Innovation
Culture | Virtual Reality
Can VR Save the Movie Theater?

With streaming services becoming larger players in the studio system, and phones that allow movie watching without the need for a computer or television, the movie theater has struggled to stay relevant. A Los Angeles startup called Dreamscape Immersive is offering one solution: a “VR Multiplex” in Century City that will offer untethered VR headsets and an open space allowing customers to interact with both virtual and real objects. 

Culture | Software

House-Flipping Has Come to the Virtual World

The best part of The Sims, the wildly popular life simulation video game, is building and renovating the house the Sims inhabit. This is a proven fact. Finally, there’s a game that lets players focus exclusively on that pursuit without all the boring life stuff, like getting a job or taking a shower. House Flipper, available on Steam for under $20, allows players to flip a fixer-upper in impressively rendered virtual detail with complete creative control.

Culture | Transportation
Numtots Are Exactly the Type of Meme-Making Millennials That City Dwellers Need
Culture | Art
Mariko Mori Investigates String Theory in New Sculpture Series
Culture | Retail
Mattress Innovator Casper to Start Selling Sleep (Yes, That’s Right)

How Design Inspires Creativity in the Workplace

We’re all born with varying degrees of creativity. Companies that want to be competitive and innovative in today’s market are turning to workplace design as a solution to boost creativity. Rapidly, the design community has responded by envisioning projects and products that honor the creative urge in all of us and seek to hone that drive into an even sharper expression of what the contemporary digital workforce is able to accomplish. 

Culture | Science
Neuroscientist Creates Gilded Pieces of Brain Art
Culture | Food
How Architects Infuse Pastries With Precision
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Culture | Science
Need Blacker Than Black Paint? You Got It

Anish Kapoor may have Vantablack all to himself, but he hasn’t cornered the market on all super-black pigments. NASA and NanoLab, a Massachusetts-based nano materials company, together produced a new blacker-than-black paint last year, and this time it’s available to the general public. Singularity Black takes its name from an astronomical theory about the gravitational power at the center of black holes, and is primarily used by NASA to coat observation equipment, absorbing errant light that can otherwise interfere with the instruments’ delicate sensors. 

Culture | Transportation

Konnichiwa, Hello Kitty Shinkansen!

From keychains to bullet trains, Hello Kitty is one successful cartoon cat. The expressionless feline made her shinkansen debut this year on a pink-and-white train that will whisk commuters and tourists between Fukuoka and Osaka. Everything from the windows, seat covers, flooring, and even a specialized photo-op carriage are decked out with Hello Kitty decorations.

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Culture | Art
FreelandBuck Creates Visual Puzzles by Cloning Historical Ceilings
Culture | Art
Designer Spends 10 Years Building Paper Model of a Boeing 777
Culture | Art
Google Street View Helps an Agoraphobic Woman Travel the World
Culture | Fashion

The Arrivals Designs Clothes That Pay Tribute to Architecture

Formerly trained as an architect, and with a stint at Dutch firm UN Studio under his belt, creative director Jeffrey Johnson brings his architectural training and fascination to The Arrivals, creating garments named after prominent architects and engineered for city living. Johnson and his business partner Kal Vepuri have collaborated with 3M and independent Italian tanneries to create waterproof and rubberized materials, keeping in line with what Johnson calls “the requirement of function and the challenge of form.” 

Culture | Architecture
Emojis Double as Gargoyles
Culture | Art
L.A. Selfie Museum Amuses and Educates on the New Millennium’s Favorite Pastime
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Culture | Transportation
Pantone My Ride

Back in the day,  aired an excellent car makeover show called . Hosted by the rapper Xzibit, dying cars weren’t just tuned up – they were transformed into impractical expressions of automotive braggadocio. The cars would have been fine with rudimentary mechanical upgrades, fun colors, and chill lighting, but that was never enough for Xzibit and his team. Thankfully, Xzibit doesn’t have a say in Pantone’s first foray into partnering with the automotive industry, and what and  have produced is exactly what this viewer would have liked to see in a car makeover show. Seven “nature inspired” colors will grace the interior side panels and flooring of Kia’s latest luxury sedan, the K900, and come with an option to be appropriately adjusted to match the time of day and reason for travel. The on-the-record statement, according to Pantone, is to promote the “psychological stability of both the driver and passengers”, but the real reason obviously is to continue the important work first begun by Xzibit and MTV.

Culture | Art

L.A. Selfie Museum Amuses and Educates on the New Millennium’s Favorite Pastime

On April 1, the world’s first selfie museum opened its doors in the L.A. suburb of Glendale. Intended to be a half-way silly, half-way serious examination of the selfie, the museum traces the history of self-portraiture from the Big Bang up to 2018. Visitors are welcome to take photos with life-sized statues of food, sit on an “Iron Throne” of selfie sticks, and get duped by the museum’s bathroom mirror room – where a viewer would expect to see their reflection in the “mirror” they’re instead shocked to only see a photographic replica of the room’s interior within the mirror. These playful but meaningful exhibits seek to undermine the stigma of narcissism associated with selfie culture and instead promote a more nuanced, exploratory attitude towards humanity’s long obsession with making the ephemeral concept of “Self” tangible.

What Will the Jobs of the Future Be?
Culture | Fashion
MIT Creates Tiny Robot Jewelry
Culture | Music
A Water Tank Becomes an Unlikely Performance Venue
Culture | Fashion

IKEA's Beloved Tote Gets a Street Style Boost From Virgil Abloh

IKEA's beloved FRAKTA tote bag is having a fashion moment. After cheekily responding to Balenciaga’s Arena tote with a “How to identify an original IKEA Frakta bag” ad, IKEA announced a collaboration with Virgil Abloh, a designer for the popular streetwear label Off-White. Abloh’s FRAKTA retains the bag's classic shape, but is made with cardboard instead of plastic and reads “SCULPTURE” along the sides. The collaboration will include furniture and design accents, as well. 

Culture | Art
Coachella’s Virtual Reality Dome Delivered an Acid-Free Trip
Culture | Art
Ever Been in a Semi-Anechoic Chamber?
Culture | Art
Atacama Desert Inspires Outdoor Performance Venue by Coz y Ortiz Arquitectos
Culture | Art
Ugo Rondinone Brightens Fundación Casa Wabi With Local Children’s Sketches of the Sun

The Mexican sculptor  made a splash in New York last spring with his temporary brick-wall installation, an interactive public-art piece. But back home, he's been fostering art and community since 2014, when he founded , a nonprofit entity that occupies a  building in Puerto Escondido and mounts exhibitions meant to provide enrichment for locals.

Culture | Manufacturing

Levi’s Aims to Detoxify Jean Manufacturing

Levi’s is introducing a digitizing technique to its manufacturing process called Project FLX (Future-Led Execution) that will eliminate harmful chemicals and reduce the production time of its jeans. The first step in Project FLX is to photograph the denim. Then the data is interpreted via a computer, which will use lasers to etch a distressed pattern onto a pair of jeans. With the initiative, Levi’s aims for zero discharge of hazardous materials and to reduce the amount of chemicals by the year 2020. 

Culture | Augmented Reality
Jeff Koons and Snapchat Create First Location-Based AR Lens
Culture | Art
Murano Glass Factory (Briefly) Resurrected
Culture | Art
Kelly Harris Smith’s WantedDesign Installation Recasts Felt as Space-Maker
Culture | Art

Neon Glows Again at Trendy Restaurants

Once possessing seedy associations, neon is making appearances at Michelin-starred and fast-casual restaurants alike. While some restaurants choose to light up their name or advertise their wares, other applications include cutesy catchphrases, such as the Garret East’s “No Bad Days” sign, or iconic artworks, like those by Tracey Emin that are installed at Cut by Wolfgang Puck. The rediscovered fascination with neon also harkens a newfound trendiness for some neon landmarks like New York's Katz’s Delicatessen and Old Town Bar. 

Culture | Architecture
Architecture and Fashion Go Hand in Hand
Culture | Food
Nonprofit Transforms Abandoned Spaces Into Soup Kitchens
Culture | Art
Star-Studded Design Team Reimagines Claude Debussy’s Only Opera, Pelléas et Mélisande
Culture | Materials
Poured Concrete Flooring Eliminates Disease in Bangladeshi Homes

An acronym for architecture for health in vulnerable environments,  believes design can help combat disease. A recent pilot project confirms the belief. In 2014, the nonprofit launched Health From the Ground Up, an initiative to improve conditions for the disadvantaged in Southeast Asia. Upon learning that thousands of Bangladeshi children die due to parasites harbored in the dirt floors often used in their homes, the team focused on a single basic element: new flooring material. They chose poured concrete, not only easy to maintain and less likely to transmit disease but also able to be installed by local masons. A month after installation in 10 homes, post-construction surveys revealed no new infections in the children living there.

Culture | Art

The Museum of Ice Cream’s Latest Edition Lands in Miami Beach

It was an Instagram sensation from day one. After the  popped up in New York two years ago, temporary outposts in Los Angeles and San Francisco quickly followed. More installation than museum, the multisensory spectacle—visitors can try melted ice-cream drinks made in-house or dip in a pool of plastic sprinkles—is the sweet, nostalgic vision of the museum's founder and creative director , who graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in strategic design and management.

Culture | Manufacturing
Reality of Tech-Led Apparel Manufacturing Grows Sharper
Culture | Fashion
Rei Kawakubo's Clothes Are Not Just Clothes