Ikea launches furniture that wirelessly charges smartphones and tablets

Ikea wireless charging furniture

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has incorporated induction-charging stations into products from its latest collection, which will allow users to wirelessly charge their smartphones.

Lamps, bedside tables and desks in Ikea‘s new collection each have an integrated pad that can charge portable electronic devices simply by placing them on top.

Ikea wireless charging furniture

“Through research and home visits, we know that people hate cable mess,” said Jeanette Skjelmose, Ikea business area manager for lighting and wireless charging.

“They worry about not finding the charger and running out of power,” she continued. “Our new innovative solutions, which integrate wireless charging into home furnishings, will make life at home simpler.”

Ikea wireless charging furniture

Wireless charging – also known as induction charging – powers up mobile devices by using an electromagnetic field to transfer energy.

When in contact, a magnetically charged coiled wire within the station induces a current in another coil located in the device, which can then use that energy to charge its own battery.

Ikea wireless charging furniture

The charging pads in Ikea’s furniture were developed by specialist technology company Qi. Devices with embedded Qi technology – which currently include models by Google Nexus, HTC, Samsung and Nokia – will already by compatible with the furniture products.

For phones and tablets that aren’t currently supported, such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models, Ikea is also launching a range of covers to allow them to perform in the same way.

Ikea wireless charging furniture

The devices automatically begin charging when placed on the flat circular pads, which are identified by a subtle cross on the top.

These pads are integrated into the bases of simple lamps and the surface of small tables. Ikea is also releasing a stand-alone charging pad with three ports, for use in the office or family homes.

Ikea wireless charging furniture

Another charging pad has been designed to fit into the brand’s existing Micke and Stuva desks.

The wireless charging range will be available at Ikea’s UK stores and website from mid-April.

Ikea wireless charging furniture

Ikea’s head of design Marcus Engman spoke to Dezeen about the introduction of the products to the company’s range in an exclusive interview earlier this month. “We don’t want to go into electronics; we want to make the home smarter,” he said.

The move is just one of the changes Engman is introducing as part of his attempt to “bring the surprise back” to the brand.

Ikea wireless charging furniture

Last month, Ikea debuted a range of cork and natural-fibre homeware products by designer Ilse Crawford, with more collaborations and capsule collections planned over the coming year.

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Unknown Geometries Photography

À travers cette série, le photographe italien Giorgio Stefanoni nous fait découvrir l’architecture milanaise d’une manière très esthétique et visuelle. Sous un ciel azur, le photographe a capturé de magnifiques clichés de structures méconnues de la ville, aux couleurs roses et aux formes géométriques pures.

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Ben Waechter's Tower House makes the most of an "unbuildable" Portland hillside

Faced with a sharply sloping plot in Portland, Oregon, architect Ben Waechter chose to “build up rather than out” to create a cost-efficient house for a family (+ slideshow).

Tower house by Ben Waechter

The four-storey Tower House was constructed on a site that had previously been called “unbuildable” due to its constrained position between a ravine and another house. To get around this, Waechter developed a building with a footprint of just over 50 square metres.

Tower house by Ben Waechter

“Our solution was to build up rather than out,” Waechter explained. “We designed a tower house that touches the ground lightly to reduce foundation costs, fits within the narrow lot constraints and minimises the environmental impact to the remaining site.”

Tower house by Ben Waechter

Three out of the four floors are mostly taken up by just one room, ensuring that the interior appears spacious rather than cramped.

Tower house by Ben Waechter

The master bedroom occupies the lowest level, while the two uppermost floors accommodate the living room and a combined kitchen and dining room.

Tower house by Ben Waechter

“These are the dominant rooms of the house,” said Waechter. “They are tall, generous volumes of space finished with oil-rubbed quarter-sawn white oak. They are simple, quiet rooms that feel protected yet open.”

Tower house by Ben Waechter

“The white oak palette is limited to these spaces, creating a strong threshold between the inside of the room and out, and heightening one’s sense of being held and contained,” he added.

Tower house by Ben Waechter

The house’s entrance is a bridge that leads directly onto the second floor, compensating for the two-storey level change between the base of the building and the adjacent street.

Tower house by Ben Waechter

Beyond a recessed porch, a compact lobby provides a buffer between the entrance and the dining room – a space that opens out to a large sheltered balcony at the north-east corner of the building.

Tower house by Ben Waechter

The living room above also opens out to a recessed balcony, while the ground-floor bedroom features a sheltered terrace on one side.

Tower house by Ben Waechter

“These rooms have an intimate scale with a sense of being tucked away, hidden and private,” said the architect.

Tower house by Ben Waechter

Two extra bedrooms are located on the first floor, and both the bedroom floors include bathrooms.

Tower house by Ben Waechter

Externally, the building is clad with black corrugated steel that creates vertical stripes, exaggerating the height. This material curves around each of the corners, meaning there was no need to add a corner trim.

Tower house by Ben Waechter

Photography is by Lara Swimmer.

Tower house by Ben Waechter
Floor plans – click for larger image

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Clarifying Who Described Les Moonves as ‘Adult’

A compliment recently paid by one top CBS executive to another has been TKO-ed.

From today’s New York Times corrections:

Because of an editing error, an article last Saturday about an agreement by the boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to fight on May 2 omitted, in some editions, passages about the role of Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS Corporation, in the negotiations. And because of that error, the article misidentified the person who said that Moonves and Richard Plepler of HBO were “the adults in the room” when the details of the bout were worked out. The comment was by Bob Arum, the president of Top Rank Promotions — not by Stephen Espinoza, the executive vice president and general manager at Showtime Sports.

The February 20 article, titled “Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao Showdown Is Finally Set,” was written by Joe DePaolo, who also contributes to SB Nation and Fast Company.

Espinoza is no stranger to the PPV world of boxing. Before joining Showtime in New York, he worked at law firm Ziffren Brittenham LLP on behalf of boxer clients such as Oscar De La Hoya and Mike Tyson.
[Photo: JStone/Shutterstock.com]

CUNY Journalism Dean Will Miss His Friend Leonard Nimoy

StephenBShephardStephen B. Shepard (pictured) and Leonard Nimoy vacationed together. They became friends through their wives and on those trips to the Caribbean, would often discuss the novels of Philip Roth.

Nimoy was also the person Shepard turned to when he was offered the opportunity to be the founding dean of CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism. From his essay in the Jewish Daily Forward:

Over dinner, I told Leonard about the possibility of the new job at CUNY and my concern that perhaps I was too old to take on such an enormous task. Leonard was then 74, semi-retired as an actor and director but developing his wonderful new career as a photographer. He got right to the heart of the matter:

“How old are you?”
“I’m 65.”
“How long would you stay in this job?”
“Probably five or six years.”

So, came the punch line, ” You’ll be younger when you finish than I am now.”

Shepard wound up serving at CUNY a little longer, from 2005 to 2013. Read the rest of his piece here.
[Photo via: cuny.edu]

Wooden Bicycle

Le designer basé à Amsterdam Paul Timmer a créé un vélo en bois de frêne massif équipé de pièces en aluminium imprimées en 3D. L’engin pèse à peine 11kg et a été conçu pour rouler sur tous les terrains, le cadre en bois offrant un confort exceptionnel.

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Warming Huts provide shelter for ice-skaters on Winnipeg's frozen river

A cafe in a cross-shaped tent, a mirrored hideaway and a pop-up art gallery are among the shelters that architects have dotted along a frozen river in Winnipeg, Canada (+ slideshow).

Warming Huts
Mirror Cloaking by University of Manitoba students

Warming Huts is an annual international design competition for small structures to be installed at The Forks, an area of Winnipeg where the mouths of the Red River and Assiniboine River meet and freeze during winter months.

Warming Huts
Mirror Cloaking by University of Manitoba students

This year’s winning designs include Mirror Cloaking by students from the University of Manitoba Winnipeg, which uses one-way mirrors and polished stainless-steel panels to create a reflective box from the outside and a viewing cabin from the inside.

Warming Huts
York Boat Gallery

“The design plays with the idea that the enclosed structure become transparent and visitors can still find warmth within an ‘open’ space,” explained the team.

Warming Huts
York Boat Gallery by Chris and Kine

A canvas dome forms the roof of the York Boat Gallery, a pop-up art gallery on the ice by local artist collective Chris and Kine, while Hybrid Hut by Mexican studio Rojkind Arquitectos was built using a series of split logs, which create a spiky curved shelter for a bench.

Warming Huts
The Hybrid Hut by Rojkind Arquitectos

The architects combined traditional craftsmanship with 3D-modelling technology to produce the humped form of the structure. The logs are attached to wooden fins that project the tips upwards like the spikes of a hedgehog’s coat.

Warming Huts
The Hybrid Hut by Rojkind Arquitectos

“With the evolution of technology in the industry, it puts into question the participation of artisans in the construction of the design space to the extent that the trades are disappearing,” said Rojkind Arquitectos.

Warming Huts
The Hybrid Hut by Rojkind Arquitectos

“What is the use of contemporary technology if it can’t learn to grow with the processes already acquired by artisans and traditions?” they added.

Warming Huts
RAW:almond by OS31

One of the 2015 Warming Huts structures even houses a restaurant – RAW:almond by British studio OS31 is a cross-shaped tent with a scaffolding framework and a canvas covering. The cross-braced struts are intended to reference the geometry of a nearby bridge.

“Our approach was to develop a simple repetitive frame using standard scaffolding elements to create an elegant structure,” said the studio. “The structure is expressed externally to allow that interior space to be clean and free of visual clutter.”

Warming Huts
RAW:almond by OS31

Inside, the white canvas drapes away from the frame to create a space with a pitched ceiling. “The skin pinches and expands creating areas within the space that are both private and communal,” added the architects.

Long wooden tables for communal dining, a kitchen and private dining areas are arranged along the arms of the crucifix. Cylindrical lanterns with perforated stainless-steel shades cast a speckled pattern of light and shadow on the canvas walls.

Warming Huts
The Hole Idea by Weiss Architecture & Urbanism Limited

Other huts this year include The Hole Idea by Toronto-based Weiss Architecture & Urbanism Limited – a tunnel with a bright yellow interior that has been planted in a snow drift.

The structure was inspired by the Looney Tunes’ Road Runner cartoon. According to the architects, the coyote character in the cartoon used a tunnel in various attempts to ensnare the eponymous speedy bird.

Warming Huts
The Hole Idea by Weiss Architecture & Urbanism Limited

“Almost right from inception, the ominous, mobile void was put to use for evil purposes,” explained Weiss, who added the bright yellow and blue colouring to draw skaters into the tunnel.

“The hole is resistant to being co-opted by evil forces, including the greyness of soul-sucking foul weather, due to the sheer cheeriness of the palette of introduced colour.”

Warming Huts
This Big by Tina Soli & Luca Roncoroni

Less functional installations were also included in the competition. One of these, created by Norwegian designer Tina Soli and architect Luca Roncoroni, features a sculpture carved from ice depicting a fish with a gaping mouth leaping from a hole towards a colourful bait on the end of a fishing line. Titled This Big, the piece is based on a tale of a giant mythical fish.

“We could say it is a ‘semantic installation’ or a ‘social anthropological statement’, but it is actually an ice sculpture, a big toy,” said Soli and Roncoroni.

Warming Huts
Recycling Words by KANVA Architecture

A fleet of red cafe chairs with skies affixed to their bases form a mobile installation called Recycling Words by Montreal studio KANVA Architecture.

Warming Huts
Recycling Words by KANVA Architecture

Words relating to the history of the area are stencilled onto the back of each of the 50 chairs, allowing users to skid the seats along the ice and assemble them to form phrases.

Warming Huts
Recycling Words by KANVA Architecture

“Diffused across the length of the Red River Mutual Trail, Recycling Words creates a visual explosion and recognisable marker for the various access points of the Assiniboine and Red rivers,” said KANVA Architecture.

Warming Huts
6043 by Kelvin High School students

A black metal fender radiates from the front of 6043, a red cubicle designed by local students from Kelvin High School. The grille is designed to resemble the bumper of a steam train – in particular the local No. 6043 locomotive, a train the team say was often used by residents to hitch free travel during the Great Depression.

Warming Huts
6043 by Kelvin High School students

The 2015 Warming Huts are joined on the ice by 12 huts from previous years. The competition was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Manitoba Association of Architects, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Architecture & Partners Program, KGS Group, and Canada Culvert.

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Kids Museum of Glass

Voici le Kids Museum of Glass, un musée pour enfant imaginé par COORDINATION ASIA et son fondateur Tilman Thurmer. Installé dans un ancien atelier de 2.000 mètres carrés, ce lieu est un environnement très créatif et interactif où les enfants peuvent s’instruire sur tous les aspects de verre à travers des canaux innombrables tels que l’art, le design, les performances, le cinéma et les jeux.

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Olya Tsoraeva sets Radiohead's Creep to stop-motion plasticine animation

Music: a plasticine depiction of Radiohead singer Thom Yorke is “stuck in a plastic reality” for this new video created to accompany the British band’s 1992 track Creep.

Creep by Radiohead music video directed by Olya Tsoraeva

Animator Olya Tsoraeva spent over a year creating the stop-motion video, titled Plastic Crash, in which Yorke’s face appears trapped in a plasticine world inhabited by unusual insect-like creatures.

“The idea was to create a hero who is stuck in plastic reality where he feels as a stranger – despite being made of the same plastic material as this environment,” she told Dezeen. “He could have been an astronaut who crashed into this sterile planet and became its prisoner, or maybe it’s another dimension.”

Creep by Radiohead music video directed by Olya Tsoraeva

At the beginning of the video, Yorke’s facial features emerge from a white background. His mouth comes first, eating a small scuttling stereo before lip-syncing to the song.

“I’m fascinated by the stop-motion technique and the magic opportunities that plasticine provides in this respect” said Tsoraeva.

Creep by Radiohead music video directed by Olya Tsoraeva

Tangled balls of colourful cables proceed to crawl across Yorke’s face, leaving behind criss-crossing strands.

These lengths then cut up the plasticine and each part becomes a snail-like entity that slithers around independently, attacking the cable balls.

Creep by Radiohead music video directed by Olya Tsoraeva

Later on, more lengths of cable are used to represent rainbow-hued grasses in an underwater scene while Yorke’s mouth continues to sing.

“In the middle of the film we see the plastic water plants with flowers containing black and white images from his memory,” said Tsoraeva, who explained that the images used are photographs of Yury Gagarin – the first man in outer space.

Creep by Radiohead music video directed by Olya Tsoraeva

The backdrop drains away as his other facial features return one by one on tiny legs, arranging themselves in the wrong order before the video ends.

Creep by Radiohead music video directed by Olya Tsoraeva

“During the film the hero is trying to escape this place but he doesn’t succeed,” Tsoraeva added.

She revealed that the most challenging aspect of the project was creating Yorke’s likeness.

Creep by Radiohead music video directed by Olya Tsoraeva

“The most difficult thing was to create Thom’s face,” said Tsoraeva. “I sculpted a mould so I could have as many faces as I needed. I also filmed a friend of mine who performed this song trying to imitate Yorke’s manner of singing, which is just impossible. Then I used this basic video to mimic facial movements of my Thom’s head in plasticine.”

Creep by Radiohead music video directed by Olya Tsoraeva

Preparation for the video, including building all of the characters and backgrounds, took four months.

Nine months was then spent manipulating the arrangement and capturing the individual frames that were compiled together using Dragonframe software.

Creep by Radiohead music video directed by Olya Tsoraeva

“I made everything in a very small archive room that I transformed into a studio, I even set up the light by myself,” Tsoraeva said. “It cost me a year in the darkness of my studio without knowing what the weather was outside.”

Creep by Radiohead music video directed by Olya Tsoraeva

Creep was Radiohead‘s debut single and was featured on the band’s first album Pablo Honey, released by record label EMI in 1993.

“The lyrics of the song are very nostalgic to me,” said Tsoraeva. “It is reminiscent of unreachable beauty, of something that has been lost forever.”

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Mondaine launches "first ever Swiss-made smartwatch"

News: Swiss watch brand Mondaine has unveiled a smartwatch with an analogue face – which it says is the first to combine traditional Swiss watchmaking with connected technologies.

Described as a “horological smartwatch”, the Helevetica No 1 Smart shares most of its design features with Mondaine’s standard Helvetica range, created as an homage to the iconic 1950s Swiss typeface of the same name.

But as well as using a traditional quartz movement to tell the time, the watch includes a built-in activity tracker. A small subdial on the face communicates data in an analogue format using traditional-style hands and markings.

“At first glance its dial bears little resemblance to the blinking LED screens of its competitors of smartwatches; it just looks like a regular Mondaine Helvetica Bold,” explained a statement from Mondaine.

“The clue lies in the subdial at six o’clock. This isn’t a small-seconds or an annual calendar, but an analogue representation of the smart technology that is at the heart of this unique timepiece.”

Mondaine Helvetica Light 38mm in brushed/brown
The analogue version of Mondaine’s Helvetica watch. Top image: The Mondaine Helvetica No 1 Smart with screen images of the MotionX app

Mondaine is best known as the manufacturer of the Swiss railway clock with its famous red ticker. For the No 1 Smart it partnered with Manufacture Movements Technologies (MMT), another Swiss-based company that is focused on developing technology for watches.

MMT is backed by luxury watch company Frederique Constant Group and Fullpower Technologies – a Silicon Valley-based firm that has developed wearable technology for brands including Nike and Jawbone – and has created a smartwatch platform called MotionX.

This combines a range of sensors to track activity with technology for collecting and communicating data, which is then interpreted using an app on the user’s phone or tablet.

MotionX components are built directly into the movement – the engine that usually drives the hands around the watch face and powers any additional features like a calendar window or chronograph.

According to Mondaine, MotionX-powered watches will have a battery life of more than two years, far exceeding most smartwatch designs.

“This is a beautiful Swiss watch that is also connected and smart,” said Andre Bernheim, CEO of Mondaine.

“This is the first-ever Swiss-made horological smartwatch,” he said. “It is a world first and Mondaine is proud to be at the forefront of this new technology, thanks to a collaboration with MMT.”

The prototype design – with a brushed-steel case, white face, sapphire crystal glass cover and a leather strap – will debut in March at Baselworld, the watch industry’s biggest trade event. Mondaine expects that it will be available to buy in autumn.

Frederique Constant smartwatch
Prototype Frederique Constant smartwatch powered by MotionX

Only two other watch brands are licensed to use MotionX thus far – Frederique Constant and Alpina. Both of these Geneva-based brands are preparing to release their own designs, with more than 10 styles for men and women due to launch this year. The first will go on sale in June.

Swiss watch brands have been relatively slow to adapt to developments in wearable technology, but the unveiling of the Apple Watch at the end of last year has created additional pressure.

Due to go on sale in April, the device was described as a serious threat to Switzerland’s watch industry by Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design, according to a report in the New York Times.

“According to a designer who works at Apple, Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, in bragging about how cool he thought the iWatch was shaping up to be, gleefully said Switzerland is in trouble — though he chose a much bolder term for ‘trouble’ to express how he thought the watchmaking nation might be in a tough predicament when Apple’s watch comes out,” the article said.

Montblanc became one of the first major Swiss brands to enter the wearable technology market in January, but chose to add a device to its straps instead of turning its analogue timepieces into digital smartwatches.

Earlier this month, electronics firm LG unveiled an updated version of its Google Android-powered G Watch R smartwatch designed to look like a luxury timepiece.

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