Most of us can’t afford hotel rooms that are well appointed. The ones absent of smells from guests long past, furnishings you sit on without question, art that doesn’t look like a paint by number, polyester bed linens purchased in 1983. While trying to fall asleep to the light of an alarm clock, the only electronic in the room except your cell phone, you imagine what happened in that room before you got there. None of the thoughts help you fall asleep.
David Bussell, who appears to be a bit of a comedian (it’s difficult to tell with the streaming rainbow background on his site. I could only read a few words before vertigo kicked in), has traveled to many places, and in those places he has stayed in some really crappy hotel/motels. To lighten the experience, he enjoys leaving messages for future guests. My preference is for the hidden ones – only people so offended by the art that they turn it around will find the notes he’s left, or the occasional oddball who removes drawers or opens cisterns.
I don’t consider myself a germaphobe. I’m quite reasonable about the things I don’t want to touch; those are the ones coated in human depravity. Cheap hotel rooms are filled with such stuff, so I’m unlikely to ever find one of his messages. Luckily I can just look at his Tumblr site (which has a much better design than his website) where he chronicles his mischief.
- via Lost at E Minor
3D printers have become fairly ubiquitous. They can be purchased in stores and online (I’m not claiming they’re cheap, but people pay as much for a new fangled TV), are small enough to be carried around, can print larger and larger objects. They can even be found in libraries. We’ve been there and done this. So what’s next? 4D printing of course.
MIT engineer Skylar Tibbits has presented a couple TED talks about designing things that make themselves (a bit K.S. Robinson, Red Mars) and more specifically a talk about the possibility of 4D printing, an emerging technology that would allow us to print objects that could reshape themselves, or even build themselves.
The U.S. Army Research Office has bestowed a grant, to the tune of $855k, to further delve into this concept. The grant was awarded to Harvard’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, the University of Illinois, and the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering. There are stipulations. The universities must collaborate on their research and the desired results are focused:
Rather than construct a static material or one that simply changes its shape, we’re proposing the development of adaptive, biomimetic composites that reprogram their shape, properties or functionality on demand, based upon external stimuli. By integrating our abilities to print precise, three-dimensional, hierarchically-structured materials, synthesize stimuli-responsive components, and predict the temporal behavior of the system, we expect to build the foundation for the new field of 4D printing.
Tibbits is not involved in this research and I can’t help but wonder if the military bent is part of that omission.
- via Web Urbanist
Man, junk drawers. I have one dedicated junk drawer in my apartment, but honestly several of them border on junk drawers, with random odds and ends squirreled away because I don’t know what else to do with them. We all have that stuff and some of it’s even useful. Problem is, I can’t find 90% of it when I do need it. Super glue tends to be the exception, likely because I use it often enough that I remember where I put it.
Designer Matt Stevens, who specializes in branding and illustration, touched upon this idea and created illustrations of three famous characters’ imagined junk drawers. Can you tell who the drawers belong to without looking at his site (where you can, by the way, purchase prints)?
- via Quipsologies
In September 2010 the southern island of New Zealand was struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. 5 months later a 6.3 magnitude aftershock rattled the island. The destruction was immense and the loss unimaginable. The cost of rebuilding was estimated at $15 billion.
One of the buildings that was destroyed was the ChristChurch Cathedral. Built in 1864, the church had survived many earthquakes before, but these quakes destroyed the spire and part of the tower and severely damaged the structure of the remaining building. Demolition of the cathedral began in March 2012 and was halted in December 2012 awaiting judicial review. Whether pieces of the original cathedral are used to rebuild, or an entirely new structure takes its place, it will be many years before a permanent church is unveiled. What to do in the mean time?
The city hired Shigeru Ban Architects to find a solution. The architects specialize in temporary cardboard structures. That brings to mind something akin to a kid’s fort made from a refrigerator box, but the new Christchurch cardboard church is anything but.
The Cardboard Cathedral is built to last up to 50 years… The temporary building is made from 98 cardboard tubes and eight shipping containers, with the tubes forming the dramatic ultra-high peaked ceiling… The cardboard tubes are coated with waterproof polyurethane and a flame retardant, so they won’t succumb to the elements. Outside of the cardboard tube ceiling, a semi-transparent polycarbonate roof adds further protection for the building and its occupants.
This structure is one of the most earthquake-proof in Christchurch. A concrete building is easily crumbled by an earthquake, but the paper building is far less rigid. This means that it can absorb the shock of a quake without falling apart.
While the church looks entirely different than the cathedral that was destroyed, the stained glass window remembers the historic structure with images from the exterior of the destroyed cathedral, bearing memories of what was lost.
- via Web Urbanist
Well, not all spice. Target has a new series of ads highlighting artists to help sell their wares and expand their market to a more bohemian crowd. One of those artists is Danielle Evans. Her passion is lettering and typography. Food is not her only medium, though a compelling one. She works in chalk, calligraphy, cut paper and brush pen, as well as digital mediums. Target centered on food since that is one of their suite of products.
Danielle uses her hands and brushes to complete her food typography. I am admittedly jealous. Artistic talents aside, my hands are not nearly steady enough to do this work. Besides spices and grains, she also completed pieces in herbs and coffee for Target. See the story/ad at the source link and her broader portfolio on her site.
- via Nice Fucking Graphics
We live in a culture that is always looking for the new thing, throwing away what is old, even though the older version is often better made. Buildings are no exception. Photographer Ben Marcin is drawn to buildings that, though uncared for, have stood the test of time, when their counterparts have turned to rubble, been torn down or otherwise disappeared.
His series Last House Standing focuses on row houses, a once common architectural feature in many cities along the eastern U.S.. Row houses were attached to one another, sharing walls, extending down entire city blocks. They are associated with the working class as they were frequently built to house workers, sailors or people who could not afford grander, standalone homes. While they can be found throughout the world, they were introduced in the U.S. by architect Thomas Carstairs who designed them as the first housing development for William Samson Developers in Philadelphia.
Row houses can still be seen in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston but the state of them varies widely. In Boston and New York they have encountered gentrification, no longer the homes of the working class. Marcin photographed his series in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Single homes torn from their block of look-a-likes, still standing against the odds. In Marcin’s words:
My interest in these solitary buildings is not only in their ghostly beauty but in their odd placement in the urban landscape. Often three stories high, they were clearly not designed to stand alone like this. Many details that might not be noticed in a homogeneous row of twenty attached row houses become apparent when everything else has been torn down. And then there’s the lingering question of why a single row house was allowed to remain upright. Still retaining traces of its former glory, the last house standing is often still occupied.
- via Trendland
The heartbreaking events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT occurred just over 9 months ago. Slate teamed with @gundeaths, a Twitter user who has helped create this interactive visualization, to collect crowd sourced data of gun deaths since that date, December 14, 2012.
What you see above is the slightest of snippets. As you scroll down and down and down, you can’t helped but feel choked up. The figures represent both sex and age (child or adult). Keep in mind, this data is crowd sourced from media reports. It does not reflect all gun deaths.
As time goes on, our count gets further and further away from the likely actual number of gun deaths in America—because roughly 60 percent of deaths by gun are due to suicides, which are very rarely reported. When discussing this issue, please note that our number is by design not accurate and represents only the number of gun deaths that the media can find out about contemporaneously. Part of the purpose of this interactive is to point out how difficult it is to get accurate real-time numbers on this issue.
According to the CDC, as of today, an estimated 25,179 people have died since the Sandy Hook shootings. We watch the news, we read the paper, we hear the stories. They are the stories of individuals who die; 34% of the total victims in less than 1 year. This visualization is 8,445 stories and it’s a powerful reminder that as a society, we need to change.
- via Slate