Sidewalk Labs has revealed some of the concept renderings for Quayside, the Alphabet-helmed smart city development project in Toronto, and it certainly looks like a city of the future. The predominant construction material is timber and the overall design skews towards modularity. There will also be a built-in recycling and composting system that could divert 80% of the district's waste from the landfill. If all goes according to plan and approval is given, Sidewalk Labs estimates Quayside could be up and running within five to six years. Still, the project has attracted a significant amount of controversy due to high levels of secrecy surrounding the contract signed between Alphabet and Waterfront Toronto, as well as concerns over furtive data-gathering apparatuses built into the neighborhood's infrastructure.
Snøhetta Debuts New Chair Made of Recycled Fish Nets and Steel
According to Circular Ocean, some 705,000 tons of fishing gear are lost or discarded in the ocean every year. That's a lot of virgin nylon, a strong and durable material, floating uselessly in the ocean and even worse, strangling thousands of whales, sea lions, and other marine animals. Once the problem became apparent, a whole industry popped up around gathering these discarded fish nets and transforming them into viable new products. Internationally-renowned design firm Snøhetta joined the competition at the 2019 Stockholm Design Week with their S-1500 chair, which is made of recycled fishing gear and repurposed steel. Because it uses locally sourced recyclable materials, the S-1500 has one of the lowest carbon footprints on the market.
Bad Acoustics Are A Killer. Here's What Designers Can Do About It.
Noise is all around us, whether we like it or not. We're only now beginning to understand the detrimental effects loud sounds can have on our health. Luckily, we can mitigate those effects with design thinking.
Veganism may not be the ideal diet to mitigate the effects of climate change—there's for that—but its emphasis on compassionate treatment of animals could be the start of a new paradigm in interior design. Case in point, the world's first vegan hotel suite, created by Bompas & Parr for Hilton's London Bankside property, exclusively uses plant-based products and completely eliminates any use of wool, leather, or feathers. The suite makes extensive use of Piñatex, a faux-leather material made of pineapple leaves, as well as cotton in the carpeting.
LG's Roll-Up TV is the Perfect Product for Viewing "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo"
At CES 2019, LG unveiled the world's first rollable TV, which is comprised of just two parts: a super slim OLED screen and a base with built-in soundbar. When not in use, the TV descends into the base and winds around a spool, becoming a piece of unobtrusive furniture. Sure to please both techies and those who strictly adhere to the "a place for everything, and everything in its place" mantra, LG's game-changing product will go on sale later this year.
Potato Peels Find New Life as Alternative MDF Material
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and chipboard may soon find themselves replaced by a new, biodegradable product—and good riddance, too! These commonly used materials are not recyclable and are full of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde. Instead, London-based designer team Chip[s] Board proposes using waste potato peelings combined with fibers from bamboo, hops, wood or more potatoes for furniture construction. Not only will this remove MDF and chipboard from landfills, but it could also reduce food waste, another major environmental and social problem.
No stranger to existential living, Rotterdam has emerged as a design hotbed for dealing with rising seas. The Dutch have famously existed as a waterlogged population for centuries. Now, the country has incorporated their new climate change-related aquatic peril into an economic and development opportunity, channeling funds into neighborhood and urban development that doubles as flood management. For the Dutch, surviving floods is a national identity—only time will tell if that eventually goes global.
Pants, Now Available In Indestructible
Sports gear company Vollebak recently unveiled the "100 year pant," a water-and-fireproof pair that promises to outlive you. Inspired by astronaut gear and military technology, the pants are much lighter and generally more comfortable than previous incarnations of armor-gear. Well suited for firefighters, stuntmen, and soldiers, most of their features are superfluous to most – but if you die testing their flame resistance, at least you'll go out with your pants on.
Stop! You're Under Arrest for A Bad Choice of Font!
The holidays are almost upon us, so it's time to start thinking of passive-aggressive gag gifts for your favorite studio frenemy. Type designers Hoefler & Co. have the perfect present to gift pedantic colleagues and design snobs: the Typographic Ticket Book. Modeled after the much-maligned traffic cops' ticket book, everything from improper font choice, to egregious colors, to unironic use of novelty typeface is included on the surprisingly authentic-looking ticket.
To say that open offices may not have been the productivity godsend they were touted to be is a bit of an understatement. It seems everyone—from the common office worker to journalists to big-name designers—has conceded that these workplaces cater more to distraction than to productivity. Luckily, those challenges may soon be erased by Panasonic's WearSpace, a futuristic headgear that resembles horse blinders and promises a 60% reduction in the wearer's peripheral vision.
Rolling Joints Is a Pain, So Let a Machine Do It For You
The legalization of marijuana is taking North America by storm. What started in Colorado has expanded to nine U.S. states and the entirety of Canada, meaning that a whole host of new means and methods for enjoying a legal high will start to hit the mainstream market. The , a minimalist-looking machine that literally rolls joints for the user, is one such option. What a time to be alive!
Decapitated Humanoid Pillow Aims to Comfort Sad Urban Millennials
You've heard of , you've heard of , now get ready for the Mannequin! This stunted (or is it dismembered?) humanoid cushion features extra-long arms, a h torso, and what looks like a cauterized neck that somehow combine into a comforting presence for millennials caught in the spiral of urban loneliness. Designed by Aseptic Studios, the Mannequin's neck can be used to correct posture and its arms can guard against heat expelled by laptops. With those perks, why even bother going on Tinder?
Electric, not gas. James Bond's preferred automotive brand moves into the future with the release of the Rapide E all-electric luxury sports car in 2019. The car will be powered by 5,600 lithium-ion 18650 format cylindrical cells and can go from 0-60 mph in under four seconds.
Save the Birds with LEDs!
Countless birds have succumbed to ill-fated collisions with airplanes, but a recent study from Purdue University provides a possible solution to this tragic reality: LEDs. In their experiment, the team demonstrated that birds, specifically the brown-headed cowbird, consistently avoided flying through a hole in a board that was surrounded by red or blue-emitting LEDs. This provided some hope that in the future airplanes could be outfitted with LEDs to help birds steer clear while in the air.
From Fringe Idea to Mainstream Imperative: The Future of Design Depends on Biomimicry
Over the Earth's 3.8 billion-year history, plants and animals have come up with ingenious design solutions to keep them alive and thriving. Today, the idea of looking to nature to improve the functionality and sustainability of humanity’s creations is gaining steam in the architecture, design, and engineering industries. It's called biomimicry and it's here to stay.