Tachys: Signify

Danish electro-pop duo Tachys—aka Tobias Wilner of Blue Foundation and Jonas Bjerre of Mew—return with their second-ever single, “Signify,” an experimental, otherworldly addition to their tiny catalog of tunes. The official music video, directed by Wilner, begins with footage of both band members as children (they are longtime friends) before flickering into exploratory, evocative and unsettling imagery that matches the moody tone of the track.

The ViXion is a mixed-reality headset designed specifically for people with low-vision and night-blindness

Partnering with Japan-based startup ViXion, Nendo has unveiled an eponymously named mixed-reality headset that’s designed specifically for people with reduced visibility. ViXion is a sleek headset that helps the legally blind (or people suffering from night blindness) see around them. The headset comes with a camera that captures the world ahead of the wearer, while an internal processor increases the visibility of the footage by amping up the brightness and the contrast, and projects the images onto the wearer’s eyes, allowing them to see better.

Fundamentally doing exactly the opposite of what sunglasses do, the ViXion is a headset that aids people with low vision, low peripheral vision, or night blindness, by brightening what’s ahead of them. The headset is characterized by a slim visor with a fisheye camera at the center, capturing footage across a wide periphery. The footage is processed to increase its visibility and then projected onto a semitransparent mirror display in front, for the viewer to clearly see. The wearer can also switch between black and white vision, black and white inversion, and high-contrast colors to match their visual needs.

While the ViXion is, on paper, a mixed-reality headset, its purpose and target audience set it apart from most consumer-grade AR/VR headsets. For starters, since it’s a visual aid, it’s designed to be worn for longer, and is, therefore, slimmer and much more lightweight. On the aesthetic front, it treads the boundary between a gadget and a pair of sunglasses (often worn by people with visual impairment), and is accompanied by a tinted visor on the front that helps create a dim atmosphere for those semitransparent mirror displays to work. The ViXion comes outfitted with HOYA optics, and even has the ability to incorporate corrective lenses, for wearers requiring visual acuity correction.

Designer: Nendo

Logan Architecture and ICON complete "first 3D-printed homes for sale in the US"

3D-printed home in Austin

A quartet of houses designed by local firm Logan Architecture and built from 3D-printed concrete by construction tech company ICON has completed in Austin, Texas.

The East 17th Street Residences in East Austin are now on the market, which construction company ICON and developer 3strands claim is a first. “They are the first 3D-printed homes for sale in the US and ready for move-in,” ICON told Dezeen.

East 17th Street Residences
The East 17th Street Residences development includes four homes of varying sizes and layouts

The four dwellings have ground-floor walls built using ICON’s Vulcan construction system, which uses a robotic armature to layer Portland-cement-based material Lavacrete into striated surfaces.

ICON claims that this process creates a stronger and longer-lasting building material compared to traditional techniques, and makes the homes tougher in the face of extreme weather.

The house has a 3D-printed ground floor
Each of the houses has a ground floor built using an additive manufacturing technique

“3D-printing technology provides safer, more resilient homes that are designed to withstand fire, flood, wind and other natural disasters better than conventionally built homes,” said the company.

The 3D-printed elements for the development, which comprises two two-bedroom homes and two four-bedroom homes, were completed in March 2021. It took five to seven days to print each house.

Houses are different sizes and layouts
Black standing-seam metal clads the timber-framed upper floors

Although differing in size and layout, all four of the 3D-printed homes have the same external and internal features.

Black standing-seam metal clads the timber-framed upper floors and roofs, while large porches have red cedar undersides.

The houses’ interiors were designed by Austin-based Claire Zinnecker, who referenced southwestern design when creating the spaces.

“Drawing inspiration from the homes’ natural structural materials, wood, metal and concrete, she chose a simplified colour palette of green, white and terracotta and fixtures that play off the natural materials,” ICON said.

Minimal interiors by Claire Zinnecker
Minimal interiors by Claire Zinnecker draw influences from southwestern design

The open-plan spaces have a neutral palette, with wood cabinetry, woven rugs and touches of greenery.

Zinnecker also incorporated glazed saltillo tiles from her collection for local company Clay Imports into some of the homes.

Kitchen with wood cabinetry
Kitchens feature wooden cabinetry and marble countertops

Flooring downstairs is finished with a concrete overlay, while engineered wood is used upstairs. Double glazing, tankless water heaters and variable capacity AC systems are all included to help with energy efficiency.

Of the small development, the two-bedroom properties are currently under contract, but both of the four-bedroom houses are still available.

3D-printed walls are visible on the interior
The striations created by the printing process are visible on the interior walls

3D-printed homes are popping up all over the world, built using a variety of materials that range from bioplastic to clay, and even waste from rice production.

ICON’s 3D-printing technology is also being used to build a prototype habitat for Mars, designed by architecture firm BIG in collaboration with NASA.

The company is also working with the space agency on robotic construction techniques for the Moon, and planned a community of affordable printed houses in Latin America with Fuseproject.

Photography is by Regan Morton Photography.

The post Logan Architecture and ICON complete “first 3D-printed homes for sale in the US” appeared first on Dezeen.

Offshore wind power generator needs "warning signs so birds stay away" says commenter

Windcatcher turbine by Wind Catching Systems

In this week’s comments update, readers are discussing the viability of an offshore wind power generator and sharing their views on other top stories.

Norwegian company Wind Catching Systems is developing a floating 300-metre-high structure, which it claims will be able to renewably power 80,000 homes without increasing power bills.

Readers have practical concerns about the wind power generator, starting with worries about wildlife.

“Wind farm? You mean giant bird chopper,” said SalamOOn.

Matt G agreed: “The most efficient bird killing machine ever conceived.”

“Need to put up warning signs so birds stay away,” Jrj90620 joked.

Others are feeling cautiously optimistic. “I think we all want to love renewable energy solutions,” said SR, diplomatically. “That said, I feel like there are more questions with this proposal than the write-up has covered to help it make sense.”

“Interesting concept, which we should hope works well as planned,” concluded Mr J.

Are commenters right to question the practically of the Windcatcher? Join the discussion ›

bjarke ingels portrait against wood panelled wall
Bjarke Ingels launches company to “reimagine the way we build our homes”

Commenter says “the skepticism alarms are blaring pretty loud right now”

The news about a housing design company founded by architect Bjarke Ingels, former WeWork executive Roni Bahar and former Sidewalk Labs model-lab head Nick Chim is one of our most-commented stories this week.

While some readers support the concept of offering residents the opportunity to co-design spaces tailored to their needs, many are disenchanted with Ingels and his approach.

“Would be great to learn more about this but the skepticism alarms are blaring pretty loud right now,” began Onshay. “While the move to make homeownership more affordable is totally admirable, the claim that ’99 per cent of homes are the same’ is just untrue.”

“Oh yeah, because mass manufacturing will end land speculation,” pointed out Christian Kennedy.

Puzzello felt the idea has been done before. “Nothing new and theoretical announced here that hasn’t been questioned or executed already in this industry,” they said.

“Here’s a thought: make the comments the subject of the article – they are much more intelligent than the article itself,” suggested al otero, RA, earning a mention in this week’s comments update.

Will Ingels’ company bring something new to the market? Join the discussion ›

The tower will have a roof top terrace
Carlo Ratti Associati designs hydroponic “farmscraper” for Shenzhen

Reader dubs skyscraper farm a “publicity stunt”

Commenters are unconvinced of the viability of Carlo Ratti Associati’s plans to build a skyscraper in China that will serve as both a vertical hydroponic farm and a space to sell the farm’s produce.

“You don’t see many vertical factories in central skyscrapers…nothing is different with plants,” said Lukas_Arvidsson. “Looks more like a publicity stunt.”

To which, Don_bronkema argued: “Growing in situ is more efficient”.

“Now that’s what I call greenwashing, quite literally,” said Alfred Hitchcock.

Is Carlo Ratti Associati’s hydroponic “farmscraper” an unsustainable proposal? Join the discussion ›

Tsuruoka House in Tokyo by Kiyoaki Takeda Architects
Kiyoaki Takeda designs Tsuruoka House to accommodate both people and plants

A plant-covered house in Tokyo has reminded readers of why they love architecture. Japanese studio Kiyoaki Takeda Architects designed the home to feature vaulted slabs filled with soil for growing plants.

“Archi not dead! This project definitely made my day!” said Bras cubas.

“This is what architecture is all about – the purity of a good concept, followed through with no compromises,” agreed Woop Woop. “Very happy to witness this.”

Bsl has a request: “Would love to see a high-rise built like this,” they said.

Is the Tsuruoka House deserving of commenters’ praise? Join the discussion ›

Read more Dezeen comments

Dezeen is the world’s most commented architecture and design magazine, receiving thousands of comments each month from readers. Keep up to date on the latest discussions on our comments page.

The post Offshore wind power generator needs “warning signs so birds stay away” says commenter appeared first on Dezeen.

Gantri’s latest 3D-printed light is a modern reinterpretation of the quintessential vintage kerosene lamp

Named after its inspiration, the Kero from Gantri is a lamp that’s equal parts retro and modern. The origins of its design come from the antique kerosene-based lamps used popularly in the 1800s, while its modern element is ostensibly its minimal design (created by Elvin Chu of studio noun), and the fact that the lamp runs on modern LEDs instead of burning kerosene. Manufactured by Gantri, the lamp’s body is 3D printed too (out of the proprietary Gantri Plant Polymers) and comes in either black, sand, or the iconic red.

The Kero is one of Gantri’s larger lights, measuring 15.75″ in height. Like its oil-powered predecessors, Kero features a prominent handle that beautifully frames the light. While it’s designed to be carried around, the Kero (like all of Gantri’s lights) comes with a cord running through the back along with a built-in dimmer switch.

Made to move throughout the home, the Kero Table Light is perfect for adding supportive lighting at your work desk during the day, to an ambient glow for al fresco dinners on your patio.

Designer: Elvin Chu (noun studio) for Gantri

The Rhino Hammer, a Tool for Quickly Removing Laser-Cut Parts from the Sheet

The Rhino Hammer is an effective but brutish air-powered tool for removing tabbed parts from a sheet of laser-cut steel. Here’s how:

Here it is on slightly larger parts:

And knocking parts out of a 1/4″-thick grade 50 steel sheet:

As someone whose hands go numb when using a sander for too long—yes, even with the silly vibro-gloves on—I cannot imagine using this tool at length. I understand that they made it handheld for convenience’s sake, but I do not envy that worker, or at least I wouldn’t in ten years’ time. I’d love to see some ergonomics-minded design firm tackle this.

CumuloLimbo inserts plywood-clad loft within UpHouse in Madrid

Woman in Madrid apartment

Inexpensive materials such as salvaged plywood feature in a compact apartment in Madrid that has been overhauled by Spanish studio CumuloLimbo.

The project, called UpHouse, entailed an extensive redesign of a small apartment in Madrid‘s Hortaleza district.

Small loft in Madrid apartment
A mezzanine was added to the flat in Madrid

The clients, a young couple, wanted to create more space by raising the apartment’s ceiling and adding a second level. They turned to local firm CumuloLimbo to design the fit-out. The project had a tight budget of $39,000 (£28,334).

To prevent the unit from feeling too dark and cramped, the studio suggested adding a mezzanine rather than a full floor.

Loft in apartment in Madrid
The loft spaces sits above a bathroom

“UpHouse is the tale of an implant – the introduction of a space of intimate scale into another space, which, within a domestic diagram, is exposed and social,” said the architects.

The team removed the plasterboard ceiling and, over a central bathroom, inserted the loft space, which holds a bed, closet and vanity.

Bed in Madrid loft
Floor and walls are clad in plywood

The loft is supported by steel columns and beams, which were left exposed. The floor and walls are clad in deconstructed, plywood shipping crates that were once used to transport electronic equipment.

The sides overlooking the lower level of the apartment were left open, with the exception of a few cables.

New level in Madrid flat
A staircase leads up from the kitchen counter

The loft is accessed via an unusual staircase that terminates atop a kitchen counter. To reach the floor, a black step stool can be pulled up to the counter and stashed away when not in use.

The new mezzanine divides UpHouse’s ground level into distinct zones.

“The new upper floor divides the apartment into two spaces, a private and a public function,” the team said. “The choice of materials for these two spaces reflects this duality.”

To the east is a revamped kitchen and living area, where white walls reflect light from an adjoining patio, creating a bright atmosphere.

Music studio in Spanish apartment
One side of the flat has a music studio

The cooking area features a new, open shelving system. Black tiles were cleverly arranged to form a graphic backsplash.

The other side of the unit holds a music studio. Plywood-covered walls lend an intimate feel to the space.

Wooden slats in Madrid flat
Mirror-lined slats hang from the ceiling

Getting light into the upper level of UpHouse was a significant concern. In response, the team hung an installation in the music studio composed of mirror-lined, wooden slats.

“In order to maximise natural light in the new upper level, a mirror-faced wood vault is built in the private side,” the team said. “Natural light is reflected and multiplied with a great visual effect.”

Bathroom in UpHouse
The bathroom has geometric tiles

The team also updated the apartment’s bathroom by adding geometric tiles and a new vanity.

Other apartments in Madrid include a unit by Nomos inside an old workshop that features tactile bricks and pinewood partitions, and a plywood-lined apartment by Husos Arquitectos that totals 46 square metres.

Photography is by Javier de Paz García.

The post CumuloLimbo inserts plywood-clad loft within UpHouse in Madrid appeared first on Dezeen.

Brilliant Product Design Student Work: The Roadfix Device

My hat’s off to the Product Design student team behind the Roadfix. Conceived of at the Concept Design Laboratory of the Politecnico di Milano by Luca Grosso, Silvana Migliozzi, Alessio Puleo, Zöe Schnegg and Xueyan Niu, it goes beyond merely solving a problem in the form of an object; the students also figured out how municipalities could effectively get the device to pay for itself, and the system that would sustain it.

At first blush, it seems like standard design student fare. The problem is potholes, with the students learning that “accidents due to poor road maintenance are the first cause of costs in municipalities. According to GHSA* data, in 2020, potholes are among the major causes of accidents, especially with micro mobility.” (They don’t spell out who the GHSA is; my guess would be the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, except that’s an American org and the students are all European and Chinese nationals.)

Their solution was to design a single-worker-operated portable mixer and compactor to patch the potholes. They figured out the standard ID stuff, like materials—bitumenous mortar would provide a more durable repair than the traditionally-used tar, for instance—and the ergonomics of the device, from optimizing where the weight is relative to the wheels, to the position of the operating controls, to how the operator would dispense the repair materials.

(Text too small to read, so we zoomed in below)

Here’s where, for me at least, the students went above and beyond. Rather than having the Roadfix be something municipalities have to purchase and maintain, the students designed the sides of the object to support advertising. They also allowed for the compacting portion of the device to take a swappable custom rubber roller. That roller would have the advertiser’s debossed logo on it, effectively printing it into the pavement.

This is brilliant for a couple of reasons. As a cyclist in Manhattan and now a driver out in the sticks, I routinely ignore bus stop advertisements and highway billboards. But I always notice a road crew fixing the street I’m on, because you have to slow down to avoid them. And if there was, say, a Taco Bell logo on the side of the thing they’re pushing, I’d probably spend the rest of the ride thinking about a Chalupa or whatever.

Cyclists commuting by bike get to know where the latest potholes are; if you look down to avoid one that you know is coming up, but instead you see a stamped logo, you’re gonna notice that too (assuming that the logo’s large enough, and you’re not whizzing past).

Like most of us, I hate being advertised at. But if the company is at least sponsoring something simple and relatable, like giving us a less bumpy ride home, I’m all for it. And it would allow for cash-strapped municipalities to offset the seemingly never-ending cost of pothole repair. So I’d call this a win-win-win.

The Roadfix won First Prize in the 2019 Targa Rodlfo Bonetto Design Competition (under its earlier name, the Hole Healer) and is a National Winner in this year’s James Dyson Award. Congratulations to the team!

Milan apartment block fire "closely recalled Grenfell Tower" says mayor

Torre del Moro fire

Milan’s mayor Beppe Sala has likened a fire in a tower block in Milan on Sunday to the Grenfell Tower fire in London due to the way the flames seemingly spread through its cladding.

The fire in the Torre del Moro apartment block, an 18-storey residential building in Milan, started on the 15th floor and first rose to the top of the building, before moving downwards in an “unnatural” path, reported Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“The causes of the fire are still being investigated,” Milan mayor Beppe Sala said in a post on Facebook.

“What became clear from the beginning, though, is that the exterior coating of the building went up in flames all too quickly, in a dynamic that closely recalled the Grenfell Tower fire in London a few years ago.”

Fire reportedly spread through building’s cladding

The 60-metre-high building was clad in materials including aluminium and polystyrene, Corriere della Sera said.

The fire, which begun on 29 August at around 5:30pm, engulfed the exterior cladding of the building, which burnt and fell into the street.

Despite the speed of the fire, all of the residents who were in their apartments when the fire started were safely evacuated.

“When we arrived, the fire had a normal course, that is from the 15th floor upwards,” a firefighter told Corriere della Sera.

“When the first team entered, the tower was immediately engulfed in flames and the fire went down unnaturally, as evidence that it found in the lining not only non-fireproof material but also fuel capable of extending the fire quickly.”

Milan emergency services try to put the fire out

Authorities fear the high temperature of the fire could have melted the building’s steel columns, meaning there is a risk it may now collapse, reported The Guardian.

The cause of the fire in Torro del Moro and the speed with which it spread is currently under investigation.

Deputy prosecutor Tiziana Sicilano, who is coordinating the investigation into the fire, said remains of the cladding panels “burned like cardboard”.

According to Corriere della Sera, the inner lining of the cladding panels on the building’s facade would have “acted as gasoline”.

Additionally, some of the building’s tenants said the fire-fighting system inside the building might also have failed, with residents saying that “vents” between the tenth and fifteenth floors did not deliver water.

Tower only ten years old

The tower was completed in 2011, leading the mayor to question how the fire managed to decimate the building so quickly.

“My hope is that responsibilities will be quickly ascertained,” Sala said. “The Torre del Moro was built a little over 10 years ago and it’s not acceptable that such a modern building proved completely vulnerable.”

The Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017, which killed 72 people, spread through the building’s cladding system and trapped residents inside. An official inquiry into the disaster is still ongoing after it was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Grenfell Tower fire started a discussion around dangerous cladding materials used for high-rises in the UK, with the Royal Institute of Britsh Architects criticising the government for its “naive” decision to only fund the removal of Grenfell-style cladding on housing over a certain height.

Top photograph is by Piero Cruciatti via Getty Images.

The post Milan apartment block fire “closely recalled Grenfell Tower” says mayor appeared first on Dezeen.

Student Turns Digital Design Class Project Into a Successful Product by Embracing Additive Manufacturing 

When designer and engineer Sean Kim tore the fabric of his Akari lamp, he saw an opportunity. Instead of throwing away its remaining hardware, Kim decided to use the resources at his disposal to create a new lampshade. As a student at Pratt Institute, he was using a wide variety of machines and software to design products. He used a parametric design assignment in Henry Yoo’s “Digital Ideation” course to experiment with making a shade to his own specifications.

“After fixing the lamp, I thought it was a shame to not do something else with the form, having spent so much time on it,” Kim said, “so I developed my own base and sourced lighting hardware as well.”

Kim’s final product was the Wavy Lamp, a uniquely future-forward spin on classic home décor. This fluid, jellyfish-inspired design emits a warm glow with an aesthetic that’s both minimalist and experimental. While it retains the papery look of an Akari lamp, both the curvy, asterisk-shaped shade and its base are 3D-printed from heat-resistant corn plastic. This results in a robust product that’s not only durable, but sustainable. Kim uses additive manufacturing for extremely low waste construction, and almost all of the lamp is compostable.

While it started as a sustainable answer to a personal problem, Kim was inspired to sell a few lamps after receiving positive responses to his design process posts on social media.

“I sold five very quickly to friends and family, and decided (somewhat on a whim) to try to post a small Instagram ad to see if a stranger would be interested,” he said over email. “It quickly accelerated from there.”

Kim has produced over 1000 units since, and the Wavy Lamp has appeared in write-ups by Elle Décor, GQ, The Strategist, and Sight Unseen. Thanks to the design’s portability, it’s been relatively easy for Kim to set up new machines and keep up with the growing demand. He hopes that the success of his fast-moving studio challenges assumptions about the sustainability of at-scale manufacturing.

“My goal, as a designer, is to enable a wider accessibility to ‘designed objects’ while staying small,” Kim said. “We are making use of 3D printing to create molds that would be very difficult to produce traditionally. I think this combination of craft and digital technology has some interesting possibilities, which I have been trying to explore in greater depth.”

The Wavy Lamp’s eclectic, high-quality design and innovative processes make the product a resounding success. This attractive object proves that with the right tools, independent creators can make high-quality, sustainable products.

The Wavy Lamp is a Student Notable in the Furniture & Lighting category of the 2021 Core77 Design Awards. You can check out all of the 2021 winners now on the Core77 Design Awards website.