21 February, 2014

a modular mini-house in the Brazilian countryside

Architecture collective MAPA of Brazil and Uruguay has built a prefabricated modular home and transported it by lorry to a picturesque spot in the countryside outside Porto Alegre, Brazil. MAPA Architects it's a binational collective that works on architectural projects in Brazil and Uruguay. From this double geographical condition, MAPA explores the limits of non-conventional production formats. The studio has originally established itself from professional and academic grounds: two complementary fields that create and shape its work.

MINIMOD proposes an innovative, intelligent and sustainable alternative of dwelling. Starting from a minimal module, MINIMOD invests in customisation, design and sustainability. The production is carried out in a prefabricated manner and enjoys the steel frame system technology, which lets the client adapt the space to his needs, choosing among different finishes, as well as automation options. Depending on the composition of the modules, MINIMOD can vary the uses ranging from a compact refuge for weekends, a small showroom for events, up to hotels and inns, combining a larger number of modules. The modules are 100% prefabricated and elevated to a determined place by truck or disassembled into smaller pieces and taken to the ground for final assembly. The expansion and addition of new modules can be performed either at initial installation or in the middle of the process, according to the needs and budgets of the client. MINIMOD is more than a product of design, is more than a house. It's practicality combined with comfort, it's economy allied to nature, it's a unique experience of housing and contemporary living. [1]

Matto bar & pizzeria

Matto means crazy mad or wild in Italian. Matto is the creation of Yenn Wong, the entrepreneur and mastermind behind the JIA Boutique Hotels. JIA is a collection of residential style boutique hotels and restaurants created for the design-conscious traveler seeking high standards of personal attention without the necessary formality or intrusion. Originally  founded with the opening of the Philippe Starck-designed JIA Hong Kong on March 6, 2004, in the very short time since its opening, the JIA properties have gone on to win  multiple awards including the Conde Nast Hot List, Travel & Leisure It List and other prestigious accolades. [1]

Of course the sheer brilliance of MATTO took everyone by storm as since only 3 months of its opening, it went on to receive the culinary honor of 'Shanghai’s Best Pizza' in the 2012 Food & Drink Awards. [1]

27 January, 2014

a sauna over a lake in Chile

This sauna was built by Panorama Architects, in 2010. The site is situated in Ranco in the Lake District, Chile, over a dark granite rock at the shore surrounded by mountain cypresses. The project consists of a sauna with a roofed terrace and a change room, each of them looking towards different views from the rock to the lake. The three of them connected by a north-south oriented circulation. The interiors are clad in "Alamo", a kind of cottonwood tree; on the other hand the exterior is clad in oak wood because of its strength in harsh weather conditions which will turn grey, similar to the original buildings in the area. This sauna is aimed towards appealing to your senses, apart from soothing a sore body.

enter the Atari arcade

Atari has teamed up with Internet Explorer to bring you the Atari arcade ; a modern take on eight classic atari games built with html5 (no joystick needed). Atari was an early pioneer in the video game industry, in fact, they virtually created the industry with their introduction of the arcade game Pong. The brand name "Atari" was used for many years and applied to several other entities that developed products ranging from arcade video games to home video game consoles to home computers to video games for personal computers. A list of all Atari games released can be found in Wikipedia here. The available games on the arcade are Centipede, Combat, Lunar Lander, Super Breakout, Yars Revenge, Missile Command and of course Asteroids and Pong.

As per the developers : "The Atari Arcade was among the most demanding game development projects because it required full multi-touch, multi-player support across many modern browsers and devices - and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without CreateJS. We’ve rebuilt these games from scratch and we were able to do this project in half the time it would have taken one year ago without these enhancements. There’s no emulation - and everything, from design to code, is completely original in HTML5, CSS3, and JS. It was also a lot of fun." The whole project follows the "rethink the web" initiative sponsored by Microsoft to boost the market penetration of Windows 8 touch platform and Internet Explrer for tables and mobiles. Check out more here. Unfortunately this is also a small issue, since you are prompted to use / download I.E. in order to get an "ad-free experience" (prior to each game start, you have to view an ad).

25 January, 2014

the state of mind of JeeYoung Lee

Sometimes the borders between manipulated perception and reality are somewhat thin. Photography has traditionally explored various mediums and settings to convey the photographers' view, perception or emotions. But when photographs are meticulously staged and environments arranged for weeks on end, then photography loses its artistic position as being the primary means of expressing the artist, and art (either sculpture, painting, or other) comes into the forefront, blurring the separating line between it and photography. Recently graduated from Seoul’s Hongik University in her native South Korea, JeeYoung Lee shoots the invisible. Whereas traditional photography submits extracts of reality to our eyes, the artist offers excerpts from her heart, her memory, or her dreams. Restrained by the inherent limits of the conventional photographic medium, she adds plastic creativity and theatrical performance to it, in order to blow life into her immense needs of expression, and interrogation.

For weeks , sometimes months, she creates the fabric of a universe born from her mind within the confines of her 3 x 6 m studio. She does so with infinite minutiae and extraordinary patience, in order to exclude any ulterior photographic alteration. Thus materialised, these worlds turn real and concretise : imagination reverts to the tangible and the photo imagery of such fiction testify as to their reality.  In the midst of each of these sets stands the artist : those self-portraits however are never frontal, since it is never her visual aspect she shows, but rather her quest for an identity, her desires and her frame of mind. Her imaginary is a catharsis which allows her to accept social repression and  frustrations. The moment required to set the stage gives her time to meditate about the causes of her interior conflicts and hence exorcise them; once experienced, they in turn become portents of hope.

the Septime restaurant in Paris

Before he surrendered to his love of cooking, Bertrand Grébaut already had a degree in literature and had worked as a graphic designer. So it’s no surprise that the delicious market-driven contemporary French dishes that have been tantalizing Paris at his restaurant, Septime, are aesthetically flawless and come seasoned with a subtle literary sensibility. [1] When you arrive at Septime, besides its unnamed blue façade, what is striking is the friendliness and homely simplicity. In Septime the crucial thing may be gastronomy, but they do not forget that the point is to have a good time also. [2] The interior with its sparse details conveys that casual and relaxed atmosphere. Beautiful open kitchen, industrial concrete floor, cool lighting and nice wooden tables. You will also be served by the friendly staff dressed in blue aprons, jeans and sneakers. Read some reviews here and here.

22 January, 2014

sneak peek into other people's lives

Photo and video sharing has become a phenomenon following the success of apps such as Instagram and more recently Snapchat, the platform that lets users send 10-second messages that disappear after they’ve been viewed, and which recently declined a buy-out offer from Facebook worth USD 3 billion. Now a new app could join them ; PeekInToo offers a real-time, virtual glimpse into an anonymous person’s life for just 12 seconds.

PeekInToo is offering a completely new way to perceive and virtually witness anything that is happening around the world, almost in real-time and upon request. Now, you are able to request and receive real-time Peeks - 12 seconds videos from anyplace in the world, anonymously. PeekInToo can do all that by just using your favorite mobile device without having to find or follow any friends in the area of interest. Imagine thousands of Peekers around the world willing to share real-time Peeks from your area of interest. Imagine also being able to request such Peeks whenever you want from places you intend to visit soon or that you would like to travel to in the near future or even instantly gather valuable live content from breaking news incidents. If video from a location of interest isn’t currently available, users can also use the PeekShout function in order to request a feed. Viewers can also rate others’ video. The app is free to download from the App Store, and an Android version is on its way. The video below offers more information about the app:

Humans find other people’s lives endlessly fascinating, and PeekInToo is a global social network that lets users be nosy for a short amount of time. However, to get back to Snapchat, look at what happened with that popular application. Snapchat has announced earlier in January, that it will release an updated version of its photo-sharing app, after a cyber attack exposed the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million users. The new version of the app will allow Snapchatters to opt out of appearing in 'Find Friends' after they have verified their phone number. Find Friends, which allows users to upload their address book contacts to help find friends who are also using the service, is the feature that was exploited by the hackers.

Noteworthy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised Snapchat for creating a new niche for social media communication, calling it a "super interesting privacy phenomenon." Zuckerberg also offered a historical perspective, noting that instant messaging offered a way to communicate between groups and blogs provided a way to share publicly. However, before Facebook, there was nothing in between. [1]

And of course, there is the mobile service called Vine. The app that has been heralded as the “Instagram for Video,” allows users to create and share short video loops. And as mentionned Instagram. And of course the "share your life, voluntarily" pioneers, Facebook and Twitter. What sets however, PeekInToo apart from video and photo sharing apps such as Snapchat, Confide and Blinklink, is that this exchange is between you and a complete stranger, and therefore involves an element of risk and luck. Founder Yiannis Verginadis believes that "in the following years we are going to experience a burst of anonymous social networks." Which, judging from the appearance of anonymous photo app Rando last year, is a claim with merit. [2]

Some more info :

Rando is an experimental photo exchange platform for people who like photography. A rando is an image that is taken by you and sent anonymously to somebody completely random. A rando must be sent for one to be received. It's gifting rather than sharing. You will never know who received the rando, they will never know who sent it. You will know the location of where it landed, the receiver will know where in the world it was taken.

Taking cues from the self-destructive nature of Snapchat's picture messaging system comes Confide, a text-based messenger app that deletes text messages after they've been read and features an innovative scrolling system that prevents screenshots being taken. Arising from a need to occasionally remove the permanence of e-mails or texts, Confide offers people the chance to communicate via text without worrying that their messages will stick around indefinitely – think of it as a more professionally useful version of Snapchat.

to be seen, after all, is to exist.

the 24 solar terms animated illustrations by Oamul

Animated gifs are not usually very pretty, but the Chinese illustrator Oamul has made ​​something beautiful. From this relatively simple technique, his illustrations in motion become smaller stories, the simple and subtle expression. He has worked on a series of 24 animated images on the phases of the lunar calendar, named "the 24 solar terms". In his on words : "The 24 solar terms are from traditional East Asian lunisolar calendars that match a particular astronomical event or signifies some natural phenomenon. I want to record the changing seasons as my own way".

21 January, 2014

the Silt Collection by VW+BS

International design and architecture studio VW+BS has created a collection of tableware pieces, titled Silt. VW+BS has taken an old school material and created new contemporary forms, changing the way in which we perceive them. This time they utilised "purple clay", a material long known in China, out of which the small elaborate teapots used in the serving of black tea were traditionaly made. A very functional European aesthetic was given into forming the material, which resulted in this seven-piece set design. Work was carried out in conjunction with the Taiwanese company Lin’s Ceramics Studio.

The cups, small jug  and bowl are all stackable and the pot lid can be used on all the pieces. The purple clay in this instance is Lin’s Ceramics Studio’s particular brand of Purion ware, which is twice fired over a period of 48 hours in the kiln at a stoneware temperature. Purple clay is prized because of the absorbent qualities of the material, so for this reason the set should never be washed using detergents, but rather with water only, and connoisseurs recommend using each vessel for one blend of tea or coffee.

VW+BS collaborated with creative coffee consultants Dunne Frankowski to create a recipe for the perfect coffee using the Silt collection. The duo researched the qualities of the material devising the best form of preparation when making coffee. During this process, Dunne Frankowski documented a method of heating, steeping and filtering the coffee working with the absorbent qualities of the unglazed purple clay material.

terra.cotto by Stefania Vasques

Inspired by the tradition of cooking with terracotta, designer Stefania Vasques has devised a new line of cookware that makes the most of the material's gradual heat diffusion properties. Vasques' line is a modern vision of terracotta, whose slow, even cooking has come back in vogue. The five (now six) piece range's minimalist, geometric aesthetics mirror the hearty fare that it produces. Vasques has even compiled a cookbook of recipes inspired by the ethos to boot. Designed for Sambonet, the terra.cotto cookware collection is inspired by the popular tradition of cooking with terracotta and explores its gradual heat diffusion properties. Founded in 1856, Sambonet has been at the forefront of kitchenware innovation and design for decades. With this modern interpretation, the minimalist and geometric lines of the collection lend an innovative edge to a traditional material. Perfect for slow-cooking, sauces and casseroles, this collection of pots and pans lends a splash of colour to any interior.

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