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…ou bien quelque chose comme ça :

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architecture

Pierre Lassonde Pavilion

On June 24, The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) will welcome the public to its newest building, the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion. Designed by OMA, Rem Koolhaas’s groundbreaking design firm, the 48,900-square-foot (14,900-square-meter) pavilion nearly doubles the 83-year-old museum’s available exhibition space.

 

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OMA describes the structure as a “gateway”: an inviting, contemporary space that both draws together the existing structures of the complex and connects the museum more directly to the life of Québec City.

 

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“It was a very strategic move for the museum, because it used to be a museum in the park, but they acquired a site facing the Grand Allée — which is the main boulevard of the city,” explained OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu. “Art becomes a catalyst that allows the visitor to experience all three core assets – park, city, and museum – at the same time..” This will be the fourth of the museum’s pavilions. Each of the other three are housed in separate buildings in the historic Parc des Champs-des-Bataille. The new pavilion faces the Grand Allée and is connected to the others via a subterranean passage that stretches for 430 feet (130 meters).

 

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Describing the exterior, Shigematsu noted “The façade is a triple-glazed, for which we have used three panes of different glass. The first one is textured, the last one is fritted, and one is regular glass, which creates this kind of depth. This also creates a ghost of the structure as a pattern. This is a textured glass so it captures different lights. It changes from very crisp — almost like ice or metal — to a typical green glass that has some resonance with the church’s copper roof.”

 

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Inside the museum, a tremendous, sculptural spiral staircase guides visitors through the stacked volumes and offers views of both the street and the park. Mezzanines connect temporary and permanent exhibition spaces, both of which are spacious and unencumbered by columns. The scheme also includes outdoor exhibition space on the roof, a gift shop, a café and an auditorium. The MNABQ is devoted to preserving and celebrating Québécois art. Its collection includes over 25,000 works, some of which date to the 18th century, the earliest period of European settlement in the area. The museum also holds international exhibitions.

 

Photo courtesy of Iwan Baan for OMA


Snøhetta Makes Waves

Snøhetta has unveiled revolutionary landscape design for advanced research laboratory MAX IV, a national center operated jointly by the Swedish Research Council and Lund University. The first structure of the future Science City near Lund, MAX IV is a high-performance synchrotron radiation laboratory built around two next-generation particle accelerators. To offset the hardcore structural design, international architecture and design practice Snøhetta was commissioned to imagine the center’s landscape.

 

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Set to open in June, the center boasts a deceptively simple landscape that is designed to mitigate ground vibrations from nearby traffic that could interfere with sensitive laboratory research.
The design firm created the site’s iconic landwaves by shifting the earth in a sustainable design that incorporates meadowland for grazing sheep, and locally sourced plantlife.

 

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Based on 3D modelling and hard science, the inner waves closest to the electron storage area were mapped, and exterior waves radiated outward. Here Snøhetta has proven that simplicity and nature are not incompatible with cutting edge science.

 

Photo courtesy of snøhetta


Skylodge

Some of the world’s most amazing views are to be found in the Sacred Valley of Cuzco, and now the fearless can experience them from one of the highest peaks. Natura Vive Skylodge Adventure Suite now offers accomodation hanging from a sheer cliff face high above the Incan Empire.

 

 

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Image courtesy of Natura Vive

 

Sounds amazing – but there is a catch. Adrenalin-fueled guests must not only brave their fear of heights, but climb a 400 ft. sheer rock face to reach the lodge, or hike a wild trail complete with ziplines.

 

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But once arrived, you’ll enjoy 360° views over the majestic Sacred Valley.‪

 

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The Skylodge is composed of three capsules clinging to the rock face, each measuring 24 feet in length and 8 feet in height and width. The units are handcrafted from aerospace-quality aluminum and weather resistant polycarbonate, with multiple windows and ventilation ducts to guarantee a comfortable environment and eliminate claustrophobia. The suites offer four high-quality beds, a dining area and a private bathroom behind an insulated wall with ecological sink and toilet. Powered by solar panels, the lighting system includes interior lamps and reading light.

 

Each suite can accommodate up to 8 guests.


Landmark Plaza

Kuanlu Architects have proposed a landmark plaza for the growing city of Otog in the Inner Mongolia province of northern China. The 70,000 sq.ft. Exhibition Plaza project imitates the landscape upon which it rests. The central Asian steppes of Mongolia inform the design, whose roof is meant to be walked upon, as important an element as the interiors.

 

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Courtesy of Kuanlu Architects

 

The plaza serves as a center exploring the history, culture, industry and urban planning of the region. Kuanlu Architects’ proposal creates a scheme that merges the structure and the grassland site into one.

 

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Using stone and grass, the signature roof is a natural undulating promenade that extends the length and width of the plaza. The interior is flooded with natural light, bringing the outdoors in, and destined to become the new center of Otog, Erdos, in China’s Mongolia.

 

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Chicago Prize

The Chicago Architectural Club (CAC) has revealed the winners of its fourteenth annual Chicago Prize Competition – The Barack Obama Presidential Library – following Chicago’s recent selection as one of three cities being considered to host the presidential library. Columbia University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago all made the list of potential locations for the library. The president is a Hawaii native, attended Columbia and taught law at the University of Chicago. He still maintains a home in Chicago.

 

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All images courtesy of Chicago Architectural Club

 

Budget costs are anticipated in the $500 million range.

 

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The CAC competition drew designs from across the country. The winning entries propose to house a collection of artifacts and documents relating to the president’s life and provide a center for community programs to enhance the local economy. Contestants were asked to consider the building’s context within the city of Chicago to foster learning and progress, but also stimulate discussion. CAC did not specify the library’s programming, to encourage creative concept from participating architecture teams.
Ultimately, a distinguished panel selected two winners and three honorable mentions emerged from the competition. The winning proposals are as follows:
Design Team: Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang
Design Team: Aras Burak Sen

 

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The first proposal by Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang is a floating ring straddling the Chicago River, with elevated pathways leading visitors through six sections of exhibitions, including early life and career, legislative career, presidential campaigns, presidency, public image, family and personal life. Six parallel tracks would allow visitors to examine different aspects of the president’s life simultaneously. The roof offers a fifth elevation, and uses graphic design to highlight President Obama’s extraordinary career.

 

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The second proposal by Aras Burak Sen has been conceived as a giant orb with numerous voids puncturing the sphere’s curved façade. Eight levels of differing heights incorporate openings designed to offer specific views of Chicago. Each level archives a single year of Obama’s two terms as president. An open-air amphitheater at the base of the structure would provide Chicagoans with a public forum for free speech. The ground floor of the library is shaped like a peace sign to represent the message of hope that brought the president to office, and to serve as a bridge connecting the three riverbanks. The design team explains that the peace sign shape changes on each level, representing the distortion of hope over time.

 

The Barack Obama Foundation has announced that the site selection will be finalized in early 2015.


C-City

Rotterdam-based Shift Architecture Urbanism has broken ground on the C-City trinity of complimentary public amenities: Continium, Cube and Columbus, all located in Kerkgrade, along the Dutch-German border. The concept is to house technology, science, and design in one museum district, centered on the existing Continium, which is a science and technology discovery center. Cube will be a design museum with exposition space and labs, the first of its kind in the Netherlands. The third component, Columbus, is an Earth Theatre in the shape of an inverse planetarium (the first in Europe) with a 3D cinema in partnership with National Geographic.

 

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image courtesy of shift architecture urbanism

 

The new design consists of a composition of strong solitary volumes: a sphere, a beam and a cube. Much of the 80,000 sq. ft. addition is located underground, including the existing museum’s sunken square, which will be extended underneath the new buildings, to create an uninterrupted underground landscape connecting all the facilities of C-City, including the new museum square C-Square as well as a central entrance hall, restaurant, student labs, patio and connecting tunnels.

 

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The Cube exterior is a reflective sheet of polished aluminum sliced by a glass plinth, allowing natural light into the temporary exhibition area underneath. Modular floor plates render lab and exhibition space interchangeable. The top floor is a multipurpose event space with panoramic view over the project. Works on exhibition will be curated by C-city along with the prestigious German Red Dot Award, London’s Design Museum, and Cooper Hewitt in New York.

 

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Columbus is a spherical concrete building covered with a white coating, half of which protrudes above ground while the other half is hidden beneath it. The underground portion is occupied by the earth theater, where a 50 ft. wide hollow projection can be viewed from two rings of glass balconies, simulating the view of an astronaut looking down upon Earth. In the upper dome, the first National Geographic 3D cinema in Europe will show films produced by the iconic publication.

 

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Finally, the ribbed 260 ft. black beam extends on columns above the sunken entrance zone, serving as a roof to the pedestrian route from the train station through the museum district.

 

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The complex will mark the entrance into the city for both train passengers and visitors arriving by car from the main access road. C-City is expected to open its doors at the end of 2015, with a budget of about twenty million euros.


Solar Hourglass

The winner of the $15,000 First Prize Land Art Generator Initiative award year was Argentinian architect Santiago Muros Cortés and his project ’The Solar Hourglass’. The design proposal resembles a minimalist hourglass with pure solar energy running through it like sand through glass.

 

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Photo courtesy of LAGI 2014

 

The project makes of heliostat technology to act as a solar central receiver, consisting of an arrangement of small flat mirrors that concentrate their reflection of solar energy onto a tank containing a heating medium. The concentrated beam of solar heat then reaches a receiver containing heat transfer fluid (HTF) of molten nitrate salt, which is heated to temperatures over 600°C. The heat capacity of the molten salt allows for the system to store heat and produce energy even without direct sunlight.

 

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The Solar Hourglass is estimated to generate up to 7.500 MWh per year, equivalent to the energy consumption of more than 1.000 homes.

 

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At the awards ceremony on October 7th, Santiago Muros Cortés describes how he conceived the Solar Hourglass: “I was running out of time. The deadline for the competition was only a couple of weeks away and I realized that when you think about it, I am not the only one running out of time,” he says. “The whole planet is running out of time, when it comes to making a switch to green energies. So I thought it was interesting to explore the analogy between time and energy. Time is something that everyone can relate to, and we should appreciate energy as much as we appreciate time,” Santiago Muros Cortés says.

 

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LAGI is an idea competition with no guaranteed funding, but one of the conditions for submission is that they be suitable for manufacture. The first Land Art Generator, originally a proposal for the 2010 Abu Dhabi competition, is now under construction in Pittsburgh. The main goal of the initiative is to start a debate about how to create a future based on renewable energies in such a way as to positively transform our societies. LAGI wishes to engage actors in energy production and open minds to new ways of imagining energy generators for the future.


Starck & Riko

Philippe Starck lives in a pre-fab house, and thinks you should too. This week Starck unveiled the prototype developed with Slovenian company Riko, on acreage in Monfort l’Armoury. Called P.A.T.H. (Prefabricated Accessible Technological Homes), this is the second collaboration between Starck and Riko, engineering and manufacturing company that specializes in industrial prefabrication and energy production technology.

 

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The P.A.T.H. collection is composed of four types of residence, ranging from Named PATH, which stands for Prefabricated Accessible Technological Homes, the collection is made up of four different types of residence ranging from about 1500 to 3700 square feet; all 34 variants are designed to consume a third of the energy of a traditional house.
The designer says, « I decided not to make any architectural gesture here. I didn’t want to impose anything to anyone. The architectural possibilities are very broad and flexible. »

 

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Starck’s prototype two-story house produces 50 per cent more energy than it consumes, due to eco-technology systems that are concealed beneath the vegetation-lined roof. Customers may elect photovoltaic solar panels, wind turbines, rainwater harvesting systems, heat pumps, and more. The Montfort house features a corniced roof ideal for concealing systems and conveying a powerful design statement, but other roof styles are available. The prototype sports a largely glazed exterior with aluminum paneling, although clients may order wooden facades or a combination of the two. The interior walls of the prototype are lined with spruce paneling, a material chosen for its minimal manufacturing waste. Models are available with one or two levels, from a one-room studio to and eight-room family home; client specifications include different floor plans, façades, roof types, finishes, fixtures, and lighting options.

 

 

Designed for the clients who “appreciate the symbiosis of ecology and aesthetics », The P.A.T.H. homes will be available to order this month, costing between 230 to 420 dollars per square foot, depending on the specification. The company claims that each will be delivered within six months and can be assembled in two weeks.

 

images courtesy of riko d.o.o.


Apple Campus

A video uploaded to YouTube in August offers the first bird’s eye view of construction or « the spaceship », Apple’s new Cupertino campus in Northern California. The drone operator (jmcminn) filmed the campus using a DJI Phantom 2 equipped with a GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition. The drone was flown under 400 feet, picking up details of the extraordinary donut-shaped complex designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster.

 

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Steve Jobs chose Foster and met with him often in the two years before his death in 2011. In fact, Jobs presented Foster’s plans to the Cupertino City Council in what turned out to be his last public appearance. His words to the council? « We have a shot at building the best office building in the world. I really do think that architecture students will come here to see it. « 

 

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The cost of the project is estimated to have ballooned from $3 to $5 billion, which if true, would eclipse New York’s World Trade Center complex. Jobs insisted upon quality of materials typical of an Apple computer rather than standard building materials, using back-painted glass and curved metal and glass reminiscent of Apple’s first-class design. Almost three million sq. ft. of built area will provide earthquake-proof office space for 13,000 employees. Details include a1000-seat underground auditorium with secret passage access for Apple’s leaders, an on-site power plant, multiple cafés and restaurants and underground parking to eliminate cars from view. Inspired by Stanford University’s Main Quad, Jobs is said to have requested a design that would bring back the landscape of his childhood. Over 7000 indigenous trees will be planted, and the campus will become a working farm producing cherries, apples and apricots.

 

 

Some of the excavation for these features can be seen in the uploaded video, as well as the general circular shape of the structure and courtyard, walls for gardens and patios, and the overall scale of the high tech campus, which dwarves surrounding structures.

 

images courtesy city of cupertino


Museo Soumaya

Commissioned by fine art collector Carlos Slim and named after his late wife, the Museo Soumaya was designed by FR-EE (architect Fernando Romero) and built in the Nuevo Polanco district of Mexico City in 2010. The 180,000 sq. ft. museum houses nearly 70,000 art objects ranging from the 15th to the 20th century, including the largest private collection in the world of sculptures by Auguste Rodin. The distinct shape and strong presence of the structure creates an identity for the formerly industrial area, and serves as a catalyst for cultural development .

 

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Sheethed with over 16,000 hexagonal steel mirror tiles that refer to traditional colonial ceramic facades, the museum’s appearance changes according to the weather and point of view of the spectator. The tiles also maximize the conservation and sustainability of the design.

 

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The complex geometry and sculptural shape of the Museo Soumaya results from the integration of 28 individually curved steel cantilever columns into the envelope. The structure is stabilized by a system of seven rings located on each floor. The museum includes a 350-seat auditorium, library, restaurant, gift shop and administrative offices, and is situated within Carlos Slim’s Plaza Carso, an 800 million dollar mixed use development project which has revitalized Nuevo Polanco.

 

images courtesy of fernando romero architects


weaving a Home

The simplest concepts are often things of significance and beauty. ‘Weaving a home’ by Jordanian/Canadian designer Abeer Seikaly proposes a disaster shelter for refugees inspired by the temporary huts of nomadic tribes. The use of structural fabric references ancient traditions of joining linear fibers to make complex three-dimensional shapes – the resulting pattern is easy to erect and collapse, and to scale into various functions, from a basket to a tent. The project incorporates technological advances and new methods of assembly to comprise a system of durable plastic elements threaded together to form a singular unit. These flexible envelopes fold across a central axis, with the hollow structural skin enabling necessities such as water and electricity to run through it, not unlike a typical stud wall.

 

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Exposure can be controlled by manipulating the units into different scales, and opening and closing the exterior skin to protect in winter and cool in summer. Portable water storage and battery are powered by solar energy, for a low-cost yet dignified solution for displaced persons. ‘Weaving a home’ is both innovative design and metaphor, for those hoping to weave their lives back together.

 

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‘Weaving a home’ was shortlisted for the 2012 LEXUS DESIGN AWARD.

 

images courtesy of abeer seikaly


Borisov Arena

Slovenian firm OFIS architects has completed the Borisov Arena, a 13,000 seat stadium designed for local football club FC Bate. Situated in a Belarus forest, the concept preserved existing trees, to create a singular object appearing to emerge from the natural landscape.

 

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Under a rounded dome, the stadium’s envelope is a fragile, perforated skin stretched over the arena’s inner skeleton. The covered space between the exterior and seating area forms a street with shops, bars, and services, and the central field area is open to the sky.

 

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The rounded arena provides good acoustics to encourage a united and vibrant atmosphere for matches, while focusing players’ concentration during training sessions. Each entry point to the field houses dressing rooms, a mix zone, and physiotherapy space. The stadium can accommodate 620 VIP guests and 100 members of the press.

 

courtesy of OFIS architects


design

The Ring by Mathieu Lehanneur copper

At the heart of the Yuz Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai, French designer Mathieu Lehanneur has installed a temporary museum for swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet. A 12 foot copper ring invites visitors to explore the brand’s history through timepiece-inspired high architecture.

 
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An opening in the watch-like copper casing, lined with the inscription “To break the rules, you must first master them”, leads to a circular space. At the center of the ring lies a man-made stone representing the boulders of the Joux Valley, home to the Swiss watchmaker. Like the center of a watchface, the stone is a departure point for twelve open doorways, each one like an hour on the dial. The visitor becomes the hand, moving from hour to hour, and door to door.
 
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Each door leads to a themed room, revealing the intimate history of the iconic Swiss brand, from its origins to today. Intricate watch construction, industry innovation, and the great masterpieces of the house are revealed one by one.
 
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Artworks inspired by the watchmaker’s location in Switzerland’s Valleé de Joux are included, like a sonic installation by Alexandre Joly based on recorded sounds, from the wind rustling in the trees to including the ticking of a watch movement.
 
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The exhibit will include two hundred vintage and contemporary timepieces, the largest Audemars Piguet collection ever to be exhibited outside its own museum. “The Ring” designer Mathieu Lehanneur claims that “Audemars Piguet is one of the rare brands where everything is so perfect that each element deserves to be seen, never hidden: its origins, the landscape from which it derives, the workshops in which the watchmakers apply their craft, the tool, labs… just like the tiny pieces in their watches, every single element of the story, even if it is invisible to the consumer, is a masterpiece. in this exhibition, I wanted to open all the doors.”


3D Various

Ever dreamed of owning a Stradivarius? French company 3Dvarius has rendered a fully playable electric violin based on a Stradivarius, using the most advanced 3D printing technology available. The violin is printed as a single piece of photo-reactive resin. The process combines the precision of computer renderings with the classical skill of violin making. With the help of musical artist and violinist Laurent Bernadec, 3Dvarius has managed create optimal fusion between musician and instrument.

 

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The optimization involved simplifying the design, reducing the weight, and considering the motions of the violinist. A research process examined acoustic and wave propagation through the body of the instrument, and measured mechanical resistance for the strings’ pressure.

 

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To print the protoype ‘Pauline’, 3Dvarius chose stereolithography, a technology that produces models and parts one layer at a time, by curing photo-reactive resin with a UV laser or similar power source. The instrument was then hand-sanded, cleaned and polymerized to remove excess resin and protect the internal structure. Stringing the violin is delicate, requiring progressive pressure application for proper sound reproduction and tuning.

 

Image courtesy of 3Dvarius


Package Design

Oki Sato’s award-winning studio Nendo has designed a brilliant peelable packaging concept for Unifrutti. The product is the Shiawase banana, an organic fruit grown only on a high altitude Philippine plantation.

 

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Image courtesy of Akihiro Yoshida

 

‘Shiawase’ means happy in Japanese, referring to the environmentally friendly, high-quality of the product. Nendo refers to the fruit itself in its clever design, imitating the feel and look of the skin on a double peel label running up the banana.
While the first layer reads as the banana skin, bruises and all, the inner label written message printed onto an image of banana flesh in the background.

 

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The concept continues to the shopping bag. Purchased Shiawases are placed into a string-handled paper bag. The customer removes the string to easily remove the fruit, unfolding the bag into the shape and image of a large banana leaf, with product information on the reverse. The minimalistic design rejects unnecessary boxes and packing material, and encourages the customer to read about the origin of the product.

 

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Fine Collection

Designed by Pauline Deltour, Fine is a collection of elegant devices, reinventing the codes of Parisians version 2.0. Combining practicality with chic, the range includes a power bank (mobile telephone charger), a key ring with attached USB key, a cardholder and a rechargeable Bluetooth speaker.

 

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Image courtesy of Lexon

 

The young French designer was inspired by early 20th century iconic pieces. “Van Cleef & Arpels or Cartier minaudières were a wealth of ingenuity and technical perfection, with extreme attention to detail combining sophistication and minimum clutter… I have a passion for boxes: to tidy, to hide and to carry your belongings around. The box is a fascinating object combining mystery and simplicity,” says Deltour.

 

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Fashioned from lightweight anodized aluminum in bronze, gold, gunmetal and metallic blue, these gorgeous objects are the cigarette cases of the future, the absolutely necessary accessory.

 

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The tubular speaker is designed like a lipstick, swiveling to power on and adjust volume. The power bank provides all-day mobile phone charge, with a textured band to ensure cable connection. The cardholder is the businesswoman’s new best friend, with a two compartments, for your own and received cards, separated by a mirror.

 

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The key ring includes an 8GB memory USB key, shaped from a strip of aluminum wrapped around the ring in a flirty whistle shape.

 

In the designer’s words, « For me Lexon is a brand that links very easily design and technology, the style and the function. It is also timeless. » The question is, how did we ever live without these?


Shield & Share

Prizewinning Milanese designer Odo Fioravanti has developed a range of personal protection equipment (PPE) for Italian mobile company TIM, incorporating mobile technology creative design.

 

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Image courtesy of 0do Fioravanti

 

The idea behind the Shield & Share is to take this technology and make it wearable; the designs ensure worker safety and simultaneously record work experiences. Video is everywhere; share and we record more today than ever before. Fioravanti proposes to use mobile phones as monitors, to improve performance and enhance the quality of gesture. This research is the first of its kind, from Italian mobile company TIM.

 

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PPE is designed to protect workers from work-related injury, and up until now has focused on the practical function: hardhats, welding masks, work boots. But these objects are also the interface between workers and their gestures. The purpose of Shield & Share is to make it possible for workers to record and share their experiences on the web, enhancing and documenting the quality of their gestures, and capturing accidents and wrongdoing on video. The designs are efficient and affordable, using workers’ own phones. The welding mask and hardhat use clip design to hold a phone, while the overalls have a plastic-front pocket. Bluetooth circuit laced onto safety shoes can monitor data activity and labor outputs for sharing.

 

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Shield & Share marks unprecedented research into workplace protection equipment incorporating simple technology into existing measures. Fioravanti’s goal? To provide designs that will become a frontline look and defense for tradesmen and workers around the globe.


Google Lapka

Google’s Project Ara is one of the company’s most ambitious projects, an open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones that will lower the entry barrier for developers. Users snap in new cameras, batteries, or processors for custom design, like building with Legos. The concept is great—offering unlimited range for both smart and basic phone users and reducing electronic waste; the challenge is how to create design that will bring it all together.

 

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images courtesy of lapka

 

Russian firm Lapka has jumped in with their own haute couture vision of Ara. Lapka have won awards for innovative designs, and their “environmental sensors” are available at Urban Outfitters. Google approached them to envision a series of blocks meant to explore our body networks and personal environments, and Lapka took inspiration from high-end sneaker fashion. Their concept for Ara is a fabulous, quirky design of functional color blocks offering different systems for healthy living. In the words of company founder Vadik Marmeladov, “Everything about Project Ara is five years ahead of the curve…well, except their design. I think the design should be a visual and cultural milestone as well. »

 

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Scientific devices include the air quality module that collects and analyzes air quality samples. “Air quality affects our comfort, health and other external parts of our environment that we care about,” say the folks at Lapka. “Now you’ll know when and where should you open a window, where to place your yoga mat, and even why you’re dreaming a certain way.” The device also detects volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, fine particles in the air, temperature and humidity. The black EKG module checks the heart’s electrical activity, to analyze unexplained chest pain, whether medication is working and the health of the heart. It can follow friend’s heartbeats and translates heartbeats through a series of vibrations. A light module includes a lux sensor that detects the level of luminance and a UV sensor to advise skin and eye protection, as well as a photo assistant.

 

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The cleverness of the Ara platform allows you to extend the shape of your phone to any dimension. As Marmeladov says. « Our concept, for instance, transforms the phone to desktop mobile laboratory. Imagine making a microscope as a module . . . or a chair. » Apparently there is also a “soul” module, but no information on that one yet. Stay tuned.


Ford Mustang Return

Born in 1967, California. Ken Block is co-founder of DC Shoes and One of the most influential people in Sports Business Journal (2004). Block is a professional rally driver, represented by Hoonigan Racing Division based in Utah, previously known as the Monster World Rally motor racing team.

 

Starting the Gymkhana racing series 7 years ago, it has blossomed into one of the most watched car stunt videos online. Block has swapped his hot hatch Fiesta for old school American Muscle. A 1965 Ford Mustang, with a Roush tuned 6.7 Litre V8 engine to be precise.The HOONICORN_RTR. Amazingly, Block has stated this new ride is “… hands-down the best Gymkhana car I’ve had yet.” 

 

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You might be thinking what the new three letter anagram RTR stands for, well its Retro-Modern All-wheel drive. It is also paying homage to the live rear axel of the 50th anniversary of the iconic pony car. This is specifically designed for Hoonigan Racing, Ken Blocks’ racing team. It was displayed at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) auto show this year to great acclaim from the Las Vegas exhibitors and patrons.  

 

SEMA Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) of the automobile aftermarket was formed in 1963 by Roy Richter, bringing together aftermarket, manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers. It is a big event for car modification specialist and tuners alike.

 

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Block states “I’m stoked to be able to publicly unveil this car for the first time at SEMA in the Ford Booth, this is a project that I’ve been working on for two years, so to see it fully come to fruition and be able to drive it for Gymkhana SEVEN was absolutely amazing. I also knew that working with Vaughn [Gittin Jr.] and his RTR team was the right choice for this project since Mustang’s are their world, but they really went above and beyond on this car. The attention to detail with the fabrication and bodywork blows my mind. This is hands-down the best Gymkhana car I’ve had yet.” 


BlackBerry P’9983

BlackBerry and Porsche Design have unveiled the new Porsche Design P’9983 luxury smartphone. The phone will be available from Porsche Design stores, select mobile carriers and retailers around the world by the beginning of October 2014. The company has not announced the pricing of the phone.

 

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image courtesy of blackberry

 

Blackberry and Porsche Design have collaborated for the third time to introduce the luxury smartphone P’9983, available also known as « Khan » and « Prestige », the BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9983 smartphone is the first QWERTY version and runs BlackBerry 10 OS. The P’9983 is all about sharp lines and angles, and compared to other recent smartphone models it looks all business. The forged stainless steel edges, glass-weaved back cover, and glass-like keys that give off a visible 3D effect, creating an appearance that is far from plastic. We can assume that will come , as previous collaborations were introduced at over $2000. But not only will P’9983 owners have a very sexy, expensive-looking design, they will also receive an exclusive PIN that distinguishes them from common BlackBerry owners, as well as other Porsche Design owners. Though criticized for offering the same hardware as the year-old BlackBerry, the P’9983 offers 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage The 2100 mAh battery is advertised to last 12 days on standby, with 14 hours of talk time for the serious on-the-go customer as well. Blackberry is slowly getting back on the track of its former days, hopefully with the promise of better days ahead.

 

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Google Glass

Google glass has announced a partnership with iconic designer Diane von Furstenberg to create a collection aimed at women, as an addition to the unisex Titanium Collection released earlier this year. The eyewear range includes five frame styles and eight different shades available for customization. Google’s connection with von Furstenberg, dates back to 2012 when she brought Glass to the world’s attention in a runway show.

 
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« Glass is designed to make your life easier. It offers a new, unique way of interacting with technology without distracting from your life. And it’s about being able to express your personal style at the same time. Diane really understood each of these goals and brought that vision to life. » says lead designer Isabelle Olsson.
 
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DVF Made for Glass might be just the trick to get fashion-savvy lady customers to invest in high-end tech products.
The announcement comes at a time when establishments in Seattle and San Francisco have banned Glass-users, using the now generic term glassholes. The real concern is that Google can store all information recorded and compiled from Glass, forever. But regardless of your opinion of Glass, now whoever opts has a more than a few style options to choose from.


motion

Model X

Electric carmaker Tesla is officially entering the SUV market with their own entry – the Model X. Meeting all the standards expected of a large family vehicle, the car holds seven adults and plenty of equipment, and yet, like the Model S, accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds. The X sports a 0.24 drag coefficient: 20% lower than the next best SUV. Furthermore, an active spoiler deploys to one of three preset positions while in motion, optimizing visibility, highway efficiency, and stability. The Model X will be available in both P90D and 90D variations.

 

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Image courtesy of Tesla

 

What is truly cool about the X are the falcon wing doors. Allowing practical access to second and third-row seats from either direction, and yet reminiscent of the Delran, the practical design takes nothing away from the aesthetics of the SUV. Hitch-mounted accessories add extra carrying versatility.

 

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Designed with safety as priority, the floor mounted battery lowers the center of gravity to reduce risk of rollover. No gas engine means no risk of explosion, and the structure strengthens the car against side impact intrusions. Featured are cameras, radar, and sonar systems, providing the driver with real-time feedback to avoid collisions. Emergency brake automation takes over even at higher speeds.

 

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Inside, the three rows fit seven adults very comfortably. The second-row seat is designed to maximize passenger comfort, legroom, under-seat storage and access to the third row, mounted separately with reclinability. The last row folds to a practical flat when not in use. The windshield at the front is the largest in production and provides a fully panoramic view to the driver and all passengers. With trunks in both the front and the back, the Tesla Model X can stow everyone’s gear and tow 5,000 pounds in addition. The estimated delivery for Model X is the second half of 2016.


Toyota FCV Plus

In anticipation of 2015’s Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota has shown a glimpse of the FCV Plus, a hydrogen concept car dedicated to fuel-cell technology. For twenty years the leading Japanese carmaker has been researching full-cell innovation, and in 2014 launched the Mirai, one of the first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to be sold commercially (available only in Japan).

 

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Image courtesy of Toyota

 

The FCV Plus exploits systems similar to the Mirai but with a significant improvement: the ability to use its wireless charging capability to share power with surrounding vehicles, effectively creating a social sharing program where drivers can assist others on the road. This concept takes the company into the realm of the new sharing economy, as well as sustainability.

 

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This may seem like science-fiction, but the FCV Plus can actually generate it its own electricity and share it for other uses. In addition to the FCV Plus’ own hydrogen tank, the car can also generate electricity directly from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle. It can thus be transformed into a stable source of electric power for use at home or away. When the FCV is not being used as a means of transport, it could share its power generation capabilities with communities as part of the local infrastructure.

 

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The FCV Plus is silent, gets roughly 300mpg, and emits only water. According to Toyota, “A fuel cell is an electrochemical device, which means there’s no moving parts or anything like that. It takes oxygen from the air, and hydrogen which we store in tanks, and it generates electricity – and the only byproduct is water, which comes out the tailpipe. It’s a zero emission electric vehicle, so there’s no burning of oil or gas – it’s purely electric.”

 

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So is the buzz around this car – though we might not see one on the road in the near future, Toyota predicts the FCV pricing will fall somewhere between a Prius and a Tesla.


Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo

On the occasion of the 66th Frankfurt International Motor Show, Bugatti has taken a virtual car off the drawing board and brought it to life. The French super sports car brand presented the Vision Gran Turismo to celebrate racing history and Bugatti’s superior technology. Bugatti is related to luxury automakers like Lamborghini and Bentley, but just a bit more exclusive. Over the last decade, Bugatti has sold 450 cars worldwide at prices in excess of $1 million each. All of them were versions of one model, the Bugatti Veyron.

 

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Image courtesy of Bugatti

 
The Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is a model of the car that appears in the popular Gran Turismo videogame series. The real-life version is fully drivable but was designed to comply only with racing regulations. Designers for the concept car drew inspiration from Bugatti racing cars of the 1920s and ’30s. Based in France at the time, Bugatti won at LeMans in 1937 and ’39. The Vision Gran Turismo was designed to excel on the LeMans track, with a premium on top speed.

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Inspired by the historical Bugatti Type 57 Tank, Bugatti revives the classic blue two tone finish reminiscent of French race cars of the era. Designers worked with engineers to ensure that the details possess mechanical function, based on advanced racing technology and aerodynamic lines.

 
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The Vision Gran Turismo embodies styling from the Veyron, particularly in the side view. The sculptured house symbol of a horseshoe is featured on the front grille, between the wings and aerodymically engineered front splitter. The signature eight-eyed headlights were developed for the Vision Gran Turismo. The rear view sports a dominated spoiler and four exhausts tips.
 
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A number of automakers, including Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, General Motors and Lexus, have designed cars for the Gran Turismo game.


Lamborghini’s Huracán

The new Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder has made its global debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show and is scheduled to become available next spring with a price tag of roughly $211,341 USD.

 

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Image courtesy of Lamborghini

 

The LP610-4 is a recent addition to the supercar scene, and has stripped the top off the Huracán model to reveal a very nice natural successor to the discontinued Gallardo Spyder.

 

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The Spyder version shares the Huracán’s mechanicals, with a 5.2-liter V10 and 602hp. A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox routes power to all four wheels. The car performs well, from 0 to 62 in 3.4 seconds and to a top speed of 201mph. The car may be fast, but the power-retracting roof is too, dropping in just 17 seconds at lower speeds.

 

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New features for the Spyder include the addition of cylinder-on-demand technology and an engine stop-start system, which will also be included on 2016-model-year versions of the Huracán coupé. CO2 emissions are down 14% from the Gallardo Spyder.The designers at Lamborghini reworked the roofline for a new aesthetic and better airflow. Nacelles trail the rear of the supercar, and turbulence-limiting ducts add to the newly sleek lines. The rear glass is power operated.

 

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The Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder is expected to hit showrooms in spring 2016.


technology

The Future of Automobility

“As we look ahead, we see self-driving delivery trucks—we call them 21st-Century mules—delivering everything from your new jeans to a hot lunch, almost instantly. After receiving notification that “Cody” has arrived, you’ll simply walk to the curb, do a biometric scan, and receive your package. No tips required.”

 

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Image courtesy of IDEO

 

Just one of the concepts proposed by global design and innovation firm IDEO in The future of automobility , a conceptual vision responding to the future of autonomous driving, on demand delivery services, and the future of the workspace. The concept is played as three scenarios illustrating semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles and the roles they will play in our lives in the next fifteen years, from systemic, technological, and human-focused points of view.

 

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IDEO has won 38 Red Dot awards, 28 iF Hannover awards, and more IDEA awards than any other design firm. Ranked as of the most innovative companies in the world by Boston Consulting Group, IDEO approaches design as identifying new ways to serve people – imagine a Venn diagram where the overlap of desirability, viability, and feasibility gives birth to new design concepts.

 

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Recently the team imagined the future of automobility in terms of how we will get from point A to point B, how goods will be delivered, and how time is best used. For example, organizing delivery during off-peak hours to reduce traffic congestion, and “work-on-wheels” (WOW) services such as laundry or dentistry to bring services to the consumer. Imagining an imminent time when consumer confidence will drive transformation of current business models to embrace autonomous, green vehicles, IDEO envisages improved quality of life. High-capacity, clean energy power sources will provide connected and climate-controlled working spaces, and reduce climate impact. From a provider point of view, this means envisaging inductive charging stations and standardized use of electric power grid rather than petroleum, a win-win for both customer and provider.


Forza 6

Developed by Turn 10 Studios for Xbox, the Forza franchise is the game for people who passionate about cars. The franchise just turned ten years old, and the latest version is a meticulously crafted package, with fine-tuned attention to every detail of design.

 

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Image courtesy of Turn 10 Studios

 

The launch of Forza Motorsport 6 was also carefully thought out – fans who purchased the Ultimate Edition were given early access. This feature allowed them to play the full game five days before its “official” release on September 15th. Just Turn 10’s way of saying thank you to the core fans. The studio is on top of the constant evolution of car and gaming culture, innovating in response to the rise of streaming and Twitch.

 

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When you boot up Forza 6 it feels as premium as the Maseratis and Lamborghinis in its garage. Users choose from 450+ car models with working cockpits – from vintage convertibles to sleek sedans to 4×4’s – each one offering a distinct feel and handling. The 6 also introduces 24-player multiplayer, as well as “Leagues”, a feature that lets you multiplay with drivers with the same skill level.

 

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Tune and paint your car as you like, or import from previous editions. Share it, and if another user likes or downloads it, you’ll receive in-game credits.
Another standout feature brand new with Forza Motorsport 6 is wet weather and night racing, all at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. The creators claim to absolutely recreate the fear that professional drivers experience hitting water at high speeds.

 

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Finally, the most impressive aspects of Forza has always been simulation quality. Having partnered with Audi Racing and Ford, these simulations feel professional in every way. And beyond the handling, you are part of a very creative community. This isn’t Gran Turismo – it is people creating, tuning, sharing and streaming. Forza 6 is more than just cars, it’s a way of life.


Sketchbook App

Journal, the newest app in Morpholio’s bag of tricks, puts a digital notebook in the hands of creatives. The New York–based design studio continues to digitize design tools, adding Journal to predecessors Trace, Board, and Crit, A combination of sketchbook, notebook, and photo organizer offers functionality with the added performance of a digital product that exists in the Cloud, and off the drawing board.
 
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Image courtesy of Morpholio

 
Journal users can add an unlimited number of virtual pages to the app on which to sketch, paint, type notes, or scrawl annotations with a stylus or their fingers. They can upload and draw directly over an existing image file, such as a photograph or project detail. Add-ons will transform along with the original file.
Users can swipe through the pages of their sketchbook to reference an idea and track its progression. Toru Hasegawa, co-director of the Cloud Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation and co-creator of Morpholio, says the ability to revisit sketched ideas is what distinguishes Journal from existing apps. Journal goes beyond the singular output to achieve “no end to a drawing,” he says. In Hasegawa’s words, “Journal is an idea-think app. We want to keep the ideation there and keep it messy.”
 
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Designed to support how our brains process information, Journal adopts a highly responsive, page-turning navigation. Scrolling through pages horizontally, as with the iPhone’s photo library, or vertically, such as with a PDF document, is inefficient. Journal proposes “in-place picture replacement”, where images flash before a user’s eyes and the backdrop stays still, allows them to register up to 15 images per second and to give free reign to the imagination.
The free Journal app comes with a digital brush, pen, and eraser; other writing implements (including a highlighter, charcoal, and Chinese wax pencil), page types, and color palettes are available as in-app purchases.
 
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Users can post page spreads to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The Morpholio team is working on adding the abilities to share an entire journal, to print pages or the entire book, and to search through journal contents. This app is an opportunity for those who resolve to keep a journal but never do. Ideal for designers, architects, photographers, artists, travelers, or members of any creative culture – the unique book interface gives instant navigation through thousands of pages, unlocking potential and new ways of seeing. Users can keep track of everything, experiment, and play. “You can literally live your whole life not making any mark,” Hasegawa says. “If there’s nothing to look back on, did you exist?”


The Shower for Today’s World

2015 has been a wakeup call for California in terms of water use – rising temperatures have increased energy needs and dried up sources. The last major drought in the state dates back to the late 1970s. The population has since doubled from 20 to 40 million. But showers haven’t evolved in step.

 

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 images courtesy of nebia

 

The designers at San Francisco startup Nebia have put on their thinking caps and decided that to reach mandatory 25% cuts in water usage, it’s time to rethink the shower. They’ve gone back to the drawing board, and come up with a radical concept that atomizes droplets for maximum benefit. With a sleek new shape designed by Box Clever, the Nebia shower hit Kickstarter this year, bringing in investors like Silicon Valley’s Y-Combinator. The attention-getter? For a $100,000 goal, Nebia has already brought in almost $3 million, with time still on the clock.

 

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Co-founder and CEO Philip Winter says that the age old belief that more water equals a better experience isn’t necessarily true.

The Nebia system atomizes water into millions of tiny droplets with 10 times more surface area while using 70% less water than a typical household showerhead. For the average U.S. home, Nebia pays for itself in less than two years.

The team has adapted technologies from aerospace engineering to create a patent-pending H2MICRO™ technology. The challenge was to save water while offering a clean, relaxing experience.

 

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Estimated to save 200 billion gallons of water annually if every California resident were to switch over to Nebia.

The elegant design by Box Clever features a 45° rotating head, sliding arm, and easy installation. Most of the units offered on Kickstarter are sold out – Nebias should hit the market in May 2016.

 

Visit the campaign at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1499369835/nebia-shower-better-experience-70-less-water?ref=nav_search


Apple TV

We’ve been waiting since January 2013 for a new version of Apple TV, so it’s no surprise that there are so many rumors surrounding the premiere.
This time round you’ll be able to talk to the television, informed sources say, with the integration of Apple’s universal Siri voice system. You may also download games and other apps, use touchscreen remote control, find support for wireless gamepads, and enjoy a new touchscreen remote control.
This is Apple’s biggest push ever into gaming territory. The fourth-generation Apple TV is poised to launch on September 9th in San Francisco, alongside the latest iPhones, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S+.

 

The slimmer, slightly wider device comes with a full TV-optimized iOS operating system and improved performance. Expected to be priced under $200 (the original version launched at $99), the 2015 model is on track to become available in October.


Google’s Lunar Xprize

The Google Lunar XPRIZE, created in 2007, is a $30 million dollar competition designed to incentivize space entrepreneurs to provide affordable access to the moon.

 

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Audi has announced what may be the most design-conscious bid, by teaming up with the German team Part-Time Scientists, who are hard at work to put an unmanned rover on the moon’s surface.

 

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The rover will be called AUDI Lunar Quattro, reflecting the luxury car manufacturer’s contributions in several fields of technology, including Quattro four-wheel drive tech, expertise in lightweight construction, electric mobility, and piloted driving.

 

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In order to win the competition, Part-Time Scientists must successfully place a robot that has a range of 500 meters on the moon’s surface, and can transmit high definition video and images back to Earth. The PTS team has already collected two “milestone” prizes during the development phase, but now with AUDI’s support with testing, trials and quality assurance, they are well on their way into orbit. The lunar vehicle launch into space is scheduled by the end of 2017, delivered by a rocket that will travel over 230,000 miles to the moon in five days.


Bespoke Carbon Fiber

The secret to high performance is carbon fiber – and it has revolutionized the automotive industry. Bethesda-based boutique shop Vitesse Au Dessus specializes in turning an entire existing car into carbon fiber. As their website claims, “We handcraft bespoke carbon fiber exteriors, interiors, components and monocoques for the world’s most exciting and exclusive automotive machines”.

 

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Image courtesy of Vitesse | Au Dessus

 

Attentive to every detail, inside and out, they offer comprehensive carbon fiber paneling for a list of supercars like Ferrari, Porsche 918, Lamborghini Aventador, and McLaren P1. The team at Vitesse I Au Dessus invites the client to be fully engaged in the creative process, or to the degree that they desire. Providing visuals to initiate, they help the owner/client make informed choices, and design the car of dreams. Design tools include physical samples and photorealistic 3D renderings. Using the client’s wish list and their exquisite craftsmanship, Vitesse I Au Dessus forms each piece by hand to create the ultimate bespoke carbon fiber luxury sports car.

 

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Stuff in Space

Space, like everywhere else, is getting surprisingly crowded. An estimated 370,000 bits of junk are floating in Earth’s orbit, traveling up to 22,000mph. Most of the debris is the remnants of rocket boosters and satellites collisions, but there are some odd bits you might not expect to see floating by, including a pair of pliers, a camera, and a toothbrush. These items, no matter how small, pose a potential damage threat to manned spaceships and valuable satellites circling the Earth.
 
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Image courtesy of James Yoder

 
That’s why UT-Austin engineering student James Yoder has created Stuff in Space, a website designed to visualize everything orbiting our planet. The concept is to promote space flight safety and the protection and peaceful use of our space environment by sharing space services and information with satellite owners, operators, academia and other institutions. Stuff in Space provides daily orbit data updates from space-track.org, using satellite information to calculate their positions. Stuff in Space’s creator Yoder is currently a student at the University of Texas.


Hyperloop

Hyperloop, Elon Musk’s concept of transporting people at speeds of 745mph (1,200km/h) seemed like something out of science fiction when he first introduced it two years ago, but designers are starting to get excited about it. Austin-based Argo Design is the latest company to unveil its vision for the radical form of transport, which Musk describes as a ‘cross between a Concorde, a railgun and air hockey table’.

 

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Images courtesy of argo design

 

So what exactly is the Hyperloop?

 

It’s a proposed method of travel that would transport people at 745mph (1,200km/h) between distant locations, taking passengers from LA to SFO in 30 minutes, or less than half the time by plane.
The concept is a long vacuum tube suspended off the ground to protect against weather and earthquakes. Passengers would sit in either individual or group pods, floating on air, which would then be accelerated with magnets and solar power. Musk has suggested that capsules carrying six to eight people would depart every 30 seconds, with tickets costing around $20 (£13) each way.

 

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The cost of building a line from LA to San Francisco has been estimated at $16 billion (£10 billion) – although critics say it would be nearer $100 billion (£65 billion). In comparision, the state of California is currently considering a high-speed rail system that would cost about $68 billion (£44 billion).

Until now, it was unsure what Hyperloop pods and terminals would look like. Argo’s vision proposes luxurious, augmented reality pods. Mark Rolston, founder of Argo Design, says that his team
focused on creating a larger capsule design that could transport not only human passengers but vehicles and other cargo. The design is a “capsule jukebox”, which would lift capsules off the Hyperloop Sled and onto the departure/arrival platform for loading and configuration.

 

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To avoid a sense of claustrophobia, Argo developed digital wall screens called Tripscenes, to mime the sense of travel with landscapes, outer space and underwater scenes.They could also display relevant route and trip information.

Each capsule has a front pantry with an emergency exit, which doubles as a supply loading container.
There is an upgrade option from Coach to the Executive Meeting Capsule which seats eight passengers in reclining chairs, as well as the Business Work Capsule, which includes private working pods.

 

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Earlier this week, Musk’s firm SpaceX announced that it plans to build a 1 mile (1.6km) test track next to its headquarters in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne, and will launch a competition for independent and university engineering teams there next year to test designs for passenger-carrying Hyperloop pods.

The submission deadline is September 15 and the competition is roughly scheduled for next June.
‘While we are not developing a commercial Hyperloop ourselves,” says SpaceX, “we are interested in helping to accelerate development of a functional Hyperloop prototype”.

Whatever the outcome of the test track and competition, Musk’s Hyperloop concept and Argo’s innovative design are sparking innovative exchange about what the future of mass public transportation could look like.


Remember Leila Alaoui

French-Moroccan artist/photographer/filmmaker Leila Alaoui died on January 18th, one of 30 victims of terrorists’ bullets in Burkina Faso. The tragedy of her death is not only the senseless killing of a vibrant, intelligent young woman, but also the too-soon extinction of an artistic voice steeped in compassion, curiosity, and fearlessness. Her work explored issues of cultural diversity and identity, challenging the viewer to see the humanity in every face, to see ourselves in the experiences of others. She was in Ouagadougou on assignment with Amnesty International.

 

Bursting onto the contemporary photography scene with “The Moroccans”, Leila devised a travelling photo booth to cross the country in search of individual identity. The resulting portraits are fiercely vivid, brilliant color and white surging from deepest black. She is also known for a series of black and white portraits of the country’s leading artists, and a beautiful series known as “No Pasara”, the result of months spent among the emigrant communities in northern Morocco, where sub-Saharan Africans risk their lives to cross the Straits of Gibraltar.

 

Leila’s seminal triptych video installation Crossings plays across 3 screens, exploring the lives of sub-Saharan migrants desperately trying to reach the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. contrasting the faces with symbolic images of the sea and the forests of Morocco, Leila’s childhood home and the source of much of her artistic inspiration. Filmed from the imaginary perspective of the migrants, Crossings incorporates voice-overs inspired by their stories, delving into the trauma of crossing borders into the unknown. The installation, shown at the Marrakech Biennale in 2014, “allowed us for a few seconds to experience the point of view of migrants,” said Alaoui. “As a photographer, I was interested in the contemporary language of video art, to go beyond a traditional documentary approach and to avoid any representations of misery. ”  Beyond the images, the installation questions the utopian Nirvana of Europe in today’s collective African imagination.

 

Born in 1982, Leila studied film and photography in New York before returning to Morocco in 2008. Her work has been exhibited internationally since 2009 and has been published in newspapers and magazines, including in The New York Times and Vogue. She lived between Morocco, Lebanon, where she was the artistic director of Station Beirut, and Paris, where her work was recently shown in the first Biennial of Arab Photography. She is survived by her parents Christine and Aziz Alaoui, her sister NY-based artist Yasmina Alaoui, brother Suleiman, and companion Nabil Canaan.

MVTA http

Since the abundance of technology is subverting the centrality of humanity, the mutation of our aesthetics comes as no surprise; in fact it’s no longer useful to separate the man from the machine/the digital from the physical when you swim in a muddied ocean of pixelpunk, because today, their intersectionality has to some extent reached everyone, and it’s literally finding its way into everything, which means that we have to deal with this technology-generated aesthetic sensibility with a new consciousness, that is already in its proto phase. One thing we can all agree on: there is a change occurring and something other is challenging our perception, a little frightening isn’t it? Yes, but worthy of serious analysis. From my perspective, it’s an opportunity to explore a new approach; it may help us in our attempt to understand the shifting but also to decipher the powerfully digitalized language. This is what copulating with New Aesthetic feels like, it’s already here and people who are stuck with their craving for simplism can do nothing about it. Some of you don’t even know what to make of it, and probably wonder if the word aesthetic still has meaning or if the whole thing is a blur, while others are trying to climb onboard to get in the game simply because NA speaks to them.

 

 

Like any messy art meme, New Aesthetic has been quite busy, spitting pixels and throwing 8-bit shades of controversy all over our e-faces. It stayed three years, maybe more in gestation to finally deliver a vision that has muscles strong enough to appease our appetite for the alien. As its name suggests, it’s related to a new climate change; in this case, it’s our augmented humanity with all its mother lode of digital delights that have been documented, transferred in James Bridle’s Tumblr of the same name. He dropped the bomb in 2011 and managed to conceptualize a term that agglomerates everything the Internet has produced and delivered that is aesthetically influential, to the point of confusion between real and virtual. Given the state of computing we currently live in, it’s normal to be curious about it, even a little, and to have thinkers, artists, and techno enthusiasts actively trying to further the creative conversation, is pretty much inevitable - they will undoubtedly push our techno-positivist excitement to a new level. Because that’s what’s New Aesthetic does best - push the envelope to understand the complexity of our contemporary experiences. With the numbers of essays and exhibitions dedicated to NA it’s fair to say that the controversy has been super productive, and now that we have the doors wide open for creative tinkering, more visual artists and designers are mingling with the dirty pixel, hooked to their desktop as newborns to their umbilical cord but no longer bound to the conservative. However, we must keep in mind that NA has really opened a special case here, it provided an absolute freedom for artists to shape a future that is everything but a fantasy, and with these cyber Dadaists, the technological revolution is getting the reflection it deserves. But emphasizing with screens and desktops is not enough for New Aesthetic, its boldness is ‘happening’ in fashion too and it may pierce you to the heart at first click. No part of our lives remains untouched, even the way we dress. Don’t roll your eyes, it’s really not that surprising to have New Aesthetic clothing popping up all over the fashion mood boards, just look around, fashion’s engagement with online culture has never been so strong. It is absorbing internet like a vacuum and it is happening at all levels.

 

There are quite good designers out there working on the transference, feeding the digital magma and making the translation from New Aesthetic to clothing a lot more obvious, this is probably due to the fact that we had people like Sterling Crispin to curate a fashion art project (Netstyle) which allowed young Internet-Based Artists to design a limited edition-line of t-shirts, creating works that capture (surprisingly well) the very loaded tension between us and the machine - and I’m talking about something that took place three years ago, it was bloody good but still embryonic. Now the baby is all grown up, the aesthetic is assimilated and easily recognizable, but if you really want to know how fashion is being toyed with, check out the work of Cory Arcangel. You may have heard about him - he’s a programmer and artist who mostly works around the internet and new media - and for reasons that are easy to pin down his latest art project, a collaboration with Bravado CEO Tom Bennett, has made lot of noise. Arcangel came up with this crazy idea of a clothing line made specifically for hardcore surfers using one of the most powerful NA ropes, the gradient. The artist succeeded in highlighting the rapid obsolescence of technologies by using Photoshop to work on sweatshirts for when we go hard on the net; this is a pure act of New Aestheticism .

 

If you can take anything from the whole mess that is New Aesthetic, it would be that you shouldn’t be afraid of investing in it: log in, drop in, and dare to embrace it .

E-Venus

In my cyber-wandering, I have had the opportunity to explore current futurisms, and naturally my interest goes to post human realities and cyberfeminism, a term that holds the potential to highlight a new area in feminist thought, that inspires a new alliance between women and technologies, an alternative combination which reveals the birth of a reconstructed techno culture. Yes, the word may seems inconsistent because of its trendy aspect but it’s way more interesting to look at it as a new sensibility, a paradigm which is connected to technological flows or a cyber revolution with a different overtone, if you feel rebellious.

 

  I found the urge, as a feminist living in a testosterone-filled techno world, to reveal the guts behind this new feminine autonomy in cyberspace. It sounds alienating for the skeptical who don’t understand and refuse the mutation, simply because he can't find a place for cyberfeminism in his very limited schema. Forget what you thought you knew about women’s web activity, feminism and it’s old expectations, it has evolved. The cyberpotential of feminism has mutated to face the complexity of our system, and now women chart their own course in the integrated circuit, chiseling out a place for themselves in the techno zone. The imagined future of the eighties is now our present. During the past twenty years, cyber feminism has emerged as a reaction to new technologies, to a constantly evolving domain that, in its early stages, left the girls outside. Yesterday appears purely speculative, but now we are opening up a completely different future, full of estrogens, where our evolution as women has to bypass the accelerated technological development; 2015 seems like a fitting moment to talk about what it means to be an e-Venus in a contemporary age, a wired woman with neural connections and a chip under her coded skin, who inhabits technocultural space for her own pleasure and whose cybertouch I obviously can’t resist.

 

  As our culture undergoes a digital reinvention, we can surely join the dots and affirm that what happens online does have the capacity to impact and effect real change. The Internet is a playful ground for new constructions, giving power to women to sketch the outlines of imperceptible futures. Having overcome security concerns, they have become more comfortable with being online and this has marked a positive departure point for direct autonomous actions. Keep in mind that the Internet remains the ideal strategic field for new struggles, as it has played a big part in cyberfeminist history. I’m hardly the only one to point this out, but I think that when we are on the Internet, there is no objection to transformative change. In fact, I truly believe that the Internet brought about an ingrown desire to move between the surfaces, helping to frame a place for female and the feminine in order to propose a shift and lead feminism into the future. The www weapon provided cyberfeminists with a possibility to explore feminist issues in a new setting among a generation of wired feminists and explorers for whom the relationship between women and technology is not a source of alienation or deviance.

 

  Even after all these years, the formulated questions are still relevant and the anxieties of the real world have become the problems of the digital world, and this is why cyberfeminism is so actual. The whole cyber/ techno-feminism thing has gained extraordinary momentum over the last few years. Now every media that matters is dealing with interconnected digital Venuses thanks to the Internet (with its very specific utopian halo), which has opened new vistas for personal growth, making it relatively easy for motivated net-actives like us to recode social norms by challenging the old standard and expected trajectory. You don’t reject it--you try to understand it, embrace it and call the future into question. I did.

 

  And since I fully agree with the concept and consider myself as a cyber positive/wonder child of cyberfeminism, I prefer to point out, rather than define, the real deal behind ‘the movement’ away from hype. Don’t risk thinking that it’s only a subversive current; it’s actually more like a crack in the phallocentric wall, an attempt to find alternatives, an "elsewhere” that exposes the myth that women are incompatible with technologies. No one said it would be easy, the concept of future building is extremely challenging. It’s all about women creating healthy connections with the machine, getting their data gloves dirty while crossing the fissures of a transitioning culture, the same culture that has an extraordinary appetite for novelty. Cyberfeminism may not have a brand new agenda, but it is seductive, and seems to creep into consciousness and insinuate itself into our cyber habitats like a kind of bootstrap, especially for the generation who have grown up with computers in the Eighties. Back then, when the word cyberfeminism was creating discomfort for many, we still remember (in the corner of our contemporary experience) the outrageous ladies of VNS Matrix, the foursome of imaginative anarchic Amazons who changed the face of feminism through cunty art. They carried the torch and interrupted the stream of male codes with the intention of delegitimizing and infecting the phallically correct. The feminist community and VNS Matrix are inseparable; any discussion of cyberfeminism and Fem utopia must look at this cyber elite who made the upgrade, proposing a realistic and creative technophilia fueled by irony. Some of the finest net artists and cyberfeminists have followed in their footsteps, women who perform in new contemporary media projects and invite us to blur the boundaries, artists such as Olia Lialina, Addie Wagenknecht , Mikki Foster and Praba Pilar immediately spring to mind, but they are not the only ones gaming the rules. An underground of young feminists is thriving online—they are networking, reblogging each other, publishing, getting busy cracking the code while reactivating the e-sisterhood. This is no easy work; it takes a Sisyphean effort to make things change.

  Deeper conversations about the metadata of our lives, the struggle, and the consciousness are happening at warp speed; in 2015, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone still ignoring it. You definitely need to click to catch the odd glimpse; these smart ladies are fighting the notion that women are not technologically minded by creating work and mutual support systems to connect with other women. Some of these brilliant activists are trying to end the misogynist attitudes that poison so many women's experiences with the URL, while others are investing in pulling back the veil that enshrines Silicon Valley by closing the tech gender gap. People like Reshma Saujani who is the founder of Girls Who Code (girlswhocode.com), a national nonprofit that teaches young women to code. Saujani saw girls facing a big disadvantage, so she decided to help them express their full potential by giving them the weapons to explore the possibilities of hardware and so gain power in this brave new cyber world. To resist the argument that plunges them back into the role of ‘technology’s victim’, girls need to learn to assert their circuitry and not allow themselves to be held hostage--their cerebral future depends upon it. It’s only a hint of things to come. As I type these words, cowboys are crying over their distorted masculine Meta medium, while our muffin is casting a spell on a large scale to spread the subversion. In other terms, the vagina is the boss, this one sentence will tell you everything you need to know about the mutating feminist system and I insist upon the word ‘feminist’ because feminism didn’t disappear, it’s still here but with a new impertinent activism that tells you that pairing technology with women should be as natural as breastfeeding.

 

One way or another the future will get you, whether you like it or not, and you’d better be ready for it. The balance is beginning to change, there is more than the hope, it’s happening or maybe has always happened, and it feels good to be a part of it. Cyberfeminism is no longer a utopian myth; it’s a reality. Leave your humanoid female robot fetish at the door--at this point you can only absorb the suggestion and train your mind for the new technoculture dominated by e- Venus: a real woman, not a doll.

Alisa Besiveric

Get to know Alisa as she shares her experience as a designer through an interview on National futur.

 

Born in Germany ,educated at ESMOD international fashion university and now splitting her time between Paris and Berlin, Alisa is a unicorn who runs freely, she knows exactly how to put herself on the line and step out of her comfort zone, she’s busy working herself a brand and after reading the interview, the only thing you will have in mind is to give Alisa a hug. She wants to confront us with an aesthetic that isn’t easy to love and she’s not afraid to explore the notion of ‘the ugly purity’ in all its beautiful disproportion and disharmony.

 

National Futur /Before we launch into our discussion, why don’t you tell our readers a bit about your background ?

 

Well, I was born in a small town in Germany called Hagen, raised by Bosnian parents. I have pretty early developed the need of being far away from this little town mentality, I was curious about what else was out there. At the age of 18 I was sure of wanting to study art, but my parents wouldn’t support me in this idea. Instead I chose fashion design, thinking I could still draw and create. When I was 19 I moved to Paris by myself and worked hard to build my life there. Studies were really difficult to manage with a job, and I was discovering the very superficial and industrial side of fashion. After several internships and jobs as a designer I finally decided to find back that love for art and move to Berlin in order to create a kind of collective of my own.

 

National Futur/You live in Berlin, how does the city influence your work?

 

I like Berlin for its variety and authenticity. People still feel very raw here and don’t care about what other people may think of their style. Life in Berlin is still affordable (even though the costs have terribly increased during the past 10 years) which takes this pretention and competition out of the air. That feel had a major impact on my way of thinking and seeing the world, on my lifestyle and the way I design. I feel more free to please myself during this process, creating things reinventing myself regardless to the commercial success of it. All in one I would say the city has pushed me to reconnect with myself and gave me the courage to produce authentic work.

National Futur /You went through many artistic phases, when did you realize you had found your own voice? maybe you are still trying to do so ...   I believe I have found my own voice during my studies. I was surrounded by very wealthy international kids who more or less were designing very similar, tasteful clothes. I would say my poverty was my strength at that time, because it forced me to work with materials that were not meant to be used for clothes, such as foams or blankets from the hardware store, fruit dyeing or weaving my own fabrics... sometimes I would have to pick the cheapest fabric in the shop and make it look expensive. This kind of “suffering” actually made me develop a very own perspective on fashion, and I understood I would never design clothes which would make people look rich or good in an obvious way.   National Futur/ You worked with big names, Damir Doma, Anne Valérie Hash, what memories do you have of that time?   Damir used to make only menswear when I interned, but working there was like Disneyland. All the fabrics, amazing protos and books laying around which really spoke to me, it was a good time working in an environment like that and to be surrounded by people who shared the same aesthetic as me. It just made me feel more confident about the directions I was taking in the future, but unfortunately I didn’t see much of the designing process as Damir was designing the collection in Germany next to his mother who is a tailor. Working next to Anne Valerie had probably the biggest impact on me, because we were working really close to her. It was a beautiful time, as all my colleagues became very close friends; we had such a great team and ambiance going on. Designing for her really got under my skin, and for a long time I couldn’t get this flowy, twisted style out of my hand – I must admit her world is much sweeter and softer than mine, so after I left the company I pretty much went back to my masculine, experimental habits. But both experiences gave me a big fascination for fabrics and cut, as both really spent a lot of time looking for the perfect fabric and the perfect fit.   National Futur/ Fashion has always been your first option ?   As I already mentioned earlier, fashion was not my first choice. I had a few career ideas in my head that were all very different. For a long time I wanted to become a psychiatrist, just because I was always really interested in human psychology and how our behavior and feelings all can be reduced to chemical reactions really. That was around the age of 14-17.. then I started to feel I really needed to do things with my hands, I was tired of studying at school in that academic way. My idea of breaking free was doing an art school, unfortunately coming from a humble family art was not very well seen. To my parent’s defense, they only wanted to make sure I wouldn’t end up as poor as they used to be and as I was doing particularly well at high school they hoped I would study medicine or law. Our sort of compromise went up to fashion, still they were not really happy about my choice of moving away... It was a controversial time. But I’m catching up with that part of mine I didn’t explore yet, anytime soon.   National Futur/ Your work has been the subject of great attention since its eruption, you didn’t ask for it but here we are, social media really gave you extra boost and I guess you were very surprised to see how virally the visuals were spreading .... I was really surprised, indeed, especially that my accessories were born out of boredom and basic needs but all of a sudden turned into this project of having my own label. Once I uploaded a few images of my bags (shot on my sofa at home wrapped in plastic bags from the fruit market down my building) they just went viral and all of a sudden I got buyers asking me for pricelists..   National Futur/ Since you are in a very spontaneous approach, we absolutely want you to walk us through your design process, so we can dig a little deeper to see how this pretty little brain of yours is structuring the beauty .   I am a night bird. I work the best when everyone’s asleep. The daylight makes me want to go out and do things, I can’t find a peace of mind. Seeing people active in the streets just distracts me, probably because my apartment has big glass windows which is just like a gigantic live TV. I need to be alone, focused on myself so I can use my instinct and my feelings as a source.I mostly start to do research 24h/day, I get really lost in finding artists, music, movies that inspire me. Then, when it comes down to the designing process I am more of a spontaneous person. Using a mood board just stresses me out; there is just too much which inspires me. I start designing one thing and will end up somewhere else; I embrace a fabric’s personality and listen to what it says. I like to start sawing in a very raw way and refine it little by little. I like to make mistakes and use them.   National Futur/ Using shearling in one of your backpacks was the first step in finding beauty in the hideous, and maybe erasing at the same time that polish aspect .When observing your products I felt the friction ,the confrontation, I was confused and amazed by your ability to transform the sterile to provocative .This all seems to make sense, or am I having a wet dream?   Yes my work always turns around this subject, just because myself I have suffered from a major skin disease which affected my life and psychology from birth till the age of 16. Not that it has completely stopped or disappeared, but I deal with it much better now. During my childhood and teenage hood I was the last person on earth people would talk to because of my looks. Later on, when it improved, people started approaching me and started to be interested in me. I’m trying to introduce this process, of people having a closer look at the odd to discover its beauty and depth, because it is what I identify with and constantly am attracted to.   National Futur/ it’s no coincidence that you value craftsmanship, in your family the skills passed down over generations and your father was very influential ,you decided to craft your items by hand, because you wanted to return to a certain tactility, to communicate an emotional sincerity which I found absolutely beautiful if you ask me ..I can tell when someone is true to what he’s doing , there is some real passion here, so my question is, even with enough money to produce more, you would be still in the handmade business ?   I would stay in the handmade business for local businesses in Berlin, which would request special orders from me, but unfortunately, I physically wouldn’t be able to pull this through for long. Manufacturing leather is a bloody job, one needs strong and resistant hands which can stand heat, cuts, hammering, pressure. The attention and love put into a product, nevertheless, will never decrease.   National Futur/ Lot of people appreciate the quiet confidence in the quality of your items and you produced around 20 pieces for a pop up store (June Basel) at the Art Basel in Miami, would love to know all the details

I have met the two shop owners through a friend in Berlin, they saw my products and wanted to sell them at their pop up store. They have on - a very short notice - ordered around 20 products of mine, which I

produced by hand in about 1 month. I was really happy about the result, the pop up store looked beautiful, they had beautiful merchandising and they sold almost all products.

 

National Futur/ But you didn’t stop here , you met Olivia Foster and you made some beautiful babies with her .Your collaboration was based on the fusion of two different approaches to design, but complementary at some level, both of you have the same obsessions and a pretty similar aesthetics , mainly focused on materials . We would love to know the whole story on how you managed to give them a place to exist.

 

I have mostly picked the people I wanted to collaborate with myself, in Olivia’s case it was the same scenario. I had a very precise idea of what I wanted to express, and her work was inspiring me, so I thought we would make a good team and create something beautiful together and bring this whole thing to another level.

I like to work with people; it actually drives me insane working alone on long term. I think there is nothing more beautiful than exchanging on a subject with someone who gets you and at the same time will bring you a different point of view. Getting a different point of view – oh, people in the fashion world don’t talk enough to each other, they are such divas. I am always happy when I meet a person who is relaxed and doesn’t take him/herself too seriously; there are not enough people of that kind around.

With Olivia we simply just started exchanging pictures, inspirations between each other. We really quickly knew what media we wanted to use, and started to experiment on materials. Unfortunately the project has never really concluded, but only our tryouts were already very positive. I have gotten in touch with her recently so we might talk about a new project soon.

 

National Futur /What can we expect from you next?

 

I am planning to join an art atelier including pottery, wax, wood, metal machines, so you might just want to expect more schizophrenic creative meltdowns.

intelligence

Are Microwaves

If you ask SpaceX’s Elon Musk, Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos or Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck how to reduce the cost of launching a satellite, they’d probably all say by developing low cost reusable rockets. The team at Escape Dynamics thinks the next generation of aerospace systems could send a reusable spaceplane into the stratosphere using microwave energy.

 

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Image courtesy of Escape Dynamics

 

The idea is to replace highly explosive fuel load and onboard power systems with a a collector based in the plane’s heat shield. Ground based microwave emitters (converting grid electricity using mirrors) will send energy to the collector, which would drive an electromagnetic motor to heat a small quantity of on-board fuel (hydrogen or helium, for instance) which is then ejected as thrust to get into orbit.

 

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Escape Dynamics claims that a helium-fueled engine was able to achieve a Specific Impulse (the equivalent of MP/H for a rocket) of 500 seconds, and estimates a hydrogen-powered engine could reach 600. If lab results can translate to real flight tests, this could be a gamechanger for the private spaceflight industry.
The trick will be to build a global network of microwave emitters to keep the plane in the air. And all the conventional concerns that space entrepreneurs must consider: environmental, political, and financial. But heads up, Espace Dynamics is determined to change the way we reach orbit.


Tesla Powerwall

INDEX is the world’s biggest design award – with the aim of promoting design to improve human lives worldwide, in developed and developing countries.
The 13-member jury of international persons of influence discuss, evaluate and advocate design that, through innovation, demonstrates the impact of creativity in the world. And the INDEX goes to…TESLA POWERWALL. The American electric car manufacturer used its car battery research to create a battery system to meet household needs. The Powerwall is a groundbreaking design, looking toward the future of power usage in all parts of the world.

 

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Image courtesy of Tesla

 

Viewed as a revolution in energy consumption, the technology meets the challenge of sustainable use on personal, local, national, and global levels. The solar-powered, lithium-ion batteries will allow owners to store energy generated during the day and use it at night, allowing them to avoid buying electricity from utility providers in the evenings at peak rates. This will lead to increased independence from the power grid, as well as a backup solution in case of a power outage.

In the words of one of the jury members, “The design is an inspiration to the industry and has great capacity to revolutionize the entire system of power generation.”

 

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The units sell (approximate retail price is $3500) with a 10-year guarantee and are sufficient to power most homes, even during peak hours use. Multiple batteries may be grouped to accommodate greater energy needs.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a world renowned entrepreneur, inventor, and engineer, and CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity. Founded in 2003, Tesla Motors has evolved from electric vehicle manufacturer into a technology and design company with a focus on energy innovation.


Solar Panel Covered Bikeway

South Korea is now home to a 20-mile stretch of solar panel covered bike lane linking the cities of Daejon and Sejong, The panels provide shade for cyclists, as well as power for the route’s streetlights and charging stations for electric cars. Underground ramps provide access to the grade separate bikeway, offering both safety and speed.

 

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Image courtesy of Janbaz Salehi

 

The Netherlands pioneered the concept of solar bikeways in 2014, with an energy-harvesting 70-meter stretch with panels embedded in the ground. The Daejon-Sejong bikeway is the first to provide overhead solar panels and charging stations.


5065 Scooter

Red Dot award honorable mention winner Wang Yixing proposes a convenient vehicle for “last mile” transportation in an urban environment. Working with transportation companies, Yixing proposes a scooter solution that is an extension of public transportation. The design focuses not only on easy carry, but also vending machines for purchase points, to provide city users with an inexpensive alternative to walking the last mile. The N° 5065 features a compact body, with a folding tube design that can easily slide into a backpack or case, eliminating the last-minute fumbling and space issues on crowded subways.

 

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Image courtesy of Wang Yixing

 

The N° 5065’s handle slides down in a flash, folding down to the base to create a smooth aluminum tube. The final volume is like an elongated water bottle or umbrella. Wang imagines the scooters for sale at subway or bus stops for urbanites on the go – providing the missing link in transportation connections for the future.

 

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art

Laurent Rosset

 

Italian photo manipulation maestro Laurent Rosset uses Photoshop with the technique of an Old Master to produce Inception-style mind-altering images. Rosset creates compositions based upon his own photography, navigating between surrealism, idealism, and warping between 2 and 3D. In series such as Sleep (t)Height, Rosset plays with the human form, nature, and architecture, distorting space to create images that are both oddly real and impossible.

The artist is a self-proclaimed dreamer and perfectionist who believes in true love. Trained as an architect, his profound understanding of space provides the point of departure for his carefully crafted realities – a woman becomes a coastline, a house floats off on a hot-air balloon, cities invert themselves…

 

Image courtesy of Laurent Rosset


Radio Activity

British designer Gemma Roper is interested in interaction and product design, coding electronics to promote optimistic experiences with technology. A graduate of Central St. Martins, one half of London’s Nice to be Nice Studio and a member of Platform 21, Gemma offers up her latest creation – a streaming device built on selected tempo.

 

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images courtesy of gemma roper

 

Called ‘Radio Activity’, the device is an internet-enabled streaming device that encourages users to select music according to tempo. Radio Activity selects tracks from online music provider Spotify according to tempo, which can be adjusted by sliding its circular aluminum dial up and down a vertical pole.

 
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It works with Spotify’s format of organizing tracks by genre, assuming that tracks within the same genre generate similar BPM (beats per minute). The internal component is quite complicated, according to Roper, as current must travel the length of the rail on small brass tracks connecting tiny switches in the dial to an Arduino Micro in the base. The piece mimics a ticking metronome, with a retro volume dial that adds a tactile user interface.

 
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Roper claims the simple design conducive to creating a mood without having to navigate through endless digital content. The pole is labeled with tempo numbers for visual reference, starting at classical, moving up through hip-hop, house/techno, dubstep, drum and bass, jungle and juke.

 

The designer is working with developers on fine-tuning, and hopes to offer access to alternative platforms like Soundcloud.


Sky Explosion

Sky Ladder, realized at Huiyu Island Harbor, Quanzhou, Fujian, June15, 2015 at 4:49 am, approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

 

A video has just been released of Sky Ladder, Cai Guo-Qiang’s golden explosion performance. The Fujian-born artist best known for ephemeral events of “unpredictable splendor” has bestowed a gift upon his century-old grandmother, his parents, his family, and his home town of Quanzhou. This is the third of the Sky Ladder
series, which began over 20 years ago.

 

In the artist’s words, “…earlier proposals were either more abstract or ceremonial. Sky Ladder today is tender, and touches my heart deeply: it carries affection for my hometown, my relatives and my friends. In contrast to my other attempts, which set the ignition time at dusk, this time the ladder rose toward the morning sun, carrying hope. For me, this not only means a return but also the start of a new journey.”

 

To create Sky Ladder, Cai filled a large white balloon with over 6000 cubic meters of helium. At the June 15, 2015 4:49am performance, the balloon lifted a 1600 ft. (500m) long, 18 ft. (5.5m) wide ladder lined with quick-burning fuses of gold-colored fireworks into the dawn sky. The fuses were ignited from the harbor beach, where flames ran along the coast then rose in a steep curve to the top of the ladder. The explosion lasted for two and a half minutes, gradually extinguishing from the bottom upward, like a stairway to heaven.

 

Cai is one of China’s most respected visual artists, often using gunpowder to produce paintings. In 2013, he created a massive 80 ft. painting of his hometown Quanzhou with the impact of gunpowder explosions, which was later auctioned by Christie’s for $2.5 million.


Tokujin Yoshioka

Designer Tokujin Yoshioka has recreated Tornado Installation to accompany a solo exhibition of his work at the Saga Prefectural Art Museum, in his hometown of Kyushu, Japan. Renowned for his work with luxury houses like Issey Miyake, Cartier, Hermès, Lexus, Kartell, and Swarovski, the artist/designer sets the stage for this retrospective with white plastic drinking straws.

 

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The show of the influential designer’s work inaugurates the museum galleries, renovated under his supervision, and the scenography is an extraordinary recreation of his Designer of the Year installation originally shown at the 2007 Design Miami Fair.

 

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Over two million straws rise and fall like storm clouds throughout the galleries, mimicking the violence of a tornado. Clear pathways allowed visitors to discover iconic designs hidden beside/behind/beyond the straws. The dramatic setting underlines the simplicity and quiet of Yoshioka’s best-known work, such as the ‘Water Block’ bench, the ‘Honey-pop’ sculpted paper armchair that molds to fit the sitter, and the ‘Venus’ chair, grown in a liquid-filled tank as crystals formed on a sponge-like foundation.
TOKUJIN YOSHIOKA_TORNADO 2 July through 2 August 2015.


style

Control your Sneaker Design

Shoreditch-based creative technology agency Rehabstudio has proposed a million sneakers in one. In the project press release the design team sees “the potential of apparel lies in materials that alter circumstances, or that are designed to have unexpected properties, combined with integral electronics“. The team came up with a concept of what the future of athletic footwear might be, including a smartphone app to customize color and material.

 

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images courtesy of rehabstudio

 

The folks at Shoreditch see sneakers as a means of self-expression, and offer us the possibility of expressing ourselves, using technology to inform design. The East Londoners apply technology to use phase change fibers and shape-memory meta materials, interchanging and locking pattern choice for customer design. New fabric choices allow to bend light spectrums but also adapt to variables such as surface or temperature. Electrical signals pass along conductive filaments woven into the shoe’s membrane communicate to the human touch. Mini LEDs display the Shift designs.

 

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=the accompanying open sourced application will feature a “pack” store where users can download layouts based on a specific subject. Rehabstudio’s shift sneaker concept looks into the future of wearable technology, customized by app command.


Fendi’s Bag Bugs

Milan Design Week 2015 saw the introduction of an interesting project by the Campana Brothers for Italian luxury brand FENDI. Taking the iconic Fendi Bag Bugs as inspiration for their newest plush toy chair, Fernando and Humberto Campana bring us “The Armchair of Thousand Eyes.” Over a hundred of the little furry critters have been assembled to create a unique seating object. Described as a ‘banquete’, the fluffy monsters are sewed onto canvas and stretched over a stainless steel frame. The designers felt the bag bugs were a perfect inspiration for their unique pieces, and were delighted to work with the house of Fendi.

 

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The finished “Armchair of a Thousand Eyes” sports gilded brass and colorful dyed fur (shearling, kidassia, rabbit). The piece was presented in cooperation with Galleria O. Roma.


LV Trunk

Vuitton’s artistic director of women’s collections Nicolas Ghesquière is one of the rare birds to set the tone each season. In March, under the dome at the Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton, the creative director trotted out his takes on the traditional LV trunk. The hard handbags are a riff on the iconic travel boxes, scaled down from over-sized luggage cases to portable carry-ons.

 

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Photo courtesy of Louis Vuitton

 

Celebrity front-row guests Michelle Williams, Jennifer Connelly and Catherine Deneuve seemed to appreciate Ghesquière’s quirky twists, including a transparent plexiglass version. Vuitton’s luxury handbag collection for 2015 uses tweeds, patterns, motifs, metallic malletage and the ubiquitous monogram reinvented.

 

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After the show, guests were invited to take a look around the Bois de Boulogne’s Fondation Louis Vuitton, Frank Gehry’s latest European chef d’oeuvre.

 

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Kyeongmin Kim

Over the past few years, a whole new pack of fashion designers have started appearing, fresh young talents coming out of London and New York with an obvious inclination for minimalism. I came across Min Kim, a Korean fashion designer known for having a passion for creating familiar and wholly unique designs. I immediately fell in love with her fearless approach and her depth of thinking, she’s no stranger to the gravity that ‘the new purity’ has on modern culture and she’s definitely not taking fashion too seriously, and that’s something we can get behind.

 

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People want to know you, tell us more about yourself.

 

I am Kyeongmin Kim, 26, originally a Korean fashion designer who has been living in London for the last 2 years. I graduated in MA FDT Womenswear in the London College of Fashion, University of the Art, London.

 

What was the impetus behind your graduate collection?

 

Things around me, my family and my friends in Korea. When I moved to London I couldn’t stop thinking about them or small episodes of what I did with them, it was somehow a big motivation to create.

 
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How has London inspired you? Would it be the same if you were living in Korea?

 

I would say it was totally different, as I had lived in London, there are so many styles on the street such as high-end, vintage, goth and so on, there is no one glancing and pointing a finger, they look like very free and never mind others, I think this, makes me imagine more and more. London is the city where all fashion is allowed.

 

Young designers are usually taking the reductionist road to a very distinctive design what about you? What would you call your aesthetic signature, minimalist, reductivist, archi-structured?

 

Actually, I don’t know where I should be included, I’m very generous and flexible about various aesthetics however, if I need to choose a word for my collection it would be practicality. When I do designing or manufacturing,

details are needed and practical and this might make my collection looks minimalist and reductivist.

 
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I can tell by the way you flirt with volumes that you are using fabrics as sculptural supports. Please, tell me more about your creative process and influences.

 

In terms of my collection, I have a variety of silhouettes, my designs focus on big sizes and curvilinear shapes which are unique to my taste. For making circular contractions, I needed to find a certain kind of fabric, which is thick, but lightweight, soft but not artificial like a sponge and the neoplane was the perfect choice. I tried to bond different fabrics such as wool and cotton jersey with the neoplane by using bondaweb and a high temperature machine.

It’s important for me to give away a feeling of purity and sympathy. It really excites me to think of a story as a way to make clothes and not the opposite, something that has a character.

 

You are obviously playing with the inter-gender concept–tell me more about it.

 

Fashion has almost always been a reaction to society, I got many questions about whether I’m a feminist or not. I’m not a feminist, I just talk about things that happen easily around me that I couldn’t realize well.

I simply don’t believe in the prescriptions that society has for genders and my theme put more weight on the society situation rather than the gender.

 

Your research feels authentic; it’s about you, trying to communicate a vision, so that people can emotionally connect to the pinnacle of how you want things to be seen. You tell stories about women; you look into their lives so my question is, how can you describe women of tomorrow?

 

The women of tomorrow? I could not answer exactly but I believe that we can expect to experience a newfound attitude, a democratic purity with measures of modesty.

 

What can we expect from you in the future?

 

I’d like to gain some experience within a team of designers and to further develop my skills and branch my own brand. I am not sure if my future collection will be about girls because I am getting old. However, my collection will keep talking to all women.

 

images courtesy of Masha Mei. Heewon Kim


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Mehdi Hadj Khalifa

Diverse ideas and talents have brought us all together to axe Balack towards architecture. Even though we strongly share some overall common denominators, they do bring few corrections to our enterprise, whose risky nature is undeniable.
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