This slanted, geometric cabin in New Zealand embraces its surrounding landscape

Most people would probably answer “a mansion” when you ask them what is their dream house. While a huge house with many opulent rooms would be nice to have, there are those who would want to have a comfortable abode near the sea or lake, where nature meets comfort. I am one of those people who would love to retire in a simple but well-thought house, preferably by the beach. Of course, that will remain a dream for the foreseeable future; I am content for now with reading about other people’s dream houses becoming a reality.

Designer: Daniel Smith / Edwards White Architects

A New Zealand-based architect was able to build his dream home for his family with the idea that their holiday home, known as a “kiwi bach” is not just a space but also turns the outside landscape into an extension of it. He found a space in the 450-resident regional township of Taupiri, an hour south of Auckland, overlooking the Waikato River and the Hakarimata mountains and turned it into the River House. For those that grew up in cities and want to escape the bustle, this seems to be a perfect spot.

The idea is to create a laid-back living kind of house and at the same time use a small footprint for both budgetary and ecological concerns. The 1,065 square feet house with a 270 square feet second floor uses two essential materials – plasterboard and pine, as well as Resene paint for the walls. These materials were painted white, while those that use aluminum or steel were painted black. The timber paneling and flooring retained their natural colors, giving the entire house a minimalist look and, at the same time, complementing the outdoor ambiance.

The roof slopes at 20 degrees across the width of the house and then angles back over the full length, giving an illusion that the house is smaller if you look at the entrance but becomes bigger as it approaches the water. The downstairs area has two bedrooms and a bathroom that splits the common area, while the second floor has the master suite. These areas sit under a lower roofline while the sunken lounge and mezzanine slope towards the river.

Since they also designed it to use minimal space, there are several built-in storage spaces and hidden utilities scattered around the house, like underneath the living space and in the back units. The kitchen is the “calm” centerpiece of the ground floor, giving a view of the outdoors which can inspire you while cooking and eating. Having a house designed like this lets those who live in it “embrace” the picturesque landscape outside, letting you be one with nature while still living somewhere cozy and comfortable.

The post This slanted, geometric cabin in New Zealand embraces its surrounding landscape first appeared on Yanko Design.

The Tesla of prefabricated homes + more eco-friendly designs that are the future of architecture

With the world turning topsy turvy since the pandemic hit us, living in a sustainable, conscious, and smart manner has never been more imperative. The architecture around us should seamlessly integrate with, and nourish the planet, not drain her resources and reduce her lifespan. Being at one with Planet Earth, while taking rigorous care of her has never been more of a priority. In an effort to encourage an eco-friendly way of life, sustainable and eco-friendly architecture has been gaining immense popularity among architects! Architects have been designing sustainable homes, cabins, hotels, and even floating cities! These architectural designs aim to harmoniously merge with nature, co-existing with it in peace, and allowing us to live in equilibrium with the environment. They reduce their carbon footprint and encourage a green and clean lifestyle. And, not to mention they’re aesthetically and visually pleasing as well! From the ‘Telsa of prefabricated homes’ to the world’s first floating city in South Korea – these architectural designs will convert you into sustainable architecture advocates!

1. OM-1

Don’t you just wish sometimes that you could “build” a house online and then order it just the way you like it? Well, now you actually can to some extent as a company called Dimensions X is aiming to be the Tesla of prefabricated homes. Plus, just like the environmentally friendly car company whose model they are following, the houses they will be offering homes that are energy efficient and will offer less carbon footprint.

Why is it noteworthy?

Australian entrepreneur Oscar Martin partnered with architect Peter Stutchbury to create a company that can offer people their prefabricated homes with a few clicks on their website. The process isn’t yet as simple as ordering a Tesla but they do have an online configurator that will tell you how much it will cost you as soon as you build your prefab home and make certain changes to it. There are modules and elements that you can modify to make it your own.

What we like

  • An energy-efficient home with a small carbon footprint
  • You can choose things like the length and size of the entire house as well as placements of doors and windows, finishes, orientations, and other elements that you can personalize

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

2. Wattle Bank Home

Situated on a plot of land on Amy’s parents’ farm, the couple’s Wattle Bank home was designed and built by the modular home building company, Modhouse, founded by Amy’s parents Mark and Melissa Plank. Each 20-foot shipping container that comprises the tiny home connects to one another via integrated passageways. These hallways also help make the most of the available living space by hosting utility rooms, like the laundry and entryways. Throughout the home, floor-to-ceiling entryways and windows give the feeling of indoor-outdoor living, adding some extra space to the interior as well.

Why is it noteworthy?

While downsizing our lifestyle requires letting go of many luxury comforts, it also makes room for simpler life pleasures. Sure, getting rid of the pool might hurt a little, but more green space allows for more plant cultivation and harvesting. For one Australian couple, Amy Plank and Richard Vaughan, downsizing meant disbanding from domestic duties for the freedom to surf, garden, and enjoy nature whenever and however they like. Hoping to make their dream of a downsized, sustainable lifestyle a new reality, Plank and Vaughan found the freedom they hoped for in shipping container architecture. Merging three shipping containers together to form a 530-square-foot tiny home, Plank’s and Vaughan’s Wattle Bank home fits the bill.

What we like

  • Provides a feeling of indoor-outdoor living
  • Built using eco-friendly materials

What we dislike

  • Not much to distinguish it from other shipping container-based architecture out there

3. Shell House

Japanese architect Tono Mirai is known as the pioneer of something called “earth architecture,” and his latest creation, Shell House, is a cabin in the middle of the forest that seems to have sprouted out of the ground. The 625-square-foot cabin is in the forested mountains of Karuizawa, Nagano, with a view of Mount Asana, Honshu’s most active volcano.

Why is it noteworthy?

It is a shell-shaped structure with the west and north elevations closed while the east and south sides are open. The house is elevated four feet above the ground so moisture won’t seep in and over the years, the materials used will develop a rich patina.

What we like

  • Built using local timbers like Japanese red pine, cypress, and cedar
  • Aims to “evoke the life force of nature”
  • The entire house is able to adjust or respond to weather conditions, whether it’s the humid summers or the freezing winters

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

4. The Rain Harvest Home

Even though I know I will probably never be able to live in one, I definitely like looking at homes that are located in the middle of nature. Of course, it still needs to have some kind of modern conveniences as a city girl like me still loves her creature comforts. But the idea of living in a luxurious but eco-friendly home near mountains and trees and rivers has a certain, romantic appeal, even if that will most likely remain just a dream.

Why is it noteworthy?

The Rain Harvest Home seems to meet all of the criteria I was mentioning above as it is located in a nature reserve in Valle Bravo, just two hours away from Mexico City. It’s actually more than just a house, although the house itself is already pretty amazing in itself. It also has an architect’s studio and a detached bathhouse just a few steps away from the main house.

What we like

  • A green roof that seems to be hovering above the house
  • Net-zero structure

What we dislike

  • The raw and unpolished aesthetics may not appeal to everyone

5. OCEANIX Busan

OCEANIX Busan Sustainable Flowting Cities

OCEANIX Busan Project

Oceanix has showcased a prototype of a floating city. It’s a project of the developer firm together with the United Nations and the Busan city government. The floating city is a more resilient and sustainable version of the key shipping hub.

Why is it noteworthy?

Officially called OCEANIX Busan, the floating city is an upcoming destination for visitors and travelers. It’s a unique tourist site that offers organic dining from local restaurants, harbor-view guestrooms, skylit greenhouse amenities, and communal terraces. There are eco-retail options on the elongated ground level, complete with waterfront views. All these can be found in the Lodging Platform which is just one of the many platforms available in the floating city.

What we like

  • Food is grown in the garden right on the hydroponic towers available
  • Sustainable, adaptable, and scalable

What we dislike

  • It’s still a concept!

6. Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City Complex

Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City Complex, comprised of five sustainable green towers, was built to mitigate the effects of urbanization and fight for the environmental survival of our cities.

Why is it noteworthy?

As our cities become increasingly popular destinations for younger generations, the need to introduce sustainable and biophilic architecture has never felt more urgent. As we face urban expansion and densification, architects are taking initiative to ensure the environmental survival of our contemporary cities. Italian architect Stefano Boeri has found promise in vertical city forest complexes, a form of biophilic architecture that incorporates teeming greenery into the very structure of residential buildings. Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City Complex is Boeri’s latest sustainable undertaking, a forest complex in Huanggang, Hubei, China “intended to create a completely innovative green space for the city.”

What we like

  • 404 different trees fill out the layout of Easyhome, absorbing 22 tons of carbon dioxide and producing 11 tons of oxygen over the span of a year
  • Increases biodiversity by attracting new bird and insect species

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

7. The Pied-à-Mer

If you had to spend a sufficient amount of time on a ship, you would want to have pretty comfortable lodgings. Alas, not all of us could afford to go on luxurious cruises let alone go on a private cruise aboard a luxury line. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream or marvel at what glorious living conditions are out there for those who can afford to do so. This pre-fabricated holiday apartment is one such thing we can only wonder about unless you can someday go aboard the largest private cruise ship in the world.

Why is it noteworthy?

Inspired by the Unite D’Habitation housing typology by Swiss-French architect and designer Le Corbusier, the Pied-à-Mer is a 600-square foot luxury holiday apartment on a private cruise ship. As expected of course, it has a nautical theme but with midcentury, modernist influences. It starts out as a one-bedroom living space but can morph into a two-bedroom space for when they get visits from friends or family members.

What we like

  • Prefab design
  • Nautical-inspired aesthetics

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

8. Redukt’s tiny home on wheels

Poland-based Redukt built a tiny home on wheels that combines simplistic design with a clever layout to produce a mobile tiny home ideal for a family of four traveling through backcountry roads on a summer vacation.

Why is it noteworthy?

Poland-based Redukt, a tiny mobile home company, found sophistication and an open-plan layout through simplistic and versatile design for their off-grid-prepared tiny home on wheels. Prepared for all elements, Redukt’s tiny home on wheels is thermalized with oiled pine boards that give the home a tidy, yet natural personality. Dissolving the barrier between the outdoors and interior space, the tiny home comes with twin glass doors that are just short of reaching floor-to-ceiling heights.

What we like

  • Prepared for all four seasons through the home’s roof topped off with galvanized metal sheets
  • Outfitted with all the elements necessary for off-grid living

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

9. St. Andrews Beach House

St Andrews Beach House Cover

St Andrews Beach House Design View

With just an hour’s drive, you can go from Melbourne to the Mornington Peninsula and spend a few days near the water in a house that doesn’t have hallways and corners.

Why is it noteworthy?

The absence of hallways isn’t just what makes this house unique. It’s a perfect circle. It’s also many things that are unusual. The location of this house alone, St. Andrews Beach, makes it already a winner. It’s an ideal coastal getaway destination which made the owners, a couple who loves the beach, decide on the property. The Andrew Maynard Architects firm was tapped to design the St. Andrews Beach house. It now stands as one of the many spectacular houses in the area. It has quickly become a popular fixture in the landscape even with its size and location, as well as, integration with the environment.

What we like

  • Absence of hallways
  • Unique circular form
  • Built from eco-friendly materials

What we dislike

  • There isn’t much to see or explore in the area – which could be an issue for some

10. SAWA

SAWA, designed by Mei Architects and Planners, won the Experimental Future Projects category in the World Architecture Festival 2021. The apartment building drips with green roofs and balcony plantings. It is also Rotterdam’s first 50-meter-high residential building. The design beat out seven other nominated projects for the top prize in the category.

Why is it noteworthy?

The building is called the healthiest building in the Netherlands. It is designed to prove that humans can live and build in a sustainable way. The plan for the building intentionally reduced the approved volume of the zoning plan model with a stepped exterior. SAWA will house about 100 apartments, with a large communal deck on the first floor plus numerous terraces. The column structure within the building allows apartments to be rearranged in the future, which helps future-proof the building for multiple uses.

What we like

  • Focuses on circular timber construction, biodiversity, and healthy communities with ample planting space
  • Built with an aim to reduce CO2 emissions and help achieve national and international climate goals

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

The post The Tesla of prefabricated homes + more eco-friendly designs that are the future of architecture first appeared on Yanko Design.

Teenage Engineering OP-1 Field is one major synthesizer upgrade

Teenage Engineering is a company that comes up with electronic products like synthesizers, speakers, and mixers. The brand has also collaborated with other big names and designers to design creations that feature sublime designs.

The brand is known for its products that let you become creative, especially with sounds. We remember the most notable, the TE-LAB by Love Hultén, although the design only used the Teenage Engineering PO Modular series. That Teenage Engineering Computer-1 Case was also remarkable. The latest is the OP-1 Field which is an obvious follow-up to the OP-1.

Designer: Teenage Engineering

OP-1 Field Function

The all-new OP–1 Field is another synthesizer that improves on the previous model. This evolution delivers several improvements and refinements. This features a more updated design plus the latest technology.

Teenage Engineering improved on this synthesizer and fined tuned the features to benefit more sound designers, professional musicians, and recording artists. It’s an updated version of the already impressive OP-1, but there is still plenty of room for improvement, as with most gadgets. It is a more professional version with its new features and functions.

OP-1 Field

Design-wise, this one is set in natural anodized aluminum. Its frame is more low profile now. There is a new field color palette, a floating keyboard, and a high-resolution screen. It also comes equipped with Bluetooth midi, stereo all over the signal chain, different styles and recording formats, and multiple tapes. Its battery can last up to 24 hours, and the company also added a ‘dimension’ synth engine and a new reverb. There is also a new FM antenna and a new speaker system.

Teenage Engineering continues to apply its signature mindset to a new breed of technologies. This OP-1 Field results from previous products like the OP-1 portable synthesizer, OD-11 ortho directional speaker, and OB–4 magic radio. The designers have combined the best functions and improved on them to add to the new version.

OP-1 Field Design

Other changes include updated graphics screen by screen, USB-C connectivity, more durable line in/line out sockets, and a 4-pole audio jack for headset mic support. There is also the 32-bit audio, MFi for iPhone USB midi and audio connectivity, and a new speaker with passive radiator dimensions. The synthesizer comes with dual velcro back fasteners and measures 28.8 cm x 10.2 cm x 2.9 cm. There are now eight tapes to record for added convenience.

OP-1 Field Details

Teenage Engineering’s vision is to create products that bring creativity into the everyday. Its efforts include teaming up with brands and artists that share their vision, as with its deal with IKEA. Teenage Engineering and Ikea designed some downloadable 3D printing files to amp up home sound systems.

OP-1 Field Features

The post Teenage Engineering OP-1 Field is one major synthesizer upgrade first appeared on Yanko Design.

Test Drive: 2023 Nissan Z

Nostalgia and modernity combine in this appealing new sports car

When driving the 2023 Nissan Z at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and through the surrounding mountains, we’re called back to the era when the 240Z and later the 280Z were all the rage in the US. It’s been a long time since then and the entire landscape of car-making has changed considerably, yet there’s a prevalent nostalgia for the 1980s and ’90s. It makes sense then that the new Z, with its homage design, is decidedly celebratory rather than a vintage pastiche.

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Courtesy of Nissan

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Courtesy of Nissan

This tone begins from the inside out. While some drivers might mourn the loss of purely analog gauges, there are plenty who are too young to even remember life before displays. At the wheel of the Z, the haptic merges seamlessly with the digital. The central instrument cluster can be reconfigured to show you a bevy of sports-car metrics (RPM, gear, boost pressure, engine temperature, coolant temp, etc) or switched up to prioritize what track you’re listening to on Apple Music.

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Courtesy of Nissan

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Courtesy of Nissan

The default tech in this car, such as a mod-able IP, is modern and on par with the competition and bakes in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay at the base, $39,990 Sport level. The $49,990 Performance model upgrade means a nine-inch rather than eight-inch central touchscreen display; larger, 19-inch wheels rather than the 18-inch wheels that come standard; as well as a launch control function to either the nine-speed paddle shift gearbox or with the six-speed manual.

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Courtesy of Nissan

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Courtesy of Nissan

For those yearning for the good old days, the Z features plenty of appealing details. On the interior, a trio of actual (not digital) instruments crown the dash in the bobblehead position, just above the TFT screen, displaying turbo boost, turbine speed and voltage. A short-stalked gearshift lever, tri-spoke steering wheel that seems relatively throwback (despite also housing smart cruise control and audio switchgear) and suede insert seats are all callbacks to the original Z cars without becoming cartoonish.

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by Michael Frank

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by Michael Frank

On the exterior, the tailored and tucked hourglass shape of the Z charms more than the bulky 370Z, but some drivers will want the more expensive Performance Z because its form certainly offers function. A front chin spoiler and rear hatch spoiler make the Performance edition of the new Z a lot more stable at high speeds. The front piece is said to reduce lift by 63% versus the Sport, and the rear spoiler reduces rear lift by 70%. Interestingly, thanks to the LED tail-lamp array (that’s perhaps the most direct link to the 1990s 300ZX), Zs without the wing integrate those lights more directly for a look that’s more street than track.

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by Michael Frank

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by Michael Frank

The Z is a pleasure to drive, especially on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The stability control is calibrated to allow a bit of walking out from the rear end if you decide to dial in too much steering and throttle simultaneously, but it slips progressively, so you can feel the break-free point and counter steer instinctually. While the 400hp twin-turbo V6 won’t win any awards for sonic purity, with maximum 350ft-lbs of torque in a very broad range from 1,500 RPM to 5,200 RPM, drivers probably won’t care about how the engine sounds because the Z feels ready to fly even if you forget to downshift. In the automatic, drivers get rev-matched downshifts from the paddle-enabled gearbox, but you have to get the Performance version of the Z to have that function in the manual six-speed. Both gearboxes are excellent. It would be hard to choose the automatic, but then again, the auto downshifts quickly and seldom overrides grabbing a gear, even within about 1,000 RPM of redline.

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Courtesy of Nissan

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Courtesy of Nissan

We may never get a competitive sports car landscape like that of the 1990s—let alone the 1970s when the original Z became an icon of Japanese creativity, reliability and innovation—but this new car is attractive, flexible, an approachable in price. It’s a celebration of the fun, tantalizing pleasure that sports cars have embodied since 1969, when the 240Z first debuted.

Hero image courtesy of Nissan

This portable speaker lamp tries to create a mellow mood wherever you go

At a time when lights and sounds have become sources of distraction and overwhelm, this mood lamp and speaker in one sets the tone for a more peaceful atmosphere.

There is no shortage of smart speakers and smart lamps in the market today. You might even see a few that combine both functions in one body. This fusion of technologies to create a single multi-functional product can help save up on space and money, but sometimes the combination creates disharmony instead. Our senses are already inundated by the sights and sounds of modern life, including those coming from these smart appliances. Fortunately, there are designers and products that were made to go against the trend, like this beautiful Nordic-inspired lamp and speaker combo that tries to spread feelings of calm and peace instead.

Designer: WELLE

Click Here to Buy Now: $88. Hurry, only 470/500 left!

Everything about the WELLE portable lamp speaker (W201T) was envisioned and designed to convey a sense of harmony and mellowness. That character goes beyond the obvious appearance of the product, which clearly takes its cues from the minimalist movement as well as Nordic design languages. The absence of extraneous visual elements, out-of-place lines, and distracting colors help make the WELLE speaker lamp look more pleasing to the eyes. The very form of the device, a cone for the speaker with a disc on top for the LED lamp, is designed to draw your attention to the lamp and its mellowing light.

Even the colors chosen for the speaker lamp aren’t your regular hues. They’re meant to remind people of more calming and subdued tones, like the lushness of Forest Green, the warmth of Brick Red, the mellowness of Moonlight Yellow, and the neutrality of Modern Gray. The speaker area of the lamp uses eco-friendly premium textile from the famed Kvadrat, so your mind can also be at ease that the materials used here aren’t harming the environment.

Despite the almost laid-back appearance of the WELLE W201T, it hides a powerful speaker that lets you enjoy your tunes, be it a relaxing classical or a heart-thumping EDM. A down-firing woofer pushes low tones and bass down to the surface, making it bounce back to create a fuller soundstage. Two twitter units on each side of the cone produce a 360-degree surround sound experience. The speaker utilizes high-end audio components from Waversa System, which not only tuned the device for room surround sound but also lent its patented noise isolation technology to weed out static noise from your music.

Lightweight at 660g despite the 12-hour 2,000 mAh rechargeable battery inside, the WELLE portable speaker lamp lets you set up your preferred mood any time, anywhere. The folding handle makes it easy to carry the lamp around or hang it from a hook while still keeping its compact form when not in use. A beautiful piece of technology that looks great, whether on a table or hanging from a tree branch, WELLE lets you create your own oasis of peace and calm in the middle of the disruptions of the world around us.

Click Here to Buy Now: $88. Hurry, only 470/500 left!

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The Metaverse has the power to improve healthcare, and it has already begun

It doesn’t have to be all fun and games in the Metaverse, especially when its best use cases are the ones that need a different reality the most.

Thanks to a few companies that have large marketing machines, the word “Metaverse” has become muddled in hype and controversy. While the current use of the coined word might be new to our ears, the technologies that empower it have been around for quite some time now. And they aren’t always used for games or entertainment, even if that is what everyone thinks these days. In fact, one of the most frequent early adopters of these technologies come from the medical field, which continuously tests new equipment, theories, and digital experiences to help improve lives. So while mainstream media, carmakers, and social networks continue to shine the light on new ways to experience different worlds, the Metaverse, its concepts, and its applications are already sneaking their way into medical and scientific institutions, ready to take healthcare to the next, augmented reality level.

Telepresence Training and Consultation

If you ask somebody about the Metaverse today, they will either look at you as if you were a crazy person because they have no idea what it means, or they will look at you as if you were a crazy person for glorifying games and virtual worlds like Second Life. Thanks to how it has been portrayed, especially by Meta, formerly Facebook, that has become the stigma that the term and the concept will carry for the next few years. At its most basic, however, the so-called Metaverse is really nothing but a combination of AI, AR, VR, blockchain, and related technologies that try to bind the digital and the physical world together into a more coherent whole. Sometimes, even something as simple as a virtual video call is already Metaverse-worthy, with or without the goggles.

This kind of visual communication can be critical not just in keeping people socially close while physically apart but also in keeping the world turning even when locked indoors. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to resort to video calls for work and even for doctor’s appointments. Telemedicine became a thing in the past two years, but things aren’t going to stop there. With the help of VR and AR applications, medical personnel and healthcare workers can extend their reach, even when the real thing isn’t in front of them.

No, this isn’t the frightening scenario of performing surgeries remotely (we’ll get to that later) but the simple case of training personnel or even informing patients through virtual channels. Although nothing really beats the real thing, there are some pieces of information, like learning how to operate machinery, that don’t really need in-person training most of the time. And if diagrams and charts are effective in educating patients about various diseases and medical conditions, imagine how a more interactive and lifelike demonstration in the Metaverse can be more effective.

Designer: 8chili

Digital Twins

The phrase might conjure up horrific images, particularly of scenes from iconic horror films in the 80s, but digital twins are less frightening or even less dramatic than they sound. In essence, a digital twin is pretty much an exact replica of a physical thing, in this case, a person, based on real-world data. This replica can undergo hundreds of simulated changes in just minutes or even seconds that would normally take hundreds of years in real-time.

In this application, machine learning and AI take center stage over AR and VR, determining the possible results based on changing factors. To put it bluntly, a digital twin could be used as a virtual guinea pig, testing different medications and doses, different procedures, and different treatment options to see which ones will have the best possible outcome for a patient. All of these can happen in a matter of seconds, perhaps even while in the middle of an operation.

Digital twins can be used on more than just humans, of course. The same kind of high-speed trial and error can be applied to developing medicine, analyzing viruses, studying animals and plants, and anything else that can be solved with some simulations. Of course, looking at all these data as just figures and text would be boring and even painful, so 3D models can go a long way in visualizing and understanding the results of these simulations. Bonus points if you can view them in the Metaverse, too!

Designer: Philips

AR Surgery

Thanks to Hollywood, many people probably imagine surgery in the world of AR and the Metaverse as involving doctors doing procedures miles or even countries away from the patient. While that could have life-saving benefits, we don’t really need to go that far yet to reap the benefits of the technology in the operating room. Simply being able to see more information than what’s physically in front of us goes a long way in improving our knowledge and understanding, which is really the heart of augmented reality, without the hype and sensationalism.

Doctors require a lot of imagination when working on patients, and not in the flights of fantasy kind of way. They might not have a clear view of what they’re operating on, or they have to work with microscopic materials that would be impossible to see with the naked eye. Although these professionals have been working like these for decades, that doesn’t mean things have to stay that way, especially if technology can help ease the burden.

AR-assisted surgeries have already been performed with much success, but you often don’t hear about those in contrast to news about this or that new Metaverse platform. Being able to see where to drill inside a bone or where to put a screw can make procedures faster and safer. Of course, you’ll need better AR glasses to make that happen because the current consumer models we have just won’t cut it on the operating table, pun intended.

Designer: Augmedics (via John Hopkins Medicine)

Blockchain Records

Not everything about the Metaverse has to be visible, or at least not in its real forms. Of course, the Metaverse can be reduced down to 1s and 0s, just like any computer program, but most people that experience it will be focused on digital artifacts like VR objects. One of the “non-visible” technologies that are being associated with the Metaverse is blockchain, and despite misconceptions, it actually has the potential to protect virtual people and data, including medical records.

Designer: ChenKai Zhang

Blockchain has gotten a lot of flak because of its association with controversial applications like cryptocurrencies and, more recently, NFTs. Like any other tool, however, it is really agnostic. Blockchains are more concerned about keeping a record of transactions joined together by cryptography in a chain. Each node in a blockchain network contains a copy of that chain and is updated with new transactions all the time. The decentralized and cryptographic nature of blockchains makes them almost perfect for protecting data, such as sensitive medical records.

Of course, that’s the ideal scenario, but blockchains are so new to the hearing and minds of anyone outside the computing industry that its applications to things like financial and medical records are still blowing people’s, especially legislators’, minds. Given the highly sensitive nature of medical data, this might take a while before a stable and trustworthy blockchain system is accepted and put in place.

Designer: Functionland Design


The Metaverse being about having fun and games isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when done in moderation. In fact, playing games isn’t a bad thing, despite the connotations and prejudices surrounding even just the word. People have learned long ago that games, or specifically gameful activities, can be beneficial to learning and adapting to new things. It can even help people cope with trauma or stress.

Gamification, or the application of game thinking and game mechanics to non-game activities, has been around for years now. From leaderboards to levels to high scores, these small things can give a sense of accomplishment that reinforces the new knowledge that we just gained. And since the very same technologies that are used to make games also make the Metaverse, the intersection of gamification and the Metaverse is pretty much in the bag.

NASA, for example, has enlisted a game developer that specializes in using games to train people, particularly doctors, in diagnosing and treating different conditions. The idea is to train astronauts to have enough medical knowledge in an emergency, in case it’s the onboard doctor that needs treatment. These educational tools have all the hallmarks of typical mobile games, except it trains you with serious, life-saving skills rather than just mashing the screen to get kills.

Designer: Level Ex


The Metaverse might sound new, but it’s actually built on old technology. AR and VR have been around for decades, but it’s only now that they’re becoming more commercially available. Blockchain technologies are finally becoming more comprehensible even to lawmakers. The psychology of games has been lurking in plain sight in productivity tools and educational materials. You just never considered them to be formal games.

The hype around the Metaverse might have many people rolling their eyes, but all that focus has some benefits. It puts a spotlight on what the Metaverse can actually do, even separate from all the social and entertainment aspects. It brings to light how these technologies have actually been working in the background in different fields, including medicine, and how the Metaverse can be used not only to improve lives but also to save them.

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Our top 10 winning designs from the 2022 A’ Design Award and Competition

It’s celebration time – well, aside from Star Wars Day and Cinco de Mayo, it’s also that time of the year that the A’ Design Award and Competition reveal their yearly winners! Spanning literally a hundred categories, the A’ Design Awards look at creating a holistic list of the best designs internationally, across all disciplines. Held annually, the A’ Design Award and Competition is like the Yellow Pages of good design, and you can be a part of it too by participating!

The A’ Design Award and Competition is much more than just your average awards program. It actively seeks good design, markets it, and brings value to the project as well as the designer in the form of a wide range of value-added services like a dedicated PR Campaign, an online exhibition, and even a platform to sell your design on… and these perks aren’t just limited to the design, they extend to the designers and creators too. Your participation entitles you to a proof-of-creation document, inclusion in A’ Design’s Business Network, and the Design Fee Calculator service that lets you accurately price your design services for future clients, allowing you to set up your design practice.

Judged by a grand jury of 227 elite designers and educators, here are a select few of A’ Design Award and Competition 2021’s winners. We’ve hand-picked some of our favorites from this year’s list of winners spanning categories such as Product Design, Social Design, Tech, Furniture, Medical, and Transportation Design. Scroll down below to have a look at what’s making the waves this year in the design circuit! And don’t forget to register below to participate in the competition for 2022-23 to make sure your work as well as you get the recognition you deserve!

Grab an Early-bird Registration for A’ Design Awards 2022-23 by clicking here!

Beach Cabin on the Baltic Sea by Peter Kuczia

Part cabin part conservatory, the Beach Cabin on the Baltic Sea offers the most stunning panoramic views of the beach. This small gastronomy facility located in north Poland near Gdansk boasts of a simple form that fits naturally into the beach environment. The cabin comes in two parts – an enclosed space, and a vast, open living/dining area that provides shelter along with an abundance of natural light. The glass facade gives onlookers an absolutely sublime view of the ocean, the shoreline, and even the sky above! The building stands on stilts so as not to touch the terrain directly… which means it literally floats above the sand. Tell me that isn’t the most dreamy piece of architecture you’ve ever seen!

Haragana Lounge Chair by Tobias Kappeler

The Haragana is a lounge chair made from bent steel tubes and cork disks for seating. Its metal outline, to any astute observer, resembles an armchair, however, the Haragana doesn’t have any cushions or upholstery. Instead, its seating area is split into 6 discs spread across the base and the backrest. Visually, the Haragana aims at challenging the stereotype of a chair by being radically different, but functionally, it still is comfortable to sit on, with the cork discs providing just the right amount of softness and support. All in all, the chair also fulfills yet another purpose – that of evoking a sense of curiosity, and always inviting you to try and sit on it!

Polychromatic Mobile Phone by Tecno Camon 19 Pro Design Team

Using patterns and light to define how unique your phone looks, the Polychromatic Mobile Phone comes with a rather Mondrian-inspired grid of pearlescent swatches that change colors based on whether it’s exposed to UV light or not. At first glance, the Polychromatic phone instantly reminds one of Google’s Project Ara… however as Google quietly killed that endeavor citing complex issues, the team at Tecno Camon took its grid pattern to the next level. Combining that with inspiration from French painter Edouard Manet, who brought light into painting and is credited with creating the Impressionist art movement, Tecno Camon created the Polychromatic Mobile Phone’s design – a striking grid-based rear design that’s also UV light-responsive, changing colors/tints when exposed to ultraviolet light.

GS-X One Food Delivery Robot by Shanghai Gaussian Automation Tech Dev.

Waiters have two hands… the GS-X has four! Well, equipped with four drawers, the GS-X is an intelligent service robot that can deliver food to tables with efficiency and accuracy… and a smile! With dual positioning cameras placed at the top and the bottom, GS-X can quickly perceive the environment and plan paths for contactless delivery. Pandemic got you paranoid? Well, GS-X can also perform temperature measurements, facilitating epidemic prevention and control.

The Emerald Isle Rare Irish Whiskey Packaging by Tiago Russo

Inspired by the Faberge egg, the Emerald Isle whiskey mirrors a similar rare opulence with how luxuriously it’s packaged. A statement of whiskey, art, and craftsmanship, the whisky’s bottle and packaging use the Faberge as a recurring design accent throughout the entire collection. The opulent colored gemstones on the box reflect Ireland’s traditions and natural beauty. Touted as the rarest and most expensive whiskey ever sold, only seven units of the Emerald Isle whiskey were produced and sold at an auction, where the bottles were sold for a starting price of 2 million USD! Each egg-shaped bottle comes encased in a luxurious wooden display case, covered by a glass box. Open the display case and each bottle is also accompanied by drinking accessories, a Faberge egg replica, a premium wristwatch, and a set of Cohiba cigars to complete the entire experience!

Draw One Calendar by Dan Wang and Ziqiang He

Designed to serve as a calendar as well as a use-one-per-day paper towel dispenser, the Draw One sits mounted on your kitchen wall. Now why would one in their right mind combine a calendar and a towel dispenser? Well, designers Dan Wang and Ziqiang He wanted people to respect and cherish time as well as paper. “Draw One Calendar is a minimalist calendar that uses the form of a tissue box as a metaphor for the preciousness of time”, mentioned the designers. The calendar uses individual sheets of paper to display the date, with each sheet also serving as a paper towel. The catch is that you can only use one paper towel per day, so you’re automatically conditioned to be more economical and not waste paper towels. Moreover, as the year is complete, you can simply add another set of 365 paper towels into the Draw One’s wooden dispenser box.

E390 Electromobile by AIMA TECHNOLOGY GROUP CO., LTD.

The E390 may not have an incredibly sexy name, but it sure looks like a stunner. Unlike scooters that are usually known for having a less-than-slender body language, the E390 boasts of an incredibly lean profile, allowing it to have the appeal of a moped, with the template of a scooter. Designed for urban commuting, the E390 rightfully looks stylish in the contemporary sense, with a clean design, fresh blue colorway, and that beautifully slim yet piercing headlight! And although you can’t see it in the picture, the E390 also boasts of an incredibly well-designed dashboard that blends right into the scooter’s form without so much as one parting or separation line!

Iko Hanging Chair by Ivo Andric

“A levitating sphere, a focus capsule, a refuge for the senses”, that’s what Ivo Andric prefers to call his design rather than simply a ‘hanging chair’. After all, the Iko doesn’t look or feel like your traditional chair. Designed like a nest of a weaverbird, this little hanging cocoon provides a neat enclosed space for you to lounge in, allowing you to take a reclusive break right within your home. The chair is shaped like an icosahedron, creating a geometric dynamism that complements most home decor, and comes with plush cushions and felt-lined acoustic-panel walls to give you comfort and quiet whenever you want!

Canairi Indoor Air Quality Monitor by Hans Augustenborg

Designed to look like home decor, the Canairi actually serves a pretty important health purpose – it tells you whether your air quality is good or bad. Mounted on your wall, this adorable yellow bird either stands upright, to let you know the air you’re breathing is clean, or dramatically falls over to give you a heads up when your air quality drops below acceptable limits. The idea comes from the old belief that canary birds were used in coal mines to detect danger, mainly, carbon monoxide. If the bird fainted, it was a sign that the levels of carbon monoxide were too high and miners would be instructed to evacuate. Not a particularly ethical use of canaries if you ask me, but I assure you, no canaries were harmed in the making of this air quality monitor!

Migo 3D Printer by Junshen Pan and Jie Shen

Named after the word Amigo, this little 3D printer is small enough to actually be carried around wherever you go! Roughly the size of a cat or a small dog, the Migo fits right in your backpack (you know the kind you use to carry pets on) and can be carried from home to work… although it wasn’t quite designed for work. You see, given its small footprint, Migo can’t really print larger objects – which makes it perfect for educational use rather than professional use. Gone are the days when kids carried books in their backpacks. The future involves kids carrying their own 3D printers! Although no, I’m pretty sure the printer isn’t designed to run while inside the backpack… yet.

Grab an Early-bird Registration for A’ Design Awards 2022-23 by clicking here!

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Nike ISPA Link series advances efforts to a circular, zero-waste future

Nike ISPA Shoe

Nike already has other sustainable efforts, but the top sports brand will continue to develop other ways to help the planet. The Move to Zero campaign is in full swing so expect more environment-friendly products and collections will be introduced.

The last pair that made us want to really get serious with going green was the Nike Pegasus Turbo Next Nature. That pair used at least 50 percent recycled material. Now Nike is introducing a new collection of shoes and sneakers you can take apart. Meet the Nike ISPA Link, and this pair is something you can easily disassemble.

Designer: Nike ISPA


Nike ISPA stands for “Improvise; Scavenge; Protect; Adapt.” It’s a design philosophy that challenges creatives to work on designs and start experimenting and reimagining products. Nike has been aiming for a circular system that results in reduced or zero waste. The main goal is to really protect the planet and the future of sports.

The Nike ISPA Link reminds us of the Layers Module Sneakers we recently showcased. That pair is designed to be easily assembled and disassembled for easier recycling. It’s not mainly to say Nike is working on more sustainable pairs. The Nike ISPA is also designed to perform. The first two pairs from the ISPA team are the Nike ISPA and Nike ISPA Link Axis.

Nike ISPA Details

The initial effort of the Nike ISPA group is expected to show the capabilities and the possible future of sustainable or circular designs. The innovations are meant to push circular footwear design to respond to the climate crisis. The project results are shoes that are both durable and flexible, thanks to innovations in footwear design.

Catalyst Footwear Product Design’s VP Darryl Matthews has this to say about the Nike ISPA: “Designed in partnership with engineering, digital product creation and development, these shoes are completely informed by method of make — it is a case of form following function. We hope that these ideas and aesthetics become normalized, accelerating our ability to imagine how shoes will continue to evolve in the future.”

Nike ISPA Design

Nike is working hard to achieve its sustainable goals by 2025 and beyond. That’s only three years from now, but we don’t doubt it can be done. The Link and Link Axis will further expand Nike’s many efforts. The Nike ISPA won’t be the last as more innovations will be unraveled. New approaches will be discovered and implemented as Nike also works with other companies and industries. Nike Chief Design Officer John Hoke noted, “We have a responsibility to consider the complete design solution: how we source, make, use, return and ultimately reimagine product. The goal is to make matter matter more.”

Such cross-industry collaborations will result in business models that work. New infrastructures are expected to be set up to make recycling products more accessible. Nike is also investing worldwide in product take-back consumer programs. All these efforts and more are said to help advance the brand’s ability to repurpose products.

Shoe design-wise, the ISPA Link is glueless, which means the pair doesn’t need any heating or cooling processes. The three inter-locking modules of the sneakers only take eight minutes to assemble and maybe even faster to disassemble. The upper of the shoe features yarns made from different recycled materials. Pegs are found on the midsole, and they can fit the openings of the upper. As the pair near its end of life, you can simply take them apart and drop off the parts at a Nike store.

Nike ISPA Sneakers

The Nike ISPA Link Axis is the bolder version. It is the upgraded pair with its 100% recycled polyester Flyknit upper. The latter fits over the outsole, so there is no need to glue or sew. In addition, the TPU tooling used here is 100 percent recycled from a scrap airbag material, while the TPU case is 20% recycled.

There really is no stopping Nike from working to achieve its numerous sustainable goals. A few years ago, Nike released its free circular design guide to help designers embrace sustainability. That Nike Playground constructed with 20,000 upcycled sneakers already made an impression. The Nike Atsuma reduces material waste by creating an interesting inverse design. There’s also the Nike SB Dunk High Cork that allows you to be eco-friendly in style.

Feel free to check out the “Plastic: Remaking Our World” exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. Nike is participating until September 4 of this year. You will see there the design and evolutionary journey of the ISPA Link line. Learn how Nike’s approach and sustainable intent leads to innovative design.

Nike ISPA Shoes

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Sony Xperia 1 IV proves that speed is everything when it comes to camera phones

Sony remains a popular brand in consumer electronics. It’s one of those few tech giants that has entered multiple industries, from entertainment to gaming to appliances to mobile devices.

Sony hasn’t left the smartphone arena, and we believe it will continue to do so until people patronize the Xperia line. This smartphone series is a favorite among mobile photography enthusiasts for its professional and DSLR-level features. The latest is the Xperia 1 IV, another powerful premium phone running on Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor.

Designer: Sony

Sony Xperia 1 IV Features

The Xperia phone series’ aesthetics have not changed much, but this new model reminds us a bit of an iPhone. There is no more of that familiar pointed boxy form because the corners are now curved. If you know the Sony Xperia 5 III, this new phone looks more like it, especially with the same pill-shaped camera module.

The Xperia 1 IV is expensive compared to the latest flagship phones in the market. It costs $1,600, which is about the same price as a premium foldable smartphone. This flagship device has a 6.5-inch 4K OLED screen 120Hz refresh rate and a 21:9 aspect ratio. It uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset with 512GB storage and 12GB of RAM. The onboard memory is expandable up to 1TB with a microSD card.

Sony Xperia 1 IV Features

The Xperia 1 IV boasts a triple camera system on the rear when it comes to imaging. All lenses are 12MP but come with 16mm ultra-wide 16mm + 24mm wide-angle 24mm+ telephoto with 85-125mm true optical zoom. This means shooting with zoom will yield improved results.

The phone runs on a 5000mAh battery with wireless and fast charging support. Mobile security is accessible via the power button with an embedded fingerprint scanner. Other features include a dedicated camera shutter button, dual front-facing speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Sony Xperia 1 IV Design

The Music Pro enhances the audio experience as it can record songs studio-style. The phone can capture 4K HDR 120fps video on all cameras. There’s also live video streaming, Eye AF, and Object tracking technologies. The latter can be helpful to videographers as the camera features are easy to understand and operate. Object Tracking helps in tracking a moving subject automatically. The feature helps keep objects in sharp focus even if they are not still.

Sony Xperia 1 IV Details

The phone also features built-in live streaming features for mobile gamers and videographers. Specifically, the Videography Pro features are for creative control in video streaming and recording. The display is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass VictuS and IP65/68 water resistance. There’s also the standard Bluetooth connectivity, 3.5mm headphone jack, and full-stage stereo speakers. The 360 Reality Audio support is also available and very evident with the full-stage front-facing stereo speakers.

Sony Xperia 1 IV Images

Sony Xperia 1 IV

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AI-enhanced super workers could be a reality with this AR headband that can be fastened to industrial helmets

Frontline workers in hazardous industrial environments are often overworked due to shortage of labor and are exposed to perilous situations, which can lead to errors and increase the proportion of man-made hazards. Since state-of-the-art technology is changing the face of other industries; it is only fitting to integrate augmented reality into the helmet – the most important accessory – of frontline workers at oil & gas plants, power, aviation, railway, and many such industries to solve these problems.

Enter X-Craft – the first augmented reality device to achieve an explosion-proof protection rating. Designed by Rokid, the X-Craft is created in order to bring a technological transformation in the industry and produce a generation of “super workers.” Basically, this is an industrial explosion-proof AR headband that can fit around safety helmets and hard hats to armor frontline workers with technology that can facilitate in inspections, remote collaborations, trainings, and day-to-day operations.

Designer: Rokid

The headband in addition to AI and AR integration is also embedded with a 5G module to ensure brisk processing and real-time information storage and transmission. The headband is further equipped with a 40° field of view (FoV) display – right in front of the eye – and has a movable camera positioned just above. A secondary camera flip to switch is placed further up – around the forehead (when the headband is worn). The display employs waveguide optical technology to ensure it has a see-through aesthetic with high contrast and light transmission of up to 80 percent.

For the ones who work in more high-risk environments, the headband – featuring a user-friendly control knob on the temple – can be further attached with other peripherals and accessories such as industrial endoscope, infrared sensors, etc to enhance its capabilities and be more assistive to workers. Even with all the tech embedded and the possibility of additional attachments, the headband remains comfortable to wear. Its weight is evenly distributed and the headband’s detachable buckle ensures it can be wrapped around a large variety of helmets and hard hats.

Born to assist super workers in the highest-risk environments, the X-Craft is made to beat the elements. The IP66 water and dustproof rated headband can easily process large amounts of information and data over the cloud and facilitate real-time remote collaboration between teams. To ensure what is seen and transmitted is without a glitch, the X-Craft features three AI-enabled noise reduction mics that pick accurate sounds in the nosiest industrial environments.

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