Human-centric consumer electronics that only work when you surrender your phone!

I applaud the effort, but your smartphone’s Screen Time or Digital Wellbeing feature telling you how much time you stare at your screen isn’t going to help. You’ll feel guilty about being on Instagram 2 hours a day, but awareness doesn’t break addiction. Designer Matteo Bandi has a much better solution… confiscation.

Sidekicks, developed by Bandi during his MA at the Royal College of London, is a series of electronic devices and appliances that literally use your phone as their on/off switch. Designed as a desk lamp for working, a speaker for leisure time, an alarm clock for the end of the day and a projector for watching a movie, Sidekicks literally need you to dock your phone in them to work. Place your phone in the designated area and your gadget powers to life, allowing you to use it. The phone’s screen turns into the product’s interface, allowing you to control it, while limiting your use. By confiscating your phone in order to work, Sidekicks offer a much more ‘cold turkey’ solution to our smartphone addiction problems, punishing us at first, but eventually allowing us to consciously live in the moment… plus using the phone’s screen as a control panel for the product itself? Absolute genius!

Designer: Matteo Bandi

An Indian designer turned pine-needles into a bio-composite raw material

Pine trees litter a large part of our world, forming a bulk of our evergreen forest cover. They hold immense cultural and religious significance for a better part of the world, and aside from the odd Christmas Tree, Pine Wood, and Pine Nuts, the trees don’t offer much. Their thin, needle shaped leaves are designed and optimized to minimize transpiration, and don’t give off much oxygen, because of their low surface area. There’s nothing much you can do with the vast abundance of pine needles that gather on the forest floor when they fall from trees. In fact, they act as kindling, often accelerating forest fires, causing widespread, unstoppable damage to their ecosystems.

In order to combat this, Gaurav Wali gave Pine Needles a new purpose. He separated the fibers of the pine leaves and bound them together with natural binders and waxes, turning it into a completely natural, bio-degradable composite material. The material has the appearance of Low Density Fiber or reclaimed wood-ash, while also being recyclable, fire retardant, water repellent and causing no pollution or waste in the process. It can be formed into sheets, or pressed into molds to create objects one would create with either wood or terracotta, and aside from looking remarkably raw and unique (and possibly giving off a wonderful aroma of pine), it would rid the forest floor of potential fire-starting dried leaves!

Designer: Gaurav Wali

The BassMe wearable turns your body into a subwoofer.

Your chest is basically an acoustic chamber. If you’ve ever been to a concert and you felt your chest thump along with the kick of a drum, it’s because your thoracic cavity is reverberating with the music. Given that your lungs are always filled with air, your torso is just an acoustic chamber that literally thumps to the loud music you’re listening to, increasing your feelings of euphoria and enjoyment… and while that feeling isn’t quite possible with headphone-based audio (since the audio goes directly into your ears instead of passing through your body), BassMe fills in that gap.

BassMe is a wearable subwoofer that rests conveniently on your shoulder, with the audio-element sitting against your rib-cage. Designed to be worn with headphones or even with a VR kit, BassMe helps you feel the audio, rather than just listen to it. Using state-of-the-art sound-wave and vibration technology, BassMe delivers rich low-end frequencies to you, widening the range of frequencies you experience while listening to music or to any sort of audio. It complements your audio with zero lag, and delivers sound so efficiently that users are often compelled to reduce the volume on their headsets just because they can already hear so well. Made for being worn while listening to music, watching movies, or playing games, BassMe gives you the effect of having a powerful hi-fi speaker unit near you, so the music feels pumpier, movies seem more immersive, and those gunshots and car engines in your games really feel believable!

Designer: Studio Duroy

AutoCamp Yosemite is a glamping site in the California wilderness

AutoCamp by Anacapa Architecture

Anacapa Architecture and Geremia have created a luxury campsite near Yosemite with Airstream trailers, tents and cabins filled with upscale decor, alongside a spacious clubhouse where guests can enjoy craft beer and kombucha.

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

The glamping site is located near the town of Mariposa, just outside of Yosemite National Park in northern California. Encompassing 35 acres (14 hectares), the grounds contain customised Airstream trailers, luxury tents, several cabins and an expansive clubhouse.

It is the third – and largest – AutoCamp site, with the others located in Santa Barbara and Sonoma County.

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

The structures were conceived by Santa Barbara-based Anacapa Architecture, with interior design overseen by Geremia in San Francisco.

Seeking to avoid “campy camp tropes”, the team incorporated clean lines, earthy materials and upscale contemporary furnishings.

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

“The landscape of AutoCamp Yosemite informed our design choices from the start,” said interior designer Lauren Geremia.

“Earthy, raw materials, organic textiles, and site-specific art installations redefine traditional luxury hospitality, and target a new generation of high-end travellers.”

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

The 80 Airstream trailers were custom designed for the luxury campground. Measuring 31 feet (9.4 metres) in length, each caravan contains a queen-sized memory foam bed, a bathroom with a shower, a small kitchen and a living area with a convertible sofa.

A heating and cooling system and a television with cable access ensure a high level of comfort for guests.

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

The trailers feature a restrained palette of materials and colours. White walls and cabinetry are paired with dark-toned wooden flooring.

In the bathroom, the team incorporated custom vanities and hexagonal tile flooring. Decor includes organic linens by Coyuchi and moon-shaped artwork by New York creative studio Bronsen.

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

The tents and cabins feature a similar aesthetic. In the single-room canvas tents, the team placed a king-sized bed, streamlined sofa, storage unit and mini fridge.

The gabled-roof wooden cabins offer sleeping accommodations for five people, along with a full kitchen, dining area and front porch.

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

All of the sites come with custom Stahl firepits and compressed logs that reduce smoke and fire danger.

The campground also offers five wheelchair-accessible suites designed by M-Rad in Los Angeles.

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

At the heart of the campground is the two-storey clubhouse, which encompasses 4,000 square feet (372 square metres). Built into a gently sloping site, the modern-style building is designed to embrace the natural surroundings.

“A primal material palette of regional pine, concrete, steel and glass is executed in pure architectural forms with clean, minimal detailing,” said Dan Weber, founder and principal of Anacapa.

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

On the ground level, the building contains lounge areas, a communal table and a “spa-inspired” bathroom with showers wrapped in artisanal tiles.

There is also a bar offering craft beer, kombucha and cold-brew coffee, along with a shop where guests can purchase beverages, barbecue dinner kits, apparel and other merchandise.

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

The upper level houses a space for weddings, corporate meetings and other occasions. A glazed room opens onto a wraparound terrace overlooking a heated swimming pool and a natural pond.

Throughout the clubhouse, the team aimed to provide expansive views and foster “a communal experience that honours the spirit and tradition of camping”.

The campground also has a hammock grove and a lawn for activities such as yoga. Guests can also enjoy complimentary mountain bike rentals, campfire programs and talks with local naturalists.

AutoCamp Yosemite by Anacapa Architecture and Geremia

Autocamp Yosemite joins a growing number of glamping sites in the US and beyond. Others include a Quebec eco-resort by Bourgeois/Lechasseur that features a trio of domed cabins and a coastal Oregon campground by OfficeUntitled, which offers furnished cabins, RV sites and a generous clubhouse with a fitness centre and indoor saltwater swimming pool.

Photography is by Aaron Leitz.

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Flamethrower drone can shoot a seven-metre long stream of fire

A flamethrower drone attachment that can shoot a seven-metre long stream of fire for 100 seconds is being sold online in the US by Throwflame.

Called the TF-19, the attachment allows “recreational and commercial users to remotely ignite targets from up to several miles away”. The accessory has a one-gallon fuel capacity and can integrate with most commercially available drone units.

According to the company’s website anyone in the US can buy the unit as “flamethrower drones are federally legal and not considered weapons”.

Throwflame suggests that the attachment can be used for agricultural burns, to melt snow or for pyrotechnics.

See more drone videos ›

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PLAYLAB's "FANTASY LANDSCAPES" Brings Central and South American Scenery to the Middle of Manhattan

Starting today, you can experience the sprawling landscapes of the Chilean Atacama Desert or the Iguazu Falls of Argentina smack dab in the middle of Manhattan—and snap a picture to commemorate your “trip”.

This is thanks to PLAYLAB, the New York creative studio responsible for landmark projects like the + POOL and frequent collaborators with Virgil Abloh, who are continuing their public art project with the Avenue of the Americas Association with the new installation FANTASY LANDSCAPES. The project consists of a series of four hand-painted, immersive installations around the avenue. FANTASY LANDSCAPES follows their last project on location, Grown Up Flowers in 2018, which became a big hit on Instagram. “The flowers were about getting something that was historically here and blowing it up, giving it attention,” notes PLAYLAB’s Ana Cecilia Thompson Motta, “now we’re bringing another part of the history which is that of the Avenue of the Americas. [New York City originally] wanted to bring all the Embassies here, so we wanted to bring a little more history and take people to the Americas through the Avenue.”

PLAYLAB’s 2018 installation “Grown Up Flowers”

The decision behind hand-painting stems from the old Hollywood practice of hand-painting backdrop sets as well as 50’s tourist Americana travel posters. “These movie sets really transported the actors outside of the real world; they allowed them to go anywhere in the world, and that’s what we wanted to bring to the Avenue of the Americas,” said Thompson Motta, “so not only is painting the better technique to do this because it adds to depth to wherever you are standing, but it’s also a nod to the techniques of these old movie backdrop painters.”

The installation will inevitably be used heavily by visitors for social media purposes, but also emphasizes the importance of designing an art experience that can be appreciated as is, in real life. PLAYLAB Partner Jeff Franklin says of the installation “we’ve always loved to do artwork that people can interact with that’s not like a white glove, precious type of thing. Especially for public art, it’s not a ‘look but don’t touch’, but instead a ‘look but get in it’ type of experience.”

FANTASY LANDSCAPES launches Monday, July 22nd. Launch day will be accompanied by several “tour guides” helping visitors navigate the spaces, who will be taking Polaroids of visitors in the installations to take home with them. Some pretty cool limited-edition merch will also be able for purchase Monday, July 22nd from 12:00PM to 2:00 PM at the 1177 Sixth Avenue location.

FANTASY LANDSCAPES is located at 1120 Sixth Avenue, 1177 Sixth Avenue, 1221 Sixth Avenue, and 1251 Sixth Avenue and will be installed until October 2019.

Interested to hear more from PLAYLAB? Partner Archie Lee Coates IV will be speaking at the Core77 Conference this October! Learn more here and buy your ticket today.

MAD's first European building nears completion in Paris


A sinuous facade of stepped terraces envelops MAD‘s UNIC apartment tower, which is nearing completion in Paris, France.

Developed in collaboration with local studio Biecher Architectes, the 13-storey residential building will become MAD‘s first completed project in Europe.

The block is wrapped in balconies that will be fitted with planters to double as “raised gardens” – intended to blur boundary with the neighbouring Martin Luther King Park and encourage residents to connect with the outside.

UNIC apartment tower in Paris by MAD and Biecher Architectes

“Unlike the static Haussmann apartment blocks that define Paris, our project is characterised by its interaction with nature in the urban environment,” explained MAD.

“In contrast to typical modern cities that displace the connection between the ground and nature as they grow increasingly dense and vertical, the scheme creates an environment that is generous in natural spaces.”

UNIC apartment tower in Paris by MAD and Biecher Architectes

MAD and Biecher Architectes won a competition to design UNIC in 2012 as part of the new Clichy-Batignolles district – a mixed-use neighbourhood in the capital’s 17th arrondissement that sits on a former railway site.

The masterplan stretches 50-hectares and is divided into nine plots that overlook the park, and will be filled with offices and other residential buildings.

UNIC apartment tower in Paris by MAD and Biecher Architectes

Due for completion in September, UNIC will comprise a mix of private housing and affordable housing. Each apartment will look out onto a balcony through large floor-to-ceiling windows, offering the upper levels panoramic views of Paris.

The apartment block will be complete with a kindergarten, retail spaces, restaurants and direct access to a metro station to link the community to the greater Paris area.

UNIC apartment tower in Paris by MAD and Biecher Architectes

“UNIC actively enhances relationships within the community, represents the neighbourhood’s evolution, and offers a contemporary vision of how nature can be integrated into the urban environment,” concluded the studio.

MAD is an architecture studio established in Beijing in 2004 by Ma Yansong. It now has offices in Los Angeles, New York and Rome.

Other recent projects by the studio include its proposal for Yiwu Grand Theater to look like a Chinese junk, and a recently completed kindergarten with red rooftop playground in its home city.

Photography is by Jared Chulski.

Project credits:

Lead architect: MAD
Principal partners in charge:
Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Associate partners in charge: Andrea d’Antrassi, Flora Lee
Design team: Zhao Wei, Wu Kaicong, Daniel Gillen, Jiang Bin, Tristan Brasseur, Juan Valeros, Gustavo Alfred van Staveren, Xin Dogterom, Juan Pablo, Cesar d Pena Del Rey, Natalia Giacomino, Torsten Radunski, Rozita Kahirtseva
Client: Emerige
Team coordinator: Biecher Architectes
Executive architect: Biecher Architectes
Structure engineers: BECIP – BET Structure
MEP consultant: ESPACE TEMPS – BET Fluides
Landscape designer: PHYTOLAB – BET Paysagiste
Interior designer: Charles Zana
Project management: Artelia
Construction company: Vinci Sicra Ile-de-France

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When Food Become Alive by Charlotte Love

Charlotte Love est une styliste photo basée à Londres. Elle a étudié la communication visuelle et l’illustration à l’Institut des arts de Bournemouth. Elle travaille en tant que freelance depuis qu’elle a été diplômée il y a 11 ans.

De son temps libre, Charlotte crée, à partir d’aliments, des petits personnages aux visages, aux traits physiques et à la personnalité bien différents, qu’elle photographie ensuite et poste sur son compte Instagram nommé « Charlottelovely ». Elle utilise des yeux et des bouches pré-fabriqués, tous sculptés dans de la pâte à modeler, pour leur donner vie et leur conférer des expressions diverses et variées avant de les photographier. Tartine de pain grillé, oeufs, banane, poireau ou pudding… Tous passent entre les mains de l’artiste !

« J’aime utiliser l’humour et les couleurs ; le résultat final est simple, mais audacieux. Je réalise toutes ces créations pour m’amuser. » nous dit-elle.


Colorful Design of a Skatepark

Quand Thomas Lateur se retrouve face à un skatepark en déperdition, il prends l’initiative de lui donner une seconde vie en y ajoutant sa patte créative. Armé de pots de peintures, le jeune designer graphique exprime alors sa passion pour les couleurs et les formes géométriques tout en redynamisant un lieu de vie sous-exploité.

« C’est peut être naïf et utopiste de ma part mais je me suis dit qu’en redonnant un peu de couleurs on pouvait peut être inverser la tendance ! »

La palette de couleurs pastels utilisée permet de jouer avec les contrastes et de créer un reel univers autour du lieu. Un acte citoyen qui permet également aux skateurs de réaliser des images plus créatif  de leurs performances.

Airbus' Bird of Prey aircraft concept features feather-tipped wings

Airbus Bird of Prey electric hybrid aircraft

Airbus has unveiled a bird-like concept for a hybrid-electric airliner that aims to show the potential of using biomimicry in aviation design.

Inspired by the “efficient mechanics” of birds, Airbus’ Bird of Prey conceptual aircraft features wing and tail structures with individually controlled feather-like tips, which help with control while minimising drag.

The concept also boasts a smooth wing root – the point where the wing joins the fuselage – designed to imitate the graceful, aerodynamic arch of an eagle or falcon.

The feathered tips of the plane’s tail are decorated with the pattern of a union jack, which contrasts with its orange body and more subtly coloured blue, white and gold wings.

While not intended to represent an actual aircraft, the Bird of Prey concept is based on realistic ideas. Its designers are aiming to provide an insight into what the future of aviation could look like if designers harnessed the potential of biomimicry – design inspired by nature.

“Our Bird of Prey is designed to be an inspiration to young people and create a ‘wow’ factor that will help them consider an exciting career in the crucially important aerospace sector,” said Martin Aston, a senior manager at Airbus.

“One of the priorities for the entire industry is how to make aviation more sustainable – making flying cleaner, greener and quieter than ever before,” he continued.

“We know from our work on the A350 XWB passenger jet that through biomimicry, nature has some of the best lessons we can learn about design,” added Aston.

Revealed last week at the Royal International Air Tattoo air show in Gloucestershire, England, the Bird of Prey concept design is a hybrid-electric, turbo-propeller aircraft intended for regional air transportation.

The plane would be able to accommodate up to 80 passengers, and would have a range of 1,500 kilometres.

Thanks to its hybrid-electric propulsion system the Bird of Prey would burn 30 to 50 per cent less fuel than todays airliners do, providing optimal low-speed performance while working to reduce environmental emissions.

This electric system would power propellers made of carbon fibre, and would also produce less noise than typical aircrafts.

Also looking to the future of air travel, design studio Layer developed a smart seating concept earlier this year for use in Airbus’ economy class, which would allow passengers to monitor and control their seat conditions using their phone.

Around the same time, in February, Airbus announced it was ceasing production of the A380 – the world’s largest passenger aircraft. We spoke to Paul Priestman, who designed the superjumbo’s first interior, about the plane’s design legacy.

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