10 X Darker Than Vantablack

This Is The New Blackest Material In The World, Even Blacker Than Vantablack!Built from carbon nanotubes, the material reportedly absorbs 99.995 of light, and its creators say it’s 10 times blacker than any other existing material…(Read…)

How Can Gliders Fly Without Propulsion

How can gliders fly without propulsion..(Read…)

Adorable Barn Owl Chick Is Petrified Of Thunder And Lightning

Adorable barn owl chick is petrified of thunder and lightning..(Read…)

Where Do SVA's Products of Design Graduates Get Hired?

“It’s really common for prospective students looking at the program to ask what happens to our students AFTER they leave the program,” offers SVA’s Products of Design chair Allan Chochinov. “It’s funny, because we’d love to tell them about what we actually do HERE for the two years that they’re with us! But we totally understand that people want to know how the education and the networking we offer them will help launch their professional careers.”

To have some fun addressing the question, the department reached out to recent alumni—asking them to record themselves in their places of work, talking about what they’re up to. And wow, the list of companies, consultancies, and brands is super-impressive. Check out the video below:

If you want to learn more about the program, for sure hit the website. And don’t forget about their Open House and Info Session taking place on Wednesday, November 13th, starting right at 6pm. It’ll be livestreamed for those not in NYC.

(Another wonky but notable feature of the program: It’s now a STEM-Certified MFA Program, meaning that international students are able to apply for a 24-month extension to their 12-month Optional Practical Training student visas post-graduation. A big boon to international applicants!)

Straw: The Original Straw

In recent years, public perception of the drinking straw has morphed from a seemingly innocuous plastic tube, into a poisontipped, political arrow. While it is refreshing to see that such a simple physical object can still stir up some social discord in this digital age, it is also humbling to realize that even as we’ve created space shuttles, smart-phones, and artificial hearts, we’ve yet to even master this simple little device. Since the winds of culture and politics have determined that the battle over some of our worst, and most wasteful tendencies, should be waged through this ubiquitous little product, it is worth examining the origins of its design.

As is so often the case with design, nature itself can claim ownership over the original idea. The first form of drinking straw manifested as the proboscis of insects like the butterfly, for drinking up liquid from wet soil and rotting fruit, as well as sucking up nectar from flowers.

So far as human design goes, the earliest recorded usage of a drinking straw dates back to the Sumerians and Babylonians. It is surmised that use of drinking straws goes back even further but the true origins are unknown. Dating back to 3000BC, the oldest known drinking straw was found in the tomb of Pu-abi, Sumerian Queen of Ur, in modern day Iraq. The regal straw is made of gold, measures over a meter long, features a silver mouth-piece, and is ornamented with segments of the vibrant blue stone, lapiz lazuli. As humans had not yet developed plastic, the Sumerians had to seal the straw of precious metal and stone in a tomb to ensure it would last as long as it has.

However, for those Sumerians who were not of the royal class but still wanted to enjoy beer without ingesting all the excess gunk produced in the fermentation process, the typical straw was made from hollow reed, i.e. straw. With that, innovation halted. Millennia passed before anyone began to think that this initially eco-friendly design would need an update.

In the meantime, a different drinking device with nearly the same functionality came into use among native peoples of modern day Argentina. The bombilla, is a drinking straw that has the added utility of acting as a sieve for Mate and other teas. It isn’t clear when the bombilla was first invented, while it definitely has been in use for the past few centuries, it is said to have been around for thousands of years. Original iterations of the device were carved from wood, but the modern bombilla is most often made from metal.

In western culture, popularization of the drinking straw did not emerge until the 19th century. At that time the most commonly used grain for the production of drinking straws was rye grass. In his 1920 book The Small Grains, Mark Alfred Carleton recorded the process of producing rye grass drinking straws:”After bleaching, the straws are assorted by hand, each individual stalk being examined, and the the imperfect ones removed. They are then cut, the five lower joints only being utilized for drinking purposes. The sheaths are then removed, and the straw washed and bound into bundles ready for the market.”

Carleton goes on to note that, were it not for the use of rye in the production of straw braids, it would actually not be profitable to produce the rye straws at all, as it is only a small part of the rye stalk that is used for the drinking straw.

While people made do with rye grass, various inventors tried their hand at popularizing new designs for drinking straws. In one fraudulent attempt, W.H. Brown simply patented the South American bombilla in an effort to capitalize on the ancient design in the US. However things only really began to change when one man could not abide the hint of rye grass he tasted in his mint julep (or so the story goes). Amid his frustration, journalist and inventor, Marvin Stone wrapped sheets of of paper around a pencil, glued them together, and thus “artificial straw” technology came into being. In no time, the paper drinking straws became a massive success.

Other iterations of the straw followed, including, but not limited to, the bendy straw, the crazy straw, and the meat straw. The now infamous plastic drinking straw, only came into regular production in the 1960s and by the 1980’s it had become the standard.

As they had become ubiquitous in restaurant chains around the world, it didn’t take long for people to see the environmental toll of the plastic material. By 2015, the plastic straw began to endure serious scrutiny, as more and more people had come to realize that all the plastic straws we’ve produced haven’t been degrading and are scarcely recycled. Now 8.3 billion of them can be found on beaches around the world. Today, as plastic straw bans continue to spread, designers have begun to experiment with reusable straw designs, and the paper straw has made a controversial comeback (even Marvin Stone’s company has profited from the revival). Only now it has been branded as the environmentally-friendly alternative.

Which begs the question, why not return to the all-natural, eponymous straw that humanity had only recently decided was worth material modification? Better yet, since we have mastered the ability to filter our beer in the last 5000 years, why use a straw at all? While there are vital reasons as to why many people need access to a drinking straw, for designers, these questions require renewed consideration. And really, is it better design to have a straw that lasts 400 years for 15 minutes of use? Or one that degrades naturally, but adds a slight grassy-taste to your mint julep?

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien win 2019 Praemium Imperiale for architecture

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien win 2019 Praemium Imperiale for architecture

American architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have been named architecture laureates for the Japan Art Association’s 2019 Praemium Imperiale awards.

Awarded annually, the Praemium Imperiale recognises artists who have made a “major international impact” in the fields of architecture, sculpture, music, painting and theatre or film.

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien win 2019 Praemium Imperiale for architecture
2019 Praemium Imperiale architecture laureates Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Photo by Taylor Jewell

Williams and Tsien are best known for projects such as the Neurosciences Institute in California, The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, and the Lefrak Centre in Brooklyn.

The pair began working together in 1977, founding their practice Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in New York in 1986.

“The couple and their studio design buildings that blend seamlessly into their surroundings, have strong evidence of the hands from which they’re made, and prioritise the experience of the lives lived within them,” said the Japan Art Association.

“Throughout their body of work, no matter the complexity, they retain the values of their practice and endeavour to leave good marks upon the earth.”

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien win 2019 Praemium Imperiale for architecture
The Neurosciences Institute by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

This is the 31st year of the Praemium Imperiale awards. Previous architecture laureates include Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, Peter Zumthor, Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl and David Chipperfield.

Last year the prize went to French architect Christian de Portzamparc.

The Japan Art Association set up the prize, which awards each recipient 15 million yen (£100,000), in order to recognise the fields of contribution to humanity that go unrecognised by the Nobel Prizes.

“This year’s laureates of the Praemium Imperiale have all made a significant contribution to our civilisation,” said Chris Patten, former governor of Hong Kong and international advisor of Praemium Imperiale.

In 2018 Tsien called for better child care provision in the US, calling it the “biggest issue of inequality for women in the profession” [of architecture].

“It should be a federal issue,” Tsien told Dezeen.

“The only way that you can keep working in a profession as demanding as architecture, is if you make a space for people with families,” she continued.

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien win 2019 Praemium Imperiale for architecture
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects are building the Obama Presidential Centre

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects won the competition to design the Obama Presidential Centre in Chicago, which is due to complete in the US city in 2022.

Williams and Tsien are joined as winners for the 2019 Praemium Imperiale by British-Palestinian sculptor Mona Hatoum and German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.

The other winners were South African painter William Kentridge, and Japanese kabuki theatre actor Bando Tamasaburo.

Main photo is by Taylor Jewell.

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Powerful and Sublimated Bodies by Francorama

Les dessins sensuels et captivants de l’artiste visuel montréalais Francorama nous entraînent dans un monde où le corps joue et s’expose librement. 

Les couleurs vives mettent en valeur les courbes et les expressions de ces personnages invitants et fougueux, et bien que son créateur exprime être influencé par l’expressionnisme abstrait, le cubisme et le concept esthétique du Ma japonais, on est happé par cet univers graphique vibrant. L’illustrateur souligne également faire fusionner les mouvements de ses protagonistes et le minimalisme. De cette manière, une palette d’émotions et d’idées est offerte aux spectateurs, libres alors de se laisser prendre au jeu. Suivez ses projets sur Instagram.

De La Espada and The Future Perfect team up to dress model apartment in Tribeca

De La Espada and The Future Perfect Showroom

A wooden settle with a spindly backrest and a metal coffee table depicting an abstracted orgy are among the pieces featured in a Manhattan show residence that was curated by furniture retailers The Future Perfect and De La Espada.

De La Espada and The Future Perfect Showroom

The unit is located within 100 Franklin Street, a mixed-use, brick-clad building that “juxtaposes the cutting edge with the historic”.

Designed and developed by local firm DDG Partners, the Tribeca building offers 10 full-floor apartments, along with two duplex penthouses. Prices range from three to seven million dollars (£2.4 to £5.6 million), according to StreetEasy.

De La Espada and The Future Perfect Showroom

To create a standout model unit, the developer turned to Portuguese furniture company De La Espada and the design gallery The Future Perfect, which has locations in New York and California. The team set out to produce a distinctive residence “that exudes livable elegance”.

The open-plan public area occupies a triangular space with pale wooden flooring and white walls. The room is dressed with an eclectic mix of furnishings that align with the building’s exterior, which features a merging of contemporary and classical elements.

De La Espada and The Future Perfect Showroom

The living space is fitted with a grayish Planalto sofa by British designer Matthew Hilton, which has a low back and brushed-brass feet. Arranged around the sofa are Elysia lounge chairs by Italian designer Luca Nichetto, and a portable, wood-and-brass Handle side table by Neri&Hu.

A focal point of the lounge area is the Orgy coffee table by Brooklyn designer Chris Wolston. Its aluminium top depicts body parts embracing one another.

Tucked behind the living area is a Solo vitrine by Neri&Hu, which has curved form and wooden frame. Glass walls and shelves provide clear views of the objects displayed within.

De La Espada and The Future Perfect Showroom

The kitchen features white cabinetry, marble counters and a pastel-blue backsplash. The light tones are contrasted with a pair of chunky Capo bar stools by Neri&Hu.

The dining area is positioned near a large window with ombre drapery from Calico Wallpaper‘s new line of textiles, called COPE. The wooden table and seating, including a settle with a tall back, are by London’s Studioilse.

De La Espada and The Future Perfect Showroom

The public space also has a small seating nook with sand-cast aluminium Luxor chairs by Wolston and a wooden Mitch cabinet by Luca Nichetto.

In the bedroom, the team placed a nightstand and tall chest from the McQueen collection by Matthew Hilton. A three-legged, brass side table is by Neri&Hu.

De La Espada and The Future Perfect Showroom

An office features a desk and green chair from Neri&Hu’s Solo collection. Ladder-style, black walnut bookshelves were designed by the Turkish studio Autoban.

The apartment has a range of lighting fixtures, including pieces by San Francisco’s Charles De Lisle and London designer Michael Anastassiades. Hand-tufted rugs are from the Swedish brand Kasthall.

De La Espada and The Future Perfect Showroom

Artwork include sculptures by Floris Wubben and Lerone Wilson, ceramics by Lana Kova, and paintings by Pajtim Osmana.

Other model residences in New York include an apartment in David Chipperfield’s The Bryant tower that was curated by Standard Arts, and two show units at 520 West 28th Street, a luxury condo building by Zaha Hadid Architects.

De La Espada and The Future Perfect Showroom

Architect David Adjaye also created a show apartment to provide a taste of the interiors at 130 William, his first Manhattan skyscraper.

Photography is by Nicole Franzen.

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Lixil expands "breathable" Ecocarat tile collection for 20th anniversary

Lixil's Ecorarat tile collection

Dezeen promotion: Japanese material and product manufacturer Lixil has announced the evolution of its Ecocarat tiles by Inax to celebrate the collection’s 20th anniversary.

Named Ecocarat Plus, the expanded collection includes eight more “breathable wall tiles” than the original series that first launched in 1999.

Designed to offer more than “a mere background role”, the wall tiles are designed by Lixil to help maintain comfortable humidity levels, and reduce unpleasant odours and harmful substances in the air.

Lixil's Ecocarat tile collection
Japanese material and product manufacturer Lixil has expanded its “breathable” Ecocarat tile collection

Ecocarat is one of numerous products created by Lixil, which is made up of global brands including Inax, Grohe, American Standard, Tostem and Kawashima Selkon.

The diverse range of brands create products that can cater to all developments, from the most luxurious to the extremely functional. They are all united by the aim of “making a better home a reality for everyone”, something that is demonstrated by the Ecocarat tile.

“Since they were first launched 20 years ago, the Ecocarat series has proven popular with customers for its high-quality designs and ability to create pleasant indoor air environments,” explained Lixil.

“With an ultra-fine structure on its surface, Ecocarat enables smaller moisture particles to pass through but prevents larger water and dirt particles from entering.”

Lixil's Ecocarat tile collection
It is named Ecocarat Plus and marks the collection’s 20th anniversary

The expanded collection introduces several new tiles with “realistic textures” that resemble stone and wood, including the Neo Travertine tile.

Neo Travertine is available in three different colours, and has a texture that evokes natural stone to help customers bring a “more natural atmosphere” to Japanese-inspired interiors, particularly entrance halls and living rooms.

Lixil's Ecorarat tile collection
They are designed to offer more than a “background role” and help maintain comfortable humidity levels

Coinciding with the expanded collection, Lixil has also launched its A Dream Treasure campaign in collaboration with interior design company Actus, which will run until September 30th 2019.

The campaign offers customers in Japan the chance to win a “dream living room” designed by Actus that is complete with Ecocarat tiles.

Lixil's Ecorarat tile collection
Some of the new tiles evoke natural materials like stone and wood

Lixil is a Japanese material manufacturer best known for its “pioneering water and housing products” that are meaningfully designed.

Informed by traditional Japanese mud-wall construction, its Ecocarat collection is designed to offer an innovative alternative wall-finish than wallpaper and paint.

Lixil's Ecocarat tile collection
As part of the anniversary celebrations customers can also win a new living room designed by Lixil with Actus

“Design is one of the key drivers of our strategy at Lixil. It enables us to create truly differentiated products – to make things that really matter to people and the world around us,” said the company.

Visit Lixil’s website to see more of the collection, and visit the A Dream Treasure campaign website to find out more about the competition.

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The Greatest Astronomy Pictures of the Year

L’Astronomy Photographer of the Year a publié les gagnants du concours qui récompense les plus belles photographies d’astronomie de l’année. Cette année le gagnant global du concours est issu de la catégorie Our Moon, László Francsics, qui a immortalisé les séquences de l’eclipse lunaire du 21 janvier depuis Budapest.
L’histoire de chacune de ces images de rêve est disponible sur le site du concours. Elles seront affichées jusqu’au 26 avril 2020, les images sélectionnées sont exposées au National Maritime Museum.

Across the Sky of History © Wang Zheng

A Little Fireworks © Alan Friedman

Ben, Floyd & the Core © Ben Bush

Death of Opportunity © Andy Casely

Into the Shadow © László Francsics

Shells of Elliptical Galaxy NGC 3923 in Hydra © Rolf Wahl Olsen

Sky and Ground, Stars and Sand © Shuchang Dong

Statue of Liberty Nebula © Ignacio Diaz Bobillo

Stellar Flower © Davy van der Hoeven

The Jewels of Orion © Ross Clark

The Watcher © Nicolai Brügger