Recently opened to the public is the Infinity Bamboo Forest, a spectacular passage in a public annex building located in Wuxi, China. The installation is a reference to the traditional Japanese culture with its characteristic bamboo forests, and from the beginning experienced limitations of space, time and budget. So the result cannot be more magnificent, developing a passage of twenty meters as an infinity bamboo forest essentially using a combination of light and mirrors. The design of the installation was conceived by Prism Design, a Shanghai-based architecture and design studio, founded in 2009 by Tomohiro Katsuki.
Jorge San Luis
Keep It Simple!
Halo is a hanging lamp designed by the Spanish designer Martín Azúa for the also Spanish lighting manufacturer Vibia. There are two versions of the ceiling lamp available — with circular or straight pieces, that create a subtle and magical lighting effect, seemingly floating in the open space with its great formal lightness, due to the designer’s use of LED technology and PMMA plastic. The result is stunning. Halo is available in matt white lacquer, and much like other recent Vibia products, it has been developed with a variety of configurations in mind, depending on the needs of each space. I like this.
For the fashion house Rubens Luciano, Italian architect Simone Micheli has designed this spectacular office and showroomm inside a 19th century building near Venice, Italy. Its main feature is perhaps the careful use of light and glass, emphasized by the large open working spaces, the white furniture and walls, and the rounded edges and organic shapes along all elements of the building. On the other hand, the integration of these contemporary elements with the antique building is perfect, achieving a balance in some rooms and contrasting in others — yet always in harmony and very meticulous with each detail and finish. All previous elements of the building give to the project a great personality that makes it unique and distinguished. I like this.
Some months ago Moving Brands designed a new identity for Blank Digital, a New York-based boutique retouching and digital capture company. Blank were seeking a more effective strategy in order to help establish relationships with the top luxury, fashion and media businesses of the world. Moving Brands explains the design: We defined their brand narrative as ‘realizing image potential’ – an ambitious stance that focuses on the real business benefit they offer. The monochromatic identity system has an attitude and an edginess to appeal to their high-fashion audience. The mark references Blank’s own editing process; it appears to be at the point of mid-creation, but still elegant. The soft colour palette and typeface nod to the family-focused values and love of tailored, crafted elements, and characteristics of the business that were often referenced in workshops with the Blank founders. Most importantly, the system provides a sophisticated, flexible foundation from which their own work can shine. A wonderful piece of work, from the physical to the digital media, that set a guide for all applications of the brand, being a perfect mix between sophistication, simplicity and neutrality.
Factory Building on the Vitra Campus is the result of incredible work by the Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, who founded the studio SANAA almost 20 years ago, and won the Pritzker prize in 2010. The single circular factory is used by Vitrashop, a shop fitting company within the Vitra Group. Its interesting shape is explained: This proposal, which at first seemed unusual, was based on the realization that logistics and production methods no longer adhere to strictly hierarchical principles, but require flexibility. This was especially true in the case of the future occupants of the new facility. The circular footprint of the building permits the delivery and loading of goods in completely different locations, so that the flow of traffic inside the hall is reduced, optimized and simplified. The factory is more than 160 metres in diameter and reaches 11.4 metres in height, with a singular and characteristic facade, made of acrylic glass with three wave patterns on the surface to avoid a visual repetition, seeming infinite and homogeneous.
Cowrie Chair is an elegant and attractive design inspired by the concave lines of sea shells, being its curvilinear shape possible after an extensive research and innovation process that combines handmade and digital tecnology. The result is a brilliant single surface monocoque fold formed in Ash faced plywood with either a natural or ebonised finish, something that also gives it a great feeling of contuinity and simplicity. Cowrie Chair is part of the Cowrie collection that includes an elegant rocking lounger too, all designed and developed by Brodie Neill, the creative director of Made in Ratio, a new brand launched this past April in Milan.
It think that the project of the award-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando for Tom Ford’s ranch could not be more beautiful, with its modern, clean and minimalist lines and shapes throughout as well as the detail of the construction. The plain concrete walls are maybe the most characteristic of the project with the abrupt contrast of light, as well as the road on the small lake. It is located outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has almost 100,000 square meter, being perfectly integrated with the arid lands of the state due to a rustic palette of colors.
Fusion are two wonderful wooden knives developed by the Italian designer Andrea Ponti. They are available in two sizes and colors, and also two types of blade for different uses: serrated and non-serrated. They have been made as a limited edition by Issei Hanaoka, an artist and craftsman from Japan. The combination of industrial design, craftsmanship and cultures has certainly proved to be a successful one, as Ponti explains: Two cultures and two design languages usually far apart from one another blend in the common language of design and tell the story of a project that spans from research to the creation of innovative products for markets around the world. This design and cultural blend produced Fusion. Both knives feature ergonomic grips and the packaging is a re-design of the traditional Japanese boxes called kiribako, that enclose and protect them form humidity.
100 Colors is a solo exhibition created by the French-born and Tokyo-based architect Emmanuelle Moureaux, as part of the 17-day art event Shinjuku Creators Festa 2013. As its name suggests, the installation is formed of 100 different hues of color along 840 sheets of paper neatly suspended from the ceiling, which were provided by leading Japanese paper manufacturer Takeo. The whole combination creates an amazing volume of vibrant color where each sheet creates a gradual transition to the next. Beneath the installation there are bean bags to invite visitors to watch and admire the piece from different perspectives. The 100 colors are also featured on the wall in small circles, allowing the visitors to indicate their preference in color.
Dots is a really lovely gaming app developed by New York based organization, Betaworks, and its task is very simple; connect as many same-colored dots as you can using only vertical and horizontal lines. Dots has three different game modes; connect as many dots as you can in 60 seconds, another one using only 30 movements and a new endless mode, without any limitation. Its interface is incredibly clean and simple and you can compete with your friends by connecting via Twitter and Facebook. Dots has already been awarded the number one mobile game in twenty countries.
Pure is a new shoe collection by the French architect, Jean Nouvel for the Italian brand, Ruco Line. The minimalist shoe was unveiled at this year’s Milan Design Week gaining great relevance, and strong opinion. This is Nouvel’s first footwear project as he looked for basic and essential lines to apply to the shoe design, which is a characteristic often seen in his architectural work. The result is an incredibly simplistic shoe with a strong identity. Pure is made up of high-quality calf leather with a rubber sole. The collection is available in a variety of colours, including; black, white, yellow and fuchsia. The shoe also features the abbreviated name of the design at the top along with its style, colour code, and date of production.
Wall Shadows is an interesting project by the Lebanese designer Charles Kalpakian for the Italian lighting company Omikron Design, which has resulted in a beautiful, minimalist, wall-mounted illumination. Wall Shadows is a project between art and design and has arisen from Kalpakian’s continuous exploration of the three-dimensionality of surfaces. Its graphic composition becomes a texture lit up by the LED bulbs placed inside the various elements, creating a canvas of shadows. These few elements certainly give the piece a great identity and a sculptural sensation without losing its functionality of ambient light.