"I'm filled with dread" over climate change says Liam Young

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview

Future-gazing architect and filmmaker Liam Young explains why he believes humans will fail to avert climate catastrophe in this interview with Dezeen.

Young spoke to Dezeen ahead of his Planetary Redesign exhibition, currently on display at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).

This features his latest film, The Great Endeavour, which proposes a radical solution to the climate crisis. The film depicts an alternative future where humankind unites to cut carbon emissions by building massive-scale wind farms in the ocean and solar farms in the desert.

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
Above: Planetary Redesign shows how humankind can tackle climate change. Photo by Sean Fennessy. Top image: Liam Young is showing it at NVG in Australia. Photo by Tim Carrafa

To achieve this, the film imagines a mobilisation of workers and resources on a planetary scale, which Young believes is needed to “not go extinct”.

“The Great Endeavour envisions the scale of global collaboration that’s necessary,” LA-based Young told Dezeen.

“The structure is so complex and expensive that no single nation would be able to afford them or conceive them, but if we make a decision not to go extinct we need to start building these machines.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
The Great Endeavour depicted infrastructure powered by renewable energy

Young’s overarching point is that conventional approaches to sustainability fall far short of the level of action required to deal with climate change.

“All our visions about the future that come from popular culture and designers and architects are continuations of environmental ideals that began in the 1960s and ’70s,” he said.

“Architects putting trees on roofs, a community garden in Brooklyn growing tomatoes, recycling windows, trying to make vegan diets sexy as opposed to meat diet — all those things are valuable and important, but they no longer work at a scale of change that we need, which is systemic and planetary.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
Young argues that the structure is so complex that it require nations working together

The barriers to making the necessary shift, he argues, are “no longer a technology problem, but a cultural and political problem”.

“All the technology we need is already here,” he explained. “If we wanted to, we can change tomorrow. In those terms, I’m incredibly optimistic and hopeful about the future.”

“But do I think we are actually going to change and do this? No, I don’t,” he added.

“The more I dig into this research through these projects, the more I’m filled with dread where I see not only are we not limiting and scaling back, but instead we are increasing fossil-fuel production — we are doing the opposite.”

Our current political systems, he says, are not capable of delivering the degree of change required at sufficient speed.

“What we are seeing is what we think of as democratic nations around the world completely failing in their responsibilities of doing anything in relation to climate change,” he said.

“In the US, where I’m based, they can’t even agree that climate change exists, never mind actually doing anything at a scale required to make a difference.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
Young believes architects and designers have an important role to communicate the planetary-scale visions of systemic

Non-democratic countries are the ones making the biggest strides, Young claimed.

“The nations that have made substantial moves in that direction are single-government nations,” he said.

“China has taken offline thousands of coal-burning power stations across the last decade and has built the world’s largest wind farms, the world’s largest solar field, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. To build that dam, it displaced millions of people, but it could do that.”

“I’m not advocating for a move towards dictatorship, but the current political system is not fit for purpose in the context of global collaboration needed for climate change.”

Another non-democratic country displaying enormous ambition when it comes to projects touted as ways of reducing emissions is Saudi Arabia.

Its project The Line, currently being constructed in the desert, is planned as a renewables-powered, 170-kilometre-long linear city for nine-million people.

Young criticised The Line as “a very elaborate propaganda piece”.

“Someone drew a line on the page and they saw the power of the headline-generating machine,” he said. “They are not manufacturing a city, but manufacturing an image of a city.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
Planet City could house 10 billion people in a single metropolis

“The architects working on The Line are great examples of the mercenary nature of the discipline, which has for a long time been purely in the service of those with money and power,” he added.

Nevertheless, he suggested that the mega-project provokes an important discussion about which nations around the world have the sufficient ambition and capacity to do something at a scale that matches the threat of climate change.

“The Line is an intriguing example of the scale of construction that is required to deal with some of the problem,” he said.

“It’s a shame that the energy is focused on the ridiculous image of the city, but it’s a useful conversation point nonetheless.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
The city is entirely powered by solar and wind

Young’s work has previously explored the idea of a built-from-scratch, low-emission mega-city.

The Great Endeavour is being shown at NGV as part of Young’s solo exhibition Planetary Redesign, which also features his short film Planet City along with photography and costumes made in collaboration with costume designer Ane Crabtree.

First commissioned for the 2020 NGV Triennial, Planet City is a short animation that imagines a new city housing the entire human population.

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
The food system and agriculture infrastructure are already achievable with current technology

Young has continued to expand the Planet City idea with further research, particularly on the technology that could help the city be self-sustainable, such as food systems and agriculture infrastructure.

For instance, he imagines a canal system in the city feeding a massive network of vertical farms.

“Although the work I do is often described as science-fiction, it is all based on the technology in the present moment – there isn’t any imaginary technology in there, unlike a lot of Hollywood science-fiction,” Young said.

“My job as a world-builder is identifying the technology at the moment and turning up the volume,” he added.

“My projects are really just science illustrators. All I’m doing is taking these technologies which have the potential to engage and deal with the problem, such as the scale of the climate crisis.”

Liam Young Planetary Redesign interview
Costumes made for Planet City by Ane Crabtree are also featured in the exhibition. Photo by Sean Fennessy

Despite his pessimism about politics, Young believes architects and designers still have an important role to play today to communicate viable and hopeful planetary-scale visions of systemic change to the public.

“We need to tell stories about what the future might look like as opposed to the technical solutions that architects and designers typically work through,” he argued.

“We need to work with drama and emotion to get people on board with these changes.”

“At the same time, we need to frame those changes – both the language we use and design images we create – in such a way that it doesn’t look like it’s just pure sacrifice.”

In The Great Endeavour, for example, Young tried to portray the extraordinary enterprise of building giant energy-generating machines not as an act of sacrifice but as an act of celebration of planetary collaboration.

“Architects and designers occupy this really powerful place between culture and technology,” he said.

“We need to use the same language that we used around the moon landing to rally the entire generation around this idea.”

The images are courtesy of Liam Young unless otherwise stated.

Liam Young: Planetary Redesign is on show until 11 February 2024 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Fed Square, Melbourne, Australia. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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"People living with disabilities are done waiting for accessible designs"

{Access}ories by Landor & Fitch

Designers and brands must get thinking now about the simple, immediate changes that can make their products more accessible to people living with disabilities, writes Luc Speisser.

We cannot continue to unintentionally exclude the one-billion people living on this planet who are experiencing some form of disability.

This gigantic minority is so often let down by design. It’s not enough to conceive truly inclusive products from the start, a process that normally takes two to five years, if not more. All of us – businesses, brands, designers – need to find solutions today. Because people living with disabilities are done waiting for accessible designs.

All of us – businesses, brands, designers – need to find solutions today

There is a lot that can be done to make brands and products more accessible right now.

Small shifts make a huge difference, and every element contributes to the accessibility of a product or a brand. From how it looks, to how it talks, feels, sounds, speaks and reads, every sensory element is an opportunity.

If you don’t know where to start, a good first question is: can colour improve someone’s experience? British bank Barclays, for example, changed the colour of its digital touchpoints to cyan from light blue, greatly improving its visibility.

Or perhaps it can be the incorporation of additional colours into a palette to aid legibility while also enhancing the overall visual impact of the brand. Accessibility upgrades like these are easy thanks to a number of online resources like Color Safe, Colorable, and Contrast Grid, and are a great starting point for any accessible design journey.

This leads nicely to another question: how accessible is your verbal brand? Typographic treatment can be on-brand while also improving legibility. This could be adjustments to scale, kerning and capitalisation. Again, there are plenty of resources are out there to support design choices, such as OpenDyslexic and Focus Ex.

Readability can also be improved beyond typographic style. Proctor & Gamble’s Herbal Essences hair-care brand is a great illustration of smart design thinking. By embedding tactile indentations into the packaging, the brand is immediately more accessible to people with partial sight.

Of course, these solutions might already be on the radar of plenty in the design community, but repetition and democratisation can’t hurt. What’s more, we can go much further.

It is critical to recruit a representative group of the people you want to design for

To avoid bad design in general, and even more so when it comes to people living with disabilities, it is critical to recruit a representative group of the people you want to design for. And, in fact, not design for them but design with them. This is the best and fastest way to check if you are on the right track.

Adopt a one-size-fits-one approach. It takes a two-minute discussion with even a small group of people living with accessibility needs to understand that one-size-fits-all does not work. There are too many different and complex conditions and challenges to cover.

Investing massively to find the perfect product that works for everyone and then mass-producing it could take an eternity and might never work. So why not embrace the ever-improving possibilities offered by online customisation, 3D printing or other emerging technologies?

Forget about launching the perfect solution. Launch and wholeheartedly engage into an iterative process with continuous opportunities to improve and refine. Use your digital platform to consistently collect stats and data to see what people opt for. The one-size-fits-one model makes change super easy, as you are not restrained by a production line that has already been built.

Also, accept the idea that nobody can do it alone and that embracing partnership is not a weakness, but a strength.
Strive for no compromise. Very often when it comes to people living with disabilities, industries have come up with functional products with no regard to aesthetics. Why should accessible design just be functional but not desirable and affordable?

Some brands already understand this and have been leading the charge on accessibility for years, whether that be tackling language barriers, dexterity challenges, or accessible healthcare. This year’s Cannes Lions Festival saw great examples of brands realising the importance of accessible design, with nominees shining through in the innovation category.

For designers, it has to become a natural reflex

Giants like Google are using augmented reality to break down communication barriers, bringing technologies like transcription and translation to our line of sight, making connections easier. Meanwhile, the Cannes Lions-winning Ecoclic box from laundry brand Ariel combines innovation and sustainability. The box is fully recyclable, FSC-certified and made from recycled fibres. It is inclusive and intuitive for adults thanks to its two-button ergonomic opening system. Combined with the clear opening instructions, the box is comfortable to open for all adults – including those with dexterity, visual and cognitive impairments.

Then there was our shortlisted {Access}ories project – a first-of-its-kind accessible oral-care product, comprising bespoke 3D-printed toothbrush add-ons for people with dexterity challenges. The {Access}ories digital platform allows users to personalise their toothbrush handles, providing an efficient but also equally desirable and affordable solution to a daily but often-unseen barrier.

Making the world a more accessible place, right now, is possible. For businesses and brands, it is an absolute imperative but also a substantial source of additional revenue. For designers, it has to become a natural reflex; the very foundation of our approach. Let us end with Verna Myers‘ great words: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” So, let’s all dance together.

Luc Speisser is global chief innovation officer at Landor & Fitch.

The photo, showing {Access}ories, is by Si Cox.

Dezeen In Depth
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"Enlightened by subtle openings" says commenter

Up to the Sea concrete house

In this week’s comments update, readers are discussing a concrete multi-generational home in India and debating news that construction has resumed on Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia.

Designed by Chicago-based studio Adrian Smith + Gill Gordon Architecture, the Jeddah Tower is planned to reach a height of 1,000 metres, which would make it the world’s tallest building.

While the first images of the prospective skyscraper were released in 2011, and ground was broken in 2013, the project has been harried by constant starts and stops.

Jeddah Tower render Saudi Arabia
World’s tallest skyscraper restarts construction in Saudi Arabia

“Skyscrapers are so 20th-century”

Commenters criticised the design for its excessive size.

Jb dismissed the project, declaring “skyscrapers are so 20th-century”. Bloibl commented “I’ve often said that what we really need to solve some of humanity’s looming problems is a skyscraper”.

Kasimir thought the design looks like a copy of Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Mile High Skyscraper, while Marius pondered whether Frank Lloyd Wright would have been “seduced by Saudi Arabia’s money or their ability to realize his fantasy?”

“The Saudis seem to be major exponents of the concept of ‘mine is bigger than yours’,” wrote Alan Smith in a comment that was upvoted seven times. “It exists in inverse proportion to the concepts of less is more,” they added.

Meanwhile, Apsco radiales asked “what the rentable area is on the upper floors?” and Steve hassler suggested that “maybe, unbeknownst to the tenants, it’s a rocket.”

What are your thoughts on the soon-to-be world’s tallest skyscraper? Join the discussion ›

Black Space Crystals Museum China
Open Architecture designs “extraterrestrial-looking” space museum in China

“I love it – it’s a happy thing” 

Dezeen readers were divided in their opinions about plans for a space museum and experience centre in China designed by Open Architecture.

Named Space Crystals, the building will have a glossy black exterior and a faceted stone-like shape that rises at one end and points toward the ocean.

“I love it – it’s a happy thing, looks like it is going to take off at any moment. Ding-ding, ‘all-aboard’,” wrote Harry Belafonte 3rd.

Chuck Anziulewicz was on the same page, commenting “I think it’s fantastic”.

However, AlfredHitchcock was more balanced in their assessment, writing “I don’t dislike the form and it does look enticing, but it seems that they came up with the shape and then squeezed the programme inside, with resultant awkward spaces around the edges”.

Other commenters, like Heywood Floyd, were more cynical about the design, calling it “lazy and weak – the plan is so bad it’s offensive”.

Fantastic or offensive? Join the discussion ›

Up to the Sea concrete house India
Matharoo Associates wraps concrete home around light-filled stairwell

“Enlightened by subtle openings”

Another project that got readers talking this week was Up to the Sea, a blocky family home in India made up of a network of cubic concrete volumes and staircases.

Nestled into a grassy site in the coastal town of Dumas, the multi-generational home sits on a stone base and was designed by Matharoo Associates to merge traditional Indian design with modern architecture.

Commenters celebrated the project, calling it magnificent, elegant and atmospheric.

Pa varreon was full of praise: “elegant neo-constructivism, beautiful case printed concrete; the spaces are enlightened by subtle openings. Magnificent house. I want to live there”.

“Another great pick! Thanks Dezeen, you are bringing architectural joy,” they added.

Prado Sellinder agreed, exclaiming “wow. It’s so atmospheric. The textures!” HeywoodFloyd called it “a lot of architecture”.

On the other side of the debate, AlfredHitchcock thought that “some of the spaces look interesting”, but ultimately, “it’s concrete overkill”.

Concrete monster or architectural joy? Join the discussion ›

Comments update

Dezeen is the world’s most commented architecture and design magazine, receiving thousands of comments each month from readers. Keep up to date with the latest discussions on our comments page and subscribe to our weekly Debate newsletter, where we feature the best reader comments from stories in the last seven days.

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Marvel Onyx surfaces by Atlas Concorde

White and black Marvel Onyx surfaces by Atlas Concorde

Dezeen Showroom: Italian ceramics brand Atlas Concorde has created a collection of marble-effect porcelain stoneware named Marvel Onyx, informed by the luminosity and veined surfacing of natural onyx stone.

Marvel Onyx slabs have a high gloss, polished finish and come in white, champagne, pearl grey, black, light blue and pink, each with its own unique veined streaks.

Black and white Marvel Onyx surfaces by Atlas Concorde
Marvel Onyx slabs have glossy polished surfaces

Forming part of the brand’s Marvel World collection, Atlas Concorde describes Marvel Onyx as an elegant and sophisticated material that “hints at an ethereal dimension manifested in the colour palette”.

Designed to add a sense of ambience to interior spaces, the collection comes in large format sizes as well as regular modular dimensions and can be applied to walls, floors, kitchen counters, tabletops and bathroom washbasins.

Pink Marvel Onyx surfaces by Atlas Concorde
The marble-effect collection comes in a range of colours

“The aesthetic and decorative potential of this collection finds full expression in the large-format slabs, capable of enveloping those who inhabit the space by offering an experience of hospitality, comfort and wellbeing,” said Atlas Concorde.

“Contemporary design, timeless elegance, and understated luxury are the traits that best define the style of the Marvel World family, and therefore Marvel Onyx fits right in.”

Product: Marvel Onyx
Brand: Atlas Concorde
Contact: press.office@atlasconcorde.com

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Yama fishmonger in Tel Aviv was designed to display fish "like jewels"

Interior of Yama in Tel Aviv

Israeli architecture studio Baranowitz and Goldberg Architects has created Yama, a fishmonger in Tel Aviv with a sculptural interior that was informed by jewellery stores.

The studio completely renovated the space, adding a sculpted ceiling that was designed to “create a ship-bottom-like formation” to underline the connection to the sea.

Fishmonger in Tel Aviv
Yama is located in Tel Aviv’s Florentin area

Yama – which was named after yam, the Hebrew word for ocean – features a display area for showcasing fresh fish as well as prepackaged ready-to-cook dishes made by its owner, chef Yuval Ben Neriah.

The display counters were designed to resemble the shape of a fin and have an all-white finish that contrasts with the fishmonger’s colourful walls.

Fish in wall drawers
A red refrigerator holds drawers full of fish

For one wall, Baranowitz and Goldberg Architects created a bespoke clay-red drawer refrigerator that holds prepackaged goods.

With the brief to “redefine the shopping experience that customers are accustomed to”, Baranowitz and Goldberg Architects designed the interior to emphasise the value of the product being sold.

Fish counter in Yama
The fish is displayed like gems in a jewellery store

“We suggested that rather than working with quantities and nonchalant arrangements of the product with the preparation of the fish being exposed, we wished to emphasize the values of the product within an elegant setting,” studio founders Irene Goldberg and Sigal Baranowitz told Dezeen.

“It is this aspect of the carefully set display that promotes the value of what is presented, very much like jewels in a jewellery store.”

Fishcounter in tel Aviv store
Baranowitz and Goldberg Architects gave the fishmonger a sculptural ceiling

Steel shelves in the same red hue as the refrigerated drawers hold delicatessen food that goes with the fish.

The studio chose the colour palette to nod to the graffiti-covered walls in the surrounding area – the up-and-coming Florentin neighbourhood in southern Tel Aviv.

“The colour palette is light in its essence, consisting of white and warm grey,” Baranowitz and Goldberg Architects said. “It is only the drawer refrigerator and display shelves that bring in the deep and vivid colour of clay-red.”

“The purpose of the colour was two-fold: to create an assertive and strong backdrop of the central island and to recall the vitality of the downtown neighbourhood it is located at, with its graffiti art walls and vibrant young population.”

Steel shelves in Tel Aviv fishmonger
The red-and-white interior references the surrounding neighbourhood

Despite designing the store to have a high-end look, the studio used deliberately simple materials as a contrast.

“To balance the experience and merge with the vivid alive-and-kicking neighbourhood the store is located in, the finishes and materials selected for the store are not particularly high-end,” Baranowitz and Goldberg said.

View of Yama in Tel Aviv
The architects used simple materials for the interior

“On the contrary, most of them are simple in their essence and consist of concrete flooring, plaster and paint-finished metal,” the duo added. “The heart of the store is constructed in stone to elevate the display of the fish specifically on the central island.”

To further underline Yama’s connection with the ocean, Baranowitz and Goldberg Architects added a decorative coral motif to the door handle leading into the fishmonger.

The studio said it always designs bespoke door handles for its projects since the entrance is “the beginning of the story”.

Yama door handle
The door handle was given a decorative detail

“For Yama, which has a very clean and pared-back design, the door handle is the only part that was given a decorative motif,” Baranowitz and Goldberg Architects said.

“We used the graphic design motif that was developed by Anaba studio for all the packages in the fish shop,” the studio added.

“The graphic element reminds [us of] elements from the sea, coral reef indeed, which also reminds us of seawater. We like to combine existing elements, it is part of a story of the place.”

Other recent Tel Aviv projects include an indoor playground with tree-like columns and a pair of apartments with trees growing through the facade.

The photography is by Amit Giron.

Project credits:

Architects: Irene Goldberg and Sigal Baranowitz
Lighting design: Orly Avron Alkabes
Stone Work: Fervital

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"Having outspoken team members has always been very important to dRMM"

As part of our Dezeen Jobs: How We Recruit series, architecture studio dRMM‘s director Saskia Lencer explains what the practice looks for when it hires new staff and how its recruitment needs have changed over the years.

Anna Marks: Please can you talk me through dRMM‘s past and current projects?

Saskia Lencer: We’ve been involved in a large variety of projects, from very small interventions to town centre regenerations. We’ve built great schools and have worked on hotels, workspaces, large-scale mixed-use residential-led schemes, as well as infrastructure and cultural projects.

Our projects are linked in that they have the ambition to support sustainable communities – that’s the driver behind all of them. dRMM just completed WorkStack, a multi-storey building primarily constructed in cross-laminated timber (CLT).

We’re also waiting for the final tenant to move into Wick Lane, a mixed-use project that combines homes, workspaces and industrial users in Hackney Wick. In addition, we’re working on the Tustin Estate, which is a regeneration project for Southwark in London, as well as other large-scale mixed-use projects.

A lot of community engagement is involved in our projects and that’s getting more important, and now also supported by clients. We’re also working on a Passivhaus scheme in Exeter and some externally funded research projects.

Saskia Lencer is a director at dRMM. Top image: Wick Lane. Photo is by Jim Stephenson

Anna Marks: Where do you currently stand on recruitment in comparison to 10 years ago?

Saskia Lencer: dRMM has been growing constantly in the last 10 years. It has always been a very strong diverse team with collaborative individuals and it hasn’t changed in that regard. We try to recruit from within the team as much as we can and let individuals find their roles within dRMM.

The one change in the process itself is that the application process is now mainly virtual – we do our first interviews virtually rather than in-person. However, I think it is always important to see the applicant in person before hiring. Virtual interviews have allowed us to attract younger individuals from further away so they can do the interview abroad and it has helped in that regard.

Anna Marks: Has your interview process changed?

Saskia Lencer: Diversity has always been on our agenda but we have concentrated on it even more recently. We’re much more aware of minimising unconscious bias in our recruitment process. All our team members who are involved in interviewing responsibilities attend unconscious bias training.

Whenever possible, we have a 50/50 gender balance in terms of interview attendance. Having said that, we’ve always been at least 50/50 in terms of gender balance within the team. It has always been part of us but we’re much more aware of it than we were in the past.

dRMM team with one individual holding up the Stirling prize trophy
dRMM has “a very strong diverse team with collaborative individuals”

Anna Marks: Are there any new skill sets you require?

Saskia Lencer: The team members at dRMM have to be really well-rounded in Revit. We also need the team or the individual to be able to work in a hybrid mode – to work from the office or at home.

Having outspoken team members has always been very important to dRMM so that they communicate their wishes and thoughts.

The most important thing for us is that the individual fits into our studio. It is about the individual and for them to understand our ethos – who we are – and about collaboration.

Multi-storey building called WorkStack
Above: dRMM has completed WorkStack, a multi-storey building primarily constructed in cross-laminated timber (CLT). Photo is by Alex de Rijke

Anna Marks: What catches your eye when looking at an application?

Saskia Lencer: Personally, anything that is not necessarily traditional. If the applicant has been abroad that’s one of the things that catches my eye instantly.

If they also have had experience on-site or have actually had experience building their own projects, that is something that is a very useful skill because they have technical knowledge already, but ‘making’ actually isn’t the most important thing.

One of the most important things is really understanding how materials work, how they come together, and how they can be used. This sets the candidate on the right path to understanding how we work.

Hastings Pier
Hastings Pier won dRMM the Stirling Prize. Image credit: Farid Karim

Anna Marks: Has AI had an impact on your recruitment process?

Saskia Lencer: We’ve been through a very large recruitment process recently and I’ve seen a lot of cover letters where AI has been used. Cover letters have become much more streamlined but you can always find certain wording and phrases that are now repeated throughout.

I don’t necessarily see an issue with it, as long as it shows a true understanding of our studio and the role, and conveys the personality of the applicants.

WorkStack’s interior is made from CLT. Image credit: Alex de Rijke

Anna Marks: What advice would you give people who wish to join dRMM?

Saskia Lencer: It is always good to understand why the candidate has decided to apply and wants to work for us. They should be clear and communicate their interests and ideas.

Anna Marks: How has Dezeen Jobs helped build your company?

Saskia Lencer: Dezeen Jobs is providing us with a very good balance of interesting people from all over the world. I think it’s one of the few sites where we actually find that.

Dezeen Jobs: How We Recruit series

This article is part of Dezeen Jobs: How We Recruit, a series of interviews to mark Dezeen Jobs turning 15, which explores changing hiring practices and future recruitment needs for companies around the world.

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Għallis exhibition suggests alternative to Malta's "unstoppable trajectory of hyper-development"

Għallis exhibition at Venice Architecture Biennale

Valentino Architects and curator Ann Dingli have presented a proposal to retrofit a historic fortification at the Venice Architecture Biennale to suggest alternative methods of conservation in the face of Malta’s rapid development.

Curated by Dingli, the small-scale exhibition was part of the Time Space Existence showcase and featured an abstracted plan to retrofit the 17th-century watchtower on the north-eastern shore of Malta.

Għallis exhibition at Venice Architecture Biennale
The Għallis exhibition was presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Photo by Luca Zarb

“The Għallis watchtower in isolation is not remarkably significant – it’s been vacant for years,” Dingli told Dezeen. “But it belongs to a network of micro-fortifications that were built along the edge of the islands in the 17th century and tell a part of the islands’ wider military story.”

“Today the tower is a marker along the coast and not much more,” she continued. “The point of the exhibition is to re-charge its significance by introducing new usability and graduating it from just a visual landmark to a habitable space.”

Venice Architecture Biennale exhibition
It focused on an abstracted plan to retrofit the 17th-century watchtower

With its proposal, the team suggests changing the use of the building to create a multi-use structure that can be utilised in numerous ways.

“The design reverses the exclusive nature of the tower – conceived as a fortress designed to keep people out – to an inclusive building that invites people in,” explained Valentino Architects.

“Its programme is flexible, adapting to three permutations that allow for varying degrees of private use and public access.”

Exhibition of a historic watchtower
The team proposed renovating the tower

The tower was showcased at the biennale to draw attention to a wider issue facing Malta – the commercialisation of its historic buildings.

The team aimed to demonstrate that historic buildings could be converted into useable structures rather than being restored as empty monuments.

Għallis exhibition at Venice Architecture Biennale
The Għallis tower was the focus of the exhibition. Photo by Alex Attard

“Heritage architecture in Malta has a strong focus on preservation of building fabric and less so on functional innovation,” said Dingli.

“This means heritage buildings very often serve one programme – usually as museums of themselves or as institutional buildings – and as a result become inaccessible or redundant to everyday use,” she continued.

“This design moves away from heritage as a product and towards heritage as useful space.”

The team hopes that the exhibition will draw attention to the rapid development of Malta, which it says is happening at the expense of the country’s existing buildings.

“The islands are on a seemingly unstoppable trajectory of hyper-development,” explained Dingli. “Malta is the most densely populated country in the EU, and one of the most densely populated countries in the world.”

“Its built environment hasn’t met this intensity with the right blend of retrofit and newbuild development – the former exists in extreme scarcity, despite a huge stock of existing building fabric crying out to be re-used in smarter ways,” she continued.

Render of kitchen
The team proposed turning into a multi-use space

Although the exhibition focuses on a historic fortification, the team believes that prioritising reuse over rebuilding should be implemented across the country.

“The argument for conservation needs to be extended to any form of building stock, not just heritage buildings,” explained Valentino Architects.

“Demolishing existing buildings to make way for new ones is almost never sustainable,” they continued. “When there is no alternative but to remove a building, we need to advocate for dismantling as opposed to demolishing.”

“Materials such as Malta’s local yellow limestone – which has traditionally carved out the architectural identity of our island – is a finite resource that needs to be both protected and used,” they added.

Alongside the Għallis exhibition, the Time Space Existence show presented work by architects, designers and artists from 52 different countries in venues across the city. These included a tea house made from food waste and a concrete emergency housing prototype developed by the Norman Foster Foundation and Holcim.

The photography is by Federico Vespignani.

Time Space Existence takes place from 20 May to 26 November 2023 at various locations across Venice, Italy. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

The post Għallis exhibition suggests alternative to Malta’s “unstoppable trajectory of hyper-development” appeared first on Dezeen.

How this adjustable 360-degree laptop stand for MacBooks helps elevate your productivity

Laptops are extremely convenient in letting us bring the power of computing almost anywhere we go, sometimes even when we don’t have a flat surface to place it on. That portability, however, does come at a cost, taking a toll on our health because of the bad posture they enforce. Screens are well below our natural eye level, and keyboards are not only cramped but also very, very flat. There are laptop stands that try to raise your laptop to match your eye level or ones that tilt the keyboard a bit, but very few can do both. That’s the kind of flexibility that this innovative laptop stand brings to your table, literally and figuratively, and it goes beyond just raising your laptop to offer a new level of productivity and comfort.

Designer: ADAM elements

Click Here to Buy Now: $99 $129 (23% off with Coupon Code “23OFFYANKO”). Hurry, deal ends in 48 hours!

Laptop Stand & Hub – The CASA Hub Stand Pro integrates stand, ergonomic adjustment, and USB-C hub functions.

Detachable Design – The lightweight hub works as either an integrated part of the stand or an independent device.

Designed with the MacBook in mind, the CASA Hub Stand Pro is able to raise any laptop up to 29cm in height, providing a more ergonomic position that won’t strain your neck. Of course, you can also set it a bit lower if you don’t have an external keyboard available, or if you want to use its inclined platform as an easel for drawing on a tablet. With a high-precision load-bearing mechanism that can handle weights of up to 3.5kg, this handsome laptop accessory can handle not just MacBook Pros but even heftier gaming laptops as well.

Fits Personal View Angles – With a maximum elevation angle of 180 degrees and a height of up to 11.4″ (29cm).

Suitable for MacBook and iPad – Compatible with the M2/M1 MacBook and iPad series.

Stable & Durable – Virtually no laptop the CASA Hub Stand Pro cannot support.

This Red Dot 2023 award winner carries an atmosphere of elegance and durability with its sleek, all-aluminum design and premium craftsmanship that fits perfectly with the MacBook’s own aesthetic. That design, however, isn’t just for show, because every part has a purpose and function to help increase your working efficiency. The plate, for example, is perforated to help dissipate heat and reduce its weight. The base can also rotate 360 degrees, so it only takes a swivel to get the laptop into a comfortable position or to share your screen with other people present.

4K High-resolution – The hub supports super-crisp 4K@60Hz resolution and HDCP 2.2 encoding for perfect video streaming.

6 Multi-function Ports – For charging, video and data transmission.

The surprises don’t end there, though. The CASA Hub Stand Pro is also home to a detachable USB-C hub that can extend the selection of ports on your laptop, including 4K 60Hz output to an external monitor and 100W pass-through charging to keep the laptop topped up. The hub perfectly fits the base when you’re at your desk, and when you need to go, you can easily remove it and take it with you so that you can have the same conveniences even when away from the laptop stand.

Your MacBook Pro might not be designed for the ultimate comfort, but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer the pain and injury all through your life. With the CASA Hub Stand Pro, you can raise, tilt, and swivel your MacBook or any laptop at any height and angle, letting your body decide your perfect working conditions. Best of all, with a detachable USB-C hub, you can also extend the power of your computer, whether at home or on the go, leveling up your productivity game in comfort, convenience, and style.

Click Here to Buy Now: $99 $129 (23% off with Coupon Code “23OFFYANKO”). Hurry, deal ends in 48 hours!

The post How this adjustable 360-degree laptop stand for MacBooks helps elevate your productivity first appeared on Yanko Design.

Top 10 Unique & Useful Accessories For Your New iPhone 15

Since its foundation in 1976, Apple has always been at the peak of modern innovation! And let’s take a moment to appreciate all the awesome products and inspiration Apple has provided us with. The groundbreaking tech giant never fails to surprise us, we always find ourselves biting our nails and squirming with curiosity, whenever Apple announces a new product launch. And, the launch of a new iPhone every year is also one of the things that gets us going! The launch of the iPhone 15 series this month had us completely swooning over it! With their sleek designs, advanced technology, and drool-worthy camera if you’re planning to buy any of the iPhones, then you’ve reached the right spot. We’ve curated a collection of unique, innovative, and super useful accessories for your new iPhone. Dive in!

1. Apple MagSafe Grip Stand

This unique Apple MagSafe Grip Stand takes inspiration from the Japanese art of paper folding! You can fold it flat and vice versa without the trouble of assembly and disassembly. The innovative accessory is thin, card-size, and lightweight, and you can swiftly attach it to your phone and slip it into your pocket without the worry of snagging or looking weird in your pocket. The stand won’t dislocate from your phone, even if you jump around!

2. HiRise 3 Deluxe

Designed by Twelve South, the HiRise 3 Deluxe is MagSafe certified, and it can charge your iPhone up to 15W. The accessory features a unique and adjustable MagSafe pad, which allows for a 35-degree angle shift to support optimal viewing. The charger favors a front-to-back arrangement, unlike the typical side-by-side layout, which doesn’t occupy too much space on your workdesk and nightstand.

3. Notorious

Called Notorious, this ornate piece by Caviar pays tribute to the Colt 1911 handgun. The iPhone 15 Pro comes with a spectacular makeover, which involves a new aviation-grade titanium plate that is PVD-coated with black and finished in 24k gold details. The frame around the side has been electroplated with 24k gold too, including the rings around the camera lenses.

4. Belkin BoostCharge Accessories

The BoostCharge Convertible Qi2 Wireless Pad to Stand and the other dubbed BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad with Qi2 are Belkin’s latest accessories for the iPhone 15. The BoostCharge Convertible Qi2 Wireless Pad to Stand is for people who want a wireless charging pad that can flip upwards so that they can easily watch content. The BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad with Qi2 is for gadget lovers who frequently charge their array of devices in tandem.

5. AirTag Carabiners

These innovative AirTag Carabiners give a refreshing makeover to your boring old metal carabiners. Say good to your standard carabiners and, meet these precision-made metallic carabiners that have been meticulously handcrafted to offer you premium durability. These unique carabiners aren’t just melted metal casings, in fact, each piece is unlike any other as manufacturing conditions can affect the final design.

6. PITAKA StarPeak MagEZ Cases

PITAKA created the StarPeak MagEZ cases for the iPhone 15 series. The cases are visually intriguing and are also stronger and lighter than steel. The unique case provides superior protection without bulking up the phone’s slim and sleek silhouette. It measures only 0.95mm and features a granular texture of woven aramid fibers that form a 3D grip making the phone super comfy to hold.

7. The TORRAS UPRO Ostand SS ShieldMate

The TORRAS UPRO Ostand SS ShieldMate is short for “Super Shockproof”, and it is a unique protective case designed to let your iPhone completely shine through while providing seamless protection if you ever drop your phone from any height or angle. The case is constructed from a high-durability TPU material that absorbs 98% of the shock.

8. The Stympro

The Stympro is a 4-in-1 accessory designed for your iPhone, and it functions as a MagSafe Power Bank, a Wallet, a Phone Stand, and a ‘Find My’ compatible Tracking Device. The Stympro is truly the perfect accessory for your iPhone since it charges your device, stores your cards, and lets you track your belongings in case they ever get stolen. The accessory measures 10mm and weighs 100 grams.

9. The Anker 3-in-1 Cube

The Anker 3-in-1 Cube is a MagSafe-compatible accessory that can hold all three devices all at once. It has a simple appearance but power-packed functionality. The charging section can be accessed by lifting the lid like a tiny treasure box, that can be faced in the direction opposite you. This ensures that your phone can be tilted to face you!

10. The Ringo Bottle

This innovative accessory is called the Ringo Bottle, and you can use it to quench your thirst while using your smartphone as a tripod on the fly! The unique accessory merges the practicality of a water bottle, with the functionality and convenience of a MagSafe-compatible iPhone stand. The Ring Bottle helps you stay hydrated take videos and shoot IG reels!

The post Top 10 Unique & Useful Accessories For Your New iPhone 15 first appeared on Yanko Design.

Off-grid camping will not be ordinary again with this carbon fiber and Kevlar body camper truck that sleeps four

Storyteller Overland has long been reckoned for its unwavering commitment to designing all-terrain camper vans that can tackle the wildest of terrains. The Alabama-based company is now taking a leap into uncharted territory in partnership with its latest acquisition, the Global Expedition Vehicles. The result is a mesmerizing off-grid heavy-duty camper truck dubbed the GXV Hilt.

It is a camper designed to take you deeper into the wild than you’ve ever ventured before, all while providing a level of comfort and confidence that feels almost surreal. The Hilt is not any average off-road vehicle; it’s a game-changer with a hydraulic smart suspension system, carbon fiber and Kevlar body, and an energy system to keep you away in the wild for much longer.

Designer: Storyteller Overland

The Hilt comes with a smart hydraulic suspension by LiquidSpring, which ensures that no matter how treacherous the terrain, your journey remains smooth and controlled. But what actually makes the Hilt stand out is its construction. Made from a vacuum-infused resin composite with carbon fiber and Kevlar, this off-road camper truck is made to withstand the harshest of conditions.

Powering this beast is a 6.7-liter diesel-powered Ram 5500 chassis that provides the backbone for all off-grid exploration. And for those moments when you need a little extra muscle, a 20,000 lb winch stands ready for self-recovery. But Hilt is not a wild maniac alone; it has its own commitment to sustainability. To that accord, it comes with a 1325W solar power system with two 3000W inverters and a 16.8 kWh lithium-ion battery to let you live in the wild for longer without compromise. All the essential electric systems are monitored and controlled by a touchscreen unit onboard.

Robust on the outside, the Hilt transports you into a spa-like oasis as you step inside. The interior of the Hilt is a fusion of modern, sustainable materials and has surfaces that elevate your living experience. The custom rear racks and storage system ensure that you have ample space to stow your gear, while the dinette cum living area comfortably seats four to five adults on an L-shaped sofa that quickly converts into a queen bed when needed.

The sitting area can be utilized for eating home-cooked meals, playing card games, or lounging in comfort after a day filled with adventures. With a stainless steel convection oven, microwave, air fryer, dual burner induction cooktop, countertop with large sink, and a built-in water purification system, the kitchen alongside is micro-sized but immensely equipped. The Hilt doesn’t hold back on comforts in the bathroom department either. The generously sized wet bath offers 120 gallons of freshwater tank, a shower, flushable cassette toilet, mirror, and a sink.


However, when it’s time to retire for the night, you will have to climb a short ladder to the loft with a queen bed awaiting your arrival. The space is outfitted with power outlets and a wireless charging station next to the mattress, while natural light from the skylight and side windows fills the area with warmth. If the commitment to functionality and toughness on the road has got you inclined toward the GVX Hilt, you may want to act instantly. The off-grid camper truck is currently selling for a strictly limited price of roughly $400,000, but this is not the final retail price.

The post Off-grid camping will not be ordinary again with this carbon fiber and Kevlar body camper truck that sleeps four first appeared on Yanko Design.