Retro-looking automatic washing machine brings smart washing functions

When it comes to functional appliances in my home, I’m not really particular with the design since I don’t have a specific aesthetic that I’m going for. What I need is something that’s affordable, can fit into my small space, and can do what needs to be done. Every once in a while though, when I see something that has a cute design, it piques my interest. Most of the time though these are just product concepts so I’m not really sure if it will translate well when it becomes a consumer product.

Designer: Yathin Krishna

This concept for an automatic front-load washing machine caught my attention because of its retro design. The Toshin Machine looks like a toy rather than an actual washing machine, looking like a cross between a lego set, a game boy and some other retro-futuristic kinds of devices. But it was designed to be an actual machine that should be able to automate your clothes-washing experience, whether you’re going for a quick wash or a steam clean and has a moon crystal drum and smart automated select features.

While you’d probably want to thoroughly wash your clothes, there are times when you don’t have enough time so the Quick Wash feature should come in handy. The Steam Clean is there so you can give your clothes a deep clean when you need to. Inside, you get a moon crystal drum with shaped ridges bringing a gentle tumble to your clothes when they’re being washed and the small exit water holes in the drum actually protect your fabric from being caught in the whirl.

The Toshin Machine also is designed to have a smart select AI that will suggest to you what’s the best mode to set for your machine depending on the weight data. Design-wise, the retro-futuristic look is pretty interesting as you don’t see a lot of washing machines with that kind of design. Now whether that will translate into an actual fully functional piece of appliance that both looks cute and does what it needs to do is another question. Even though I don’t wash clothes at home, I wouldn’t mind having this if it makes my life easier and if it looks that cute.

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This compact lamp with a mushroom-shaped dome is the modern + safe alternative to a candle

Table lamps are really underrated gems. Add the right table lamp to your desk, and it will illuminate its surroundings humbly but diligently, while also adding a bit of character and personality. They’re small but mighty products! And one such design I recently encountered is the Two table lamp designed by APE Amsterdam for the Dutch lighting brand Humble Lights.

Designer: APE Amsterdam for Humble Lights

Available in twelve color variants, the Two lamp was designed to replace a candle! Humble Lights recently added a black and beige color option to the range as well. It provides the same romance, softness, and subtlety that a candle does, but in a much more modern and contemporary form. The compact table lamp is portable, rechargeable, and also dimmable – so you can carry it from one room to another, and alternate between different lighting moods.

The Two table lamp features a tiny domed shade, which has an almost mushroom-like appearance. The little dome casts a circle of light on the desk or table, making it a functional and safer alternative, compared to the traditional candle. It can provide diverse lighting for different occasions and scenarios owing to its three brightness settings – candle, ambient, and work.

The base of the lamp is quite simple and spherical and has been built from aluminum. You can choose to build the mushroom-shaped dome from aluminum as well, or you could pick frosted or smoked translucent finishes. The Two lamp includes a low-energy LED that can emit up to 96 hours of light on a single charge. You can charge the lamp using a USB-C cable or any QI charger. Two’s various components can be serviced and replaced quite efficiently, allowing it to last for a long time in your home!

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Drew Mandel Architects completes a multi-textural house in a Canadian forest

Oneida Ridge

Drew Mandel Architects designed a house in n Milton, Canada with exteriors of metal, brick and wood that is centred around a walnut staircase.

Situated within a forest on the Niagara Escarpment, the 6,780-square-foot (630-square metre) house was completed in 2022.

Drew Mandel house
The house is situated within a forest

Drew Mandel Architects – a Toronto-based studio – designed the home to embrace and pay tribute to its natural surroundings.

The project’s name – Oneida Ridge – references a legend about the Oneida People of the Iroquois Confederacy who were under attack, fled into the trees and transformed into standing boulders.

Drew Mandel house
It was designed to embrace its natural surroundings

The six-acre property is protected by Conservation Halton, and the design process involved an extensive environmental impact assessment to investigate migration patterns, habitats, native species and local plants and document endangered species to assure the preservation of existing woodlands.

Located in a natural clearing, the structure is arranged in a pinwheel that orients each space to the surrounding landscape.

Floor-to-ceiling glazing
Floor-to-ceiling glazing connects the interior with the forest outside

The house is divided into two wings linked by a glazed entry.

The north wing contains a garage and workshop spaces topped with a recreation room, while the south wing is composed of living spaces topped with bedrooms.

Excavated boulders
Excavated boulders are scattered throughout the site

Floor-to-ceiling windows maximise natural light and open the ground floor to dramatic rock formations and the upper level to the surrounding tree canopy.

Excavated boulders are scattered throughout the site creating a rock garden at the entrance and seating on the rear terrace. The house is capped with a roof garden with native plants.

Black house
The forms are clad with manganese ironspot brick and standing seam zinc panels

“Natural materials are used on the interiors and around the site to celebrate the essence of the place,” the studio said.

The forms are clad with manganese ironspot brick and standing seam zinc panels with ash wood soffits soften the whole.

Exposed concrete fireplaceExposed concrete wraps the fireplace

The interior features exposed concrete – wrapped around the corner of the fireplace – stone surfaces and walnut wood floors, ceilings and millwork.

“The walnut staircase is the sculptural centrepiece of the residence, connecting the two wings and orienting the visitor with views in all directions,” said studio founding principal Drew Mandel.

“Pill-shaped walnut piers act as a required guard and provide a screen backdrop to the main living space,” he continued.

“The screen transitions to a solid wood wall and built-in planter at the second-floor bridge, atop the double-height space.”

The staircase has a cantilevered landing and conceals mechanical ducting, while two-sided glazing affords views to the entry court, pool, specimen tree, green roofs and landscape beyond.

Walnut staircase
The staircase is formed from walnut

“For secluded property that is inhabited year-round, considerable independent site services are vital and contribute to the sustainability of the residence,” the studio said, referencing the design’s geothermal heating, photovoltaic roof panels, septic bed and private well.

Contrasting materials are a signature of Drew Mandel Architects’ designs, as evident in the studio’s brick and concrete country home and stone and zinc Toronto house.

The photography is by Doublespace Photography

Project credits:

Architect & Interiors: Drew Mandel Architects (Project team: Drew Mandel, Jowenne Poon)
Construction: Marcus Design Build
Structural: Blackwell Engineering
Millwork: Wellington Millwork Inc.
Roofing: Trio Roofing Systems Inc.
Furniture: Klaus

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Timemore's Fancy Precision Coffee Grinder

Look at this bonkers modernist coffee grinder, by Chinese brand Timemore:

That’s the Sculptor 078 electric coffee grinder, designed in-house (of Timemore’s three co-founders, one is an industrial designer and another is a mechanical designer).

Created to produce the coarse grinds desirable in pour-over, drip or French press coffeemaking methods, the three rows of milling burrs have been designed to minimize fines. The dial allows you to set the RPMs to your liking, and the little magnetic cross on the base is a slick touch to add that bit of magic.

The machine is relatively new and at press time I couldn’t find a U.S. distributor, but the UK’s Sigma Coffee is selling them for $609.

Meditation Cushion + Mat Set

Made in Brooklyn with memory foam and a natural buckwheat fill, this two-piece set from Walden provides comfortability as well as ankle and knee support during meditative practice. It’s finished with a modern, sleek design using a premium moisture-resistant fabric. Available in a range of colors, the cushion and mat thoughtfully craft an ideal place for reflection.

pause: 怠​け​者

Japanese slowcore band pause share their first single “怠​け​者,” a pretty, melancholy song whose name translates to “lazy” in English. It begins with intimate vocals whose gentleness is punctuated by pulsating drums and atmospheric guitar. Toward the end of the near four-minute track, the soundscape expands and envelops, incorporating transcendent synths and a resonant guitar progression.

Foster + Partners to design King Salman International Airport in Saudi Arabia

King Salman International Airport in Saudi Arabia

British architecture studio Foster + Partners is designing the six-runway King Salman International Airport in Riyadh, which is set to become one of the world’s largest airports.

Named after Saudi Arabia’s king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the King Salman International Airport will be designed by Foster + Partners and incorporate the existing terminals named after former king Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Airplane in front of airport
The airport will have six parallel runways

Alongside the King Salman International Airport, which is expected accommodate up to 120 million travellers by 2030 as one of the largest airports in the world, Foster + Partners is also designing 12 square kilometres of residential and recreational facilities, retail stores and airport support facilities.

By 2050 the passenger capacity is predicted to increase to 185 million travellers, with the capacity to process 3.5 million tons of cargo.

Man sitting at table in front of window overlooking airport
It will be powered by renewable energy

“Looking forward to the future, the new King Salman International Airport reimagines the traditional terminal as a single concourse loop, served by multiple entrances,” said Foster + Partners head of studio Luke Fox.

“The terminal is very much of its place and connects passengers to the sensory experiences of the city, with natural elements, tempered light and state-of-the-art facilities.”

The studio said the airport will function as “a global logistics hub, stimulate transport, trade and tourism, and act as a bridge linking the East with the West.”

According to the studio, the design will take Riyadh’s identity and Saudi culture into consideration in order to create a “unique travel experience”, while also achieving LEED Platinum certification.

This will be accomplished by powering the airport using renewable energy and incorporating “cutting-edge green initiatives” into its design.

Green trees at Riyadh airport
The airport is planned to achieve LEED Platinum certification

King Salman International Airport is the third airport being designed by Foster + Partners in Saudi Arabia. Construction has already begun on its Red Sea International Airport, which was “inspired by the colours and textures of the desert landscape”.

The studio is also designing a private airport terminal and control tower for Amaala, a luxury resort on the Red Sea coast, which led to Foster + Partners’ withdrawal from the Architects Declare movement, of which it had been a signatory.

Cimate activist group Architects Climate Action Network had called on the studio to either pull out of the Amaala airport, which will exclusively serve the luxury airport, or withdraw from the Architects Declare climate change action group.

Interior of King Salman International Airport by Foster + Partners
King Salman International Airport is the third airport Foster + Partners is designing in Saudi Arabia

The studio is also designing several schemes aimed at building tourism in Saudi Arabia including the Southern Dunes hotel and a ring-shaped hotel on stilts as part of The Red Sea Project on the western coast of the country.

Previous projects designed by the studio in the country include a quartet of high-speed rail stations in Mecca, Medina, Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.

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With looks to charm, this ani-digi watch is a unique time teller you can wear in any mood

No matter how much time changes or transitions modern technology brings about in way of perceiving time, a wristwatch arguably is never going out of fashion.

Watchmakers will keep evolving the look, feel and complications to stay in the trend. But when that is not enough, horologists will jump the gun and amalgamate the two known domains of time telling – analog and digital – to make sure our wrists have something distinctive to show every time.

This is how designer Edoardo Gouffran thinks, which is why he has devised an uncanny watch combining digital and analog in one. Not that we have not seen such hybrid watches before, ana-digi is a trend that quartz watches have been riding high on, but in that spree too, the Circlock has a face of its own.

Designer: Edoardo Gouffran

The Circlock is not a league apart only for its aesthetics but the idea behind its conception is pretty novel as well. Edorado explains that the basic difference between analog and digital watch is the “visualization of time.” While an analog watch allows a person reading it to view the current time in reference to the past and future, the digital watch shows the present time, conveniently excluding the past and future.

Circlock, he says, is “born from this idea.” “It is a result of a fusion between the word Circle and Clock” Edorado notes. In that sense, the Circlock goes against the general trend. This fusion of analog and digital watch allows the person to read the current time on a digital clock with past and future references.

With hollowness in the center, the watch dial circles around with Arabic numerals on it. The black aesthetics of the watch are complemented by a white highlighting the hour number, a yellow line denoting elapsed minutes, and a red dot doing the rounds as a seconds hand. Based on a resin band matching the watch hue, the Circlock’s backcase is engraved with the branding and a unique serial number, substantiating exclusivity of the timepiece. Style it with your streetwear or don it for a board meeting, the Circlock has the mettle to make heads turn.

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A Simple, Elegant Design for a Monolithic Wooden Watch Stand

No, these won’t charge your smartwatch. These non-wired Leaf wooden watch stands, created by Japanese carving company Mimatsu Craft, have the shape of a leaf presented in the negative space of the removed material.

A small disc of stainless steel weights the base, and a synthetic rubber ring up top provides enough friction to keep your watch from sliding off.

Available in Walnut, Maple or Cherry, they come in two sizes, for both men’s and women’s watches.

Each runs ¥5,500 (USD $40) regardless of size.

New Research Supports the Idea that There Was Once Life on Mars

A recent study from the journal “Earth and Planetary Science Letters” presents new findings about the early evolution of Mars. By creating a newly developed model of Martian atmosphere through time, researchers found that Mars—in contrast to the frozen desert it is now—was born with lots of water and a dense atmosphere that could have harbored warm-to-hot oceans for millions of years. This discovery likens the planet to Earth, with water vapor concentrated in the lower atmosphere while the high atmosphere remained dry due to water vapor condensing into clouds at low altitudes. Molecular hydrogen, on the other hand, was shown to escape into the upper atmosphere which corresponds with measurements made of the the planet by the rover Curiosity. According to the not-for-profit research organization SETI Institute, the study suggests that “early Mars might have been a warm version of modern Titan,” supporting the idea that it was “a location for the origin of life.” Learn more at SciTechDaily.

Image courtesy of ESO/M Kornmesser/N Risinger/