20 Big Ideas: Bold Moves Rule

Eureka! 20 big ideas are crossing boundaries and breaking through barriers. From new strides in 3-D printing (did you know they can print bridges now?) to emergency housing solutions and even self-repairing cars, these big ideas are taking the design world by storm.

1. Revery Architecture and Ronald Lu & Partners Reinvents a Classic for the Xiqu Centre

“The plaza is an urban living room and a gateway to the arts district.”

The dazzling first venue in Hong Kong’s ground-up West Kowloon Cultural District is attracting a new generation to the centuries-old xiqu, or Chinese opera. The centerpiece of the Xiqu Centre by  and  is the 1,000-seat Grand Theatre. Read more

2. MAD Architects Conjures Fresh Air Pavilion 'Living Garden' With the Help of Solar Energy

“Life, solar energy, and nature coincide.”

 collaborated with , a provider of solar-energy equipment, to conjure Living Garden, a 2,200-square-foot open-sided pavilion that dismantled spatial boundaries, creating what the firm describes as “an architectural landscape” for en plein air, or outdoor, living. Read more

3. A Colorful Home for Bees by Future More Keeps the Hive Alive

“The colorful hubs are helping draw bees back to cities.”

Overexposure to pesticides and colony collapse disorder are just some of the dangers facing the world’s honey bee population. , the fortuitously named co-founder of , developed Temples in response to these threats for the “Future Mythologies” group exhibition at , the design collective’s hometown. Read more

4. Asthetíque Creates a Neon Confection of a Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Parlor

“A brand that can be replicated and franchised doesn’t have to be basic and plastic.”

Count your sprinkles not your problems. That sage advice is writ large in neon signage at Ice Scream, the first liquid-nitrogen ice-cream shop to open in the Bronx, New York. The 1,300-square-foot parlor by is a confection in and of itself. Read more

5. Studio INI Creates Breathing Walls for London Design Biennale

“We designed an experience, not just a form.”

Among the 40 countries and territories that participated in  was Greece, its pavilion by  spanning much of Somerset House’s central courtyard. Titled anyπakok (Disobedience), the work is derived from disobedience being a characteristic of the Greek temperament since ancient civilization, explains the studio's founder Nassia Inglessis. Read more

6. Cactus Develops a Hybrid Clinic and Research Facility for New York’s Mount Sinai

“It’s a step toward predictive computer-modelling on human health.”

Engaging design has only recently been extended to adult patients—perhaps most notably at Lab 100, a hybrid clinic and research facility developed by  for New York’s  and its . Read more

7. Patronace by Bastian Müller is Fashion That’s Fit to 3-D Print

“I found a way to print a durable, mechanical quality into textiles.”

New activewear brand  by Bastian Müller promises “fashion for your accelerated life.” But Müller didn’t just design the clothing. He also invented the technology behind it. , derived from grid skin, is a patent-pending process that transforms fabric—cotton, polyester, even leather—into a 3-D surface. Read more

8. Joris Laarman Lab Designs a 3-D-Printed Pedestrian Bridge for Dutch Technology Startup MX3D

“It proves large-scale 3-D printing can be done with sustainable materials and freedom of form.”

designed the sinuous pedestrian bridge for Dutch technology startup , whose mission is to equip multi­axial robots with 3-D tools and develop the software to operate them. Read more

9. Landínez + Rey Arquitectos Balances Privacy With Transparency for a Madrid Dental Clinic

“We united the space through the use of color.”

Healthcare design typically prioritizes privacy, but at Clemente Dental, a new clinic in a Madrid office building, the client asked that the concept of transparency be given equivalent weight. Local firm  responded by strategically screening necessarily private areas behind lacquered-MDF slats, but with gaps between the vertical louvres that speak to the desired theme. Read more

10. ACDF Architecture Partnered With Architecture49 for a Mega Project in Vancouver

“Our desire was to minimize the impact on nearby neighborhoods.”

A mega project with multiple entertainment and hospitality venues in a ground-up, gleaming structure. That’s Parq Vancouver in British Co­lumbia by  and . Six stories high, capped with a 30,000-square-foot roof garden, the contemporary structure “is an urban oasis,” ACDF Architecture CEO Maxime-Alexis Frappier says. Under that roof are the J.W. Marriott and Douglas hotels, eight restaurants, and a conference center, spa, and casino. Read more

11. Jesper Eriksson Explores the Potential of Coal in Graphic Furniture Design

“Problematic, glorious, scandalous, essential—the material has many facets to it.”

If not us, then who? Such was the theme for Dutch Design Week Eindhoven, challenging its over 2,500 participants to conceive innovative solutions for our environmentally endangered planet. Artist and product designer Jesper Eriksson responded with Coal: Post Fuel, his project in which he explored the potential of the much-maligned sedimentary rock. He found that the raw material is suitable for producing graphic furniture and flooring. Read more

12. Madworkshop Fosters a Solution to the Emergency Housing Crisis

“It’s a humane, efficient solution to emergency housing situations.”

, a nonprofit architecture and design foundation in Los Angeles focusing on social and technological innovation, has fostered a solution for the need for emergency housing. Not just in earthquake-, fire-, and mudslide-prone California, where this project originates, but also globally. Shelter Squared by Madworkshop fellows Jeremy Carman and Jayson Champlain offers eating, sleeping, and lockable storage areas in a 50-square-foot enclosure that can be erected in as little as 15 minutes. Read more

13. Darin Johnstone Architects Transforms a 1980’s Office Building Into an Art Center

“The project projects back to the city.”

Add commercial design to the mix at the ArtCenter in Pasadena, California.  transformed a 1980’s office building into an art center. Classrooms, studios, offices, and exhibition spaces occupy the top five floors. On the ground level of ArtCenter is the Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery, named for the avid car collectors behind the nearby . Read more

14. Finance Meets Design at Cornell Tech's Collision Lab by WRNS Studio

“Elasticity and informality are the central organizing structures.”

Cornell Tech officially opened in 2017 as part of the re­development of New York’s Roosevelt Island. Investment-management company Two Sigma chose this unconventional location for its Collision Lab by designed by . Read more

15. EDG Plans an Alternate Route for Cars in Manhattan Called Loop NYC

“It would democratize access to efficient transportation and green space.”

Architecture and engineering firm  is looking to change the perception that a tech-reliant future belongs in sci-fi movies. Its Loop NYC was a 2017 plan that proposed transforming New York roadways into public parks. This year, it was included in “The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility,” an exhibition at the city’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum that explored livable streets and the way people, goods, and services will travel in future urban environments. Read more

16. Nendo's Mobile Battery Recaptures Power at a Moment's Notice

“We turned what’s normally a disadvantage into an advantage.”

founder Oki Sato devised a way to recapture power at a moment’s notice, even in the midst of an evacuation.  is an emergency mobile battery he designed for , a Japanese hardware and building-supply source. Cleverly disguised as a desktop organizer, the compact ABS resin dock continuously charges the cylindrical battery, but if catastrophe strikes, the juiced-up component can be quickly removed and carried with you. Read more

17. LVDA Makes the Most of a Simple Material for a Private Chicago High School

“The project acknowledges where the neighborhood has been—and where it’s going.”

When  was tasked with building a 16,000-square-foot arts and athletics building for the Wolcott School, the firm was restricted by the tight one-acre site and a low budget. The result is a study in making the most of a simple material. The facility is constructed almost entirely of precast concrete that’s been either polished, stained, or sealed with an anti-graffiti coating. Read more

18. Lamborghini's Electric Concept Car Heals Itself With Automatic Repair Technology

“The concept physically imagines design and technology theories of tomorrow.”

's electric concept car, Terzo Millennio, has technology that enables automatic repairs, or “self-healing” as Lamborghini calls it. Developed in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the goal is to provide the vehicle with the ability to detect cracks and damages derived from accidents in its carbon-fiber substructure, both visible and not. Read more

19. NBBJ Puts Nature Into the Workplace for the Amazon Spheres

“The spheres radically rethink the way an office can look, feel, smell, sound, and perform.”

The Amazon Spheres, on the Seattle campus of the online retailer’s headquarters, are three conjoined domes in low-iron glass and painted steel. Designed by , they total 70,000 square feet and function as an experimental workplace for Amazon employees. Read more

20. ‘X’ Marks the Spot at Reddymade’s Times Square Sculpture

“The light illustrated the power of the individual and the strength of community.”

For all of February, love was the centerpiece of one of the world’s busiest streets: X by  won the  in New York. The sculpture's inspiration came from the letter being the universal symbol for a kiss and the mark of a democratic vote—as well as Times Square’s X-rated past. Read more

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