TRIBUTE | Zero waste lighting

In the case of the new 'R16', form truly follows funtion.  A cardboard LED tube lighting fixture which serves as both lighting and package at the same time. A zero waste solution by dutch duo Waarmakers.

The idea came to them the moment they encountered a pile of linear LED’s  cardboard packages after producing their ‘ninebyfour’ lamp. Cardboard tubing is a strangely underrated material, but they didn’t feel comfortable with throwing all that potential packaging.

By pre-cutting the tubes with a laser-cutter, the cardboard can first be used as the packaging material, and can be turned into an elegant light fixture. All necessary components are shipped inside the tube, and the package is only rolled in a single layer of kraft paper for shipping.

Images by waarmakers. Find their lamp here.

TRIBUTE | A Sky Garden in Istambul

Public installations are more than mere decoration on the street. Sometimes they serve a purpose and even question the use of public space. This is the case of the recently completed Sky Garden in Istambul by studio SO?.

Regarding this, the architects say: “We consider public installations as a tool to question the architect’s power over design. When the visitor is able to change the installation, the architect is no longer able to control the form, up to a certain point. For us, it is a challenging experience to expand the borders of control even with small gestures like in this project, while the temporary installation urges to transform an established public space.”

Sky Garden is a suspended garden in Ortaköy Square. Based on the existing ground in the square, this garden with various plants, provides seating and shadow during the festival. Being suspended, the garden acts as a roof which people can stay under and watch Bosphorus. Just like a tree with different branches, the garden flies between the sky and the Bosphorus with each pot, while the pulley system lets the pots go down for a closer look of visitors.

More on the project at their website.

TRIBUTE | Habemus Pavilion!

June is an exciting month to await, many things come together this month: great weather full of summer vibes, special frappuchino flavours, some of the best music festivals and, lastly but not least, the completion of the new Serpentine Gallery pavilion in London.

BIG founder Bjarke Ingels has unveiled a wall of translucent blocks that has been "unzipped" to create a curving, cavernous interior. As a contrast to last year's colourful chrysalis of translucent plastic created by Spanish duo SelgasCano, this pavilion is a hybrid between a building and a piece of furniture, so the wall is a giant shelf that you pull apart to create an interior space.

This year there is another great reason to visit the British capital. For the first time the pavilion will be accompanied by four Summer Houses, designed by Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi, Berlin studio Barkow Leibinger, Paris-based architect Yona Friedman and British architect Asif Khan.

Visitors will be invited to climb up the exterior, but only as far as as a slender metal wire that acts as a barrier.

More info at their website.

VENICE BIENNALE | The Awarded Spanish Pavilion

The Spanish creativity in times of crisis has been awarded this year with the Golden Lion in the Venice Biennale. In the past few years we have seen how the economic constraint has challenged architects to come up with more radical and intelligent design solutions.

Titled Unfinished, the pavilion presents a series of photographs of incomplete construction projects, alongside 55 recent buildings that demonstrate a range of solutions to working under budget cuts.

The exhibition is a direct response to Biennale curator Alejandro Aravena's request for architects to show work that responds to the major challenges in their countries as part of his theme, Reporting from the Front. 

Carnicero and fellow curator and architect Carlos Quintáns Eiras collected photographs by seven different artists of structures they describe as "contemporary ruins". These are displayed in the pavilion's central space on steel frames hanging for the ceiling, and range from major construction projects to small private houses and apartments.

Reappropriation focuses on the revival and reuse of abandoned heritage buildings like churches, industrial spaces and military complexes. These include the renovation of a Baroque palace in Palma de Mallorca by Flores & Prats and Duch-Pizá to create a new cultural centre.

Photography by Fernando Maquieira

VENICE BIENNALE | Top Three Pavilions

Out of the 61 pavilions on show this year, we have selected our three favourite. So if you are to visit Venice in a flash, here is our picks from the Biennale.

The 15th Venice Architecture Biennale is curated by Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. The theme of his exhibition, Reporting From The Front, aims to shine a light on global issues that architects have the power to influence or solve.

The national participants were encouraged to also explore this theme in their pavilions. This topic gave a conceptual depth to the pavilions that goes beyond the obvious aesthetic impact.

Swiss Pavilion: Incidential Space

The Swiss pavilion was the most impressive spectacle in this year's biennale. Designed to offer visitors a "pure encounter with architecture", the project showcases the potential of combining traditional architectural crafts with digital technologies.

Baltic Pavilion: The Baltic Atlas

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have united for the first time at the Biennale to present the Baltic Pavilion, which explores the impact of redeveloping the region's Soviet-era infrastructure.

The works of more than 70 architects, scientists, geologists, anthropologists and philosophers are presented across both the main arena and the tiered seating areas of a Brutalist sports hall, beneath a white canopy intended to create an "artificial sky".

British pavilion: Home Economics

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Perhaps the least impressive of the three, but this year's British pavilion exposes a very interesting topic on how we live our homes. It is a call for architects to look beyond standard residential typologies, and to instead develop new financial models for housing.   

Images: Dezeen

MILAN'16 PICKS | MUSEO DELLA MERDA

First of all: a warning. If you are reading this during lunch time, perhaps you would prefer to skip this post and head straight to the next one. We are going to talk about a very controversial topic: crap. Tons of it.

But this is a design blog, so we will put you in context: the Museo della Merda – or Museum of Shit – is our last Milan crush. This museum showcases projects that span between art and technology, but are all in some way linked to the reuse of organic waste. 

The museum is located at the Castelbosco dairy farm in the Picenza province of northern Italy, where 2,500 cows produce 30,000 litres of milk as well as 100,000 kilograms of dung. Together with architect Luca Cipelletti, curator Gaspare Luigi Marcone and gallerist Massimo Valsecchi, Locatelli created a museum inside a late-medieval castle on the site to showcase the potential uses and benefits of the waste material.

The Shit Museum produces ideas, exhibitions, objects and projects. And now it has invented and registered MERDACOTTA, a material which brings together the principles of transformation and sustainability underpinning its cultural and scientific values. With a variable blend of dry dung, straw, farm waste and clay – depending on the items to be produced – MERDACOTTA is the raw material used for the production of objects for our contemporary living.

Dry dung – the main element to be found in MERDACOTTA – is the result of a process that rids the excreta of the Castelbosco cows of methane (used instead to produce energy and heating for the Museum) and urea, hence making it entirely odourless. This is a waste product which is thus reused and transformed thanks to its coupling with Tuscan clay of the very finest quality.

The idea behind the first Shit Museum branded products is that of going “back to basics”.

MILAN'16 PICKS | The Restaurant by Ceasarstone & Tom Dixon

When designing a restaurant we always talk about the experience, not only the space. As consumers we value everything that happens around a meal, which is much more than just the food: the service, the atmosphere, the company... Tom Dixon - in collaboration with Ceasarstone- knew this and re-design our whole interaction with food in his latest installation during Milan Design Week: 'The Restaurant'

'The RESTAURANT' consisted of four conceptual kitchens inspired by the elements – Earth, Fire, Water and Air. Set within the backdrop of a 17th century Cloister encircling a public garden and a deconsecrated church, each of the four sections of the cruciform-shaped complex introduced a different range of Caesarstone’s designs, combined with Tom Dixon-designed dining halls and products, each kitchen featured a variety of colours and materials that complement the mood and atmosphere of each specific element.

Food by Italian studio Arabeschi di Latte is prepared in three of the kitchens and whisky is offered from the other, while demonstrations showing cutting-edge cooking techniques and food preservation methods are also incorporated into the show.

“In Milan this year, we wanted to collaborate with Caesarstone to inspire architects and designers through a radical interpretation of how food and surfaces can interact in different ways, delivering a food experience that challenges all the senses in an exercise of materiality, luminosity and texture. Reflecting on the four medieval elements, we have created totally distinctive smells, tastes and visual experiences within each room.” Tom Dixon.

TRIBUTE | TANDOOR RESTAURANT

The VXLAB team is mad about design, sure. But we have other passions and Indian food is, of course, one of them. That's why we fell instantly in love with the Tandoor restaurant in Barcelona. Their approach to the Indian culture and aesthetic has nothing to do with the usual misconception of colourful, golden, horror vacui decorations. They say that the interior design is inspired in the restaurant menu, which is described as "local Indian food", because it is inspired in India but set in Barcelona, always offering fresh seasonal ingredients of the region.

This project arose because Ivan Surinder, the young mentor of Albert Adrià, and his mother Poonam Chitra wanted to remodel the family restaurant. Tandoor restaurant was opened in 1996 by Surinder’s father, Oberoi Surinder. The proposed changes included completely updating the premises to reflect the traditional Indian establishment’s originality and modernity.

The esthetic was based on a folk-style India, the India of the people. The bars recall street food carts, the walls are worn, stamped sheet metal is used as partitions, while woodwork is finished with textured tin coatings and splashes of color come in the form of electrical cables and bright wall coverings.

Images from Tandoor