We’ve heard of the trend in “camp” style weddings for a few years, but now those who get nostalgic for their summer camp days can relive the experience of bunk beds, s’mores, and arts and crafts – without having to also attend a wedding. Camp Grounded is, quite simply, a summer camp for adults – hosted by the company Digital Detox, which specializes in retreats and getaways for those who need to experience life sans technology. Modeled entirely after kids’ camps, the June event in the Anderson Valley of CA also offers meditation and yoga sessions, in additon to capture the flag. A key component is giving up the work world, and all devices, encouraging participants to enjoy their surroundings and experiences.



Travel guide apps are easy and accessible, yes. But there is still something appealing about a well-designed, tactile, folded-up paper map. Herb Lester Associates’ maps/guides are the ideal go-to to throw in your travel bag. With gorgeous, nostalgic illustrations and type, they choose and map out the best Copenhagen, London, Brooklyn, and Berlin have to offer. Delving into specific themes like, “How to Find Old New York,” “A London Pub for All Reasons,” and “Rome: Moods and Places,” their maps provide wonderful experience-based tours.

Copy This


Always reliably illuminating and questioning larger issues impacting design in a witty way, Droog takes aim at creative license and Chinese manufacturing with a new exhibit – in China. “The New Original” is a collection of objects including designs by Studio Droog, Richard Hutten, Stanley Wong and Urbanus. All subvert traditional Chinese designs and concepts – a typical teapot with an industrial handle, and an inverted restaurant with a mini dining table inside a fishtank. Droog Lab even led a “field trip” to Shenzhen – China’s capital of copycat manufacturing. The exhibit is on view in a shopping mall in Guangzhou, China through April 9.

Drink it Up


A billboard in Peru is providing much more than a visual glimpse of another ad for passers-by. In a collaboration between the University of Engineering and Technology in Lima and ad agency Mayo DraftFCB, the incredible billboard actually produces purified drinking water – generating 25 gallons per day. In an effort to show off the capabilities of the University, while also solving problems of lack of drinking water in Lima, the billboard uses an inverse osmosis filtration system to take advantage of the unusual high humidity in the air above the city, filtering it down to a water tap at its base. Anyone can access and use the cool, clean water, providing many families using polluted wells with a wonderful alternative.

Clean and White


Japanese architect Hironaka Ogawa has made going to the dentist a lot more appealing with his new design for a dental clinic in Gunma, Japan. The minimal, mostly white space provides a serene, clean environment as an antidote for the dreaded visits. Divided into a series of boxes, the space incorporates several courtyards, and includes several huge, wall-size square windows to allow in natural light and greenery. Its a welcome new take, with its bright white interior as clean as teeth.



In the vast, open space of the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse filled the area with giant, colorful, marbled balloons.  Grosse positioned the PVC masses into a playful labyrinth, making a surreal, circus-like maze. They hang at varying heights, some clumped into groupings, guiding visitors through the space. Grosse’s paintings also fill the walls of the galleries, and all are on view through June 9.

Smithsonian Photos


When in need of a 5-minute break between now and March 29th, check out Smithsonian’s recently-announced finalists for their 10th Annual Photocontest, and vote for your favorite. Divided into categories of: The Natural World; Travel; People; Americana; and Altered Images, the magazine collects some of the finest photojournalism globally. “People Harvesting Salt at Sunset,” by Hoang Giang Hai of Vietnam (above), shows a magical perspective of salt farmers, with the brilliant sun and clouds reflected in the water between salt piles. All of the images represent well the brilliant photography that Smithsonian continues to support and honor.

Music in Stripes


In a new design for a music auditorium in L’Aquila, Italy, Renzo Piano created a lively, expressive structure and facade, with colors reflecting the sounds inside. The entirely timber project is flatpack construction, with the wood cut and prepped off-site, to then be assembled in place. Structurally, three cubes make up the auditorium space, with corridors and stairways connecting the main hall, foyer, and greenroom areas. The colorful, horizontal strips of timber emphasize the slanted forms of the buildings. 90 new trees were also planted on the property to offset the wood used in construction.

Sleep Under the Stars


Imagine being able to acknowledge and take in your beautiful surroundings on vacation, even when in bed. The Elqui Domos hotel in Chile’s Elqui Valley is an “astronomical hotel,” perched in a narrow valley in the Andes mountains, a site known for its clear skies and beautiful surroundings. The hotel’s rooms consist of cabins designed specifically to stargaze. An older group of wooden cabins are topped with fabric geodesic domes, and Santiago architectural firm RDM Arquitectura recently designed a new series of cabins with raised bed platforms resting underneath slanted glass roofs, allowing guests to stargaze themselves to sleep. Check out this beautiful stop-motion video of the hotel by James Florio.

Inspired Retreats


A new book from Gestalten has us wanting to cozy up and hideaway in some amazing spaces. Rock the Shack features incredible, experimental, and singular locations that provide the perfect environments for escapism – cabins, cocoons, and hide-outs. Many of the refuges are small, and most are architecturally interesting – but sites range from treehouses in Swedish forests to Miami beach lifeguard huts, and feel ranges from luxury to rustic seclusion. All collected in the book provide for an afternoon of daydreaming.

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