RD Recap: Changes at HuffPo; Melissa Block Leaves All Things Considered

Revolving DoorThe Huffington Post, which gets a big, fancy New York Times Magazine feature this weekend, recruits Karen Mahabir from the Associated Press, where she had been digital products producer. She’ll be managing editor of news, overseeing the assignment desk and helping to organize the growth of the global news units… Nigel M. Smith moves from Indiewire to The Guardian, where he’ll be a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer. He had been managing editor at the film site… Proving how serious it is about hard news, Refinery29 poaches Al Jazeera America reporter and producer Kaelyn Forde to be its executive editor of news… American City Business Journals loses chief content officer Emory Thomas Jr. He’s off to the Puget Sound Business Journal, a publication under the ACBJ’s umbrella, where he’ll be publisher. He worked in the same position at the PSBJ from 2006 to 2011 and was the paper’s editor between 2004 and 2006…

Melissa Block leaves All Things Considered. She won’t say goodbye to NPR, instead serving as a special correspondent at the company. “Great reporting combined with compelling storytelling is vital to NPR’s future,” Mike Oreskes, NPR’s editorial director and senior vp of news, said in a statement. “No one exemplifies that blend better than Melissa. As All Things Considered listeners well know, Melissa has an amazing ability for telling the important stories of our age in a way that engages both the heart and the mind.”… Speaking of transitions, Ali Salama moves over to Bloomberg Pursuits as publisher. She had been group advertising director at Bloomberg… Read More

National Enquirer Had the Affleck-Garner Scoop First

NationalInquirer CoverThe cover story for the May 18 edition of The National Enquirer was headlined “Ben Storms Out!” Arriving on newsstands May 6, the article mentioned the D-word:

Sources said Ben left his distraught wife after “a fight to end all fights” over Jen’s accusations about his sexy new movie co-star and concerns about his drinking and other compulsive behavior.

Friends now fear the couple is heading for a $150 million divorce!

A few weeks later, The Enquirer followed with a second Affleck-Garner bombshell, suggesting that the couple had secretly separated:

The troubled parents of three children will officially announce their split within weeks, according to a source – setting the stage for a $150 million divorce!

“Ben and Jen are through!” said the Hollywood informant. “He’s told Jen that he wants the official statement to come out before their 10-year wedding anniversary on June 29.”

This afternoon, people.com has that official statement. But as this unfortunate story propagates today and beyond, it’s worth noting that The Enquirer was all over it for a month and a half beforehand. The publication also during that stretch re-connected with a woman who claimed to have been involved with Affleck during his relationship with Jennifer Lopez. Accusations the actor denied.

FishbowlNY reached out to National Enquirer editor in chief and AMI vice president of news Dylan Howard. “We blew the lid off the hottest Hollywood scoop of the year – months before other titles even began to look at it,” he says, “with good, old-fashioned investigative reporting.”

“A story like this comes from having a source network that is truly embedded in the underbelly of Hollywood,” he continues. “It also comes from on-location reporting. We traveled to remote Nova Scotia to obtain shocking photo proof – Ben without his wedding ring, on Jen’s birthday. Inquiring minds wanted to know more, and it ignited the reporting that led to today’s announcement. So precise was the information we gathered, The Enquirer reported the divorce announcement would come exactly when it did.”

Sweden's Latest Bravur Watch Line: Sleek, modern accessories for your wrist

Sweden's Latest Bravur Watch Line

Swedish watchmaker Bravur follows its first entry into the market with a new model this summer. Called the BW002, the piece carries on from where its predecessor left off—remaining true to the company’s distinctive aesthetic and desire to create……

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Time at Its Least

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In the designer’s own words, there’s simply “not much to say about Circulo!” Beautifully simple, the modern design presents a different way of telling time. The primary circle revolves around the greater space to indicate the hour while also revolving around itself to give the minutes with a small orange dial. Hence its name! Next to the sundial, it’s time represented in its most reduced and familiar visual form!

Designer: Andrés Felipe Gil

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Two World Trade Center with Steps Will be Added to the NYC Skyline

Le cabinet d’architecture danois Bjarke Ingels Group (aka BIG) a imaginé un nouvel horizon pour la ville de New York et de nouvelles Tours Jumelles. Le World Trade Center aura peut-être la forme de deux énormes marches d’escaliers qui montent au ciel, avec 80 étages au total. On pourra y trouver des commerces mais aussi des bureaux.

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MVRDV's Stedelijk Museum renovation makes way for the historical details, says Nathalie de Vries

MVRDV‘s Nathalie de Vries explains how she used “a wallpaper” of storage and furnishings to transform a Neoclassical chapel into the entrance for the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, in the second in a series of exclusive movies profiling the Dutch studio’s work.

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MVRDV renovated the 18th century chapel in 2014, adding bright red shelves between the existing features to create a more accessible and user-friendly entrance to the modern art museum, which occupies a historic former infirmary in the Dutch town.

MVRDV Museum Schiedam

In this movie, filmed one year on by the firm, De Vries says the strategy was to develop a design that framed all of the remaining period features, meaning none of them needed to be removed or compromised.



“We didn’t destroy any original stuff, and we even designed it in such a way that it just makes way for the historical details,” she explains. “It keeps its original depth.”

MVRDV Museum Schiedam

The red shelves cover all of the lower walls, as well as one full-height wall facing the entrance. They incorporate a reception desk, a cloakroom, a cafe and display areas. A gap was left around all of the existing features to differentiate between old and new.

“The raised walls are like a wallpaper and I think that’s a very classical motif that you can use in these type of buildings,” says De Vries.

“It feels like it’s one big closet with objects from the museum shelf,” adds Eva Nobbe, a museum visitor.

MVRDV Museum Schiedam

According to museum director Dianna Wind, the aim was to make the museum feel like part of the street. “We wanted to be more of a welcoming museum to the whole public, so we can be a part of the centre of Schiedam,” she explains in the film.


Related content: see all our stories about MVRDV


The red colour was a significant change from the original interior, which was muted grey. But all of the new additions have been built from MDF and could potentially be removed in future, so there could be no objections.

“There hasn’t been one person that said ‘Well this is impossible, you may not do this with this building'”, continues Wind. “This space is the heart of the building and it is also why we wanted to choose this colour.”

MVRDV Museum Schiedam

Nathalie de Vries is one of the three founders of MVRDV, along with Winy Maas and Jacob van Rijs.

One of the studio’s first major projects was Villa VPRO, a public broadcasting centre in Hilversum, while later well-known projects include the Glass Farm shop and office complex and the Markthal in Rotterdam.

In the first movie in this series, Maas explained how the firm’s 2012 Spijkenisse library contained within a glass pyramid has become “a proud mountain of books”.

Photography is by Daria Scagliola.

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Ming Kong develops tactile interface to navigate CAD environments

Graduate shows 2015: Royal College of Art graduate Ming Kong has created a conductive material and used it to make a haptic interface for manipulating digital models and files.

For his Interfacet project, Kong developed an elastic conductive material that can be moulded into different shapes to create a tactile interface for digital modelling.

Interfacet by Ming Kong

“The project attempts to revisit a fundamental design question — the relationship between form and function,” said the designer, who studied on the RCA’s Innovation Design Engineering course. “It explores the possibility that a new form language could be a useful technology itself.”

Kong was frustrated with designing interfaces for electronics products using only flat buttons, so decided to create three-dimensional tools for navigating digital environments.

Interfacet by Ming Kong

To do this, he developed a conductive silicon-based material that can sense touch and directional movement across its surface, without sensors or wires embedded within.

“I was aiming for a material that is pleasant to touch and also conductive, which enables the sensing ability,” Kong told Dezeen.

Interfacet by Ming Kong

Detected touch signals are transferred along a wire (not shown in these images) from a connection point in the material to a computer or a chip. They are processed by Kong’s algorithm and translated into instructions for specially designed software.



To demonstrate possible applications for the material, Kong first created a set of tools that are linked to different functions within a piece of audio editing software.

Interfacet by Ming Kong

“During the starting phases I just basically generated a lot of shapes through workshops and then picked the best shapes in terms of ergonomics and in terms of electrical sensitivity,” he said.

Pinching, flicking and stroking the series of rubbery shapes changes elements of the digital sound file such as pitch and volume.

Interfacet by Ming Kong

He then moved on to create a pair of sculptural trackpads, which can be used to manipulate digital models in a computer aided design (CAD) environment in response to simple hand gestures.

“You can sense where you’re touching, how fast you’re touching and the pressure of the touch,” said Kong.

Interfacet by Ming Kong

The different shapes on the pads are each used to control different motions on-screen: the right hand controls the navigation while the left is responsible for shaping.

On the right, touching rounded protrusions on each side causes the model to pan to one side or the other, while a textured channel at the top is used for moving up and down. A spiral section can be stroked for rotating.

Interfacet by Ming Kong

All of the shapes on the left pad enable actions like selecting, dragging and pulling areas of the model.



Kong, who recently filed a patent for the technology, believes that it could be developed for applications such as in car interiors.

Interfacet by Ming Kong

“The most interest I’ve had is from car interior designers and car companies,” he said. “They’ve been interested to explore the tactile aspect of it. When you’re driving you want to be able to navigate in the dash panel without being visually distracted.”

“The other benefit for them would be making 3D surfaces and 3D forms interactive, and also manufacturing with a uniform material,” Kong added.

Interfacet by Ming Kong

Haptic controls for audio-editing software

Kong studied on the RCA’s Innovation Design Engineering course with fellow graduate Morten Grønning Nielsen, who created a “power glove” that carves objects with its fingertips.

Both projects are on display at the institution’s annual Show RCA graduate exhibition, which continues until 5 July 2015, along with a spiral staircase that wraps around the trunk of any tree.

Interfacet by Ming Kong

Form experiments created using Kong’s conductive material

In a similar attempt to make digital interfaces more haptic, RCA graduate Eunhee Jo revealed a prototype for a tactile fabric interface that was used to create a speaker in 2012.

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Leers Weinzapfel wraps new water-cooling plant in a copper-coloured screen

Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates has completed a new water-cooling facility at Ohio State University that is sheathed in a copper-coloured aluminium screen (+slideshow).

East Regional Chilled Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

Encompassing 30,000 square feet (2,800 square metre), the East Regional Chilled Water Plant sits on a prominent site between the historic Ohio State University (OSU) campus and the city of Columbus, Ohio. The building not only provides critical services, but also serves as an aesthetically pleasing gateway to the campus, said the firm.

“We believe that performance and beauty can co-exist in campus infrastructure,” said firm principal Jane Weinzapfel in a statement.

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

“A building that serves utilitarian functions can not only meet rigorous functional requirements but can also, through artistic yet synergistic design, contribute to the architectural context of its environment,” she added. “OSU’s East Regional Chilled Water Plan is our firm’s latest example of this approach.”

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

The OSU plant houses a centralized system that provides chilled water to numerous campus buildings for use in their air-conditioning systems. After the water is used, it is sent back to the plant to be re-cooled and redistributed.

The building comprises two overlapping volumes. The boxy upper volume, which is open to the sky and contains the cooling towers, is sheathed in a screen made of copper-hued aluminium.

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

The veil features two perforation densities, along with narrow open slots, that together meet ventilation requirements for the cooling equipment.

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

“Its perforated, copper-coloured aluminium enclosure serves as a new interpretation of the brick used prolifically on this and many US college campuses, adding aesthetic variety to its built surroundings,” said the firm.

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

“The result is an elegant approach that fits well with the building’s urban site and the surrounding context of older brick buildings.”



The lower, two-story volume is rectilinear in form and covered in glass. “Veiled and diaphanous on the exterior, it provides semi-transparent views from the interior looking out,” said the firm.

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

Completed in June, the facility houses a densely packed layout of equipment, with up to six chillers and cooling towers. To minimise the building’s mass, the firm placed pumping equipment in a basement.

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

The plant glows at night, which helps illuminate surrounding pedestrian zones and “continues the dialogue between the building’s forms and their contrasting materials,” said the firm.

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

“The glowing crystalline lower volume is lit from the inside, while the glittering metallic volume above is illuminated with a halo of projecting lights at its upper edge,” it added.

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

GBBN was associated architect for the $38 million (£24 million) project. The OSU facility marks the third university chiller plant by Leers Weinzapfel, with the others at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania.

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

Leers Weinzapfel, a multidisciplinary practice, was founded in 1982 by Andrea Leers and Jane Weinzapfel. In 2007, it was the first women-owned studio to receive the prestigious Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects — the highest honour bestowed upon a US architectural practice.

Recent infrastructure projects by other firms include the Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant in Copenhagen by Bjarke Ingels Group, a waste incinerator and power plant in the Danish city of Roskilde by Erick van Egeraat, and a water treatment facility in Portland, Oregon, by Skylab Architecture.

Photography is by Brad Feinknopf


East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

Plan – click for larger image

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

Plan – click for larger image

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

Section – click for larger image

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

Detailed section – click for larger image

East Regional Chille Water Plant by Leers Weinzapfe

Site plan – click for larger image

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FormLabs Creates New "Tough Resin" for 3D Printing

Formlabs are continuing to create new resins for their Form 1 3D printer. Last year they rolled out their Functional Resins in “Flexible” and “Castable” flavors, and this year they’re adding “Tough Resin” to the line-up. So what makes this one different?

Tough is durable, adaptive, and impact-resistant. Perfect for engineering challenges, this sturdy, ABS-like material has been developed to withstand high stress or strain. It’s ideal for snap-fit joints and other rugged prototypes.

“Durable: Sturdy prototypes that will deform under pressure where other 3D prints fail.”
“Responsive: Parts that absorb force; flexing and returning to form.”
“Rugged: Prints that can tolerate mechanical friction and strain.”

To demonstrate what the Tough stuff can do, the FormLabs team printed up a little demo a la Rube Goldberg:

While they apparently haven’t scaled production up to the level where they’re willing to give out free samples, as they do with their other resins, you can currently order a 1-liter bottle of the stuff for $175 (and with a one-week lead time). For now it only comes in the teal-ish color you see in the photos and video.

Yea or Nay on These Edge-Guided Scissors?

More than a few press outlets have called this product design a “genius” invention, but it’s left me scratching my head.

Inventor Tamas Fekete has designed the Vector scissors, which have the following features: The left side of the blade including the pivot screw is completely flush, and the handle has a molded lip that’s perpendicular to the blade:

The idea behind it is that you use the scissors the same way you’d use a track saw, but the edge of your table is the track:

Here’s where this doesn’t make sense to me. Most people I’ve seen who cut paper as part of their job use a straight-edge, an X-acto or matte knife and an appropriately-sized cutting mat with a grid on it, like the one Fakete used in the video. When dead-90 is required, the operator lines the edge of the paper up with a horizontal line on the grid, then makes the cut vertically by following the grid at the desired position. This saves you the step of having to mark the paper itself.

The notion that one would try, as shown in the video, to use an architect’s scale that didn’t span the width of the sheet to completely bisect it seems crazy. It also doesn’t make sense to me that he lines the sheet up with the edge of the table to establish 90—but then must slide it forward before making the cut to let the handle contact the table. In moving the sheet forward, hasn’t he just lost position and true perpendicularity? It seems the object was designed for precision, but is not demonstrated in a manner consistent with precision; and if accuracy is not the goal, why not use a pair of regular scissors?

While it seems cool to slide the scissors along a table, for true accuracy it would require you to mark the paper—a step that’s handily obviated by those using a gridded cutting mat and a straight-edge.

We’ve all seen products that are designed for professionals, and products that are designed to make amateurs/hobbyists feel they can get professional results. The Vector seems to fall in the latter category and I’m not convinced it would prove useful in real-world use, for the reasons mentioned above.

But, I’d like to hear from any readers that have to cut lots of paper accurately. Would you use this over the established method? And how do you envision the workflow going?

As for the Vector’s future, last week its IndieGogo campaign fell short—just $4,290 pledged against a $38,000 goal—but following strong press interest, Fekete will be relaunching the campaign today.