Ziggy Moto's Custom Motorcycle with a Streamline Moderne Front End

A UK-based custom motorcycle builder who goes by the handle Ziggy Moto has designed this unusual one-off, which looks something like a Ducati that crashed through Raymond Loewy’s studio and burst through the other side looking like this:

The concept was reportedly designed for, or perhaps in collaboration with, fellow bike designer/builder Anthony Partridge of “Goblin Works Garage,” the Discovery TV show following a group of custom bike and car builders. British fabrication firm Olliminium is also reportedly involved, but at this point details are light.

Zaha Hadid Architects set to design Italian Hyperloop system

The system is comprised of two tubes

London studio Zaha Hadid Architects has signed an agreement to develop a Hyperloop high-speed transport system across Italy.

The studio announced that it will be collaborating with Hyperloop Italia to design the “next phase of works” for a planned near-supersonic network in the country.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with Hyperloop Italia; marrying transformative architecture, engineering and urban planning with the most efficient and sustainable transport network to significantly improve accessibility, connectivity, and well-being in our cities,” said Zaha Hadid Architects principal Patrik Schumacher.

“We share Hyperloops Italia’s multidisciplinary approach which combines innovations in design and operational technologies with advances in ecologically sound materials and construction practices; enabling us to deliver future-resilient projects that are inventive, structurally efficient and environmentally sustainable.”

Hyperloop was first proposed in 2012 by SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk. The high-speed transportation system would consist of a series of low-pressure tubes that pods would be propelled through.

Feasibility study into first Italian hyperloop underway

The technology is now being developed by several companies including HyperloopTT, which has licenced its technology to Hyperloop Italia for use in Italy.

Hyperloop Italia is currently carrying out a feasibility study on a proposed route between Milan and the Malpensa Airport, which would reduce travel time from 43 minutes to 10 minutes.

The planned network in Italy would be powered entirely by renewable energy sources and will be capable of producing more energy than it consumes.

“This agreement marks another step forward for Hyperloop Italia and the development of the fourth industrial revolution,” explained Hyperloop Italia founder and CEO Bibop Gresta.

“We are committed to building the most accessible, convenient and safest transportation system in the world using the new generation of environmentally friendly materials with a high recycled content.”

Hyperloop networks are being developed in numerous countries around the world. In 2019, architecture studio MAD revealed its designs for a solar-powered system for HyperloopTT, while India approved Virgin Hyperloop One’s plans to develop a high-speed line between Mumbai and Pune, connecting the cities which are 100 miles apart in just 35 minutes.

More recently, two human passengers travelled in a BIG-designed hyperloop vessel across the Nevada desert.

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Undulating bamboo canopy by LLLab evokes its mountainous surroundings

The pavilion is located near mountains

Chinese architecture studio LLLab used woven bamboo to create a canopy and a group of pod-like pavilions to shelter visitors to a light show set amongst the dramatic limestone mountains of Guilin.

Shanghai-based firm LLLab designed the bamboo canopy and pavilions for the site of the Impression Sanjie Liu light show, which takes place at night on the Li River in Yangshuo, China.

llLab. used woven bamboo to create the structure
Top: LLLab designed the pavilion to look like a mountain range. Above: it is built along a river

The show, directed by filmmaker Zhang Yimou and first staged in 2004, uses the river and 12 surrounding karst mountains as the backdrop for a performance of songs and special effects inspired by the legend of folk singer Liu Sanjie.

The island site used for the show already contained an entrance pagoda at one end, with the main stage at the other. LLLab’s design is intended to activate the previously underused area between the entrance and the main stage.

The site was already largely covered with bamboo groves, so the architects developed a series of interventions that use bamboo as the main building material to complement the natural setting.

Bamboo pod by LLLab in China
LLLab designed bamboo pods for the project

“As a means to coincide with what is already there, the new architecture looked at borrowing the materiality of the bamboo, reconfiguring it to form new space,” said LLLab.

“In doing so, this new space means not to contest. Instead it aims to augment, albeit very gently, the surrounding bamboo groves and hills.”

Light dapples into the pavilion by llLab.
The pavilions complement the bamboo canopy

A series of woven bamboo lanterns line a path that guides visitors from the entrance further into the site. The lanterns increase gradually in size until they become pavilions that are so large that it is possible to step inside them.

Each of the larger structures is created using bamboo lengths with a diameter of between 50 and 80 millimetres. These are soaked and then scorched so they can be bent into the shape required for the upright and lateral members.

The pavilion by llLab. has an organic look
Woven bamboo forms structural columns

Skilled artisans then weave bamboo strands in a loose and random pattern to create a porous outer layer. An inner layer of clear polythene sheeting provides protection from rain or falling debris from the bamboo roof.

In the daytime, the lanterns appear as solid elements with a natural hue that complements their surroundings. At night, they are illuminated from within and seem to glow as light filters through the woven shell.

A walkway is formed beneath the pavilion by llLab.
The canopy meanders through bamboo clusters

“As a whole, the lantern looks at home under the arching towers of bamboo in its peripheries,” the architects added.

“Almost by chance, when looking to the distance the lantern silhouette is echoed by the stone towers of the Yangshuo, Guilin landscape strewn along the immediate horizon.”

The second element added to the site is a woven canopy that meanders through the clusters of bamboo, sheltering parts of the walkway from rainfall.

The canopy is supported by angled columns concealed within living bamboo shoots that extend through circular openings in the roof.

The structure blends with its landscape
Curved roof edges frame the riverbank

Stretching 140 metres along the edge of the island, the canopy is designed to resemble an inverted landscape that dips down and rises up along its length.

In addition to providing shelter from the rain, the canopy acts as a sunshade, with its undulating surface creating different shadow effects as dappled light penetrates the structure from above.

The canopy stretches over the river bank
The canopy is 140 metres long and acts as a sunshade

In total, the canopy comprises four modules, with the two elements at either end containing content display points. Two central modules overlap one another, with the tallest section reaching a ceiling height of 4.4 metres.

The canopy also features integrated lighting that illuminates the pathway from above and increases in intensity as visitors move towards the main stage.

The pavilion is pictured beneath the mountains
The structure has a low height compared to its surroundings

As well as its office in Shanghai, LLLab operates studios in Stuttgart and Porto. The firm works across projects of varying scales within the fields of architecture, design, art, urbanism, research and development.

LLLab has also worked on a hotel on the outskirts of Beijing comprising a village-like complex of brick and slate buildings.

Photography is by Arch-Exist.

Project credits:

Architecture studio: LLLab
Architectural design: Hanxiao Liu, Henry D’Ath, Lexian Hu, Alyssa Tang, Chaoran Fan, Luis Ricardo, David Correa
Project management team: GCPS Interior Decoration Finishing Ltd., Lihua Mi, Dalin Chai, Hao Zhang, Guoyang Wan
Project construction team: Yinghong Shao, Yanru Dong, Yingming Shao
Structural design: LaLu Partners Structure Consulting

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Beautiful Pictures from the Tiji Festival

Le festival Tiji est une célébration bouddhiste et un pèlerinage religieux qui a lieu chaque année au mois de mai à Lo Manthang, la ville fortifiée située dans le royaume reculé du Mustang, au nord du Népal. Le blog Wilderness Travel fait l’expérience de ce festival lors de son voyage Mustang : Hiking to the « Sky Caves » of an Ancient Kingdom.
Initialement, il s’agissait d’une cérémonie religieuse destinée à éloigner les obstacles et les souffrances, mais elle est également devenue le symbole de la force et de l’espoir des habitants de Lo, qui sont nombreux à faire le pèlerinage annuel pour assister au spectacle.
Pour plus d’images et histoires exceptionnelles, rendez-vous sur Wilderness Travel.

This Cleaning Machine Uses Microbes to Turn Dirty Oil, Grease Into Harmless Water and CO2

If you’re doing any kind of mechanical work, a parts washer (and on a smaller scale, an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner) is a handy thing to have. But once you remove your now-grease-free part, you’re left with a sloppy sludge of solvents in the tank that can’t just be poured down the sink. You’ve got to dispose of the toxic mess, which is both laborious and ultimately bad for the environment, since the stuff has to go somewhere. For professional shops, it’s also a line item on the balance sheet, as they typically have to contract with a hazardous waste company to take the stuff away.

A company called CRC (Corrosion Reaction Consultants) Industries has developed a green parts washer that cleans parts without leaving any chemicals behind. Their Smartwasher uses a process called bioremediation, whereby microbes break the oil and grease down into CO2 and water. You do need to use the company’s OzzyJuice Cleaning Fluid as the solvent, but it can be reused again and again; the microbes clean the fluid before it flows back into the tank.

Here’s how it works, on a chemical level:

1. Oil contaminants enter the solution as parts are washed.

2. Surfactant in OzzyJuice® solution emulsify the oils.

3. Emulsified oil is eaten by the Ozzy® microbe.

4. Oil is converted into water and carbon dioxide.

Here’s what it’s like to actually use the system, and I’ve gotta say the UX looks pretty good:

The company manufactures different sizes and shapes of Smartwasher, including portable units, to fit into a variety of shop situations.

You can learn more about the Smartwasher system here.

Azabu Residence in Tokyo references mid-century American design and Brazilian modernism

Living room of Azabu Residence, Tokyo

Danish firm Norm Architects and Japanese studio Keiji Ashizawa Design have designed a mid-century modern-informed interior for Azabu Residence in Tokyo using muted dark tones and warm natural materials.

The two studios also designed bespoke furniture for the apartment, which is located in a building from 1988 that sits on a green plot on a hill in Tokyo.

Wooden floor and white rug in Tokyo apartment
The apartment is located on a hill in Tokyo

Playing with texture and materials, Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa Design chose stone, dark wood and tactile textiles for the interior.

“This project has been inspired from the interior design of mid-century American and Brazilian modernist uses of warm dark natural materials and wooden wall panelling, lush carpets and tactile upholstery,” Keiji Ashizawa told Dezeen.

“Another main narrative is inspired by the well-known Japanese book by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, ‘In Praise of Shadows‘.”

Dining area with dark-wood table
It features custom-made furniture, including a dining table

The three-bedroom house measures 238 square metres and includes a living room, a dining area and an entrance space. Norm Architects and Ashizawa clad many of its floors and walls in dark wood, creating a cosy, cave-like feel.

“The Azabu Residence Project is completed in muted, dark tones enhancing and embracing the intimacy of shadows,” Norm Architects partner Fredrik Werner told Dezeen.

“The spacious but dimly lit apartment is a cosy, human-centric and protective dwelling away from the noise of the city. A calm and embracing interior for contemplation and private family life.”

Entrance hall with stone floor in Tokyo apartment
Stone flooring was used for the entrance

The original interior had a “dim and calming” entrance area that welcomed visitors into the home.

This informed the revamp of the rest of the space, as the architects chose the materials for the interior with the aim of creating this same atmosphere throughout.

“We’ve chosen stone flooring for the entrance, natural oak flooring with iron-reaction dyeing in the living and dining space, and plaster for the walls, accented by wooden panels specially supplied by Karimoku for this project,” Ashizawa said.

A breakfast bar in Japanese house
A breakfast bar adds seating in the kitchen

In the combined kitchen and dining room, an oak table and a bench in the same material were specially designed for the space by Keiji Ashizawa Design together with Japanese brand Karimoku.

These are complemented by a beige breakfast bar and a built-in kitchen in dark wood.

Living room with white armless sofa
The armless beige sofa was custom-made for the living room

For Azabu Residence’s living room, Norm Architects and Karimoku designed an armless modular sofa with a simple geometric shape.

The Danish studio also designed a shelf for the room that was informed by the “pattern of supporting columns in architecture.” A low glass table and collection of abstract sculptures add a gallery-like feel to the space.

Dark panelling made from smoked oak clads the walls in the main bedroom, which also features open storage cabinets made from the same wood. The bed sits on a wooden plinth that extends from the wall and also functions as a low shelf.

Wall shelf in Azabu Residence
A wall shelf has a shape that was informed by architecture

Though the interior’s simple design and the abundance of wood evokes both Scandinavian and Japanese interiors, the American influence shows in the layout and the materials used.

“The Azabu project was designed shortly after a trip to the Americas and the inspiration of mid-century American and Brazilian modernism is evident in the use of stone, dark wood and textured textiles,” Werner explained.

“The living areas with a small bar niche, the open plan kitchen, lush carpets and bulky comfortable furniture draws inspiration from an array of elements – from the Japanese-inspired Schindler House in Los Angeles to the extravagant New York apartments featured in the series Mad Men,” he added.

Azabu Residence is one in a series of Karimoku Case Study interiors designed by Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa Design with Karimoku. The studies have previously worked together on three other case studies, including the pine-clad Archipelago House on Sweden’s west coast, which was a lighter and more open space.

Bedroom storage cabinets in dark wood
Dark wood storage spaces sit by the entrance to the bedroom

“Like most other architects we work with the idea of Genius Loci – the spirit of the site,” Norm Architects architect and partner Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen said.

“It is all about understanding the site-specific values of a certain site and creating spaces that will fit the location and the narrative or atmosphere you want to create in a certain location. In this case the site dictated a material palette that was different from the previous projects for Karimoku Case Study.”

A small dark wood desk with wooden chair
Natural materials were used throughout the space

The natural light of the building also helped inform the interior design for Azabu Residence.

“Regardless of the dark tones used to unify the space, the beauty of this home stands out in the morning and early afternoon, with the contrast of direct sunlight peeking into the space, and at night, when the ambiance of the space is created by an elaborate artificial light scheme,” Ashizawa said.

Previous Karimoku Case Studies by Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa Design also include the Kinuta Terrace apartment block in Tokyo and the Blue Bottle Coffee cafe in Yokohama.

Photography is by Karimoku Case Study.

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Audio-Olfactory Installation “Metronome” at London Design Biennale

Sound, scent, movement and form combine for this evocative invention and experience

Shaped like an infinity symbol, Metronome—debuting now at London Design Biennale—is a sculptural object and experience designed to create a time-bubble for its audience. Inspired in part by pregnancy as well as Swann’s Way (the first volume of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, first translated into English as Remembrance of Things Past), Metronome is a combination audio-olfactory invention that merges sound elements to evoke forgotten memories and instill tranquility through “tickles.” While the experiential meditation tool was developed over 10 years and changed somewhat, Metronome remains centered on emotion and movement. A collaborative work, the piece has been created by Alter-Projects‘ Anne-Laure Pingreoun; Servaire&Co‘s Sebastien Servaire, Candido De Barro and Gregory Sidoine; with sound and tech from 6Sides, K-array Audio Solutions, 2BHeard, Moodsonic and SetWorks.

Placed on a small mirror plinth, Metronome arcs back and forth just above eye line. Viewers first notice the gentle movements of Metronome, which appear effortless thanks to a careful alignment of magnetic points at the base. “I wanted something that you see time passing, but in a very poetic way instead of something quite harsh,” Servaire tells us. Thus, the long, polished brass wand elegantly flows back and forth while subtly rotating.

The ornately hollowed out “head” of Metronome holds a secret too; no mere sculpture, Metronome is also a powerful emotion diffuser. Inside are individually laced beads with an earthy scent, boasting notes of burnt wood, musk, grass and ginger. Servaire&Co worked with top perfumers to choose each fragrance for its ability to anchor the visitor’s primal parts of the brain into making fast, distinct emotional connections. The diffuser scent configuration changes subtly each time the pendulum swings, thanks to magnets in a painstakingly accurate push-pull configuration which causes time to almost stand still for the viewer.

A motion and scent profile enables “a new semantic and poetic system,” says Servaire. Scent and movement alone would be enough to keep Metronome in the sculptural space, but the fragrance mixed with a precise resonance frequency pushes the experience further.

Each movement of the central element changes the environment for the viewer thanks to the discreet soundscape created by Moodsonic. The piece utilizes K’Array’s Azimut audio system to render a spine-tingling effect for the viewer. “No two seconds could ever be the same for any viewer,” says Pingreoun, founder of Alter-Projects and curator behind Metronome.

Metronome isn’t just stunning to experience though; there’s a poignant message behind the piece and what Servaire’s hoping viewers will take away. “Responsibility, I think, with wellness. I wanted to create the template and work with surprise. Now is an interesting time to innovate and push boundaries. If you’d asked me 10 years ago whether I could have created something like Metronome, I would probably have said no. It wasn’t the right time. Being able to bring fragrance, wellness and other elements together is just the right moment… the right answer.”

Metronome moves to Paris Design Week next for a completely different experience, according to Pingreoun, but fear not if you can’t get to London or Paris, within the next 12 months, you will also be able to buy a scaled-down version of Metronome, seen here for the first time ever. “There will likely be some compromise, but the system will stay as true to the original as possible. The scent is an important part of the piece, and that needs to be right,” says Servaire. The early prototype is half as tall (60cm) and will diffuse different fragrances in any small to medium-sized room in approximately 15 minutes. The currently unnamed miniature version will take some time, as it needs tweaking to create the desired swing and magnet configuration. As Servaire points out, “The grace must not be lost.”

Images courtesy of Servaire&Co and Alpha Kilo

Green skyscrapers that add a touch of nature + sustainability to modern architecture!

Skyscrapers have taken over most of the major cities today. They’re symbols of wealth and power! And most of the skylines today are adorned with glistening glass skyscrapers. They are considered the face of modern architecture. Although all that glass and dazzle can become a little tiring to watch. Hence, architects are incorporating these tall towers with a touch of nature and greenery! The result is impressive skyscrapers merged with an element of sustainability. These green spaces help us maintain a modern lifestyle while staying connected to nature. We definitely need more of these green skyscraper designs in our urban cities!

Zaha Hadid Architects designed a pair of impressive skyscrapers that are linked by planted terraces, for Shenzhen, China. Named Tower C, the structure is 400 metres in height and is supposed to be one of the tallest buildings in the city. The terraces are filled with greenery and aquaponic gardens! They were built to be an extension of a park that is located alongside the tower and as a green public space.

Polish designers Pawel Lipiński and Mateusz Frankowsk created The Mashambas Skyscraper, a vertical farm tower, that is in fact modular! The tower can be assembled, disassembled and transported to different locations in Africa. It was conceptualised in an attempt to help and encourage new agricultural communities across Africa. The skyscraper would be moved to locations that have poor soil quality or suffer from droughts, so as to increase crop yield and produce.

The Living Skyscraper was chosen among 492 submissions that were received for the annual eVolo competition that has been running since 2006. One of the main goals of the project is to grow a living skyscraper on the principle of sustainable architecture. The ambitious architectural project has been envisioned for Manhattan and proposes using genetically modified trees to shape them into literal living skyscrapers. It is designed to serve as a lookout tower for New York City with its own flora and fauna while encouraging ecological communications between office buildings and green recreation centers. The building will function as a green habitable space in the middle of the concrete metropolis.

ODA’s explorations primarily focus on tower designs, in an attempt to bring versatility and a touch of greenery to NY’s overtly boxy and shiny cityscape. Architectural explorations look at residential units with dedicated ‘greenery zones’ that act as areas of the social congregation for the building’s residents. Adorned with curvilinear, organic architecture, and interspersed with greenery, these areas give the residents a break from the concrete-jungle aesthetic of the skyscraper-filled city. They act as areas of reflection and of allowing people to connect with nature and with one another.

Heatherwick Studio built a 20-storey residential skyscraper in Singapore called EDEN. Defined as “a counterpoint to ubiquitous glass and steel towers”, EDEN consists of a vertical stack of homes, each amped with a lush garden. The aim was to create open and flowing living spaces that are connected with nature and high on greenery.

Designed by UNStudio and COX Architecture, this skyscraper in Melbourne, Australia features a pair of twisting towers placed around a ‘green spine’ of terraces, platforms, and verandahs. Called Southbank by Beulah, the main feature of the structure is its green spine, which functions as the key organizational element of the building.

Mad Arkitekter created WoHo, a wooden residential skyscraper in Berlin. The 98-meter skyscraper will feature 29 floors with different spaces such as apartment rentals, student housing, a kindergarten, bakery, workshop, and more. Planters and balconies and terraces filled with greenery make this skyscraper a very green one indeed!

Algae as energy resources are in their beginnings and are seen as high potential. Extensive research work has dealt with algae as an energy source in recent decades. As a biofuel, they are up to 6 times more efficient than e.g. comparable fuels from corn or rapeseed. The Tubular Bioreactor Algae Skyscraper focuses on the production of microalgae and their distribution using existing pipelines. Designed by Johannes Schlusche, Paul Böhm, Raffael Grimm, the towers are positioned along the transalpine pipeline in a barren mountain landscape. Water is supplied from the surrounding mountain streams and springs, and can also be obtained from the Mediterranean using saltwater.

Tesseract by Bryant Lau Liang Cheng proposes an architecture system that allows residents to participate in not just the design of their own units; but the programs and facilities within the building itself. This process is inserted between the time of purchase for the unit and the total time required to complete construction – a period that is often ignored and neglected. Through this process, residents are allowed to choose their amenities and their communities, enhancing their sense of belonging in the process. Housing units will no longer be stacked in repetition with no relation whatsoever to the residents living in it – a sentimental bond between housing and men results.



In a world devoid of greenery, Designers Nathakit Sae-Tan & Prapatsorn Sukkaset have envisioned the concept of Babel Towers, mega skyscrapers devoted to preserving horticultural stability within a single building. The Babel towers would play an instrumental role in the propagation of greenery in and around the area. These towers would also become attraction centers for us humans, like going to a zoo, but a zoo of plants. Seems a little sad, saying this, but I do hope that we never reach a day where the Babel Tower becomes a necessity. I however do feel that having towers like these now, in our cities, would be a beautiful idea. Don’t you think so too?

Kirtan: Turiya Sings LP

Put down on cassette in 1981, Kirtan: Turiya Sings comprises nine devotional songs that Alice Coltrane (aka Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda) recorded for members of her Sai Anantam Ashram. The tremendously talented artist—a highly influential pioneer of spiritual jazz—founded the ashram in 1983 and would perform solo and with groups there. Now the music receives an official release on vinyl, via Impulse! Records/UMe. Kirtan is a Sanskrit word for reciting or storytelling, while turiya is pure consciousness—a state of mind that transcends all others. The stirring record features organs, synthesizers, strings and other effects and has been produced by Ravi Coltrane.

Apple and Star Trek inspired the neat, interactive, and clean design and UX/UI for this coffee machine!

I love coffee, I love Apple and I love Star Trek, and thereby I love the Elemental coffee machine because it combines ‘elements’ from them all! The sleek machine has a silhouette of an espresso group-head with an intuitive modern touch interface. The clean form is a nod to how easy it is to use and a freshly brewed pot of coffee is still the center of attention here.

Torres takes a very stripped-back, modernist approach, with nothing hidden in terms of the machine’s function. You can see everything you need to make a good cup of coffee which adds clarity to the simple form. The interface is completely touch-based and therefore the UI had to be intuitive while still communicating movement as well as a sense of urgency. The UI is a homage to the ‘okudagrams’, an loving name given to the interactive and usually re-organizable displays found on control panels and computer interfaces in 23rd and 24th-century starships. It started with Star Trek and then spread to every sci-fi thing ever. The idea of integrating it here was to alleviate the comparatively long time it takes for filter coffee to brew, it almost gives the illusion that more is happening than there actually is.”I wanted to avoid the basic – almost traditional at this point – style of touch UI so I went with more of a sci-fi theme inspired by TNG LCARS, but actually, you know – usable,” says Torres.

The conceptual coffee maker also incorporates a digital scale to the hopper lid and a simple twist will push the beans into the grinder. The latch would also have a switch to activate the grinder and the cover has to be shut in order to complete the circuit. There is a sneaky little MacPro reference in the internal compartments because it looked much neater than bare PCBs and offered more protection from any potential leaks. The intricate grooves on the dripper were an attempt to avoid having a sprinkler in order to distribute the water evenly to the coffee grounds. The heating element is also woven into this section to prevent hot water from needing to be pumped up the exposed pipe and potentially causing a safety hazard.

“There was limited capacity for physical prototyping, so CAD + simulation software was used to quickly iterate and solve problems with the design. Surprisingly, this actually worked fairly well, at least in this case. Blender mantaflow simulations were used on the CAD models were used to help drive the water channels and filter arrangement,” explained Torres. Now, all I can think of is getting a good cup of coffee and watching sci-fi movies.

Designer: Leo Torres