Tag Archives: Architecture

Zaha Hadid Architects Design Timber Stadium

6 Projects Awarded Aga Khan Architecture Prize

A dome-less mosque designed by a Bangladeshi woman architect and a Beirut institute by the late Zaha Hadid were among six projects awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture Sunday.

The prestigious prize was awarded at a ceremony in Al-Ain oasis city, in the United Arab Emirates, to the projects chosen from a list of 348 works.

They will share a prize of $1 million.

“Gone are the dome and the ever-prevalent minarets, the decorative panels of designed relief and calligraphy. In their place stand intricately structured brick walls that imbue the structure within a unique aura of spirituality,” said the jury describing Dhaka’s Bait ur Rouf mosque designed by Marina Tabassum.

As well as Hadid’s Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut, the winning projects included Tehran’s Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge and Copenhagen’s Superkilen kilometre-long urban park.

They also included the Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, a training facility for the NGO Friendship that works with communities living in rural flatlands of northern Bangladesh.

Beijing’s Hutong Children’s Library and Art Centre was also among the winners.

Awarded every three years, the prize was established in 1977 and is given to “projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture”.

The awards were presented by UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and the Aga Khan IV, the wealthy imam of Nizari Ismaili Shiites.

Fuksas Cloud

Nuvola Brings New Edge to Rome Skyline

Massimiliano Fuksas, the architect of the now-complete Nuvola convention centre illustrated here, described this as his most frustrating project, though he is proud that it had been completed as first planned. “We first thought of it in 1995,” the 72-year-old said. “I have been through so many mayors on this project I can’t even remember all their names. But we have not changed a thing. If you look at the first sketches we did, this is what it looked like.”

With funding predominantly sourced from taxpayers, Cloud  – that’s what Nuvola means in English – is a convention center that will be able to host up to 12,000 people. Describing it that way robs this very striking building of its very striking story though. It is easily the most amazing new structure to go up in the Eternal City. The building is expected to be a potential game-changer for Rome’s visitor-based economy and EUR, the under-developed business district on the city’s southern edge created by none other than legendary bad hat Mussolini.

201016-rome

Seriously, this is Rome’s most significant architectural project since the 1960 Olympic Games. The city is plagued by a paralyzing cocktail of bureaucratic gridlock, corruption and the ongoing discovery of ancient parts of the city (something that persistently blocks new developments).

Basically, Nuvola is glass and steel box that houses a cloud-like suspended interior structure. This internal construct is no work of fanciful contemporary art though – this is where the main auditorium is so the structure is fully functional. It is reportedly the size of two giant zeppelin airships, as we reported previously. You might think the white, fibreglass-clad structure looks like a cloud, as Fuksas envisions but it could also be said to resemble a lung or another internal organ (use your imagination). Glimpsed from the outside in twilight it can seem strikingly like an ultrasound scan of a unborn baby.

Fuksas Cloud

The architect, who conceived of this project with his wife Doriana, does confirm however that his dealings with local officialdom have left him with no faith in the ability of public authorities in Rome to manage his masterpiece. “I wish they would give it to the Germans to run, they’d make it work – the Romans, no!” Fuksas won the competition to build the new center in 2000 but construction did not get underway until 2007 and was repeatedly interrupted due to a combination of red tape and cash constraints.

The building was finally completed thanks to additional funds raised last year by the sell-off of four Mussolini-era public buildings. How much it finally cost is a disputed issue but removing the legacies of Il Duce’s time in power are belated in the extreme. Fuksas says the Nuvola came in at 239 million euros ($260m), below the tender price of 275 million. Enrico Pazzali, the executive brought in to oversee completion, says the true figure is 353 million euros ($390m) but that he is nonetheless confident the Nuvola will prove a worthwhile use of public funds over time.

The former head of Milan’s hugely successful Fiera exhibition center, Pazzali shrugs off fears that congested, cash-strapped Rome is ill-equipped to cope with an additional influx of visitors. “Our research suggests that convention visitors generate at least twice as much per head as leisure tourists,” he told AFP. “We have the hotels and the Nuvola has the great advantage that it is close to the airport and it is on the Metropolitan (underground rail network).Fuksas Cloud

“Our estimates are that the economic benefits to the city and the surrounding area could be between 250-350 million euros a year,” Pazzali said. The Nuvola is the biggest architectural project in Rome since the work for the 1960 Olympics.

It joins a short list of significant contemporary buildings in the city that includes Renzo Piano’s auditorium, the late Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI museum and the Richard Meier museum built around the Emperor Augustus’s altar of peace, the Ara Pacis. For Fuksas, the construction adds to a list of high-profile projects that includes Shenzhen’s airport and Ferrari’s headquarters.

 

Hong Kong Jockey Club Innovation Tower Honored

Hong Kong Jockey Club Innovation Tower Honored

The Jockey Club Innovation Tower in Hong Kong has won the RIBA Award for International Excellence. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the building evokes movement and stands in stark contrast to its more conventional office building neighbors.

The Jockey Club Innovation Tower is home to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design and the Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation.

The tower’s interior and exterior courtyards create informal spaces to meet and interact, complementing the large exhibition forums, studios, theater and recreational facilities.

The 15-story, 15,000-square-meter tower accommodates more than 1,800 students and staff. For its fluidity and graceful curves, the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan has been shortlisted for the RIBA International Prize.The winner will be announced in December.

Unveiling of Fuksas ‘Cloud’ Construction

A new convention center in Rome that has been hailed as one of acclaimed architect Massimiliano Fuksas’s most ambitious buildings yet was unveiled to the international media Wednesday, ahead of its long-awaited opening next week. The Italian’s latest work resembles a giant, rectangular glass box encasing an interior dominated by a fluid, cloud-like structure that seems to float above the center’s lower levels and houses its auditorium. Made from steel and clad in cream-colored fiberglass the centerpiece of the new center is the size of two giant zeppelin airships.

It has been dubbed Fuksas’s “nuvola” (cloud in Italian), and its creators hope the innovative design will help turn the new facility into a popular destination on the money-spinning international conference circuit. The project has had a chequered history since Fuksas’s won the competition to build the new center in 2000 with a design based on an idea he had while watching clouds from a beach.

Located in the Mussolini-created EUR district of Rome, the project was initially supposed to be privately funded but failed to attract investors. Publicly-backed construction finally got underway in 2007 only to be repeatedly interrupted due to a combination of red tape and cash constraints.

The building has finally been completed at a total cost of 353 million euros ($390 million) thanks to additional funds raised last year by the sell-off of four Mussolini-era buildings, said Enrico Pazzali, the head of EUR Spa, the public body behind the project. “The architect’s wonderful vision has been realised 100 percent,” he told AFP, adding he was confident the centre would deliver its objective of delivering a major boost to Rome’s visitor-based economy.

“Our estimates are that the economic benefits to the city and the surrounding area could be between 250-350 million euros a year,” he said. Built over three levels, the new centre will be able to accommodate audiences of up to 6,000 people in its 9,000 square-metre plenary hall.

Construction required 39,000 tons of steel – the equivalent of nearly five Eiffel towers and expanses of glass equivalent to eight soccer fields, Pazzali said. Fuksas, 72, is one of the giants of contemporary Italian architecture.

His past projects include the futuristic new airport terminal at Shenzhen, China, Ferrari’s ultra-modern headquarters and Armani stores on 5th Avenue, New York and in Ginza, Tokyo. The EUR district takes its name from Esposizione Universale Roma, the world fair Italian dictator Benito Mussolini planned to stage there in 1942.

That plan had to be scrapped because of World War II with many of the buildings only half-finished. They were mostly completed in the 1950s and 1960s after the Roman authorities decided to turn the area into an edge-of-town business district that became a model for London’s Docklands and La Defense in Paris. The rectangular exterior of Fuksas’s new work references the rationalist architecture of many of the surrounding buildings.

 

8 Urban Residences with Sky Gardens

A private garden, a backyard with trees and flowers, these are luxuries that city dwellers must sacrifice for the conveniences of modern urban living. At least, that has been the prevailing notion. However, some of today’s architects view the matter quite differently.

“There is a huge disconnect between how we live in our cities and what we need, as human beings, for quality of life,” says Eran Chen, Founder and Executive Director at ODA studio in New York. “I don’t think that we should be forced to choose between enduring life in the city, or escaping to suburban areas.”

East 44th Street in New York City with a view of One World Trade Center and Sky Garden Terrace

East 44th Street in New York City with a view of One World Trade Center and Sky Garden Terrace

Chen’s solution to this disconnect is to combine the two typologies. His studio recently released plans for East 44th Street, a slender residential tower in Midtown Manhattan that has open floors for sky gardens. By “stretching” the building vertically beyond its original program, the studio was able to create gaps, 16 feet in height, between every two floors. The gaps in the building will contain full floor sculptural gardens equal to the footprint of the building and will be directly accessible from each apartment. In other words, each 2,800 sq. ft. apartment will have 1,400 sq. ft. of open private garden. The tower will contain 44 residential units in total, with one, two or three-bedroom layouts and a duplex penthouse.

Other Manhattan studios are also inverting the traditional sealed box approach to tower design. Nearby on East 37th street, a slim residential tower proposed by Perkins + Will, will have built-in parks and an outdoor cinema.  The concept for the 700 foot tower, which features four open-air sky parks at various heights, was to take the urban fabric of Greenwich Village, where row houses will have a small park at the end of the block, and tip it vertically. “It creates this balance of your own private apartment and shared outdoor greenery that becomes almost like that park at the end of the street, except in a vertical way,” says Robert Goodwin, design principal at Perkin + Will.

Designing for dense future cities that will house an increasing number of inhabitants raises a number of questions. “How do you create livability in a dense city?” Goodwin says. “How do you make tall buildings that people really want to live in?”  This is a challenge that confronts architects around the world. Today, many design innovative new projects that aim to achieve densification without compromising on quality of life.

Cloud Corridor, Los Angeles

Cloud Corridor, Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, Chinese studio MAD has designed plans for Cloud Corridor, a high-density building with nine interconnected residential towers, that turns disparate neighborhoods into a vertical village with public spaces and gardens in the sky. The tower is meant to address the concern of suburban sprawl and also aims to connect people and nature. “The garden patios and courtyards provide a lush environment amid the surrounding urban density, and provide a retreat from the everyday among nature,” the studio says. The elevated corridors and multi-level garden patios shape the city skyline and provide viewing platforms for residents to overlook the city below and the natural landscapes beyond.

In Dubai, a new project called Suites in the Skai has 60 storeys with more than 500 apartments featuring their own sky gardens. Some also have swimming pools. Hussam Abdelghany, the associated design director at Atkins Global, says the sky gardens at the tower, which is due for completion in 2017, will increase shade and encourage wind penetration, producing a microclimate that will make the gardens a pleasant experience for most of the year, even when it is hot.

Diamond Lotus, Ho Chi Minh City

Diamond Lotus, Ho Chi Minh City

In Vietnam, studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently unveiled plans for the Diamond Lotus project, three 22 storey towers located on a finger of land between two rivers outside of Ho Chi Minh City. The project, which includes 720 residences, will be shielded from the tropical sunlight by swathes of bamboo and are connected via a planted roof garden that can be accessed from each apartment. “The connected roof provides the residents with a large green space, which rarely occurs in the city,” the studio said. While other developments are expediting the loss of greenery in the city, the architects say the green bridge and green façade of Diamond Lotus are not only a dedication to the comfort of inhabitants, but also “a contribution to the landscape, appearing as a green screen in the city.”

Bosco Verticale

Bosco Verticale

Allowing city dwellers to experience greenery and outdoor space is one factor motivating architects to incorporate sky gardens. But there are other advantages too. One of the first residential towers to incorporate sky gardens, Bosco Verticale, was designed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri as part of the rehabilitation of the historic district of Milan between Via De Castillia and Confalonieri. The scheme comprises two towers, both of which incorporate trees, and one which houses 400 condominium units. In addition to providing residents with their own leafy oasis, the trees help to mitigate smog, produce oxygen and moderate building temperatures in winter and summer. The plants also attenuate noise.

Tower of Cedars, Lausanne

Tower of Cedars, Lausanne

Now Stefano Boeri has designed a new 384 foot tall residential building in Lausanne, Switzerland, that bears many similarities to the Bosco Verticale. Named Tower of Cedars, the project is set to house more than 100 trees, 6,000 shrubs and 18,000 perennials. The apartment units protrude from the structure and offer views toward Lake Geneva, while their roofs are designed to accommodate plants.

According to Boeri, the building in the Chavannes-Près-Renens district of the city will be the first tower in the world to be covered with evergreen trees, selected in part for their ability to withstand harsh climates, and also the environmental function of their leaves which absorb CO2 and produce oxygen. “With the Tower of Cedar Trees we will have the opportunity to realize a plain building that will have a great role in the Lausanne landscape. An architecture able to introduce a significant biodiversity of vegetal species in the middle of an important European city,” Boeri says. The tower will comprise 36 floors and include private residences, offices and commercial space. There will also be a gym and a rooftop restaurant.

While buildings with sky gardens easily invoke a sense of utopian wonder, they are not built without challenges, particularly when it comes to structural support. At the Bosco Verticale in Milan, the engineering team worked with botanists and horticulturalists to ensure that the structure could bear the load imposed by the plants. The steel-reinforced concrete balconies are designed to be 11 inches thick with 4.2 foot parapets.

Slender residential towers such as those proposed in Manhattan have small floor plates and architects must ensure the building porosity does not compromise the tower stability.

At East 44th street, ODA utilized structural lateral systems in addition to a central core that act as the main supporting spine. The initial design did not include beams as the floors were supported by the building’s core, but Eran Chen says this proved structurally challenging. “By adding the beams we created ‘sculptured gardens’ that doubled as a way to protect against inclement weather while still providing 360 degree views.” Each garden is effectively covered by the floor above it and is protected from rain and snow.

Chen says the garden gaps at East 44th street also serve to lessen the wind load impacting the building — other skinny skyscrapers accomplish this via unused gaps throughout the structure. And the expansive height of the garden space with also permit a suffusion of sunlight throughout the central core and perimeter.  “We are used to seeing New York City’s towers as monolithic boxes usually housing corporate power. But today, as these towers become more residential, they do not need to have the same scale or design. They shouldn’t express the same thing,” he says. “When it comes to residential towers, they should all contain accessible outdoor space for all residents.”

Still, some critics argue that outdoor gardens at these heights is impractical in a city like New York, where temperatures drop well below freezing in winter months and the wind, which is known to howl down the avenues, would in this case howl both below and above you.

In London some critics allege that developers use the guarantee of lush green spaces to get building plans approved, but rarely deliver on their promise. At 20 Fenchurch Street early CGIs showed a storyboard of seductive images with residents mingling among cherry blossom from a soaring vantage point. The tower was given planning permission in an area never intended for tall buildings on the basis that it would deliver a public sky garden. Once complete, however, the garden amounted to nothing more than a few spindly trees in pot planters.

While down in Singapore, green design is on everyone’s mind when it comes to new architecture and not just to get buildings approved. The latest project by architect Christoph Ingenhoven is at the forefront of green technology. Ingenhoven Architects coined the term “Supergreen”. A concept they live and work by. Their definition of Supergreen: ‘an awareness of energy and resources, both in design, construction and operation and in the realization of the building and its use.’ Marina One was designed with this in mind. Located in the heart of Singapore, at Marina Bay. The two towers will be able to take advantage of rainwater harvesting, solar power and natural ventilation. Most importantly, at heart of the development is a 65,000 sq. ft. park, landscaped to fit its natural surroundings. Whether or not other future developments will follow suit to this extreme in Singapore, remains to be seen. However, Marina One is certainly taking being green, to the next level.

As with all new building trends, early incarnations will include hits and misses. It may take some time determine which types of sky gardens are truly used and enjoyed by residents. But architects like Chen are bullish about the potential for vertical parks to transform the contemporary urban reality.  “We believe that true luxury evolved from the ability to have the best of multiple worlds without compromise, and in this tower, the best of urban living melds with the dream of a suburban backyard,” he says. “There’s going to be a time in New York City where living without a substantial outdoor space is just going to be unacceptable.”

Story Credits
Text by Sophie Kalkreuth & Robbie Wilson

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

Port House, Antwerp inaugurated September 22, 2016 © Helene Binet

Zaha Hadid Architects Visionary Antwerp Port House

Zaha Hadid Architects’ design for the newly inaugurated Port House, Antwerp is a blend of historical reverence and an evocative vision of the future.

Belgium’s Antwerp is Europe’s second largest shipping port, handling 26 percent of the continent’s container shipping but it lacked a central headquarters for its staff. The Flemish government’s department of architecture and the City and Port authorities thus organized a design competition for the new head office. The only requisite was that it preserve the fire station that was originally there.

The basis of Zaha Hadid Architects’ winning design was historical research, and follows a joint effort with a heritage consultant in the restoration and renovation of historic monuments. The elevated extension crowns the fire station building below in a clever juxtaposition of new volume and old Hanseatic design.

The old fire station’s central courtyard is enclosed with a glass roof, in which visitors can access a public reading room and library. The new extension provides panoramic views of the city and port. Its exterior has a glazed surface that reflects the changing tones of the sky. Triangular facets, a mix of transparent and opaque, ensure sufficient sunlight, and make reference to Antwerp’s reputation as the city of diamonds.

The new building is an active professional space with meeting rooms, open-plan offices, an auditorium, and a restaurant. Sustainable and energy-efficient design choices (reaching a ‘Very Good’ BREEAM environmental rating) minimize water consumption and maximize daylight.

If the original structure preserves Antwerp’s “golden century” in the 1500s, Marc Van Peel, president of the Port of Antwerp, said: “now above this original, a contemporary structure in shining glass has been built, which I am sure represents a new golden century for Antwerp.”

This structure is among over 30 projects that were under development at the time of studio founder Zaha Hadid’s death earlier this year.

Port House, Antwerp inaugurated September 22, 2016 © Hufton+Crow

Port House, Antwerp inaugurated September 22, 2016 © Hufton+Crow

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

The most beautiful restaurant in all London is a German gymnasium… Well, the German Gymnasium, in fact. This stunning two-story restaurant served in a former life as England’s first purpose-built gym and helped to host London’s first National Olympic Games in 1866. In a twist that might be hard to understand, the German brasserie has been named the most beautiful eatery at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016.

The German Gymnasium, located in the heart of King’s Cross in London, was named the overall winner at the eighth annual event, which shines the spotlight on the most beautifully designed spaces around the world.

Lovers of good design will appreciate the German Gymnasium as it pays respectful homage to its heritage in preserving original details like the climbing hooks in the ceiling and cast steel columns.

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

The building was completed in 1865 and was funded from London’s Germany community for the German Gymnastics Society.

Designed by Conran & Partners, the restaurant is described as a modern interpretation of a classic brasserie with German overtones. Warm walnut timber paneling and black and grey distressed leather upholstery are set off against fresh, contemporary accents like an occasional pink and red tone. The space features two bars, first floor restaurant, Grand Cafe and outdoor terrace.

The menu is likewise a celebration of the landmark’s German roots under the culinary vision of chef Bjoern Wassmuth, who has created a menu featuring a few classic Mittel-European dishes like schnitzel, currywurst, sauerkraut and strudels.

The Black Forest menu features black forest ham, truffled potato soup, venison “Baden Baden” with Spatzle and lingonberries and a chocolate sponge cake with cherries and chantilly called the “Danube.”

german_gymnasiu-1176a145542-h0

In the category of best overall bar design, the Blue Wave bar in Barcelona was given the top honor. Designed by El Equipo Creativo, the interior is conceived to evoke a wave about to break.

Located on the water’s edge in the Barcelona Port, designers used reflective elements and ceramic tile in various shades of blue and white to harken sea foam, sea waves and light.

Here are the international winners of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016:

  • Best Overall Restaurant: German Gymnasium, London, UK designed by Conran & Partners
  • Best Overall Bar: Blue Wave, Barcelona, Spain, El Equipo Creativo

Regional winners:

  • Best Restaurant North America: Torafuku, Vancouver, Canada, by Scott & Scott Architects
  • Best Bar North America: Kat & Theo, New York, USA by Aviva Collective
  • Best Restaurant Europe: Les Bains, Paris, France, RDAI
  • Best Bar Europe: Blue Wave, Barcelona, Spain, El Equipo Creativo
  • Best Bar Asia: Foxglove, Hong Kong, NCDA
  • Best Restaurant Asia: Shugaa, Bangkok, Thailand, Party Space Design
  • Best Restaurant Australia & Pacific: So 9, Sydney, Australia, Brand Works
  • Best Bar Australia & Pacific Bar: Pink Moon Saloon, Adelaide, Australia, Sans-Arc Studio
  • Best Bar Middle East Africa: News Cafe, Johannesburg, South Africa, Studio A
  • Best Restaurant Middle East & Africa Restaurant: Jo Grilled Food, Tehran, Iran, White Rhino Design Group
CEO of Italian design company Kartell, Claudio Luti

Sustainable Design: Improving Daily Life

Today, the design world embraces “green” and “meaningful” production more than ever. The concept dates back to the 1920s, when visionary US architect R. Buckminster Fuller advocated that “less is more” and that design should be “anticipatory” to help solve world problems.

“For both consumers and creators, interest in ‘the sustainable’ is growing each year,” said Franck Millot, director of the annual Paris Design Week – a major showcase of the latest trends in global furnishings and decoration.

“A designer doesn’t just create beautiful objects, they also think in terms of improving daily life,” he added.

French architect and designer Patrick Nadeau, a pioneer in urban hanging gardens and plant-based design, is typical of this line of thinking.

“Plants, vegetable material, with their colors, their matter, their translucence, they help create awareness, a living, evolving framework,” he said.

Nadeau received praise for an environmentally friendly social housing project in Reims, capital of Champagne.

Despite strict budget constraints, the homes were all made of wood and incorporated plants and sloping earthen walls – as well as optimal orientation – to enhance thermal insulation, lighting and harmony with nature.

Energy transition

Fuller’s notions hit home with the 1970s oil crisis. The embargo the Organization of the Petoleum Exporting Countries slapped on industrialised countries over US involvement in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War suddenly cut back supplies.

As a result, these nations began to rethink their dependency on oil. For Nadeau, the post-oil “energy transition” is also a responsibility for designers and architects.

“We must embrace these questions, if not we’ll resign ourselves to old standards rather than consider new ways of living.”

One who has taken up the challenge is Kartell, the high-end Italian design firm that has upheld plastics as a “vector” of modernity for 70 years. In April, it launched its first “biodegradable” chair made from plant-based waste and microorganisms.

“Such eco-design allows you to produce without destroying, it’s part of our strategy for the future,” Kartell president Claudio Luti told the French daily Le Monde.

The switch often involves a high-tech reinterpretation of age-old plant matter like linen fabric from flax, hemp, jute, seaweed and vetiver, an easily woven fibrous root common in Madagascar now much in demand in Europe and the United States.

Centuries ago, resistent linen was pressed in successive layers to make armour for Alexander the Great and painting canvas for the world’s great masters.

Today it is mixed with resin to produce snowboards, chairs, helmets and car doors – an eco-friendly substitute for products once reliant on fossil fuel-based carbon and plastic-based fiberglass. Similarly, tough jute is used to produce the solid hulls of boats.

Other materials find a second – often classier – life through “upcycling”, a movement to repurpose old or discarded objects so they do not add to the world’s garbage mass.

One specialist at the Paris Design Week was a Dutch firm with the motto “from waste to wonderful”. Called Rescued, it offers everything from paper chandeliers made of printshop waste to chair cushions fashioned from old blankets.

Luxury firms have also joined the trend, like Hermes whose “Petit h” laboratory recycles its high-end scraps for resale as mug holders, bracelets, even leather pinwheels.

One French designer adds modern bells and whistles such as wifi and bluetooth to big old vintage radios.

Slow design

Along with “upcycling”, another mantra these days is “Slow Design” – which took its cue from the Slow Food movement – “a holistic, sustainable approach that emphasizes the long-term benefit of products and their impact on the well-being of consumers and the planet”, said Design Week director Millot.

With “Slow Design”, “there is renewed interest in old-fashioned knowhow and craftsmanship, objects that have a history, where there is a human touch and a desire for reasonable consumption,” he said.

Millot concedes that touting ecology in what is basically a product-driven sales sector may be contradictory, but says he feels the young generation of designers are more “aware of the stakes”.

They include French industrial designer Julien Phedyaff who in 2014 created a washing machine dubbed “Unbreakable” – which won him the prestigious James Dyson award, named for the British inventor best known for his vacuum cleaners.

Designed to last a half a century, the machine comes in a kit to be put together and taken apart when parts need replacing or repairing – Phedyaff’s direct challenge to “planned obsolescence” in high-tech items and household appliances whose manufacturers are often accused of deliberately limiting the lifespan of their products.

Two years on, he is looking for partners to help commercialize his product.

Rome Reopens Spanish Steps After Renovation

Rome Reopens Spanish Steps After Renovation

From Friday, tourists and locals are once again be able to saunter up and down the Spanish Steps, after a year-long renovation to the Rome tourist landmark.

The famous marble steps will also stay open at night despite concern about potential damage to one of the architectural jewels of the Eternal City.

“The steps will not be closed at night. I think it is fundamental to let people have access… and to make them responsible for what they do at them,” said Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi.

Discolored by years of pollution but also caked in chewing gum and stained by wine and coffee spills, the Spanish Steps were restored to their original white glory by a team of 82 workers.

The 1.5 million euro ($1.7 million) restoration of the landmark, made famous in the United States by the 1953 film Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, was financed by upmarket jeweler Bulgari.

The firm’s boss Paolo Bulgari has voiced concern about a return by “barbarians” to the Steps, near to which the jeweler has a store.

In February 2015 supporters of Feyenoord Rotterdam, in the capital for a football match against AS Rome, ransacked the Piazza di Spagna at the bottom of the Steps, damaging its main fountain, known to Romans as La Barcaccia.

“The city pledges that the Steps will be maintained for as long as possible in its new splendour, and we will strive to prevent misuse which would damage it,” said Raggi.

The landmark, comprising 135 steps on three levels designed by archtect Francesco de Sanctis between 1723 and 1726, had not been restored for 20 years.

The work was the latest in a string of famous Italian monuments to have been renovated with funds from private donors, often from the luxury sector.

The first phase of a multi-million-euro makeover of Rome’s Colosseum was completed in July, in a project largely funded by fashion and shoewear group Tod’s.

Roman fashion house Fendi paid for a 16-month clean-up of the Trevi fountain which has been acclaimed by visitors.

5 Must-Read Design Books 2016

The London Design Festival is bringing the art of design to the heart of the British capital, from now until September 25. Here is a look at some useful reading material to bring you up to speed with the world of design this fall.

Hadid by Philip Jodido, published by Taschen

After her sudden and unexpected death this year, this book celebrates one of the leading figures of world architecture. Known for her large, bold structures with audacious curves, Zaha Hadid was the first female recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. This Taschen monograph looks back over the renowned architect’s extraordinary career.

Arita / Table of Contents: Studies in Japanese Porcelain by Anniina Koivu, published by Phaidon

The art of Japanese porcelain manufacturing began in Arita, some 400 years ago. This book, published by Phaidon, celebrates traditional Japanese ceramic culture through the ages.

Volez Voguez Voyagez (Louis Vuitton) published by Assouline

Based on the recent Louis Vuitton exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, this book from Assouline is ideal for anyone who couldn’t catch the show. It is also a great way to discover the world of the famous French luggage maker, intent on making traveling effortless and fashionable.

Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris by Jörg Ebeling and Ulrich Leben, published by Flammarion

In 1803, Joséphine Bonaparte – wife of the future Emperor of France – acquired the Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris, which she renovated for her son, Eugène de Beauharnais. Becoming an embassy during the 19th century, the Hôtel is a visible incarnation of Consulate and Empire décor styles. This first monograph dedicated to the building is due for release in November.

Cartier Dazzling: High Jewelry and Precious Objects by François Chaille, published by Flammarion

Although mere mortals can only dream of donning Cartier’s legendary jewelry creations, this book showcases a selection of the luxury label’s dazzling delights. The tome is written by the same French fashion writer behind The Book of Ties.

Designs of the Year 2016 Nominees

10 Nominees for Designs of the Year 2016

We love great designs and we’re pretty sure you do too so covering the Beazley Designs of the Year 2016 nominees is a no-brainer. Ok so you might be scratching your head about that name but basically, this is the Design Museum in London’s world-famous Designs of the Year. Really, it is so famous the names are just the Design Museum and Designs of the Year, which is just awful for SEO (if anybody at the Museum is paying attention).

Now in its ninth year, Beazley Designs of the Year celebrates designs released over the last 12 months that “promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year,” as the Museum’s official message reads. The nominees will be on view at the Design Museum in London from November 24, 2016 – February 19, 2017, when the space reopens in its new headquarters in West London. Oh yes, about that name again. Beazley is not an effort to associate the awards with a name, just the name of the sponsor this year.

Designs of the Year 2016 Nominees

Fondazione Prada in Milan by OMA © Courtesy of Fondazione Prada, Photograph by Bas Princen

The nominees in six categories include architecture (from small-scale domestic to public parks), fashion (collections from student graduation shows to iconic fashion houses), graphics (beautiful packaging, books, magazines, branding, exhibition design, typefaces), products (furniture, toys, packaging, lighting, technology, homeware), plus digital projects and transport.

Standouts from this year’s architecture category include Herzog & de Meuron’s recently completed Tate Modern Switch House, the gold leaf-painted Fondazione Prada in Milan by Rem Koolhaas’s firm OMA, Bjarke Ingels’ sloped 600-apartment residential building in Manhattan with a silhouette reminiscent of a shark fin, and Beijing studio MAD Architects’ undulating Harbin Opera House featuring two concert halls and a public plaza.

Designs of the Year 2016 Nominees

Residential building in Manhattan by Bjarke Ingels Group © Photo by Nic Lehoux

Graphics nominees include the designers of Malaysia’s protest posters that demonstrators could access online, a clever first aid kit for refugees and the design of David Bowie’s final album cover. The Bowie album cover was released on the iconic musician’s birthday (and just days prior to his death). Its dark simplicity was intended to reflect the musician’s mortality, per graphic design collaborator Jonathan Barnbrook, who did five of Bowie’s album covers.

The product shortlist includes a Space Cup for astronauts, a sleek Kodak Super 8 camera, minimalist Muji kitchen appliances, and LEGO figures. Another candidate, Adidas x Parley running shoes, used existing footwear manufacturing processes but replaced the usual synthetics with yarns made from recycled gill net dredged from the sea.

Designs of the Year 2016 Nominees

First aid kit for refugees by Erwin k. Bauer, Anne Hoffman, Dasha Zaichanka, Katharina Holzl, Miriam S. Koller © Photo by buero bauer

Collections produced by Craig Green, Agi and Sam, and Richard Malone are highlighted in the fashion category. The transport category includes a digital compass for bicycles and a crowdfunded bicycle helmet. The digital category included OpenSurgery, a do-it-yourself surgery robot for an at-home laparoscopy.

A winner will be selected in each category, and one overall winner will be announced on January 26, 2017.

Previous winners have included Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center (for the Republic of Azerbaijan) in 2014, and the 2015 prize went to a microdevice made to mimic complex tissue structures of the human body, designed by a duo at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute.

Here are the 10 designs that caught our eye this time. More images follow after the break.

  • 1. Harbin Opera House by MAD architects
  • 2. Fondazione Prada in Milan by OMA
  • 3. Residential building in Manhattan by Bjarke Ingels Group
  • 4. First aid kit for refugees by Erwin k. Bauer, Anne Hoffman, Dasha Zaichanka, Katharina Holzl, Miriam S. Koller
  • 5. Adidas x Parley running shoe by Adidas Sustainability Team, Adidas Design Team, Alexander Taylor, Parley for the Oceans, Sea Shepherd
  • 6. Tokyo Tribal by Nendo
  • 7. Precious Plastics by Dave Hakkens
  • 8. MUJI kitchen appliances by Naoto Fukasawa
  • 9. Kodak Super 8 Camera by Yves Behar, Ilgu Cha, Sarah Neurnberger, Steven Overman, Danielle Atkins
  • 10. Space cup by Mark Weislogel, Andrew Wollman, John Graf, Donald Pettit, Ryan Jenson
Designs of the Year 2016 Nominees

Adidas x Parley running shoe by Adidas Sustainability Team, Adidas Design Team, Alexander Taylor, Parley for the Oceans, Sea Shepherd

Designs of the Year 2016 Nominees

Tokyo Tribal by Nendo. © Photo by Akihiro Yoshida

Designs of the Year 2016 Nominees

Precious Plastics by Dave Hakkens. © Photo by Dave Hakkens

Designs of the Year 2016 Nominees

MUJI kitchen appliances by Naoto Fukasawa.

Designs of the Year 2016 Nominees

Kodak Super 8 Camera by Yves Behar, Ilgu Cha, Sarah Neurnberger, Steven Overman, Danielle Atkins. © Photo by fuseproject

Designs of the Year 2016 Nominees

Space cup by Mark Weislogel, Andrew Wollman, John Graf, Donald Pettit, Ryan Jenson. © Photo by Samantha Cristoforetti (ESA NASA)

Frank Lloyd Wright building may rise again

Frank Lloyd Wright Building May Rise Again

One of the world’s most famous architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, was commissioned to design a visitor’s pavilion in Banff, in the Canadian province of Alberta, at the turn of the 20th century. Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the locale was increasingly growing as a tourist draw.

Completed in 1914, in collaboration with Canadian architect Francis Conroy Sullivan, Wright’s structure cost an estimated $20,000. His open plan approach was radical relative to the design norm of rigidly structured rooms. Wright preached liberating space, steeped in a desire to closely associate man and nature.

Wright’s edifice eschewed, however, the locals’ request for a multi-purpose winter sporting facility. Wright implemented his signature “Prairie” style for a picnic shelter: a long, low structure that emphasized the horizontality of the surrounding vista.

While Wright used natural materials (cedar, spruce, local stone), his low-hipped roof was incompatible with the realities of the region’s snowy winter weather. Moreover, the building’s absence of heating was hugely problematic in such a cold climate. His structure was critically dismissed as “neither ornamental nor useful.”

Frank Lloyd Wright building may rise again

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Banff Pavilion Exterior, circa 1920. © Photographer Unknown

The pavilion’s recreational grounds, which were located adjacent to the river, frequently flooded; one 1933 flood caused severe structural damage. In 1938 the pavilion was demolished, replaced with tennis courts and, at a later date, a skateboard park. No traces of the building remain today.

A small committee advocating to resurrect the building was formed in the early 1980s. The movement gained support from the architectural world, and the possibility of using Wright’s old sketches would enable a faithful restitution of structure.

Earlier this year, the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative – an organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of the renowned architect – petitioned the Banff Town Council for permission to rebuild the structure. American filmmaker Michael Miner is leading the effort, having set up a nonprofit to facilitate fund-raising. The architect’s grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright, is an advocate as well.

At a meeting held on March 29, 2016, the Banff council accepted the proposal on speculative terms, since some pragmatic requisites, including funding, have yet to be determined.

Frank Lloyd Wright building may rise again

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Banff Pavilion. © Calgarian architectural illustrator Bill Ross

“Council supported the initiative in principle, so that they could consider reconstruction at the Banff Recreation Grounds, and asked that the Initiative submit a feasibility and cost analysis study… plus an assessment of the project on the community,” said Diana Waltmann, Manager of Communications and Marketing for the Town of Banff. No deadline was imposed. Once the Council receives the above information, stakeholders (including Parks Canada and local businesses) would have to weigh in.

“Over the last 35 years there have been a number of efforts to see it rebuilt. Only recently however, has Banff’s Town Council demonstrated a sincere willingness to move ahead,” the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative (FLWRI) stated in a press release.

The Banff structure was ultimately only one of only two Frank Lloyd Wright buildings constructed in Canada. The other, a private cottage located in Ontario, still stands.

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Attend These: 6 Design Exhibitions, Paris

You might already be familiar with big-name shows such as Maison & Objet (from September 2 – 6) and Paris Design Week (September 3 – 10), but there are a number of smaller, off-beat gems in every corner of the French capital to check out too. Here are six design exhibitions even the most critical of design fans would love.

Muji Pop-Up Exhibition, September 2 – 25 2016; Rue des Blancs Manteaux
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The Muji pop up exhibition will focus on the brand’s visual identity. © Muji

Founded in Japan in 1980, Muji’s “no-brand” branding ironically made it a household name with its focus on product quality above all else. It is easy to see how one of its founders, Ikko Tanaka – an integral Japanese designer in the 20th century – conveyed the Muji spirit to everything, including the poster designs; a selection of these will be on display at the pop-up exhibition next month.

“Roger Tallon, Design in Motion”, September 8, 2016 – January 8, 2017; Musée des Arts Décoratifs
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Roger Tallon and his models for the TGV 001, TGV Duplex, and TGV Atlantique trains.
© Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris / A.D.A.G.P. 2016

Highly regarded as one of France’s pioneering industrial designer, Roger Tallon might have passed away in 2011 but his remarkable work lives on. He was responsible for the design of many trains, such as the TGV Duplex, the Eurostar and the Montmartre funicular railway. Throughout his 60-year career, the prolific designer also had the route maps for the RER (Paris’ suburban rail network), Wimpy chair M400 spiral staircase, 3T tableware and Teleavia portable TV to his name. Now, many of his lesser-known works in the form of drawings, photos, documents and models – which he donated to the museum in 2008 – will finally be on display to public.

“The Spirit of Bauhaus”, October 19, 2016 – February 26, 2017; Musée des Arts Décoratifs
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Poster for the 1923 Bauhaus Exhibition in Weimar.
© Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin

Marcel Breur, creator of tubular furniture, and photographer Florence Henri (student of Paul Klee and Vassily Kandinsky) both had one thing in common: they both attended the Bauhaus art school in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin from 1919 to 1933. The institution, famous for producing many influential artists and designers brought about a new approach to daily living by bridging the gap between all disciplines of art, including music, photography, architecture and even engineering. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs pays homage to this artistic movement by not only displaying original Bauhaus pieces, but also via the historical periods and their art forms which fueled the school’s spirit.

Exhibition of Jean Nouvel furniture, October 27 – February 12, 2017; Musée des Arts Décoratifs
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Triptychs, 2014, walnut and colored mirrors (Gagosian Gallery and Galerie Patrick Segui).
© Aline Coquelle

You might know Jean Nouvel for his architectural work but his furniture designs are mostly unknown pleasures. From 1987 to present day, the French architect has more than a hundred designs to his name. These will be displayed in various parts of the museum together with their advertising campaigns, of which he also designed in 1998.

“1976-2016: 40 Years of Magis Dreams”, August 31 – October 3, 2016; Pompidou Centre store (main image)

Italian furniture company Magis celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a retrospective of its history and most recent collections. The mini exhibition, which coincides with Paris Design Week, will also feature Magis’ symbolic cast iron mule, which was specially designed by the brand’s 76-year-old founder, Eugenio Perazza.

AD Interiors exhibition dedicated to collections, September 3 – 18 2016; Monnaie de Paris
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The Ora-Ito-designed kitchen for the 2016 AD Interiors exhibition which this year is dedicated to collections.
© Ora-ïto / “AD Intérieurs 2016, Univers de collectionneurs”

Six years ago, Architectural Digest magazine celebrated its 10th anniversary with its first AD Interiors exhibition, where 10 handpicked designers and interior decorators had to design a room using their style and expertise. For this year’s iteration, participants –including Ora-Ïto, Tristan Auer and Fabrice Ausset – have to create décor for a room based on the theme of the collections.

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London Royal College of Art: Shortlisted Architects

London’s Royal College of the Arts is well on its way to having a brand new campus at Battersea South, having shortlisted seven architectural practices from its design competition. Founded in 1837, the Royal College of the Arts was named top art and design school this year in the annual QS World University Rankings. The institution offers MA, MPhil and PhD degrees across the disciplines of applied art, fine art, design, communications and humanities.

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View of Stanford University’s Art and Art History Building in Palo Alto, California, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro © Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Soon, the school will not only expand its campus but also its curriculum to include robotics, sustainability and city design, thanks to £108 million in funding from the UK government. The new campus – encompassing 15,000 sq-ft – will host the new range of courses with a focus on merging design, science and technology.

“The building has to reflect the radical nature, experimentation and high design standards of the world’s pre-eminent art and design university,” said Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the RCA and Chair of the architectural Selection Panel.

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The Building of Columbia College Chicago Media Production Center in Chicago, Illinois, designed by Studio Gang.

The seven finalist teams were selected from a total of 97 practices from around the world. The shortlist was selected by a panel of judges that included RCA Rector Paul Thompson, the college’s architectural dean Adrian Lahoud, urban design expert Ricky Burdett and MoMA curator Paola Antonelli. The shortlisted teams have had experience designing educational facilities before. Diller Scofidio + Renfro worked on the Brown University’s Centre for the Creative Arts in Providence, Rhode Island and Stanford University’s Art and Art History Building in Paolo Alto, California. Herzog & de Meuron were selected for Blavatnik School of Government at UK’s Oxford, Lacaton & Vassal for the Architecture School of Nantes in France and Serie Architects for the New School of Design and Environment at the National University of Singapore. Meanwhile, Studio Gang designed the Columbia College Chicago Media Production Center in Chicago, Illinois.
The winners are expected to be announced in October 2016, and till then, we’re eagerly awaiting the new design plan for the campus.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House Gets Acoustics Overhaul

The Sydney Opera House will undergo a multi-million-dollar overhaul, with an emphasis on improving its acoustics, once described as worse than an aircraft hangar, officials said last week.

The Aus$247 million ($190 million) revamp is the biggest since Australia’s most recognizable building opened in 1973 and includes other upgrades to the main concert hall and the foyer, along with a new function center.

Describing the landmark as a “symbol of modern Australia”, New South Wales state deputy Premier Troy Grant said the renovations were necessary to help the Opera House – the country’s busiest performing arts center – meet demand.

The refurbishments in the concert hall will involve the installation of a new acoustic ceiling, specially designed acoustic reflectors, automated draping, and a 3D surround-sound system.

The second-largest performance space, the Joan Sutherland Theatre, is also being redeveloped.

There has long been criticism of the acoustics of the concert hall, which is located inside the largest roof sail of the Opera House.

US actor John Malkovich in 2014 said the acoustics were so hideous they “would do an airplane hangar a disservice”.

“It’s lovely to drive by on a motor boat and it has a very nice crew, and very capable, but the acoustics are hideous,” the American star told a local newspaper then.

In 1999, Sydney Symphony Orchestra chief conductor Edo de Waart threatened to boycott the venue during the 2000 Olympics, calling its acoustic reflectors “a joke”.

“The doughnuts (clear, circular reflectors above the platform) are a joke. They might as well be toilet seats. They do nothing whatsoever,” de Waart told the ABC then about his frustrations, which were shared by his predecessors.

“It’s very frustrating. You get no help from this hall. It actually takes away from the sound the orchestra makes.”

Danish architect Jorn Utzon began work on the harborside structure in 1957 but quit the project in 1966 during construction following a storm of controversy over budget blow-outs and his artistic vision.

Changes to the interior design after Utzon departed left the building – which was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2007 – with acoustics criticized as inadequate for international opera standards.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s managing director Rory Jeffes said his musicians were excited about the improvements, adding they would deliver the “true ambitions” of the original creators.

The concert hall revamp is expected to start in mid-2019 and last for 18 months.

British Airways i360 close

World’s Tallest Moving Observation Tower Opens

The world’s tallest moving observation tower is set to open in Brighton next week, sending visitors up 450 feet in the air on a vertical cable car.

Designed by the same architects who dreamed up the iconic London Eye, British Airways i360 is England’s newest landmark, erected in the seaside resort town of Brighton about an hour’s train ride south of London.

Designed like a futuristic glass viewing pod, the capsule glides slowly up to 450 feet, where it stops and allows riders to take in the 360-degree views across Brighton, the South Downs and the Sussex coastline.

Flights last about 20 minutes when taken in the day and stretch out to 30 minutes after 6 pm when the pod transforms into the Sky Bar, serving locally produced sparkling wine.

The tower’s completion comes 10 years after the idea was first conceived by husband and wife team David Marks and Julia Barfield. The tower itself is powered entirely on green and renewable energy, and the pod’s descent generates half of the energy required to power its ascent.

At the base of the tower, the beach building is set to house a trio of different dining options that will include a formal dining area, a tea room and casual café with terrace that overlooks the pier. Other features include a children’s play area and retail spaces. Tickets are now on sale. The tower opens to the public August 4.

British Airways i360 Bristol scenic

San Shan Bridge Unveiled for Beijing Winter Olympics

Beijing’s ever-evolving landscape will soon see a futuristic, double-helix bridge named San Shan Bridge come 2022, when the city hosts the Winter Olympic Games.

Stretching out from across the city to the mountainous region of Zhangjiakou over the river Gui, the infrastructure – translated to “Three Mountains” – is part of the government’s efforts to provide more efficient transportation to the event location for athletes.

Beijing WInter Olympics_San Shan Bridge_

Referencing the union of the five continents, just like the interlaced rings of the Olympic logo, the 452-meter-long bridge sees three sets of cross-connected structures that reflects its name. Each of these structures have a maximum span of 95 meters and are supported by high-strength steel cables that crisscross the bridge in an elegantly woven design. To facilitate movement, the bridge will also be separated into transportation and pedestrian sections via two strips of trees and bushes.

Beijing WInter Olympics_San Shan Bridge_

Beijing and Vienna-based architecture firm Penda – whose portfolio includes the bamboo pavilion “One with the Birds” for Beijing Design Week 2015 – will work alongside global engineering consultants ARUP on the ambitious task. If ARUP sounds familiar, it is because the prolific firm has taken projects such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Headquarters in Seattle to completion and are currently working on Apple Campus 2.

Beijing WInter Olympics_San Shan Bridge_

However, the San Shan Bridge is but part of a larger city expansion scheme for the Chinese capital. Beijing Horticultural Expo 2019 (a future exhibition hub) and a more extensive transport system (11,700km of metro planned for 2050) will cater to the city’s aspiration of evolving into a supercity – the third largest in the world at that, with more than 21 million people.

Morocco Unveils Mohammed VI Bridge, Africa’s Longest

Lighting up the Moroccan skyline is the Mohammed VI bridge. With its multi-colored, variable LED lights, it is hard to miss Africa’s longest cable-stayed bridge. Named after King Mohammed VI of Morocco, it was inaugurated earlier this month.

The bridge spans 950 meters in length and is six lanes and includes two 200-meter tall towers while being held together by 160 cables. The connector between the Moroccan capital, Rabat and the city of Salé was constructed by China railway Major Bridge Engineering Group and took five years to be completed.Mohammed-VI-Bridge-Morocco-close-up

The colorful display is achieved with the help of Philips Lighting, who has dressed the bridge in LED lights to commemorate the inauguration. Using Philips Color Kinetics technology, operators can choose between 16 million colors for eye-catching light shows along the bridge. The lights that run along all the cables and pillars are expected to be “up to 75% more energy efficient that conventional lighting systems.”

This is hardly the first bridge to be lit up thanks to Philips’ LED lighting system. From the London Bridge, to the Bosphorus Bridge in Turkey and even the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston, the light manufacturer has been lighting up bridges the world over.Mohammed-VI-Bridge-Morocco-Philips-Lighting

While the Mohammed VI bridge holds the title as the longest bridge in the continent, it is only the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. The longest cable-stayed bridges in the world (not counting pipeline bridges) are currently the Russky Bridge in Russia (1,104 meters) and the Sutong Bridge in China (1,088 meters).

Grimshaw Architects Expand London Heathrow Airport

In some good news since Brexit, it seems plans to give London’s Heathrow Airport a well-needed makeover might soon be a reality, with a little help from architectural firm Grimshaw.

Announced July 19, the London-based firm ousted competitors the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects, Benoy and HOK with its “visionary concept designs, which pushed the boundary of what an airport could and should be” and “unique ideas around how Heathrow could be expanded in a sustainable but affordable way.”

Its concept design, revealed in a clip below, sees a new international terminal that features a satellite concourse, control tower, urban center and landscaped exterior. As per the brief, their submission showed innovative, contemporary lines with an emphasis on sustainable infrastructure. The Central Terminal will also be redesigned to become the host of Terminal 2, with a large skylight and curving balcony that will house retail outlets.

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Heathrow’s head of design Barry Weekes is quoted insisting that “with the concept architect and programme client partners now in place, we are now ready to begin the process of expansion once the government makes the right choice for the whole of Britain.”

London Heathrow Airport is certain the upgrade will go ahead despite disapproval from public figures, as well as environmental and local advocacy groups, citing the importance of a new runway and terminal for Britain, especially in the current European climate. However, the final decision, which lies with the Transport Minister, still remains to be seen, as new Prime Minister Theresa Lay continues to strongly oppose the expansion.