Category vision

Algae-powered, German-engineered, ARUP-designed… what’s not to love?

The word modern seems to have lost it’s luster. Hyper-modern better describes things that truly push the envelope… and this building does just this.

I think what I love most about this project is the overlapping of disciplines. Energy and architecture are somewhat strange bedfellows.

Most of us think we’ll eventually fly around (thanks Jetsons). We’re already using tri-corders (thanks Star Trek and Apple) to stay in touch. But I’m guessing very few of us thought we’d see the day when a building would be powered by algae.

Architecture powered by scum. If that doesn’t say 2014 than what does?

Wild project. Of course it’s in Germany. I love this.

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes

The title of this blog comes from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.” Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, restates it in this video.

When it comes to vision, Yvon has it… and it’s a simple vision. Make clothes that work and that last.

Beautiful brand manifesto video. Kudos to the Malloys for their work on this.

If George Orwell worked at McDonalds

It’s always wonderful to see a norm challenged. In this case Chipotle is challenging the idea of food. While this isn’t a new idea they do offer a compelling, novel approach.

Gorgeous execution of an idea right in front of our eyes.

If George Orwell worked at McDonalds as a kid…

Artificial intelligence bringing video games into the real world

I wrote about AI (artificial intelligence) becoming mainstream two years ago. We may have noticed Siri but AI has been around for a long time doing (mostly) pretty boring grunt work: getting our luggage on the right plane, routes our snail mail and email, helping us tune a Pandora station or pick equities and suggesting books for us to read.

But truthfully… it hasn’t been that fun.

One does not think of general tomfoolery when they think of machine learning or artificial intelligence. It feels like that’s about to change.

Check out this new robotics/AI company (Anki) who is taking the video game into the real world. They are being held up for breaking some new ground; positioning (knowing where you are and what’s around you), reasoning (using that knowledge to make intelligent decisions), and execution (making those things happen in the real world). More on them here.

Clearing landmines via massive rolling tumbleweeds

Supposedly it was Plato who said “necessity is the mother of invention.” 

I think the invention below is a near perfect fit with that phrase. The inventor lost his father to a land mine in Afghanistan, was smuggled out of the country and designed the below from his base in The Netherlands.

Genius design; requires no power; decreases the cost to clear a single landmine from $1,200 to around 40 Euro; can be deployed by locals; can clear multiple mines; powered by the wind.

Stanley Kubrick’s obsession with geometry

Stanley Kubrick, arguably one of the most important film makers of our era, had something approaching a fixation with using a single vanishing point in his films.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw 2001: Space Odyssey. I distinctly remember two things. One is the fact my friend that couldn’t deal with it… he hated it, he wouldn’t stop talking and then he left. He was lost at the chimps… and it went downhill from there. The second thing I remember is feeling like I was lost in a dream… like I was in some alternative reality.

The truth is that all Kubrick’s films make me feel like I’m dreaming… it’s almost as if they take over my brain for an hour or two. That, at least to me, is the sign of a master director… commandeering someone’s mind for the duration of a film.

This… stunning… clip suggests one reason why. Stanley Kubrick had a distinct, signature perspective and he forced the viewer into it.

The vignette reminds me, yet again, of the depth of his legacy. Give it a watch.

Kubrick // One-Point Perspective from kogonada on Vimeo.

You are the architect and your house will be round

3D-printing is entering the realm of the mainstream. From custom, on-demand and on location created products to… houses.

Think of the most amazing structures on the planet… China’s bird’s nest or China’s CCTV bulding… now boot up a CAD program and design your own house and have it printed where you want it.

The meat of this vid starts 2:20 in.

America’s best idea is National Parks

I’ve heard it argued that baseball is America’s best idea. That makes sense, it’s a great game with a fair amount of history and color… but in my opinion it’s not America’s best idea.

I’ve also heard people make the case that Jazz is our best idea. Of course Jazz isn’t really Jazz without including the Blues. The argument for this being a better idea than baseball makes sense to me. Blues and Jazz have provided a taproot for so much of what we’ve come to love as modern music… meaning ALL music from the last 100 years. Baseball is a bit more of a stand-alone node on the sports network.

One could also suggest that the Internet (and the web) is our best idea. Again, this argument would be a notable one. It has delivered entirely new platforms for cultures to form; it has streamlined communications and transactions of all kinds. It has, in short, created a net new world for us to explore, settle and farm.

But none of these is our BEST idea because America’s best idea is National Parks.

Our best idea is the wisdom to understand the majesty and priceless land in front of us and to protect that land in perpetuity for generations to come.

The Greeks get the nod for inventing democracy 500 years before Christ walked the earth and they left quite a legacy for introducing that idea into the world.

The United States invented National Parks and I believe it’s our best idea to date.

Pour yourself a cup of tea and settle in to watch this.

Everything is a remix

Intellectual property is the new Lego blocks.

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 4 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

The original information architects: Ray and Charles Eames

Before there was Google, Jobs or Nick Fenton there was Charles and Ray Eames.

This is the story of two castaways who find their muses and end up influencing design, information presentation, furniture, photography, interiors, multimedia exhibits, games and in the end… modern society.

These are quite possibly America’s two most relevant designers and the film Eames: The architect and the painter tells this story.

3 thumbs up (and streaming free on Netflix at the moment).