Archive for April, 2007

Stalin oldtimers

Posted: April 28, 2007 in creativity
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Stalin was a brutal dictator, so I think describing the decoration of this car as quirky and maybe even wanting to drive it around, would be pretty uncool amongst those for whom Stalin still has some meaning (which probably excludes the majority of the younger generation) … but hey, what the heck .

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Russian (edible) cakes

Posted: April 27, 2007 in creativity
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A real piece of trivia, but nevertheless quite intriguing: these three items supposedly are cakes that are 100% edible. When I look at some of these colours I think I might give them a miss if they would be offered to me, despite all those insurances about their edibility . I have to admit though: they look quite amazing, especially when considering the amount of work that went into them. [This by the way is only a very small selection of these cakes – more can be seen on You Say Too …]

Phillip Toledano

Posted: April 27, 2007 in creativity
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My wonderful (well, most of the time ) friend Harry had a reference on his bozomode blog to Phillip Toledano who creates quite amazing photos. His website has grouped examples of his work in twelve so-called frames, from which I have chosen here three. The first two images appear in a frame titled “Hope and Fear”: “Hope and Fear is the external manifestation of the internal desires and paranoia that are adrift in America”.

The next three example are taken from the “Environment” frame: “There is something reassuring in remaking the world to suit your own imagination”.

These two images are from the “People” frame: “I wanted each shot to be part of a story. As though you’d accidentally picked up the phone, and caught the middle of a conversation”.

And since I just wrote a post on violent video games, I thought I might end this little introduction with a frame called “Video Games”: “I wanted to take portraits of people that would reveal a hidden part of their character. So I had them play video games”.

Japanese treehouse

Posted: April 26, 2007 in creativity
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TAKASHI KOBAYASHI, a clothing buyer turned professional treehouse builder who lives in Kamakura, Japan, was not to the treehouse born. “Japan doesn’t have a tradition of treehouses,” said Mr. Kobayashi, 49. There’s little private land with big trees.But that didn’t stop him from building his first treehouse in 1993, on a piece of land he rented in Tokyo; since then, he has built 25 more, most of them for elementary schools. In September, Dentsu, an advertising agency in Tokyo, hired him to design a treehouse for a Nescafe commercial now running on Japanese television; it shows Mr. Kobayashi and a well-known actor, Toshiaki Karasawa, talking and drinking coffee in the tree. Using driftwood gathered in Obihiro, on the northern island of Hokkaido, Mr. Kobayashi built an oval bird’s nest of a house, 12 feet high and 9 feet in diameter, reached by a circular staircase, for about $38,000. The house is located on a field there owned by the town of Kamishihoro, where it remains an enticing, if off-limits, gift from Nestle, the makers of Nescafe, to the people of Hokkaido. According to Momoko Nakai, an account planner for Nestle at Dentsu, visitors can look but not climb the treehouse. “The treehouse itself is safe”, Ms. Nakai said, but “you never know what happens. People might peek over too far.”

Via New York Times

CH2 Melbourne

Posted: April 25, 2007 in creativity, environment
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When it comes to architecture and design, Melbourne beats every other city in Australia by a mile, especially Sydney. And therefore not surprisingly it set another new standard: for sustainable office tower design and building technology. Completed in 2006, Melbourne’s Council House 2 building, or CH2, as it is known, is the first building in Australia to achieve a six star rating for the design stage from the Green Building Council of Australia.

CH2 is a 10 storey, 12,500 square meters (134,500 square feet) office building located at 240 Little Collins Street. It was designed by DesignInc in collaboration with the City of Melbourne as a ‘healthy building’ which minimises its environmental impact, both during construction and throughout its life. Its many innovative and technological features allow for the harvesting of sunlight, night air, water, wind and rain. which in turn create a more sustainable relationship between building and the external natural environment as well as the internal spaces housing 540 City of Melbourne staff. And from a town planning perspective, the building brings vibrancy to Little Collins St, through new shops, cafes and pedestrian connections.

CH2 has been designed to make us of the planetâ’s ecological cycles, using solar energy, natural light, air and rainwater to power, heat, cool, and provide water to the building. The diagram of the building (see below) schematically shows the many sustainable features incorporated in the building:

Water: CH2 comprehensively recycles and reclaims water; a multi-water treatment plant in the building draws 100,000 litres/day of water from a nearby municipal sewer, and also uses any site-generated waste water; a micro-filtration system creates A-grade clean water suitable for all non-drinking purposes, including on-site water cooling, plant watering, and toilet flushing; the rest is used in other council buildings, city fountains and external plant watering; through this recycling & reclamation approach, the building goes beyond its own needs and actually helps to improve water quality in the city.

Heating & Cooling: CH2’s north facade has 10 dark colored air ducts that absorb heat from the sun; the hot air rises taking the stale air up and out of the building, supported by large wind-powered roof turbines which help cooling the building at night (and generate electricity during the day); the south (shaded) façade has light-colored ducts that draw in 100% fresh air from the roof and distribute it down through the building; the west facade has louvers made from recycled timber that move according to the position of the sun and are powered by photovoltaic roof panels.

Five “shower towers” on the shaded side of the building use evaporative cooling effect to cool air and water; being 1.4 meters in diameter and 13 meters long, they draw air from over 17 meters above street level; inside of them, water droplets evaporate slightly as they use up energy and consequently cool the air around them, lowering air temperature to around 21°C (from around 35°C) and water temperature to 12°C; chilled ceilings help to absorb excess heat from the building and keep it cool and comfortable.

Light: light shelves reflect natural light into the building and enhance the use of natural rather than artificial lighting; glare is also controlled with photovoltaic cell controlled recycled sun-tracking timber louvers (which also help regulating the interior building temperature) and other shading devices; the north facade (in Australia the site of the midday sun) is covered with vegetation to filter sunlight and reduce glare; artificial lighting is controlled by sensors and turned off when adequate natural light is available.

Energy Efficiency: the building’s power systems include photovoltaic cells, rooftop solar hot-water panels, a gas-fired co-generation plant, and rooftop turbines for electricity generation; it consumes 373,012 kWh of electricity and 65,963kWh of gas annually; compared to the previous Council building (c1970), this equals savings of:

  • 82% electricity consumption
  • 87% gas consumption
  • 72% mains water supply
  • 4.9% improvement in staff effectiveness as a result of the healthier building (clean fresh air and non-toxic finishes)

Transport: CH2 encourages people not to use their cars when driving to work or visiting Council; underground parking includes only 20 parking spaces, but 80 bike spaces are provided (plus 9 showers for cyclists).

Financial Savings: Total financial savings of $1.45 million annually, including:

  • $1.12 million through effectiveness and wellbeing improvement.
  • $330,000 in electricity, gas and water

CH2 will pay for its sustainability features, worth $11.3 million, in a decade.

For more information on one of the finest examples of Australian sustainable architecture visit the City of Melbourne CH2 website. The site also includes information on the building cost.

farbrausch fr-041: debris.

Posted: April 24, 2007 in creativity
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These guys won this year’s first price in the PC demo category at breakpoint 07 in Germany. It’s great video rendering and, apart from that, farbrausch packed the whole demo into just 181,248 bytes (!). Below is a LoFi YoTube version of the piece; to download the proper demo, click here.

Another useful project (even though its potential is only partly realised) … via Engadget.

” We’re not entirely sure if Manchester’s CIS Solar Tower will be the world’s grandest solar tower, but in terms of buildings have moved beyond the drawing board, it definitely packs a punch. Reportedly, the flaky construction led to dilapidating walls, which were then replaced by a much greener solution — 7,244 Sharp 80W photovoltaic panels, to be precise. Curiously, only 4,898 of the modules are actually functional, but they still soak up enough sunlight to generate 390-kilowatts of energy, or in layman’s terms, enough juice to “power 1,000 PCs for a year.” Additionally, the roof is home to two dozen wind turbines that generate 10-percent of the total power used in the building. Of course, such an endeavor did ring up at a steep £5.675 million ($11.4 million), but we’re pretty certain this solar panel makeover was concerned with matters other than dollars and cents. Click on through for a top-down shot.”

Banksy

Posted: April 22, 2007 in creativity
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Robert Banks (born 1974), better known as Banksy, is a well-known yet pseudo-anonymous English graffiti artist from Yate near Bristol. His artworks are often satirical pieces of art which encompass topics from politics, culture, and ethics. His street art, which combines graffiti with a distinctive stencilling technique, has appeared in London and in cities around the world. Banksy’s stencils feature striking and humorous images occasionally combined with slogans. The message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-establishment or pro-freedom. Subjects include animals such as monkeys and rats, policemen, soldiers, children and the elderly. He also makes stickers (the Neighbourhood Watch subvert) and sculpture (the murdered phonebox), and was responsible for the cover art of Blur’s 2003 album Think Tank.

 

Rather than giving more background information on Banksy (which for example is available on Wikipedia), I think the best way to portray him is through a number of high profile stunts, which he claimed responsibility for, plus of course his art work. Another place to visit is certainly his website.

  • At London Zoo, he climbed into the penguin enclosure and painted ‘We’re bored of fish’ in seven foot high letters.
  • At Bristol Zoo, he left the message ‘I want out. This place is too cold. Keeper smells. Boring, boring, boring.’ in the elephant enclosure.
  • In January 2001, he travelled to the areas controlled by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in Chiapas, Mexico, and in sign of solidarity with their movement, painted murals with scenes depicting the struggle and also made stencils on the walls of San Cristóbal de las Casas.
  • In March 2005, he placed subverted artworks in the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
  • He put up a subverted painting in London’s Tate Britain gallery.
  • In May 2005 Banksy’s version of a primitive cave painting depicting a human figure hunting wildlife whilst pushing a shopping trolley was found hanging in the British Museum, London. Upon discovery, the museum added it to their permanent collection. [Check out video below]
  • Banksy has sprayed ‘This is not a photo opportunity’ on certain photograph spots.
  • In August 2005, Banksy painted nine images on the Israeli West Bank barrier, including an image of a ladder going up and over the wall and an image of children digging a hole through the wall.
  • In April 2006, Banksy created a sculpture based on a crumpled red phone box with a pickaxe in its side, apparently bleeding, and placed it in a street in Soho, London. It was later removed by Westminster Council. BT released a press release, which said: “This is a stunning visual comment on BT’s transformation from an old-fashioned telecommunications company into a modern communications services provider.”
  • In June 2006, Banksy created an image of a naked man hanging out of a bedroom window on a wall in central Bristol. The image sparked some controversy, with the Bristol City Council leaving it up to the public to decide whether it should stay or go. After an internet discussion in which 97% (all but 6 people) supported the stencil, the city council decided it would be left on the building.
  • In August/September 2006, Banksy replaced up to 500 copies of Paris Hilton’s debut CD, Paris, in 48 different UK record stores with his own cover art and remixes by Danger Mouse. Music tracks were given titles such as “Why am I Famous?”, “What Have I Done?” and “What Am I For?”. Several copies of the CD were purchased by the public before stores were able to remove them, some going on to be sold for as much as A$750 on online auction websites such as eBay. The cover art depicted Paris Hilton digitally altered to appear topless. Other pictures feature her with a dog’s head replacing her own, and one of her stepping out of a luxury car, edited to include a group of homeless people, which included the caption 90% of success is just showing up.
  • In September 2006, Banksy dressed an inflatable doll in the manner of a Guantanamo Bay detainment camp prisoner (orange jumpsuit, black hood, and handcuffs) and then placed the figure within the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. [Check out video below].

 


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A true piece of meaningless trivia: the ‘1945 Jackpot Tourbillon’. Just introduced this week at the Geneva SIHH show, this hautegadget has an actual miniaturized mechanical slot machine just above the hands and tourbillon. Each roller has five symbols , hearts, diamonds, spades, horseshoes, and three liberty bells for jackpot. When the arm on the side is pulled, the spin also activates a striking mechanism of chiming gongs – for those vintage casino sounds.
Via Random Good Stuff

Tango

Posted: April 18, 2007 in creativity
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I’m certainly no ballroom dancer and therefore unable (and unwilling) to dance tango. That though doesn’t prevent me from having an admiration for those who master to translate the sensual fire and passionate inferno into the taught movements of the tango. I love its stylised provocativeness, flirtatious heat and choreographed movements bursting with drama, intensity and sensuality. The pictures, which represent a small selection of tango posters from AllPosters.com intimately capture the tango dancers’ mastery of technique and accuracy of expression.