2,300 Floating Flowers: Interactive Garden Makes Way as You Walk


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floating plants experienced together

Responding to the movements of visitors passing through the space, this immersive work of installation art puts you in a private bubble in the midst of dense hanging garden – except this remarkable bubble that moves with you.

teamlab floating flower installation

The Floating Flower Garden by TeamLab, a Japanese art collective, is on display in Tokyo, having been extended due to popular demand. Suspended from above, the plants are pulled up or dropped down to both envelop visitors but also given them hemispheres of personal space amid the floating foliage.

floating flower art installation

The idea is to make each guest part of the installation, allowing them to separate from friends and experience it alone or to move in groups and see how the computer system responds in realtime.

floating solo alone forest

Meanwhile, the digital setup is not the only piece that changes things over time: “these flowers are alive and growing with each passing day. Each flower has a partner insect and the scent of the flowers becomes stronger at the time that the insect is most active, as a result the scent of the air in the garden space changes according to the time of day, morning, noon, and evening.”

floating walking bubble interactive

TeamLab believes technology elevates art, but their work also places into pre-modern knowledge and ancient ideas of spatial awareness originating in Japanese philosophy and religion, including Zen gardens. More from the artists: “When a viewer gets close to this flower-filled space, the flowers close to the viewer rise upwards all at once, creating a hemispherical space with the viewer at its center.”

floating garden immersive space

“In other words, although the whole space is filled with flowers, a hemispherical space is constantly being created with the viewer at its center and the viewer is free to move around wherever they want. If many viewers get close to one another, the dome spaces link up to form one single space. In this interactive floating flower garden viewers are immersed in flowers, and become completely one with the garden itself.”

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Hole in the Ground: 5 Ideas to Fill Downtown Chicago Spire Void


[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

chicago spire

Designed by a world-famous architect, the Chicago Spire was set to be the second-tallest building in the world, but now that plans for its construction have been abandoned local firms are stepping up to suggest novel ways to reuse the voided project’s remnant space.

chicago spire void

Submitted to Chicago Magazine, these various schemes to replace the failed vision of Santiago Calatrava are bound to resonate with residents, created by and for the local population and context, featuring everything from underground performance spaces and wildlife sanctuaries to urban lighthouses and swimming holes.

chicago spire amphitheater

One proposal invites people to occupy the hole in the form of a seven-story underground amphitheater, allowing loud late-night events to operate freely in the subterranean space. This Underground Amphitheater scheme by SPACE Architects + Planners is likened to a headphone buried in the Earth, its emissions audible when you get up close and keep an ear to the ground.

chicago spire bird sanctuary

A radically different tactic suggests a steel aviary trellis surrounded by native vegetation. serving as a stopping point and bird-watching spot for migratory species. Dubbed Birds in Horto by designer Hoerr Schaudt, the void in this case remains inaccessible, a mystery at the center of a larger natural park space. “A 10-story spiraling trellis of steel and wood serves as armature for nesting and perching, while a surrounding thicket of native plants, such as crabapple and plum trees, offers sustenance. An elevated walkway lets you observe the warblers, cardinals, and sparrows without disturbing them.”

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Sound & Fury: Motorcycle & Instrument Designers Switch Roles


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yamaha switch roles 1

How would someone who designs motorcycles for a living approach creating a kit of drums, and vice versa? Yamaha’s Project AH A MAY explores that question, swapping the roles of designers in very different fields to produce the kinds of creative epiphanies that can only occur when taking a truly fresh look at a subject.

yamaha switch roles 2

yamaha switch roles 7

The RAIJIN God of the Thunder Drums, for example, seat the performer inside a cage, surrounding them with drum surfaces in a nearly-full sphere. This puts the musician in the driver’s seat metaphorically, and encourages them to have an even more physical interaction with their instrument. The same goes for FUJIN God of the Wind, a marimba that has two people playing at once as if they’re sitting on a two-seater motorcycle.

yamaha switch roles 3

yamaha switch roles 4

Meanwhile, the ROOT motorcycle design is incredibly sleek, with brass parts contrasting against a whole lot of matte black. The flowing seat form runs from the front all the way to the fuel tank, with instrument panels and meters hidden underneath so the driver is fully focused on the experience of riding and watching the scenery.

yamaha switch roles 5

yamaha switch roles 6

The Zero Plus/Minus Zero electric bicycle fits into a very musical-looking charging stand; to juice it up, you simply pedal. The energized battery can then be used to power all sorts of electronic gadgets around the house – including musical instruments.

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For the Record: 13 Modern & Conceptual Turntable Designs


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turntable flynote 2

As record players enjoy a resurgence in popularity, their designs get sleeker and more modern, incorporating 3D printing, lasers, magnets that levitate the disc so it plays while in mid-air and other high-tech features.

Star Trek Enterprise Record Player

turntables star trek 2

turntables star trek 1

It’s truly a shame that this Star Trek Enterprise-shaped record player is just a model and doesn’t actually work, but the level lot detail is impressive and it would be cool to see someone take the idea further.

DaVinci Audio Labs Luxury Turntable

turtnable davinci 1
da vinci audio labs gmbh swiss

A luxury turntable for people who can afford to drop a ton of money on the highest end of the spectrum, the AAS Gabriel by DaVinci Audio Labs is designed with thick bases based on the same process that’s used to cut grooves into masters, eliminating noise and vibration.

Void Record Player

turntable void 2

turntable void 1

‘Void’ by designer Rhea Jeong literally levitates a record in the air using a magnetic control system. A free-spinning red sphere contains the needle, amplifier and speaker. When you turn the record player on, you can control the levitation using touch sensors on the front of the base.

3D Printed Hand-Crank Record Player

turntable 3D printed 1

Another design bringing together technologies from very different eras is this 3D-printed creation by Oana Croitoru. Made on a MakerBot Replicator 2 for the Ghostly Vinyl Design Challenge, the design is operated via hand-crank.


turntable flynote 2

turntable flynote 1

The Flynote also uses an electromagnetic field to suspend the disc above the base of the player. Say the designers, “The levitation technology uses repelling magnets combined with sophisticated electrons to keep floating objects in position. The plastic skin with the electromagnetic motor are provided with an LED crown to light the turntable and the disc while the product is on. Furthermore, those LED have a switch and an independent electric connection to switch them on at any tie and without interfering with the electromagnetic motor.”

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Mushroom Materials: DIY Kit Grows Custom Compostable Products


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mushroom lamp

Turning agricultural waste and fungal mycelium into construction materials, this do-it-yourself kit lets you grow your own compostable bio-plastic objects, from packaging furniture to surf boards and architectural building blocks.

mushroom award winning architecture

Providing a natural alternative to synthetic options, Ecovative’s Mushroom Materials line competes on cost with petroleum-based equivalents and can be shaped in all kinds of ways using custom and reusable molds.

bag of mushrooms

mushroom in a mold

Their latest creation is this home Grow It Yourself kit – they will ship you the organic components (a mixture of crop waste, like corn husks and stalks, and the vegetative part of mushroom fungus). Upon receipt, you can wait and leave things in a dry dormant state, or add water and fit the mixture into a mold to build whatever you want – nature and time take care of the rest.

mushroom as product pacakging

surfboard surf organics

So far, Mushroom Materials have been used to make everything from award-winning architectural creations (using blocks made out of organic matter) to biodegradable surf boards, flower pots, lamps and other everyday objects.

plant pot mushroom

pendant lamp mush lume

From Evocative: “We grow materials made from agricultural byproducts and mushroom mycelium. Mycelium is a natural, self-assembling glue, digesting crop waste to produce cost-competitive and environmentally responsible materials that perform. Our large-scale grow factories are truly revolutionary. We harness the power of nature – the cleanest technology on Earth, eliminating the pollution generated across the petroleum-based plastics supply chain.”

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Urban Spock: 20 Fascinating Leonard Nimoy Graffiti Tributes


[ By Steve in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

graffiti Spock 0
Mr. Spock, played by the late Leonard Nimoy, was a logically legit pop culture icon. Just ask the many graffiti artists worldwide who have paid him tribute.

graffiti Spock 1

As a science fiction franchise Star Trek is almost a half-century old but elements of the “brand” have been seeping into pop culture for decades. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the appearance of Mr. Spock in street art and graffiti is nothing new though sightings have increased since Nimoy’s passing on February 27th of 2015. The very recent tribute above, credited to graffiti artist Gnasher and officially authorized, can be found on the wall of the Pottergate Underpass in Grapes Hill, Norwich, UK.

Horns of a Dilemma

graffiti Spock 17

We haven’t seen Mr. Spock looking so horny since he was seized with the Vulcan mating urge and attacked Captain Kirk… hey, it’s not what you think (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Flickr user rabauke77 captured this devilish stencil on a Berlin wall (not that one, another one) in September of 2006.

Logical in London

graffiti Spock 2b

graffiti Spock 2a

graffiti Spock 2c

We’re guessing this door in London’s inner city Shoreditch district neither goes “whooosh!” nor leads to the bridge… well, maybe London Bridge but we digress. The trio of images above were captured by three different photographers. Flickr users Martin K (mpk1313) and Chinaman (Deaf Rave) made the scene a mere four days apart in February of 2009 while Marc Davies (MrLomo) arrived about four months later… just in time to witness the storefront being whitewashed! Did Spock survive? We think so: dude’s packin’ a heater.

Keep Feeling Fasination

graffiti Spock 3

London’s old East End seems to appreciate Spock a lot more than Vulcan did. Take the remarkable mural above, signed by artist Paul Donsmith and snapped by Flickr user Frank Long (FrankLong) on March 21st of 2015. We’ll cut Donsmith some slack on his “fasinating” typo – maybe Spock’s trademark expression was, like, trademarked or something.

Vulcan Vegan

graffiti Spock 4a

graffiti Spock 4b

We say Vulcan, you say Vegan, let’s call the whole thing off. This cool stencil of Spock flashing the V (interpret it how you will) sign appeared fairly fresh in August of 2009 when Flickr user José Lodewick spied it on a wall in Brussels, Belgium. By November of 2010, however, Spock’s visage was showing signs of age not to mention a nasty case of creeping moss. Guess the local plant life was feeling encouraged.

Phasers on Stunning

graffiti Spock 20

Beam me up, Scotty… or in this case Swissy, since the vibrant artwork above can be found in a certain Alpine nation famous for its holey cheese. Yeah, let’s all heave a sigh of relief that the Enterprise’s chief engineer was Scottish. In any case, there’s nothing cheesy about the technicolor Spockian homage above, captured by Flickr user Dominik (Sibilus_Basilea) in March of 2011.

Spock Is The Answer

graffiti Spock 15a

Street Art - Meatpacking District

New York City’s Meatpacking District just got more interesting… well, maybe not just – Flickr users shoehorn99 and cbrgss captured the above group paste-up in mid-2009. Here a bouffanted Mr. Spock finds himself in the company of Albert Einstein, Muhammad Ali, and a patient pooch. Odd, we don’t recall that particular episode but it would have been awesome!

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Record-Breaking 57-Story Chinese Skyscraper Built in 19 Days


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sky city speed

The world’s tallest prefab building has just been constructed at a rate of 3 stories per day, showcasing the power of modular design and industrial prefabrication operating at scale. Located in Changsha, China, and designed to be part of an even larger Sky City complex, this mixed-use structure features 800 apartments and office space for 4,000 workers with a total of over 2,000,000 square feet as well as 19 giant atrium spaces.


Producing many of the component parts in advance in factories, including entire truss systems, saves time and energy on site and also reduces pollution associated with busy construction sites and cast-on-site concrete. Its builders at BSB estimate a reduction in output of carbon dioxide by 12,000 tons thanks to these techniques.

sky city interior

sky city interiors

Mini Sky City, as the tower is titled, is to be part of a larger Sky City series of interconnected skyscrapers that will include vertical farming spaces. One of the less-obvious byproducts of building at such speeds: China is able to effectively rapid-prototype urban design experiments at scale, testing novel strategies for vertical interaction and horizontal integration across structures.

sky city progress

sky city part one

If you have ever driven past a skyscraper in progress day after day, you will know from experience just how fast this assembly really is compared to industry standards around the world – the precision of parts and management of contractors involved would be staggering in a situation with less-tight coordination as well.

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Light Footed: Smart Shoes Paint with Light As You Dance


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orphe smart shoes 6

Paint with light in real-time with a pair of shoes that not only have 100 LED lights embedded into the sole, but are also fitted with advanced motion tracking sensors to put on a dazzling show matched to your movements. Orphan by Japanese startup No New Folk Studio is a programmable performance shoe that can be set to blink and change color according to the speed and orientation of the dancer’s movements.

orphe smart shoes 5

The Orphe shoes are essentially an artistic medium, bringing technology, dance and light painting together in a highly customizable experience. Users can either use the accompanying app to communicate with the shoes via Bluetooth, or pre-program their own effects. But the functionality goes beyond personal expression.

orphe smart shoes 7

orphe smart shoes 1

“The 9-axis sensors embedded in each sole pick up the movements of each shoe in real time. This data can then be used to wirelessly control various external devices, allowing the shoes to function as musical instruments, video game controllers, foot switches, etc.”

orphe smart shoes 4

orphe smart shoes 3

Orphe smart shoes 2

Each shoe contains a small circuitboard with an ARM Cortex-M3 microprocessor, a tracking device, a wireless module and a charging circuit as well as the LED light strip. The project is currently seeking funding on IndieGoGo, with backers snagging their own pair for $270 as a reward.

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Rainworks: Water-Activated Street Art & Games in Rainy Seattle


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Rainworks are pieces of street art that only appear when wet, featuring messages, images and interactive games that work great for a city infamous for its frequent precipitation. The idea, in part, is to encourage people to enjoy the rain, and reward those who go out and play in the gathering drizzle.

rain dry art street

rain animal art

Peregrine Church creates these works which, while temporary, can last for months before degrading – the water-repellent sprays used are eco-friendly and will biodegrade when the designs eventually dissolve.

rain wet dry pie


Neverwet is not exactly a new material, nor is the idea of applying it to stenciled graffiti art novel, but the variety of Church’s work is compelling, as is his targeting of its results to different neighborhoods in an oft-soaked city, from the U District to Ballard and beyond. Some of the vignettes are simply playful images, or geek and gaming references, while others carry water usage-related messages.

rain visible artwork

rain error sun 404

rain ground is lava

Indeed, this seems the perfect set of urban settings – while Seattle has frequent rains it rarely has downpours, meaning the ground is often moist but the weather rarely so bad that it is difficult to go out and experience it.

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Invisible Bicycles: Tokyo’s High-Tech Underground Bike Parking


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undergound bike copy

Sufficiently advanced science has been said to look like magic, like this subterranean cycle storage system – except in this case images and videos give you a peak at the secret workings below the surface.

amazing bike parking

On the space-starved streets of Tokyo, every bit of spare square footage counts, making the city’s investment in this complex-seeming solution a sensible way to tackle bike storage and theft.

underground bike storage system

underground bike parking system

Users simply walk their bike up, input a card or code, and let the machinery do the rest. The bikes are then taken underground, sorted and stored in a cylindrical shaft until needed, then available at a moment’s notice – bikers can be back on their rides faster than a valet at a fancy hotel could bring a car around.

underground car park variant

The Eco Cycle Anti-Seismic Underground Bicycle Park was designed and built by the engineers of Giken Seisakusho and can store up to 800 bicycles at a time. Its creators have also developed similar system designs that would work the same way but with cars.

underground japanese bicycle park

underground cycle storage solution

The real wonder is not that it already exists in Japan, however, but that it has not been imported to other countries. There could be issues with water tables in certain cities, but the solution could also potentially be adapted to spaces like abandoned subway stations that already exist in others.

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