Vortex: Black Whirlpool Spins Endlessly in a Movie Theater

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[ By Steph in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

anish kapoor vortex 1

A seemingly bottomless vortex of black water spins endlessly in the unlikeliest of places: the floor of a brightly-lit movie theater in San Gimignano, Italy. Peer into its mesmerizing depths, however, and it’s easy to forget where you are, feeling as if you might get sucked inside.

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‘Descension’ is an installation by artist Anish Kapoor, specifically conceived for the former cinema, which has now been transformed into a gallery. The whirlpool is among a series of works by Kapoor on display in the space, including alabaster sculptures and large-scale works in fiberglass.

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“I have always thought of it (the void) as a transitional space, an in-between space,” says Kapoor. “It’s very much to do with time. I have always been interested as an artist in that very first moment of creativity where everything is possible and nothing has actually happened. It’s a space of becoming.”

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The artist, who’s best known for massive inflatable buildings, London’s ArcelorMittal tower and Chicago’s iconic Cloud Gate, previously installed a spiraling black whirlpool in the floor of the Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi, India for the country’s 108-day-long contemporary art biennale.


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Old New Jersey Factory to House Earth’s Largest Vertical Farm

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

aerofarm factory floor

Opening this year in Newark, this 69,000-square-foot space will grow 2 million pounds of pesticide-free produce each year, turning an old steel factory into the largest indoor farm on the planet, 75 times more productive per square foot than open fields. This AeroFarms facility is to serve both as the company’s global headquarters as well as the anchor project for a Maker’s Village designed to grow business in the city and provide a prototype for scaleable urban agriculture.

aerofarm interior space

Plants rooted in reusable microfleece cloth and stacked in modular planters will be sprayed by a nutrient mist and illuminated by LED lights. These crops require no soil, 95% less water and create no harmful runoff.  Located on a 3-acre industrial site in the Ironbound neighborhood, the structure will expand the role of affordable and local urban farming in the community and provide nearly 100 jobs for residents.

aerofarms aerial image

More on the process: a “reusable cloth medium [supports] seeding, germinating, growing, and harvesting. Cloth has a number of benefits such as durability and reusability, increased cleanliness and sanitation, and the efficient harvest of a dry and clean product.” In terms of LED innovation and efficiency, the company is “targeting specific wavelengths of light for more efficient photosynthesis and less energy consumption. LEDs can also be placed much closer to the plants, enabling greater vertical growing for even greater productivity per square foot.”

aerofarms hydpropnic indoor agriculture

Aeroponics is the key to the solution, representing “a cutting-edge type of hydroponic technology that grows plants in a mist. The aeroponic mist most efficiently provides roots with the nutrients, hydration and oxygen needed, creating faster growing cycles and more biomass than other growing approaches. AeroFarms has designed its aeroponics as a closed-looped system, recirculating our nutrient solution and using over 95% less water than field farming.”

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aerofarms leafy greens

“We are delighted to introduce AeroFarms, a farming and technology leader, to the City of Newark, creating jobs for local residents and greater access to locally grown produce for our community,” said Ron Beit, founding partner and CEO of RBH Group. “AeroFarms will anchor our broader ‘Makers Village’ development project in the Ironbound neighborhood that will compete toe-to-toe with the Brooklyn Navy Yard in terms of a superior cost structure and greater transmodal access, bringing 21st century ‘maker-type’ businesses to Newark and the State of New Jersey.”


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Boxed Water is Better: Paper Packaging Beats Plastic Bottles

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[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

boxed water image

The brand tells you what it is in bold minimalist script: better, but more specifically, its packaging is better than the dominant plastic bottle alternative – a square peg for what product designers have long assumed was a round hole.

boxed water versus bottles

Aside from the (cardboard carton) material itself being more sustainable, the trick is in the shipping: a single truck packed with pallets of flat-pack water boxes means 25 fewer trucks than shipping plastic bottles to a bottling plant.

boxed water is better

Plastic bottles not only take up more space when filled (thanks to their rounded shape), but far more space when empty in the first place. They are also being banned in some cities, which means more market opportunity for companies like Boxed Water Is Better.

boxed water on shelves

The recyclable packages also stand out on the shelves – white cartons and black type stacked alongside complex logos and variegated shapes of their plastic relatives.

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Some will still question the need for conveniently-packaged water altogether, and in a perfect world (perhaps someday) we would all use reusable containers, but for now this seems like a solid (or liquid) step in the right direction. Meanwhile, the company helps customers go green indirectly as well, planting two trees for each picture of their product posted – not bad marketing, either.


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