Innovation
Design | Products
Nendo’s Oki Sato Gives the Portable Toilet a Sleek Redesign

The devastating impact of natural disasters on power grids, water supplies, and basic hygiene spurred  principal Oki Sato to rethink a relief-effort essential: the portable toilet. Unlike standard mobile loos, with their clunky and cumbersome structures, the elemental  is, well, good to go.

Design | Hospitality

Tokyo Salon by Moriyuki Ochiai Architects Evokes Braids and Twists

Straightened, curled, puffed out. Hair can be fashioned into amazing shapes. Inspired by that pliancy,  transformed a 1,200-square-foot former clothing store into , a Tokyo salon. Moriyuki Ochiai first turned his eyes upward toward the ceiling. There, instead of taking a little off the top, he added quite a bit: Swaths of polished aluminum were suspended throughout, heavily concentrated over the cutting area. A total of 1,000 linear feet of the metal was formed into swoops and coils that evoke braids and twists.

Design | Art
Alex Chinneck’s Logic-Bending Chimney Sculptures to Transform U.K. Town
Design | Retail
Easton Helsinki by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects Empowers Car-Heavy Locale
Design | Transportation
Smart Crosswalk Makes Cities Safer

Interface Takes Design Notes From the Hardworking Honeybee

The honeycomb is a masterpiece of natural engineering. Without the benefit of the human brain or design thinking, bees create functional spaces that are practical, sustainable, and beautiful. Designers are starting to replicate nature’s innovations through biomimicry, recognizing that organic systems can solve manmade problems, as well.

Design | Transportation
Bentley Reinvents Production Process for New Continental GT
Design | Products
Steel Easy Chairs Promise One Way Ticket to Nirvana
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Design | Architecture
Mario Filippetto Architetto Gives Modern Refresh to 18th-Century Milanese Chapel

Reverence is the theme in any house of worship. In the case of the tidy Votive Chapel, reverence takes on double meaning: religiously as well in regard to the 18th-century masonry structure it replaced. Situated in Casnate con Bernate, just north of Milan, modern city planning had placed the historical roadside structure, once at the entrance to the town, in the midst of a roundabout, rendering it inaccessible to worshippers. So, the local government commissioned a new shrine from  that would stand in a parklike setting.

Design | Hospitality

Rooftop Oasis by V Studio Enlightens Beijing’s Golden Resources Mall

No one would ever guess that this oasis exists on the roof of Beijing’s enormous Golden Resources Mall—at 6 million square feet, it’s nearly twice the size of the . But the indoor-outdoor aerie by V Studio founder Hu Quanchun takes up just 3,500 square feet.

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Design | Manufacturing
The Surprisingly Beautiful World Inside a Pencil Factory
Design | Products
Clever Toy Expands on the Possibilities of Lego
Design | Architecture
Alice Bleton's Capsule Prototype Reconnects Office Workers With the Outdoors
Design | Architecture

Wutopia Lab Treats Two Shenzhen Homes to Gender-Inflected Makeover

Spotlighting a global lineup of firms, the  alternates between Hong Kong and neighboring Shenzhen, China. The latter hosted the most recent biennale, but, unlike previous ones sited in typical exhibition venues, this edition staged high-concept interventions in migrant villages outside the city center. It was there that  transformed side-by-side residences into His House and Her House, a gender-inflected meditation on the modern cosmopolis.

Design | Products
Interface Takes Design Notes From the Hardworking Honeybee
Design | Materials
The Humble Mushroom Becomes an Alternative Construction Material
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Design | Appliances
Small-Space Dwellers Get Their Dream Appliance

Thanks to a partnership between tankless water heater company Heatworks and Brooklyn-based industrial engineering firm Frog Design, a nifty appliance is poised to corner the market on the countertop dishwasher. Roughly the size of a microwave, the Tetra uses only half a gallon of water to do a 10-minute wash. A companion app allows the user to adjust the water pressure, cycles, and start time, but the best part is the bill: $299, roughly half the price of a normal dishwasher. 

Design | Transportation

Elon Musk's Hyperloop Plays to Pedestrians

After an incendiary marketing campaign and heated tiffs with urban planners, Elon Musk’s plans for the Boring Company seem to have shifted. The Hyperloop's tunnels, which will shuttle automobiles beneath the traffic-jammed streets of Los Angeles on magnetized tracks, will now include an urban loop system. It seems vaguely like a conventional subway, but rather than having large stations where multiple lines converge, it will have thousands of small stations the size of a single parking space that will blend seamlessly into the urban fabric, Musk tweeted.

Design | Architecture
Mongolia Proposes a Moving Bridge That Sails to New Locations
Design | Sustainability
A Tesla Solar Roof Is the Same Price as a Normal Roof
Design | Engineering
Supertall Towers Means Supertall Elevators
Design | Wifijerez

How to Get Wifijerez Services on Demand

Want an interior designer at a reasonable price, all from the comfort of your laptop? Modsy, which offers online interior designer services for less than a month’s gym membership, creates virtual models of any space using only a taste questionnaire and a few photos of a given room—no de-cluttering required. A basic Modsy design package includes a 3-D rendering with two Instagram-ready furniture designs, but for an added fee you can also get a one-on-one live consultation with a designer. 

Design | Architecture
Architects Envision a Human Colony on Mars
Design | Landscape Design
Violent Attacks Trigger a Surge in Protective Landscaping
Design | Architecture
Students Imagine the Airport of the Future
Design | Robotics
World’s First Robotic Brick Layer

The Hadrian X is a one-armed, brick-laying robot that is set to shake up the construction industry. Built by Fastbrick Robotics in Perth, Hadrian X can lay up to 1,000 bricks per hour, far out-pacing what an ancient or modern bricklayer can accomplish in a day. And unlike humans, the robot can work far into the night as well. Fastbrick Robotics estimates the cost of Hadrian X will come in at about $2 million. The first country to test out the Caesar-inspired robot on a mass scale will be Saudi Arabia, with a goal to use Hadrian X to construct 50,000 new homes by 2022.

Design | Sustainability

Urban Algae Farms Are the Future

London-based EcoLogicStudio is currently working on a prototype for an urban algae farm that can fit inside existing residential or commercial buildings called the “Biotech Hut.” Spirulina, which you might know from your local organic store, has more calcium than milk and more protein than steak, and its carbon footprint is comically small when compared to what raising a single cow creates. EcoLogicStudio proposes its Biotech Huts as a symbiotic partner to city architecture, as algae harvesting can produce energy for heating or electricity, while bringing production into the city establishes “a different form of communication with the end user, and a different way of consuming,” according to Claudia Pasquero, a co-founder of the studio. 

Design | Wifijerez
Adidas Is Running a "Creator Farm" in Brooklyn
Design | Manufacturing
Century-Old Steel Manufacturer Gives a Rare Glimpse Inside the Factory
Design | Sustainability
Print Your City! Designs Chair From 100 Pounds of Plastic Waste
Design | 3-D Printing

Inspired by Case Study Houses, WATG Urban Builds the First Freeform 3-D Printed Home

, the firm’s three-year old planning/landscape arm, claimed first prize in the 2016 Freeform Home Design Challenge, commissioned by  to build the first house that combines freeform 3-D printing with conventional construction materials. Despite its futuristic contours, , as it’s called, is actually inspired by the past: Case Study Houses—but using technology those mid-century architects could only imagine. “We definitely carried the inside-outside concept through from the Case Studies,” associate vice president and design director  says.

Design | Architecture
Google Goes All-In on the Horizontal Skyscraper
Design | Transportation
An Electric Vehicle Prioritizes the Passenger Experience
Design | Architecture
An Ambitious Waste-to-Energy Plant Comes to Copenhagen
Design | Urban Planning
Manhattan Skyscraper Concept Solves for Sustainable, Affordable Living

As the global population continues to soar and resources get scarcer, it seems like there are a million and one problems facing architects who want to prepare today’s cities for tomorrow’s problems. At the International Builders Show 2018, Humphreys and Partners Architects proposed a hypothetical Manhattan tower that would address New York’s lack of housing, subtracting parking spaces, increasing amount of drone traffic, and the need for sustainable design. Named Pier 2, the building would make use of modular technology and green design like photovoltaic glass, solar panels, and wind turbines. Modular micro-apartments would offer affordable living, and green tech would contribute to an overall healthier planet. Landing pads for drones would enable easy delivery of people and goods at various points along the tower.

The technology is just about there, but the city government may not be at a place just yet to sign off on such an ambitious project. Until then, architects must keep finding feasible and affordable ways to make our cities the best they can be, for today and tomorrow.

Design | Products

How Digital Companies Use Furniture to Encourage Collaboration

In today’s work-centric culture, digital media companies have spearheaded the move towards more holistic, livable workplaces. Some of this is achieved by the lures of free donuts, gym perks, and nice toiletries, but most comes from the office design itself. Architects and designers work with digital companies to create the most collaborative office environments possible, resulting in enormous shared desks and pod-like neighborhoods. But these designs also allow for the increased surveillance of workers. It’s easy to note the stragglers when everyone is sitting at the same behemoth desk, and those less-than-invested in company morale will probably be glaringly absent in community spaces like the office’s “village greens.” How can a company balance the desire for increased interaction with the worker’s right to individuality and privacy?

Design | Materials
Trash Would Make a Great Construction Material
Design | Healthcare
One Firm Prioritizes the Needs of the Individual Patient
Design | Architecture
Rising Sea Levels Prompt Innovations in Amphibious Architecture
Design | Architecture

Hurricane-Proof Homes Are Here to Stay Afloat

There might now be a housing solution to the worsening of hurricanes, thanks to a collaboration between Dutch architect Koen Olthuis and “avant-garde life on the water” company Arkup. Together, the two companies created floating homes that produce zero-emissions, are completely off the grid, and have hurricane-proof design features. Shatter-proof glass and a hydraulic self-elevating system that can extend up to 40 feet and move the unit 8 miles per hour through water would protect on-the-water residents from the brunt of a hurricane’s force.

Design | Augmented Reality
IKEA Dips Its Toe Into Augmented Reality
Design | Products
Hologram Table Could Revolutionize Collaborative Work
Design | Materials
5 Architectural Materials That Could Save the Planet