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Architecture & Design Travel

Mirrored ceilings at Zhongshuge bookstores, China

Zhongshuge Bookstore is a popular book chain in China. Each of its stores leverages mirrors in its architectural design to give off a kaleidoscope effect on the interior. 

However, one of its stores in the city of Chongqing features a magical and elaborate bookcase. The location features a ceiling mirror that creates an optical illusion of intertwined staircases, a magnified room, and an infinity of books. 

Designed by architecture firm X+Living — Zhongshuge bookstores are mind-boggling for readers and viewers alike. Can you imagine if JK Rowling wrote her next book in one of these inception-like wonders?

Photos: Feng Shao/Arch Daily

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Architecture & Design Travel

Impossible heights: Lighthouse of Thridrangar, Iceland

Want to get away? There’s a lighthouse off the coast of South Iceland that sits 120 feet upward on the highest of three steep rocks. It is possibly the most isolated lighthouse in the world.

Built in 1939, the Thridrangar (Þrídrangar) Lighthouse is undoubtedly one of the most challenging lighthouses ever built. Given the swirling winds and crashing waves, climbing the precarious pillar must have been one Herculean task.

Today, Thridrangar lighthouse is only accessible by helicopter.

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Architecture & Design Nature

Xavi Bou: If birds left tracks in the sky

Barcelona-based photographer Xavi Bou turns bird flight into art in a project he calls Ornitografías.

Using his degrees in geology and photography and experience as a lighting technician in the fashion industry, Bou extracts high-resolution photos from video stills to illustrate the path of birds in motion.

The result is a spectacular piece of art hinged on the physics and mathematics of flight.

Xavi Bou's 'Ornitografías': If birds left tracks in the sky...

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Architecture & Design Nature Travel

Daisugi: Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees

The Japanese forestry technique for growing trees, daisugi, goes as far back to the 14th century.

The 600-year-old technique involves pruning a tree’s branches to construct a stable platform that supports producing perfectly straight lumber on top.

The ancient method, therefore, creates wood without cutting down trees. However, the ingenious forestry technique is no longer in use.

Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/TaganiPH 
Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/StevenGParker
Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/HooaFury 
Categories
Architecture & Design

Yarn artist Liisa Hietanen makes human embroidered figures

Knitting is a popular hobby in Finland. But 30-year-old artist Liisa Hietnanen takes the practice to a whole new level.

She uses wool to create life-size crocheted sculptures of the neighbors in her village.

“The slow handcraft techniques work as a counterforce to the accelerating pace in different areas of life,” says the
artist, who uses photographs and face-to-face meetings to help create these fiber people.

“To me the more important values in my works are not likeness or resemblance.

“The works are rather about encountering someone very concretely, seeing the other for real and getting to know them slowly. I see these as relevant values and balancing actions especially in contrast to quick stirs and thin encounters in social media.”

Check out more of Hietanen’s creative vision below.

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Architecture & Design

Rejected designs for the Eiffel Tower

In the 1880s, French designers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier mocked up what would become the Eiffel Tower. You can even see the size comparison to other landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty.

Thankfully, someone held on to the 14 other rejected designs. Number 3 seems to come closest to the final design, with embellished trusses added to the lower tier.

It’s hard to imagine Paris without the iconic Eiffel Tower today. However, engineer Gustave Eiffel never built the structure with the intention of keeping it up.

The city wanted to tear it down after the Exposition Universelle of 1889. But the same community of artists who criticized the Eiffel Tower’s initial design ended up mobilizing to save it.

Maurice Koechlin's first drawing of the Eiffel Tower #art #travel #paris #france
Maurice Koechlin’s first drawing of the Eiffel Tower 
Rejected designs for the Eiffel Tower #art #travel #paris #france #history
Rejected designs for the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower as it stands today, a timeless design
Categories
Architecture & Design Nature

Waves in progress

Here’s something you can look at for hours: looping waves in progress.

Created using visual effect software Houdini by Polish motion designer who goes by the name 00.032, according to her dribble page, the piece takes after Matthieu Lehanneur’s original physical work of the same vein.

Waves in progress
Gif by 00.032

The French designer Lehanneur constructed a furniture collection called Ocean Memories that depicts three-dimensional ocean currents frozen into stone and bronze sculptures.

Lehanneur and 00.032 demonstrate both static and motion-centric representations of the Earth’s ocean.

Waves, a symbol of natural energy, have been a fascination with artists such as Hokusai for centuries.

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Space

The evolution of the spacesuit

As spacesuit design continues to become thinner, intricate, and more dynamic — there are touchscreen sensitive gloves, an attached helmet and built-in ventilation in the latest uniform — it’s worth looking at how both US and Russian spacesuits have evolved over time.

Start by looking at the original suit (the Marshmallow Moon-Suit) designed for the moon mission above, which was licensed to Mattel for toys, then check out the diagram detailing the history of suits below.

We still like the simplicity and balance of the Apollo A7-L EVA but the blue Apollo A5-L suit is ace as well.

The evolution of the spacesuit
via Twitter
The evolution of the spacesuit

Naturally, there will be variations of spacesuit design especially as other companies invest into future. For example, SpaceX is already working on its own version while other patents like an auto-return home button should the astronauts become untethered, are in development as well.

The evolution of the spacesuit
via Twitter
The evolution of the spacesuit
via Twitter
Categories
Architecture & Design Culture & Society Health

The treadmill was originally a torture device

Treadmills were originally torture devices, meant to break the mind, body, and spirit of English prisoners.

Two hundred years ago, the treadmill was invented in England as a prison rehabilitation device. It was meant to cause the incarcerated to suffer and learn from their sweat.

Groups of prisoners were forced to walk 6 hours a day, pumping out water, milling corn powering the mills, thus the term “tread-mill.”

Treadmills evolved into a mechanism for punishment to prevent poor people from committing crimes to take advantage of the necessities in jail.

The treadmill was originally a torture device
via twitter
The treadmill was originally a torture device
via twitter

Britain banned treadmills in 1989, seeing their punishment no longer useful.

An 1885 British Medical Journal article called “Death on the Treadmill,” chastized Durham Prison for the treadmill-induced death of a prisoner with heart disease. Its overall high death rate—one fatality a week—prompted the conclusion that “[t]he ‘mill’ is not useful, and has proved itself occasionally injurious.”

Having banned treadmills in 1828 to adopt a “collective industry” where prisoners became factory workers, America revamped the treadmill as an exercise machine.

It resurfaced in 1913 with a U.S. patent for a “training-machine.” In the 1960s, the American mechanical engineer William Staub created a home fitness machine called the PaceMaster 600. He began manufacturing home treadmills in New Jersey. (He used it often himself, right up until the months before his death at the age of 96.)

As this article points out, treadmills are the top-selling training equipment in the US but still come with all the baggage (injuries and boredom) that prisoners endured in England.

Categories
Architecture & Design Culture & Society Health Technology

Why pirates actually wore an eye patch

Eye patch, parrot, and wooden leg, and a limp. Those are the essential ingredients to becoming a pirate.

But did you know that pirates wore an eye patch, not because of a missing eye, but because the patch increased their sight instantly inside low lit areas?

Early technology to avoid temporary blindness

During raids, pirates needed the ability to flip up the eye patch so they could quickly snag a cannonball faster below the deck of the ship.

So one eye was trained to see in daylight, the other in dark. The pirate patch was an early technology to solve the issue of temporary blindness caused by going to a dark room from a brightly lit space.

Why pirates actually wore an eye patch