About space

Improve in Interviews

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MIT recently released an interesting new program that can help users portray themselves more confidently in job interviews and other social situations. MACH – My Automated Conversation Coach – is a system that can portray a virtual interviewer on your computer. Conversing with you, it simultaneously analyzes and takes record of your body language, eye contact, facial expressions, and tone and tenor of your voice. The prototype then has the capability to provide you with reports on how you did – if you looked away and were distracted too much, talked too quickly or mumbled. If made widely available, MACH could prove to be a great tool for job seekers.

(Illustration by Phil Marden)

Felt Forms

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Dutch artist Claudy Jongstra does incredible and surprising things with wool, felting it to create large-scale architectural settings. Her massive wall-coverings, rugs, and architectural tiles are created by hand in her beautiful Friesland studio, where she keeps and shears her own sheep. Her work – on walls at both Lincoln Center, and the Barnes Foundation (detail image shown), adds a soft, textural element to the clean, minimal spaces its inhabits.

Play Mountain

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Japanese architects Moriyuki Ochiai recently completed a fun, infinitely adaptable space at Piccolino Kindergarten in Kanagawa, Japan. Based on a concept of a mountain surrounded by clouds, the architects considered use based on childrens’ size and viewpoint. Movable seats in primary colors are shaped like triangles for ease of mobility and enough seating space for 2 children. Architectural shapes and forms like peaks of houses, arches and passageways allow for fun and imaginative play in the space, which will be used for art education, performances and workshops.

Cook Al Fresco

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A Dutch company is making us want to cook and dine outdoors year-round. WWOO Outdoor Kitchens are made up of a range of components that can be adjusted based on your space and needs – durable, concrete walls and shelves, stainless steel sinks, pizza ovens, stainless steel fireplaces, and Big Green Egg Grills. Their beautiful, simple designs, with shelves for firewood and prep work, have us daydreaming about easy and inspiring outdoor cooking that goes way beyond grilling.

Phaidon Atlas

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Phaidon’s massive, encyclopedic surveys of design and architecture have been great resources on bookshelves of designers for years. The company recently went digital with all of their reams of information on contemporary architecture, with the beta version of the Phaidon Atlas: Architecture for Architects. Users can click through a global map, searching buildings and practices by location, or browse by building name or architect. Each building has a terrific project page, including images, a brief overview, construction shots, drawings and renderings, and categories it falls under like: Materials, Sustainability, Structure, Urban Density, and Building Type.

Station Beauty

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In celebration of Grand Central’s 100th birthday in February, CN Traveler rounded up a wonderful selection of some of the most incredible train stations around the globe. Even having seen a few in person, we were amazed to find the terrific range and impressive design of so many stations, some completed recently, and others 100+ years ago. There’s Antwerp’s lavish, glass-domed Central Station, built in the late 1800s; the turrets of Kuala Lampur’s station; and the lush, green palm-tree interior of Madrid’s Atocha Station. All show the importance of the train station, past and present, as an essential, beautiful introduction to a city.

Suspended Climbing

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Following up on his impressive installation (Cloud City) on the Met roof last summer, artist Tomás Saraceno installed an even larger and more ambitious interactive place for climbing at the K21 Staendehaus museum in Düsseldorf. “In Orbit” is essentially a giant landscape of 27,000 feet of netting, which hangs 65 feet over the museum’s foyer. Visitors can climb or hang out throughout the layers, suspended above the floor, in the netting or giant plastic orbs that also hang in the space. The work will be up through autumn of 2014.

Building Growth

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Architects Jacob+McFarlane recently completed a prefab addition to the Regional Contemporary Art Fund Centre (FRAC) in Orleans, France. The structure is a three-part, twisting, anodized aluminum and glass shell, which appears to be ‘growing’ from the roof of the former building. The surface of the organic form will act as a canvas for lighting effects created by the electronic artists Electric Shadow, and the space inside will be used for exhibitions, educational labs, a library and an auditorium.

Tate Update

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The Tate Britain is looking to the future – the museum will undergo a multi-stage transformation, taking place in a series of phases over the next twenty years. Architects Caruso St. John are over-seeing the renovation and re-opening of the Milbank entrance to the museum, including the striking, graphic spiral staircase (shown). Contemporary artists will also add permanent installations to the building, with Richard Wright creating a stained-glass window, Alan Johnston devising a ceiling drawing, and Nicole Wermers designing a tea & coffee spoon available for purchase in the museum shop.

Set Color

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For this year’s London Festival of Architecture and The Bloomsbury Fete in June, ADA – a collaborative architecture practice and workshop – created a dreamy set for “Europa,” an architectural opera with composer Adam Donen. For the unique performance, the stage “becomes the lead actor,” in which ADA built an ambitious arrangement of colorful wood shapes and forms, reminiscent of a giant children’s board game. Actors could “play” with the components, stepping into large tubes and cubes, interacting with each element to make it come alive.

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