Lin Shaobin emulates mountainous scenes with burnt paper for Chinese tea packaging

Linshaobin Design designs Mountain Tea Song tea packaging for Shanghai restaurant

Shanghai-based graphic design studio Lin Shaobin has created packaging for tea that uses burnt paper to emulate traditional Chinese ink paintings of misty mountains.

The Mountain Tea Song packaging project was commissioned by Guangzhou Zifang enterprise for a restaurant in the Chinese city of Guangzhou called Song’s Chinese Cuisine.

Lin Shaobin took design cues from the Song dynasty – an era that begun with Emperor Taizu of Songa and saw a period of wide artistic development in China that lasted from around 960-1279 AD.

Lin Shaobin designs Mountain Tea Song tea packaging for Shanghai restaurant
The tea packaging takes cues from art produced during the Song dynasty

As tea is the most popular beverage of choice in Song’s Chinese Cuisine, Lin Shaobin were tasked with designing a unique packaging that reflected both the creative inspiration of the restaurant as well as the location from which the drink is sourced.

The Mountain Tea Song tea leaves are grown high up in the mountains at elevations of up to 1000 meters before being charcoal roasted in three different concentrations from light to strong according to different baking times.

Lin Shaobin wanted this process to be represented in the tea’s casing for the consumer to see, and therefore chose to use the effect of burning the edges of paper.

Lin Shaobin designs Mountain Tea Song tea packaging for Shanghai restaurant
Lin Shaobin used burnt paper to emulate mountainous landscapes

The studio burnt three different colours of paper – camel, grey and beige, which are used to distinguish the different strengths of tea – before scanning the results onto a computer and printing the digital images.

Just as real burning paper creates organic outlines, the printed images were laser-engraved to achieve similar irregular edges, which emulate the undulating peaks of troughs of a mountainous landscape.

The studio then overlapped three burnt pieces of paper to create a sense of depth for each of the three packaging designs.

While each of the boxes are stamped with simple illustrations of flying cranes, one of the designs features a gilded bronze-hued circle positioned behind the mountains to represent a moon.

Lin Shaobin designs Mountain Tea Song tea packaging for Shanghai restaurant
The box designs resemble traditional Chinese ink paintings

According to Lin Shaobin, the burnt paper edges also resemble the delicate lines drawn in traditional Chinese ink paintings, particularly from the Song dynasty.

“Consumers who drink Chinese high-end tea generally pay more attention to tea ceremony, culture and art, so they also prefer landscape paintings with artistic conception and imagination space,” it said.

The studio wanted the Mountain Tea Song packaging design to reflect the high quality of the product and the “elegant tone” of the brand.

Lin Shaobin designs Mountain Tea Song tea packaging for Shanghai restaurant
Lin Shaobin wanted the packaging to reflect the charcoal roasting process of the tea

Lin Shaobin’s Mountain Tea Song packaging has been shortlisted for graphic design of the year at Dezeen Awards 2020 alongside a minimalist chocolate packaging by Norwegian practice OlssønBarbieri for CF18 Chocolatier and a series of stamps by Finnish studio Berry Creative.

The Climate Change stamps are printed with heat-reactive ink that reveals hidden images under their black surface when rubbed with a finger as a comment on the negative effects of global warming.

The post Lin Shaobin emulates mountainous scenes with burnt paper for Chinese tea packaging appeared first on Dezeen.

Make velvety-smooth coffee like baristas in 20 seconds with this portable milk foamer!

Drinking black coffee is not a personality trait and people who drink their coffee with milk are equally favored by the caffeine gods. However, if you are a real coffee lover or an aspiring one, you can’t just pour milk into espresso shots and call it day, we have to do it right – cappuccinos, lattes, flat whites, macchiatos, etc. all require a different milk texture to really bring out the best in your cup. That is why we love the coffee made by baristas, the velvety texture and foam really takes your drink to the next level. Now you can achieve that high-quality coffee at home without investing in expensive machines with this nifty NanoFoamer!

This year we are spending most of our time indoors and while cafes are still open for to-go orders, you can enjoy freshly brewed coffee with foamy milk from the comfort of your WFH corner or couch which is far better than drinking while driving. NanoFoamer upgrades your existing coffee setup without taking up counter space. While handheld frothers are not new, NanoFoamer is far superior to the existing ones in the market because it comes with two NanoScreens that let you choose the kind of microfoam you want – this is what marks the difference between cappuccinos and lattes, now we are really leveling up from coffee addicts to coffee connoisseurs! The fine and super-fine NanoScreens give different foam densities unlike other handheld frothers and the result is latte-art quality milk instead of a dollop of milk bubbles that go flat. Microfoam holds stiffly and that is how the latte art stays in place, with NanoFoamer you can make handcrafted drinks anywhere.

The team also tested it with milk alternatives keeping in mind that plant-based consumption is on the rise and that should be no reason for you to miss out on a foamy cup of coffee. “By popular demand, we tested the NanoScreens with three different types of milk alternatives. Soy, Oat, and Coconut. The NanoFoamer performed really well on all three, the texture was always superfine and smooth, only the amount of microfoam you can make is sometimes less than if you use regular milk,” said the team. For the first time, milk can be heated without an espresso machine for making microfoam – simply warm your milk to 55°C on any stovetop before foaming with NanoFoamer. The different NanoScreens sizes will yield different foam densities and textures depending on how long you run the device for – the top foam layer can be as thin or thick as you like based on how quick or slow you churn. If you want that foam mustache, I would recommend the fine NanoScreens and a slow churn for a minute.

Choose between the fine and superfine screen, churn your milk at a speed of 10,000 RPM till you are happy with the amount of foam, and then pour the milk into your espresso. In as little as 20 seconds you can get milk that pours as smooth as paint! “The NanoFoamer creates microfoam that seamlessly blends with your espresso, enhancing the flavor profiles and mouthfeel of the drink – the bubbles are so fine you can’t even see them. Milk frothers on the other hand simply whisk the milk creating dry foam or junk-foam as we call it, a big bubbly substance that quickly separates into layers. Dry foam does not mix with espresso and crema, instead, it sits on top creating separate layers of milk and coffee flavors,” says the team while explaining why the NanoFoamer is essential if you want to make the most of your coffee. Mount it on the wall or let it stand by your coffee station for easy access. It is waterproof and easy to clean, plus since it runs on batteries you can carry it with you anywhere for a perfect coffee each time!

Designer: Dominic Symons of Subminimal

Click Here to Buy Now: $66. Hurry, only 27/950 left! Raised over $170,000.

NanoFoamer – Microfoam Milk in 20 Seconds

The NanoFoamer makes velvet-textured barista-quality microfoamed milk by spinning bubbles through NanoScreens at 10,000 RPM.

The NanoFoamer creates microfoam that seamlessly blends with your espresso, enhancing the flavor profiles and mouthfeel of the drink.

Milk frothers on the other hand simply whisk the milk creating dry foam or junk-foam as we call it, a big bubbly substance that quickly separates into layers. Dry foam does not mix with espresso and crema, instead it sits on top creating separate layers of milk and coffee flavors.

The NanoFoamer spins milk bubbles through NanoScreens at ultra-high speed, breaking the bubbles down into a microscopic mist called microfoam.

Choose the fine or superfine NanoScreen to personalize the density of your microfoam. Additionally, churn for a shorter or longer time to adjust how much foam you make. Remove the screen for mixing hot cocoa and other drinks.

Microfoam is so fine, you won’t ever see bubbles. Microfoam mixes with the espresso and crema, creating a velvet-smooth mouthfeel.

Just pick a NanoScreen, churn some warmed milk for 20 seconds, and pour.

Keep the NanoFoamer close by at your coffee station, either mounted to the wall or in the drawer with the protective hood on.

Just run it under the tap to after each use. They also made it waterproof anyway just to be extra safe.

A 450ml (15oz) Stovetop Milk Jug

You’ll need the ultimate jug to pour your best drinks so they designed the first-ever latte art milk jug with an ergonomic heat resistant handle for stovetops. For the first time, milk can be heated without an espresso machine for making microfoam. Warm your milk to 55°C on any stovetop before foaming with NanoFoamer.

Features a super smooth neck for consistent milk flow, a wide tangent spout for flowing ripples, and a sharp tip for finishing details.

Click Here to Buy Now: $66. Hurry, only 27/950 left! Raised over $170,000.

Seven bedrooms with eye-catching statement walls

Statement walls roundup: Chelsea Pied-à-Terre

From graphic tilework to hand-painted wallpaper, architects and designers have found a myriad of ways to create striking surfaces in the bedroom. Here are seven standout examples.

Statement walls roundup: Duplex in NYC

Duplex in NYC, USA, by Crosby Studios

Crosby Studios founder Harry Nuriev and his partner Tyler Billinger combined white tilework with a gold-lame headboard to create a statement wall in the bedroom of their New York apartment.

Nuriev and Billinger didn’t hold back when it came to designing the rest of the room, which boasts ultraviolet side tables and throw cushions, as well as a hand-shaped light.

Find out more about Duplex in NYC

Statement walls roundup: Hygge Studio

Hygge Studio, Brazil, by Melina Romano

Tan-coloured bricks that feature in the communal living spaces of this Sao Paulo apartment continue through to the bedroom to form a rustic feature wall, finished with a lengthy headboard upholstered in terracotta-red fabric.

Interior designer Melina Romano explained that the warm medley of materials and colours are meant to channel a sense of hygge – a Danish term for a feeling of cosiness or contentment.

Find out more about Hygge Studio

Statement walls roundup: Chelsea Pied-à-Terre

Chelsea Pied-à-Terre, USA, by Stadt Architecture

Gold paint seems to ooze down the painterly, deep-green statement wall that features in the bedroom of this New York apartment.

The owners, who originally hail from southwest Canada, had wanted to bring the lush verdancy of the landscapes in their hometown into the apartment’s interior.

“We couldn’t literally accommodate a green living wall into the living areas,” Stadt Architecture explained. “However, we reconsidered ‘landscape’ as a custom hand-painted wall covering.”

Find out more about Chelsea Pied-à-Terre

Statement walls roundup: Apartment A

Apartment A, Belgium, by Atelier Dialect

The unusual open-plan bedroom and bathroom inside this Antwerp apartment includes a statement wall clad in contrasting black and white subway tiles.

It serves as a graphic backdrop to the room’s freestanding tub, wrapped in shiny panels of mirrored steel.

Find out more about Apartment A

Statement walls roundup: Heat 360

Heat 360, Ukraine, by Azovskiy & Pahomova Architects

Blotches of rust colour the dark slate-tile wall that extends across the back of this master bedroom, which is set inside a family home in Ukraine’s Dnipro region.

The floor-to-ceiling windows that run along the front the bedroom act as another statement wall, providing uninterrupted views out towards the landscaped garden and a nearby river.

Find out more about Heat 360

Statement walls roundup: Shkrub

Shkrub, Ukraine, by Sergey Makhno

Rows of rounded ceramic tiles create an almost scaly surface finish on the wall of the guest bedroom in architect Sergey Makhno’s family home.

This is one of several statement walls Makhno has incorporated in the property – a plaster wall in his own master bedroom has been sculpted to resemble the craggy face of a cliff.

Find out more about Shkrub ›

Statement walls roundup: Casa A12

Casa A12, Spain, by Lucas y Hernández-Gil

A large cobalt-blue circle forms a simple but striking feature wall in the bedroom of this Madrid duplex apartment.

This shade of blue and coral orange have been applied across the rest of the home in homage to the colours used in Number 14, a painting by 20th-century abstract artist Mark Rothko.

Find out more about Casa A12

The post Seven bedrooms with eye-catching statement walls appeared first on Dezeen.

Black monolithic volumes and concrete latticework form Carrizal houses in Mexico City

Carrizal by PPAA

Eight black houses are arranged next to a path cutting through this residential complex that architecture firm PPAA has designed in Mexico City.

Paved in dark stone and planted with trees, the stepped path acts like an internal street for the Carrizal houses in Lomas Quebradas, a neighbourhood in the south of the city.

View of internal Carrizal by PPAA
The paved path acts as an internal street. Top image: each house has a rooftop terrace

Four houses are arranged on each side and have latticework screens that shields views to a private garden behind, but allows natural light to filter through.

“Looking to move away from the scheme of housing attached to homes, the social part and garden of each house is worked with a lattice that allows transparency from side to side of the property,” said PPAA.

Access to car park in Carrizal by PPAA
It provides access to a subterranean car park

“As a result there is a sense of openness between two solids and long views throughout the project,” the studio added.

Made from concrete blocks by a company called Grupo Joben, the permeable latticework walls are contrasted by walls covered in a black render.

Concrete latticework and greenery in Carrizal by PPAA
Concrete lattice is contrasted with black render

The latter gives each house a monolithic appearance, whose form is exaggerated by the windows that are set into the walls.

“The black facade is a black rendering called Corev Mooth and belongs to the more private areas of the houses where the openings are more punctual, in contrast with the latticework that covered the more public areas of the houses,” the studio added.

Detail of concrete lattice in Carrizal by PPAA
The lattice is made of slender, concrete block

Inside the functions of the house is similarly arranged according to necessary privacy. Each house has a roof terrace on top.

“The programme of the houses includes developing public activities on the ground floor, with connection to the private garden, on first level private spaces such as bedrooms and a TV room, and the last level with a terrace,” PPAA explained.

Living space in Carrizal by PPAA
The interiors have bright walls and grey floors

Each house is laid out differently according to its site on the 2,022 square metre plot. The four houses in the middle have matching rectangular plans, while the four on the end are L-shaped and designed with long and slender living spaces to make use of the extra room.

Pale walls and grey stone flooring give a bright and airy appearance in comparison to the exterior, similar to PPAA’s Lluvia house, which contrasts black facades and pale interiors.

Carrizal by PPAA
Wooden accents feature throughout

In Carrizal PPAA has finished the pared-back interior with wooden sliding doors and furniture, following in the style of a pair of slender houses called Pachuca thya it also designed in Mexico City.

Because the site is sloped PPAA was able to create a lower level for car parking for six of the houses. The other two have car parking at ground level.

Skylight in Carrizal by PPAA
Skylight brings in natural light

PPAA, which stands for Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados, has also recently designed a matte-black house called Las Golondrinas as a sanctuary for retirement in Valle de Bravo.

Others projects by the firm in Mexico Cty include Tlalpuente house, designed to merge with a wooded landscape, and Casa Sierra Fría, which is built with board-marked concrete walls.

Photography is by Rafael Gamo.

Project credits:

Project team: Pablo Pérez Palacios, Miguel Vargas, Álvaro Morales, Lucía García

The post Black monolithic volumes and concrete latticework form Carrizal houses in Mexico City appeared first on Dezeen.

Link About It: This Week’s Picks

The first-ever Disability Futures Fellows program, clever interior ideas, sound design in EVs and more

New Studies Find Many Genes Influence Left- or Right-Handedness

Scientists have long-posited that one single gene may determine whether a person is left- or right-handed (the latter, of course, being dominant, with 90% of people favoring their right). This theory does take into account the fact that environment factors (including geography and culture) likely play a critical role, too. Now, however, several studies involving millions of participants reveal that dozens of genetic variations may shape our preference “in small, unexpected ways,” reports the Wall Street Journal. This goes further than which hand reaches for the morning coffee, and takes into account neural signal processing and “the way we talk about morality, creativity and politics.” Read more about fascinating genetics discoveries behind it all at the WSJ.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

20 Disabled Creatives Named as the First-Ever Disability Futures Fellows

Together, the Ford Foundation and The Andrew W Mellon Foundation aim to advance the careers of 20 disabled artists and creative practitioners through the Disability Futures Fellows program, the first-ever national, multidisciplinary award of its kind. All of the recipients were named today—and each shall receive a $50,000 grant to put toward work that advances the cultural landscape. The list includes diverse talent selected from across the entire county, in fields ranging from poetry and choreography to performance art and garment-making. This 18-month initiative, overseen by United States Artists, intends to do more than amplify the voices of disabled creatives; it aims also to address institutional failures and “field-wide problems in arts and culture, journalism, and documentary film,” according to their statement. Not only did disabled practitioners prompt the initiative, they nominated and selected the fellows, too. Learn more—and see a complete list of the fellows—at the Ford Foundation’s website.

Image courtesy of Carolyn Lazard

Light Cognitive’s Oculus Artificial Skylight Mimics The Real Thing

Designed by Light Cognitive for a retail client in Barcelona, the Oculus artificial skylight reproduces the colors, contrast and clarity of the skies above—even though it doesn’t offer a true view of the outside. Throughout the course of a 24-hour cycle, Oculus conveys the rich warm hues of a sunrise, clear blue sky by midday and the dimming of the evening sun. Not only does Oculus offer customers sunlight, but it also emits stimulating light meant to impact mood. “Based on feedback, we also believe that Oculus’ visual appearance clearly has a psychological impact on people—especially in windowless spaces—as it provides a similar look and feel to a skylight,” founder Sami Salomaa tells Dezeen. Read more there.

Image courtesy of Light Cognitive 

Audi Embraces EV Sound Design With New e-tron GT Soundtrack

Audi’s new e-tron GT teaser presents insight on the importance of sound design for electric vehicles. The complex task (creating effects that replace traditional car noises like idling, acceleration, gear-shifting and more) has been handled independently by the carmaker—helmed by sound engineers Rudolf Halbmeir and Stephan Gsell. The new video, called “Some hear a car, we hear the future,” offers a little behind-the-scenes look (and listen) at the process, which incorporated everyday objects and high-tech recording gear. While just a snippet, the video certainly illustrates that it’s a category ripe with potential. See the video on YouTube.

Image courtesy of Audi

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning. Hero image courtesy of Light Cognitive 

This smart speaker introduces kids to tech without getting them addicted to screens

As controversial as this statement is, hear me out, and let me know what you sincerely think. Things that can have a detrimental effect on humans often come with a set of guidelines. Certain TV shows and movies have warnings for adult content, alcoholic establishments enforce a strict age rule for patrons, but there’s nothing stopping harmful addictive technology from getting into the hands of a two-year old. It’s incredibly simple for a child below the age of 13 to make a Facebook account (even though kids below 13 aren’t allowed to be on Facebook), and your smartphone or smart-speaker doesn’t explicitly stop kids from exploring the internet and getting hooked to tech that was built to be addictive.

While it’s much more difficult to hold big-tech accountable and actually have them build these parental controls into their devices, two young parents are setting the record straight by designing tech that’s made for kids. Founded by Andy and Julie Liddell, Ellodee doesn’t alienate kids from tech, but rather gives them a healthy introduction to it. Designed to be a smart-speaker without an addictive interactive display, or privacy-infringing hardware like cameras and microphones, the Ellodee is a smart speaker that allows kids to listen to music, stories, playlists, and even podcasts using a medium that’s designed to be child-friendly and non-addictive.

The Ellodee comes with a design that makes its features and functions instantly apparent, with an aesthetic that seems well in line with the smart-home tech already on the market today. Designed by Fred Bould, founder of Bould Design – the design studio which gave us the GoPro and the Nest Thermostat), the Ellodee looks incredibly contemporary, and features 6 colorful buttons and a rotary knob to access the speaker’s library. An Ellodee app for the smartphone (used by the parents) lets them select the audio libraries a kid can listen to, and once you set the library, it instantly gets stored offline on the Ellodee speaker, so a child doesn’t need the internet to use the speaker. Kids can navigate through content using the colored wheel of buttons, and alternating between options using the rotary wheel. A small circular screen helps display album art, and Ellodee’s library of 60 million songs, podcasts, and audiobooks ensures kids have an entire world of parent-approved educational and entertaining content to browse through… that too in an audio format which has proven to be incredibly effective at helping children grow smarter, without the side-effects of screen addiction.

The Ellodee smart-speaker is designed to be entirely operated by kids, but moderated by parents. The fact that it doesn’t itself allow children to connect to the internet means parents can rest assured knowing that their kids are within a safe-space, and Ellodee’s ability to download selected libraries onto the device means kids can use the speaker anywhere without needing an internet connection or a hotspot. The Ellodee’s design, as contemporary as it is, considers children as its prime audience, with a rugged body that can take being accidentally dropped, and a handle that allows kids to carry it around wherever they go. Moreover, the Ellodee deliberately comes without any cameras or microphones too, allowing kids to interact with tech, while ensuring their data is never mined or privacy infringed!

Designers: Fred Bould & Ellodee

Click Here to Buy Now: $199 $297 (33% off). Hurry, only 6/67 left!

The Ellodee Sound Companion

Designed by Fred Bould, the award-winning designer of the Nest Thermostat, the Ellodee is a screen-free audio platform that gives kids of all ages a fun way to independently explore millions of songs, podcasts, and audiobooks.

Designed to be used by kids as young as one and enjoyed by kids into their tweens and beyond. The Ellodee hand-curates the best music and stories from their library of 60 million songs, podcasts, and audiobooks. The Sound Companion gives families a fun way for kids to independently listen and play their favorites again and again.

There are no screens, no cameras, no microphones, and no unpredictable algorithms, so you can trust that your kids are safe. Offline listening lets kids take their music and stories on the go, wherever they may roam. The Sound Companion works everywhere, every time.

Worried About Your Child’s Screen Time?

Parents everywhere are worried their kids are spending too much time on screens, and it’s hard to set limits. Experts are urging parents to help their kids unplug whenever possible. They recommend podcasts and audiobooks as healthier alternatives to screen time. But today audio lives on screens, which makes it hard for kids to listen when and where they want without supervision.

Ellodee Changes the Game

Ellodee empowers kids to enjoy music and stories independently in a way that parents can feel great about.

Ellodee is Expert Approved

Ellodee is working with experts to make healthy tech for kids. Dr. Libby Doggett, Ph.D., served as the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education, where she authored the influential “Guiding Principles for Use of Technology with Early Learners.”

The Ellodee Journey

Here’s How it Works

Kids listen to their favorite music and stories using the interface called the Wheel. The Wheel is made up of 6 colorful buttons that link to an album, playlist, podcast, or audiobook, or even a single song.

A simple display helps kids of all ages find their favorite music and stories.

Kids love the knob! Push it to power on, turn it control volume, hold it down to manage settings.

For even more choices, select a new Wheel. Each Sound Companion holds 4 Wheels, giving kids just the right amount to explore. Music and stories are stored locally on the Sound Companion. Once it’s set up, there’s no phone or Wi-Fi required to listen. Kids can listen anytime, anywhere.

Browse, Tap, Listen – Tap a button to view its content. The central display shows cover art and track information. To make a selection, simply press the button again. Now your kids can easily browse hours of audio and find exactly what they want to hear.

Enjoy 3 Ways to Listen:

– Browse the curated collections that are updated every month.
– Have Ellodee deliver music and stories.
– Choose your own music and stories.

The Ellodee membership unlocks their library of hand-curated Wheels and more than 60 million ad-free songs, podcasts, and audiobooks. That’s as big as any of the other major streaming services.

Upload Wheels in a Snap – Loading the Sound Companion is easy. Using the Ellodee app, load the Sound Companion with music and stories for your kids to enjoy. Change content with a single swipe. Once your selections are uploaded, they’re available for your kids to enjoy whenever they want–no phone or WiFi needed.

Click Here to Buy Now: $199 $297 (33% off). Hurry, only 6/67 left!

Nintendo’s Mario Kart IRL with AR brings pure racing fun indoors, goodbye binge-watching Netflix!

The popular gaming franchise Mario Kart by Nintendo is a spin-off from the Super Mario series and it goes a long way back when first released in 1992 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game has seen generations of players battling it together over the years for pure fun, it is indeed nostalgia personified in every sense. The game has evolved in the last decade or so – becoming a staple for a gaming console and mobile device users alike. So what would have been the next big leap for Nintendo to take?

Bring the game environment to the real-world in a mixed reality experience which sees you and your pals racing for supremacy in the cozy confines of your home this Holiday Season. Yes, that’s true as you can turn your living room into a race track for the most exciting entertainment because binge-watching Netflix is so mainstream! Nintendo calls it Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit which fuses classic kart racing in the real-world with an augmented reality environment. It is actually a two-part acquisition – one you have to download the game from Nintendo Switch eShop which solves the gaming interface bit, and the other a $99.99 RC kart (with either Mario or Luigi) and a stack of 4 cardboard gates which shape the racing track in any space inside your home. These cardboards are the checkpoints for the race circuit and the kart needs to pass through them, till the last one to register a complete lap. The track’s turns and straights are left to your creative building – using things like sofas, tables, kids’ toys, or coffee cups for instance to craft the race track in a space as small as 15 x 15 feet!

The kart has an on-board camera for the live feed on your Nintendo Switch to get the close-up racing action. Mixed with the augmented reality elements, the experience promises countless hours of fun with up to three other players. The only requirement being – each player needs to have a separate Switch to participate in live races against each other. The idea is purely fun and resonates with everyone stuck indoors who loves the sense of adventure. Of course, there are things like your grumpy cat (who doesn’t like things moving on wheels) to consider which brings an unexpected twist to the racing environment. Nintendo has got this right and the prospect of getting creative indoors in such a volatile environment outside will keep you hooked for hours at end!

Designer: Nintendo

This AI-operated villa in the Czech Republic comes with panoramic views and needs no keys!

Artificial-intelligence controls Villa Sophia, designed by Coll Coll, which blooms at the top of a hill above Prague, Czech Republic. Described as the “center of the universe,” by its creators, Michaela Pankova and Karel Panek, the architecture of Villa Sophia really does seem to present itself as a sort of nucleus, quietly blending the omnipresence of today’s technology with timeless values of connectedness and sustainability. The minds behind the hideout, the villa’s habitants, aimed to integrate robust AI technology into each nook and cranny of the home while also ensuring that the villa embodied warmth and intimacy for social gatherings or alone time. 

The home incorporates impressive artificial intelligence throughout such as musical instruments that play themselves, lights that turn on without switches, along with verbal and haptic sensors that track your footsteps, your hand motions, and spoken word. Oh, and did we mention, this smart-house needs no keys! On the home’s AI technology, one of its creators, Michaela Pankova says, “The house is like a brain,” and the home certainly is smart. Aware of where everyone is inside the house, Villa Sophia’s AI system listens and adapts to the growing needs of the home’s residents so that just by inhabiting the home, everyone can enjoy the benefits that come with technological living. Room temperatures will adjust as soon as someone makes note of the cold. Come sunset, blue lighting dissipates so that the house provides optimal lighting for sleep. Deliveries always make it inside as the smart home can unlock and open doors after assessing who’s knocking. The home has as many technological capabilities as the human has thoughts, in this way, artificial and human intelligence work in tandem. 

Considering the home’s catalog of intellectual technology, sustainability and interconnection still breathe inside and outside Villa Sophia. The home is just as eco-friendly as it is tech-savvy, with responsibly sourced wood material and polyurethane floor finishing, the interior design makes the overall home that much more efficient and eco-conscious. From the rich, walnut wood finishes to the living space’s accessible ramp that slithers through a sloped chunk of the staircase, a seamless fusion of distinguished technological innovation with an acute awareness of the human’s urge to control pervade this villa.

Designer: Michaela Pankova and Karel Panek of Coll Coll

This article was sent to us using the ‘Submit A Design’ feature.
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This autonomous ambulance uses a drone to clear way in crowded cities!

When time is of the essence in event of a medical emergency, seconds also matter. Any delay in transporting a critical patient to the nearest medical facility can be fatal, that’s why an ambulance which can ensure timely transportation of the patient sans any delays can help save countless lives. More so in crowded cities where delays are imminent. The only way to eliminate, or at least diminish the probability of such delays comes in the form of an advanced ambulance which is built in a manner that ensures human life gets a second chance it deserves.

ERKA Autonomous Ambulance is designed keeping in mind the future of mobility in busy city streets plagued by traffic jams and a dearth of parking spots. The minds behind the concept design – Roman Ignatowski (transportation industrial designer) and Maja Bryniarska (engineer architect and industrial designer) – envision a self-driving ambulance that’s propelled by clean energy. The end goal is to have an autonomous emergency medical service that concentrates on the comfort and safety of the patients. The duo identified the current shortcomings in EMS vehicles, thereby designing a compact ambulance that evolves from a small-transport car into a professional vehicle with all the medical facilities.

ERKA is fitted with 90-degrees turning wheels which also act as signal indicators for pedestrians. This ensures maneuverability in tight spaces and lesser parking woes. For a smooth ride, the ambulance has a hydraulic suspension system and for easy accessibility, there is a ramp too. On the inside, there are display screens to keep a tab on the vital statistics of the patient who lies on a comfortable platform during the ride. For more flexibility, the autonomous ambulance has a solar panel roof with a drone that flies ahead and above the traffic to clear way for the ambulance faster. Roman and Maja have put a lot of thought into the dynamics of the design and with more improvements in the ideation, this concept could one day take shape in the real world.

Designer: Roman Ignatowski and Maja Bryniarska

Architecture Brio raises artist's cabin on stilts in India

Exterior of Mumbai Artist Retreat by Architecture Brio in Alibag, India

Mumbai Artist Retreat is a steel and bamboo cabin built by Indian studio Architecture Brio in the coastal town of Alibag that’s raised on stilts to withstand rising sea levels.

Built next to the sea in Mumbai Bay, the project is an attempt by Architecture Brio to reconcile the attraction of living by the sea with the risk of climate change.

Exterior of Mumbai Artist Retreat by Architecture Brio in Alibag, India
Steel stilts rest on blocks of basalt

“Many coastal areas around the world are facing an immense dilemma,” said the studio. “Coastal areas are however some of the most desirable places to live and work.”

The retreat is divided into workshop space, a place for short-term residents to stay, and a long-term accommodation area.

Mumbai Artist Retreat by Architecture Brio in Alibag, India
Stilts protect the structure from flooding

Facing the metropolitan centre of Mumbai from across the water, Mumbai Artist Retreat is designed to be a rural retreat for artists looking to create in nature but keep the city skyline in sight.

Of all the cities in the world, Mumbai is the second most at-risk from rising sea levels caused by climate change, according to a report published in August 2020. The site of the artist’s retreat is a coconut plantation by the sea and is very low lying and prone to flooding.

Mumbai Artist Retreat by Architecture Brio in Alibag, India
The skylights are also solar panels

Architecture Brio raised the whole structure on stilts so that it can survive encroaching tides. The building is also designed to ultimately be temporary – it can be taken apart and rebuilt on higher ground.

Stone boulders of basalt, excavated during another construction project nearby, form the supports for each steel column. Notches chiselled into the top of the rock anchor each stilt.

Mumbai Artist Retreat by Architecture Brio in Alibag, India
Moveable walls are made of slatted timber panels

The lightweight steel frame of stilts, beams and columns was prefabricated off-site to minimise disturbance to the local wildlife, then slotted together with a nut and bolt system.

V-shaped bamboo beams support the two pyramid-shaped roofs, which have blunt tops that hold two skylights.

Mumbai Artist Retreat by Architecture Brio in Alibag, India
Bamboo beams support the roof

“Indian bamboo often suffers from irregular shapes and diameters. In order to avoid the natural irregularity of the bamboo from becoming distractive, the layout of the rafters follows a zig-zag pattern,” explained the studio.

“While the framework is exposed from the inside, on the exterior, a lightweight roofing of cement sheets cover the bamboo framework.”

Bamboo roof of Mumbai Artist Retreat by Architecture Brio in Alibag, India
The retreat is naturally cooled by breezes

The skylights have integrated solar panels that generate power for the retreat. These panels can be opened like a window, to draw warm air up and out of the building to cool the space below.

Side panels made of slatted timber can be moved between the steel frames to shade certain parts of the workshop while leaving other sides open to generate a breeze and give unobstructed views of the scenery.

Exterior of Mumbai Artist Retreat by Architecture Brio in Alibag, India
The structure can eventually be taken apart and moved to higher ground

Because the groundwater table is dropping, water on the site is salty. Architecture Brio dug a water harvesting pond on the site to replenish the water table, provide fresh water during the summer, and make a habitat for birds and fish.

“The Mumbai Artist Retreat is conceptualised as a community space,” said Architecture Brio.

“It is an art lab of sorts, that aims to bring together art, ecology and society. It will bring people from diverse backgrounds together to engage in various forms of artistic expression in a creative and critical way.”

Architecture Brio was founded by Shefali Balwani and Robert Verrijt in 2006 and is based in Mumbai. Previous projects include a concrete weekend retreat that straddles a stream in Alibag, and a holiday home half embedded in a riverbank in the foothills of the Western Ghats.

Photography by Edmund Sumner unless started otherwise.

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