Panama’s Bold Biomuseo
World-famous architect Frank Gehry is set to debut his first built work in Latin America. After a number of delays, the Biomuseo in Panama City, a bold and colorful 43,000-square-foot concrete structure with an elaborate folded roof system is now receiving a limited number of visitors in five of its eight interactive galleries. Built on a former U.S. Army base at the entry of the Panama canal, the museum was conceived to highlight the country’s biodiversity and rich ecosystem. The project has dual intentions – to introduce tourists to Panama’s natural charms and serve as a catalyst for environmental conservancy among locals.
Image via Skyscraperlife
Bookshelf: What We’re Reading
Design Brooklyn: Renovation, Restoration, Innovation tracks the trajectory of Brooklyn’s urban development – from ramshackle and rough around the edges to a posh and leafy enclave for NYC creative types. Of special note, is the spread on Beastie Boy Mike D.’s Cobble Hill townhouse, which features an array of designed in Brooklyn pieces including wallpaper, curtains, lighting, and furniture. A new mammoth volume, Powerhouse 4 highlights 124 awe-inspiring retail interiors. Showcasing the latest trends in environmental design, the book includes bakeries, boutiques, sneaker shops, and supermarkets that captivate the imagination of the consumer and elevate shopping to a whole new level. Franco Maria Ricci’s Labyrinths: The Art of the Maze documents labyrinths in a myriad of mediums including stamped on coins, traced in manuscripts, cultivated in gardens, and even its history in literary quotations.
Empowering Europe’s Digital Economy
The European Digital Forum, a new think tank dedicated to empowering tech entrepreneurs, has been established to help grow Europe’s digital economy. The program was announced by Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The venture plans to host an annual Digital Forum that will bring together entrepreneurs, political leaders, and policymakers creating an outlet for cross-continental discourse on startups and technological innovation. The day-to-day operations of the forum will rest in the hands of the Lisbon Council and Nesta, two esteemed innovation think tanks, and will have additional support from a coalition of influential companies and tech leaders.
Image via Eric Fischer
The Science of Visual Attraction
Dutch designer Merel Bekking teamed up with scientists to explore what variables result in a “perfect” design. The researchers determined the “perfect” design by creating a method of testing peoples’ preferences to particular colors, shapes, and materials with an MRI scanner. The results were fascinating and revealed that our brains are most attracted to red, plastic, and closed organic shaped objects. Bekking found the results surprising because “they contradicted what individuals thought they liked” proving that peoples’ preferences are often driven by social factors. With the results in, Bekking set off to create a collection of “perfect everyday objects” that will be on view in Milan this April.
Image by Jochen Hartmann
Herbert Bayer’s Werbegrafik
The Bauhaus Archive Berlin’s current exhibit Mein Reklame-Fegefeuer. Herbert Bayer. Werbegrafik 1928-1938 offers a view of the iconic graphic designer’s commercial work during the tumultuous years of transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich. Bayer is best known for the geometric sans-serif typeface he designed in 1925 for the Bauhaus school’s communications. After leaving the Bauhaus Dessau in 1928, Bayer moved to Berlin and applied his radical principles of modern graphic art in designs for hundreds of posters, book covers, advertisements, and brochures for both the private and public sector. The show illustrates Bayer’s controversial post-Bauhaus output with 200 works that are on display until February 24.
Image via Cea.
Discarded rubber flip flops wash ashore in Kenya at an alarming rate littering the beaches and harming wildlife. Ocean Sole, a community-driven marine conservation organization, set out to recycle the detritus in creative ways while providing jobs for locals. The results are vibrant and colorful rubber sculptures of elephants, lions, giraffes and a variety of other animals. Ocean Sole plans to recycle 400,000 flip flops a year and currently recycles 220 pounds of sandals a week. The sculptures are sold to zoos and museums around the world and a percentage of profits go to marine conservation and adult education.
Image via inhabitat
Bookshelf: What We’re Reading
Released this week, Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up chronicles twenty-five years of iconic designs from the visionary Dutch designer. Published in conjunction with an extensive exhibit of his work at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the book goes beyond beautiful images with interviews, analysis, and essays. A new online magazine, theTwentySIX, has former interior designer Brandon A. Smith at the helm. Smith describes the publication’s content as “Vogue meets Dwell” and will feature interviews and insights from creatives across the design spectrum.
Pushing beyond our everyday notions of technology, more and more designers and researchers are working to design multisensory experiences that allow the user to not just see, but feel. One such example is ‘sensory fiction,’ a new wearable device and book cover MIT researchers have developed to customize the reading experience to the individual. The innovative apparatus has the ability to change the user’s heart rate causing temperature changes and other physical sensations. The book’s cover is outfitted with 150 programmable LEDs that create ambient light based on the plot’s mood and setting. In another wearable experiment, Sensoree created a sweater that projects your mood as a light show. Without a word from the wearer, the sweater can communicate a range of emotions – from tranquility (green) to excitement (purple).
Image via Designboom
The Art of Cuisine
This month New York City’s The Drawing Center exhibits sketches by famed chef Ferran Adria formerly of the world renowned restaurant El Bulli. Ferran Adria: Notes on Creativity sheds light on the chef’s creative process offering glimpses into his conceptualization of dishes that often employ molecular gastronomy and other nontraditional food preparations. The Drawing Center’s Executive Director, Brett Littman, witnessed Adria’s creative genius during an eight-hour meal at El Bulli in 2010 and was so captivated by the experience that he reached out to Adria in hopes of exhibiting his work on paper. Adria’s models, diagrams, and sketches take the viewer through the journey of his fanciful dishes, from initial brainstorm to final plating instructions for his artfully arranged cuisine. On view through February 28.
Image via The Drawing Center
Belgian architecture studio BC Architects has designed the first building of a new school for deaf children in Burundi, Africa. The clay colored structure was built by the firm along with community members and features local materials including rammed earth walls and baked ceiling tiles. The design borrows from indigenous building typologies and serves as both a quiet educational space and gathering place for the community. Another take on a library, The Bookmobile Project travels the United States and Canada via a vintage airstream trailer that contains 300 books you can’t get at your local library including one-of-a-kind photocopied zines and small press publications.
Image via Dezeen