how can we use play and collaboration to install permanent solutions that boost the local economy, secure the prosperity of these pristine islands for generations to come?”

“Our solution: a fantasy art eco-dive and ocean conservation site that puts the BVIs on the map as having one of the most unique and meaningful dive sites in the world… and one of the most forward-thinking approaches to creative problem solving that secures the education of its youth, and the health and prosperity of this island nation.”

Get updates on the project at the BVI Art Reef Facebook page.

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[ By SA Rogers in Destinations & Sights & Travel. ]

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Cutting Corners: LOT-EK’s 21-Box Sliced Shipping Container Home in NYC

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http://weburbanist.com/?p=107895

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Rising up from its corner lot like a ship on a wave, this shipping container home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is a stunning private residence made from sliced, diced and strategically reassembled cargo boxes.

The cut containers were flipped and reassembled to avoid waste, reusing various angled sections generated through diagonal slicing (images by Danny Bright). Moving through the home, the logic of these cuts becomes increasingly clear.

Designed by LOT-EK, a firm famous for its industrial-style containertecture, the corrugated facade is spliced with vertical windows along the sides. Along the front and back, container ends open up for larger views and terraced roof access — there are outdoor spaces at each level, given privacy thanks to the angled cuts. Below, those same cuts provide a natural opening for the building’s sunken entry, garage and cellar.

Social living, dining and kitchen spaces are on the first floor. The inside is also shaped by the slice angles, forming spaces like a media room with bleacher seating and a projector. Upper levels include bedrooms, play areas and other private spaces.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

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This Copy of the Book ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Can Only Be Read When Heated

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http://weburbanist.com/?p=108008

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

Science, art and dystopian fiction come together in a fascinating new project that puts a highly appropriate heat-sensitive twist on Ray Bradbury’s classic novel, Fahrenheit 451. Charles Nypels Laboratory, which is part of Holland’s Jan van Eyck Academie, an institute for fine art and design, collaborated with graphic design collective Super Terrain to create a very special edition of the book. Check out the effect in their video below.

Made in a lab, the pages are coated in thermochromic pigment, which disappears when a flame is held close to it (but not too close – you don’t want to actually reenact a major plot point of Fahrenheit 451, in which all books are contraband, and any that are found must be burned by ‘firemen.’) In the comments on the Instagram post, the designers note that the book will turn black again once it cools down, so you’d use a whole lot of lighter fluid (or matches) to read the whole thing.

This week our colleagues from Super Terrain are working in the Lab as a last stop on their all-over-Europe printing adventures,” says the Charles Nypel Lab on Instagram. “They showed us this remarkable book they made ‘Fahrenheit 451.’”

(h/t My Modern Met)

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[ By SA Rogers in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

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Preserving Architectural Gems: 8 Beijing Hutong Plug-Ins Update Historic Shells

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http://weburbanist.com/?p=107971

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Passing through historic Beijing neighborhoods, seeing only the preserved street-facing facade, you’d never know that surprisingly modern structures contrast with aging surfaces within the courtyards just out of sight. Instead of just demolishing the ‘hutong’ courtyard houses found only in this Chinese city, architects are adapting them to modern life, slotting houses, hostels, museums, tea houses, cinemas and more under the existing roofs.

Tea House by Archstudio

In a truly stunning adaptation, Archstudio has completed a tea house and cafe within an existing hutong house, enclosing it from above with new roofs while leaving atriums open for bamboo and other greenery. The intervention connects the site’s five existing structures with a glazed corridor following the path of the original courtyard, forming three tea houses with their own unique views.

Twisting Courtyard by Archstudio

A river of glossy grey bricks streams through the courtyard of a Siheyuan house in the Paizihutong area of Beijing, upgrading the historic architecture with spaces that meet modern requirements of living. Archstudio‘s stunning pathway arches over the new volumes and even continues right into the dining room as part of the floor.

Mini Hostel Inside Hutong by ZAO / standardarchitecture

The firm ZAO / standard architecture inserted a small hostel inside a renovated Beijing hutong, exploring the potential of small-scale accommodations that slot right into the city’s existing architecture instead of displacing it. The glazed facades of volumes made of board-formed concrete project into the courtyard, facing each other (in some cases, with views of toilets, much to the horror of many Westerners looking at these images.) “The result is an architectural operation that brings back the courtyard as generator of the program, as it activates the building by creating a direct relationship with its urban context.”

Lai Yard House by Minggu Design

Tucked away behind weathered brick facades near the ancient city wall of Beijing, this courtyard home was crumbling. Minggu Design protects and preserves the original Chinese architecture while enhancing and adapting it for the 21st century, inserting volumes made of wood and glass to complement the surroundings without overpowering them. They used the new volumes to intentionally block and filter light to the original interior, creating a tranquil cave-like feel.

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[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

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LURVIG for Pets: IKEA Debuts its First Line of Animal Furniture & Accessories

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http://weburbanist.com/?p=107824

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

Made to be compatible with other IKEA furnishings and fixtures, this new first-of-its kind pet collection has something for all your favorite furry friends.

The 62-piece collection was designed by Inma Bermudéz and aims to fill a market gap with quality, aesthetically pleasing but affordable pet products.

Some of the objects extend existing uses, helping customers save money and space, like kitty-scratching materials that attach to existing IKEA table legs or puppy beds that slot into bookshelf systems already on offer.  A number of the products are designed to pack flat and fold away when not in use.

The designs reflect extensive research into pet needs and behaviors, including a bed designed to be stuffed with old clothes, blankets and towles to help dogs feel comfortable and familiar around their human family.

Aside from pet sleepers and carriers, the LURVIG line features an array of brushes, bowls, leashes, bag dispensers spanning eating, playing, sleeping, traveling, walking.and other cat and dog activities.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in this stellar new collection is that no one at IKEA thought to do this sooner — thankfully, now they have.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

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Floating Tent: Pole-Free Inflatable Structure Pops Up in Minutes

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[ By SA Rogers in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

Camping season may be just about over for the casual fair-weather enthusiast, but in any case, here’s a fun piece of gear to add to your Christmas wishlist. Have you ever gone paddle boarding or kayaking, and wished you could just sleep out on the water? Or maybe you’ve fantasized about living in a houseboat, but owning one is a bit impractical. The ‘Shoal Tent’ by SmithFly is like a cheaper, more casual version of heavy-duty floating fishing tents, and it’s way easier to set up.

Noting that 70% of the surface of the Earth is covered in water, the Ohio-based outdoor goods retailer offers an inflatable floating raft with a tent topper that lets you sleep out on the water, and requires no poles to set up. You just use a pump to fill the three raft body air chambers and tent frame with air to make the world “your waterbed.”

Since the tent floor is inflated, your air mattress is built right in, and it features a 6” drop to keep you dry, along with heavy-duty waterproof fabric and sturdy #8 zippers. The top and sides attach with velcro, so you can get in and out easily if you need to (no struggling to position the door just right.)

The tent features an 8’x8’ footprint and can sleep people up to 6’3” tall, with the same standing room height in the center. It packs down to a burrito-roll-style bag and comes with a patch kit and manual foot pump. At 50 pounds, it’s not exactly lightweight, but depending on your plans, it’s probably worth it. It’s currently on pre-order sale at a discount for $1274.15, with an MSRP of $1499.

Padding Around: 12 Cozy Wearable Sleeping Bags

Sleepwalkers like camping too, and now they can stay warm while they wander! These 12 wearable sleeping bags combine the best features of traditional sleeping bags and insulated hiking clothes, ...

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[ By SA Rogers in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

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Nice Slice: 30+ Sculptures & Illustrations Created with Cut Paper

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http://weburbanist.com/?p=107918

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

Hand most people some paper and an X-acto knife and ask them to make art, and at best, they’ll produce some cartoonish shapes spattered with blood. But these twelve artists are producing some of the world’s most impressive papercut art, whether by laboring over astonishingly intricate tapestries for months at a time or making use of clever minimalism for a surprisingly big impact.

Sea Creatures by Kiri Ken

Sea creatures and other natural subjects become the slightest wisps of paper in these extraordinarily delicate and detailed paper cuts by artist Kiri Ken, who shares her work on Twitter. The creatures often become something slightly unnatural in the textures and lines Kiri applies to their various parts, sprouting mechanical objects or patterns that look computerized.

Nature Scenes by Pippa Dyrlaga

Each teeny-tiny feather on a kingfisher’s wing, each scale on the body of a goldfish, is cut out with seemingly endless patience and unfailing accuracy in works by Yorkshire-based artist and printmaker Pippa Dyrlaga.

Anatomy by Ali Harrison

Ali Harrison’s versions of human organs are quite a bit prettier than the real thing, each one given surprising depth and heft despite being cut out of ordinary sheets of paper. The artist designs each one and then laser-cuts them so they can be reproduced. She sells them in her Light and Paper shop.

Endangered Species Cut-Outs by Patrick Cabral

Wolves, elephants, pangolins, tigers, pandas and more are rendered starkly in black and white cut paper against a black surface, each layer of their lace-like faces and bodies cut by hand. Manila-based artist Patrick Cabral donated half the proceeds from the sales of each of these endangered species to WWF Philippines.

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KISS & Mark Up: 10 Bizarre KISS Branded Products

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http://weburbanist.com/?p=107786

[ By Steve in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

KISS and its hustling frontman Gene Simmons continue to raise the rock music merchandising bar, licensing thousands of products ranging from banal to bizarre.

KISS my buns? Only if they’re KISS Super-Spicy Chili Tomato meat buns, because one would naturally expect KISS-branded steamed meat-filled buns to be… Hotter Than Hell! Partnering with Japan’s Circle K Sunkus convenience stores (strange things really are afoot at the Circle K) to promote KISS’s late-2013 Japanese concert tour, these frighteningly lava-like buns cost $1 each and were packaged in one of five collectible paper wrappers: one for each band member plus one more featuring the entire band.

The buns are embossed with the well-known KISS logo and their odd grey coloration comes from edible bamboo charcoal. Inside, super-spicy habanero chilies add a fitting dose of demonic heat. Sorry, Red Hot Chili Peppers, looks like Gene Simmons & Co stole your thunder. Kudos to Rocketnews24 for reporting on this weird but tasteful marketing gimmick.

KISS Gene Simmons Inflatable Tongue

What’s cosplay without prosthetics and what’s a Gene Simmons Demon outfit without a KISS Inflatable Tongue? In fact, forget the cosplay and outfit, just go with the tongue – always a winning strategy (unless your name’s Harvey Weinstein).

This official KISS product supposedly inflates to 3 times its original size… think The Grinch but MUCH more disturbing. The package also bears a cautionary “Warning: Choking Hazard” blurb though were not sure if the user or the usee is at risk… maybe both. If you dare, check out this video from Scott Vs Box as our hero, Scott, unboxes the tongue.

KISS Matryoshka Nesting Dolls

Does Putin know about this? Never mind, he’s probably got an autographed set of his own. KISS Rock And Roll Nesting Dolls take the classic Russian Matryoshka concept to a very strange universe indeed. One wonders what goes through the minds of the aging babushkas employed to hand-craft these “stunning glossy” dolls, though it’s probably not the extended version of “Beth”. Offered by The Russianstore, est. 1992 – just after the fall of communism. Thanks, Yeltsin.

KISS Frozen Ice Bars

You’ll have to go all the way back to 1980 (and all the way to Australia, no less) to find KISS Ice Blocks, “a frozen thunderbolt of refreshing flavour”. Manufactured by Peters Ice Cream, the way-cool bars did NOT feature the face of “Cat Man” Peter Criss, who had been fired from the band before KISS left for their hugely successful KISS Monster Tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Instead of Cat-Man Criss, Eric “The Fox” Carr peers out from the 10-pack box. As for the ice bars themselves, they feature bands of frozen cola, raspberry and lemonade. Yum! Check out a make-up-free Paul and Gene plugging the bars in this short (1:22) official video from Peters.

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[ By Steve in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

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A New Spin: 125-Year-Old Windmill Turned into a Towering Guest House

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http://weburbanist.com/?p=107155

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

From barns and sheds to windmills, rural farm structures have a habit of falling into disrepair when they cease to serve their old functions. In Suffolk, England, one such old structure has found new life as a guest house.

Beech Architects saw the stump of an old windmill on the site as an opportunity to expand the living space of the main farmhouse nearby. At 60 feet tall, the spacious structure now houses two bedrooms, a dining/kitchen area and bathroom.

On the top, where the cap and sails were lost decades ago, a new viewing pod was installed to provide panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Though architects designed the addition, the homeowner acted as the builder and hired subcontractors and suppliers for specific tasks.

“The design objectives were to reinstate the lost cap structure and restore the redundant and crumbling windmill to its former landmark status via contemporary design interventions,” said the architects.

The cap and entry diverge from the historical aesthetic of the main structure, but also serve to illustrate what parts of the building are original and which have been added. The curved form of the cap uses a special timber rib system that also provides strength and stability, helping it resist wind forces at its exposed and elevated location.

Everything about the project was complicated by curves. New cladding had to be custom-fit to the exterior. Inside, the lack of straight lines made structural retrofits challenging, and also resulted in a series of rounded furniture and fixtures. A series of staircases spiral up each floor to the final fourth level with the viewing platform.

The building has won a variety of accolades, including awards from the 2016 National Roofing Awards, Structural Timber Awards and a nomination for an RIBA Regional Awards 2017.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

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Trippy Tiles: Optical Illusion Installation Will Mess with Your Brain

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http://weburbanist.com/?p=107781

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

Looking at this picture, it seems pretty obvious that something is seriously wrong with the floor… right? And yet, as we should all know by now, things aren’t always as they seem, no matter how hard our brains try to reconcile the fact that a flat surface can look so believably sunken on one side. It’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around the fact that the effect is achieved simply by warping the shape of the tiles as they’re applied to the floor.

Casa Ceramica Tile Company created the illusion for the entrance to their own showroom in Manchester, UK. People must have had a hard time believing that the tiles are really flat from initial photos posted to Instagram and Twitter, because the company posted subsequent photos and videos of the installation process, saying “Like our entrance floor made from tiles #sorrynotsorry.”

Apparently, the illusion only works from one direction, and when visitors are exiting the building, it looks like a normal tile walkway.

Unsurprisingly, the illusion blew up on Twitter and became something of an internet sensation. You might dig through the company’s website or Instagram hoping for more optical illusions, but it looks like most of their work is pretty standard. Maybe this project will get them some fun commissions.

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[ By SA Rogers in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

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