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.

boxed water better

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

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rainworks

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.

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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

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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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Silent Slaughterhouse: Pool Produces Infinite Reflections

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[ By Steph in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

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To gain entrance to this darkened slaughterhouse chamber filled with seemingly infinite reflections, you’ll have to dial a phone number that produces a ripple on the surface of the water covering the building’s floor. Outside the otherworldly scene you’ll find a stack of business cards with instructions in two languages “to activate this artwork.” Your presence, the artist insinuates, is an interruption.

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Even the title of the work, ‘Every Word is Like an Unnecessary Stain on Silence and Nothingness,‘ makes a statement on the potential sacredness of forgotten spaces, no matter what their origins may be. In this case, the charred room in which you’ll find yourself is the former cooling chamber of a slaughterhouse in Madrid.

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Artist Eugenio Ampudia needs very little in the way of augmentation to create the atmosphere within this disused space. The water makes it seem to go on and on, and carries echoes so far that every little squeak of a shoe or muffled cough is amplified.

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Ampudia explains that the work is a critique of modern communication. “It’s true that modern technology has allowed us to connect with thousands of people almost simultaneously. But what is happening with communication? Why is draft legislation eing put forward tov eto the flow of information among citizens? What is more disturbing: people trying to communicate something or people uniting with the same intent? Who is scared of the words ‘network’ and ‘community’?”


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Flooded Sky: ‘Northern Lights’ Effect Fills Air with Blue Waves

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

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Floating above an 18,000-square-foot area of Dutch land that would be underwater were it not for defensive measures, the ethereal effect hovers between simulated aerial floodwater and imitation aurora borealis.

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A temporary work in Westervoort, this latest pieced dubbed ‘Waterlicht’ by Daan Roosegaarde was created using LED projectors located on surrounding dykes, highlighting the essential role of flood prevention technology in keeping so much of the Netherlands dry. As the beams cross in the air, moved slowly up and down by motors, the effect seen in these images is created.

waterlicht northern lights effect

Visitors walking along those adjacent barriers perceive the illumination like an eerily lit surface of water below – those passing below the plane of light see something akin to the Northern Lights, normally a natural atmospheric effect reserved for rare and special conditions. “we create a virtual flood. Walking on the dike the light lines are perceived as high water, once in the flood channel you find yourself in an underwater world.”

waterlicht projected at night

The work was commissioned by the Dutch water board to keep up awareness about this vital element of the country’s infrastructure. “In Waterlicht people experience what the Netherlands would look like without its dykes. Awareness is crucial, because the Dutch (water)artworks need every day maintenance and our national water awareness is the foundation of that maintenance.”

waterlicht against the sky

No stranger to working with nighttime illumination, Roosegaarde is famous for other works including a night-lit bicycle path in the style of Van Gogh as well as schemes for glow-in-the-dark highway infrastructure.


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Brutal but Beautiful: Book of 88 WWII Coastal Military Ruins

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[ By WebUrbanist in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

world war eerie images

Traveling 23,000 miles over 4 years, photographer Marc Wilson has amassed an amazing collection of images spanning bunkers, gun emplacements, observation posts, command centres and other wartime infrastructure around Europe.

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war time bunker remnants

In his book, The Last Stand, 86 of the resulting images are arrayed to tell a complex story of different times and places. More than merely photographing these haunting remnants of war, however, Wilson also provides highly articulate reflections on everything from their site-specific purposes and aesthetics to their broader places in military and architectural histories.

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world war remnant architecture

“Composed of copious quantities of poured concrete,” many of these structures “defy and eschew any established aesthetic sensibilities: no hint of the classical, the gothic or the baroque here. Their geometries, purely contingent, were designed to resist the effects of the latest developments in projectile technology, their profiles shaped to deflect such missiles and avoid any direct percussive explosions on their structures.”

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His shots are carefully composed and timed, often taking place in the early hours of the morning when eerie mists and dim lights grant the subjects a surrealistic atmosphere. There is a dreaminess and dreariness to his work that manages to make the objects captured seem both ordinary and otherworldly. Prints of many of the pieces featured in the book can be purchased as well.

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Unlike even the most pragmatic warehouse of the time, “there was nothing speculative or arbitrary about the bulwarks of their sometimes bizarre and often ungainly forms: they were purely functional. While far from being graceful or classically proportioned, there is something visually appealing about the alien (and sometimes sinister) forms of those bunkers. Novelty does not quite describe this appeal: more surprise perhaps – a surprise that courts the sublime.”


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