Can you go home again?

June 1, 2017

Artist Do Ho Suh often explores the meaning of home, transience and identity in his work. His own journey, which led him from his native South Korea to New York and now London, was the inspiration for Passage/s, a recent exhibition at the Victoria Miro gallery in London. Passage/s explored the idea of home and …

Couture goes digital

More and more, fashion designers are looking to technology for their designs. To demonstrate the possibilities, Epson partnered with 13 designers from North America and Latin America to create one-of-a kind fashions using the company’s textile printers. The designs were showcased at the third annual Epson Digital Couture Project event held in February in advance …

A portrait in tulle

Artist Benjamin Shine is known for creating distinctive pieces using fabric and other unique materials. The British designer, whose great-grandfather was a tailor, started early in the clothing industry working for a fashion company when he was a teenager. That experience sealed his interest in using fabric as a medium. Shine started working with tulle …

A ‘frames and fabrics’ approach

These days, tradeshow booths are evolving to be more adaptable and sustainable by using unique materials. Now Netherlands-based Van Straaten Group and its North American member, Cees Smit Inc., have departed from the norm and developed an eco-friendly trade show booth that is completely wood-free. Using the “frames and fabric” approach, the booth is constructed …

Clothing with a cause

Working for the ROTC at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Tech. Sgt. Jim Lewis interacts with active-duty service members and veterans as well as new recruits. He started to see a pattern among some of the veterans he met; too many of them who suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were not being treated for …

Innovation on the fly

May 1, 2017

When it comes to predicting hurricanes and other severe weather events, getting accurate, up-to-the-minute details can literally be the difference between life and death. Now NASA is developing a glider that could be a game changer in weather prediction. The Weather Hazard Alert and Awareness Technology Radiation Radiosonde (WHAATRR) Glider is the brainchild of students …

The play of color and light

The Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy, a plaza central to the city’s history, is a popular tourist attraction and gathering spot. A short walk away, located amidst a series of courtyards, is the Brac Bookstore + Café, a fresh, modern respite from the hubbub of the square. Recently, the 807-square-foot space was renovated to …

Weaving biological tissues

Researchers at the University of New South Wales Sydney (UNSW) have developed a smart fabric with properties similar to the bone tissue periosteum, and are now ready to produce fabric prototypes for a number of different functional materials. In developing the fabric, the biomedical engineers looked to the adaptive properties of plant and animal tissues. …

A forest in fabric

Imagine walking through a dense forest canopy made entirely of fabric. That was the vision of French designer Élise Fouin, who was tasked with showcasing the Sunbrella® Indoor-Outdoor 2015-2017 Fabric Collection in a new and unique way. Fouin created a mosaic of colors in shades ranging from earth red to various hues of green and …

Roofed: dramatic tension

An exciting new stadium is rising on the Canadian prairie. Part of the Regina Revitalization Initiative, the new Mosaic Stadium will be home to the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Slated to open in the summer of 2017, the multipurpose facility seats 33,000 and can expand to 40,000 in order to hold large events like …

Sleek styling for space

April 1, 2017

What does the well-appointed astronaut wear on a shuttle mission? That was the challenge for designers tasked with rethinking the spacesuits to be worn on the Boeing-built CST-100 Starliner that will launch in 2018 and be used for low-Earth orbit missions and trips to and from the International Space Station. The new Starliner spacesuit, which …

Extreme storage, on ice

How do you build an adequate equipment and maintenance facility on the summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet where temperatures fluctuate between -49°F and 14°F and snow fall amounts threaten to bury food and supplies? The National Science Foundation and their operations partner, CH2M Hill, wanted a practical storage option at the Summit Station, home …

Extra muscle, senior style

The typical solution to help an aging person who is losing strength and stamina is to provide assistance that takes away the burden of daily chores and requires less mobility. But what if you could help him or her become more mobile and retain independence and mobility? Now there’s a smart suit that can do …

Texturizing space

The Hirikata T-SITE bookstore, located in a popular shopping center near Osaka, Japan, is a tranquil respite from the busy world. Dramatic two-story walls of books surround customers who are encouraged to sit, read and relax on lounge furniture or in the coffee shop area. The bookstore also features three 26-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows that flood …

Instant kayak, on the go

Anyone who loves outdoor adventures knows what it’s like to be on a hike, come upon a lake and wish you could just jump in and go. Or, travel light but not miss out on a memorable paddle. That’s the thinking behind a new fully portable kayak. Justin Case Kayak is the brainchild of Canadian …

Sculpted in classical lace

Lace has always played an important role in Dutch culture and art. Think of the painter Vermeer’s “The Lacemaker,” or other works of the time depicting women in traditional lace bonnets. So when the design team Jin Choi and Thomas Shine of Amsterdam-based Choi+Shine Architects was asked to create a piece for the 2016 Amsterdam …

Washington’s wartime headquarters, restored

March 29, 2017

A significant artifact from the Revolutionary War, George Washington’s Headquarters Tent has been restored and is on display at the new Museum of the American Revolution. Just opened in Philadelphia, Pa., in April 2017, the museum tells the story of America’s founding through immersive gallery experiences, object theaters and recreated historical scenes. The tent’s journey …

Mathematics + design = visual drama

March 1, 2017

The science and art of mathematics comes together dramatically in the redesigned Mathematics: The Winton Gallery at London’s Science Museum. A vision of the late architect Zaha Hadid, whose Zaha Hadid Architects created the design in collaboration with curator David Rooney, the exhibit showcases 400 years of mathematics history from the renaissance to the present …

Shapeshifting inflatables

The concept of inflatables is certainly not new; they’re available in every size, shape and color imaginable. But what is new is a process to create inflatables that can fold themselves into complex shapes. MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group has introduced aeroMorph, inflatable structures that have the capacity to fold like Origami all on …

Minimal gear, maximum adventure

The freedom of the open road. It means getting on your motorcycle and going, not worrying about where or when to stop. The equipment a biker takes along can make all the difference. That’s the idea behind the Bivouac tent designed by Swiss-based Expose, a group of outdoor and motorcycle enthusiasts who prefer to travel …

Fashion-forward exhibit: the personal touch

London’s NOW Gallery at Greenwich Peninsula, a public exhibition space for contemporary art and design, was recently transformed into a sea of tulle by hip young fashion designer Mary Goddard. Known for designing flamboyant yet feminine clothing in unlikely materials, Goddard created oversized dresses using about 1300 feet of tulle in vibrant colors and suspended …

Applying the perfect sunscreen

The Musee de L’Homme, a museum of anthropology in Paris, recently reopened its doors after being shuttered for a six-year renovation. One of the goals for the building, which is listed as a historical monument, was to bring space and light into its halls. The project included the creation of the Gallery of Mankind, a …

Local color, in style

It took big ideas and creativity to transform a 45,000-square-foot space into Rebel, Toronto’s hottest new nightclub. Local designer Studio Munge was up to the challenge, mixing bold colors and sensual patterns in multiple layers to create a unique, changing environment that breaks up the two-story space into distinctively themed gathering spaces. Eventscape, a Toronto-based …

Urban intervention

February 1, 2017

The Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias (CCMAA) is a sprawling, stunning cultural center in the heart of Guatemala City. A section of the complex’s public space was ripe for rejuvenation, which is where Taller KEN, a young architectural firm based in Guatemala City and New York, comes in. Known for design that is modern and …

More than scraps

The centuries-old tradition of handiwork—making a patchwork quilt, darning socks, patching jeans—is explored through the lens of sustainability at an exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York. Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse seeks to draw attention to the environmental impact of industrial textile practices that fill up landfills with remnants from yarn, …

Keeping it cool

Scientists at Stanford University have developed a textile to keep you cool. It’s a plastic-based material that can be woven into fabric to cool the body two ways, allowing the wearer to feel nearly four degrees (F) cooler than with typical cotton clothing. The textile cools first by enabling perspiration to evaporate through the material, …

A dumpster gets recycled

A unique classroom concept brings new life to typical city dumpsters by providing a mobile space for learning. The brainchild of New York-based architect John Locke and his Department of Urban Betterment, the Inflato Dumpster consists of a membrane made of lightweight materials and clear polyethylene, an inexpensive, biodegradable material that allows views both into …

A maze, suspended

Audacious. Abstract. Experimental. These are just some of the words one could use to describe the work of Numen/For Use, a design collective working in the fields of conceptual art, scenography, and industrial and spatial design. Designers Sven Jonke, Christoph Katzler and Nikola Radeljkovic formed the collective in 1998 and established Numen in 1999 for …

The smart way to dress for winter

Skiers, runners and other winter athletes are at greater risk of contracting chest infections when exercising in the cold. Now there is a “smart” solution—a balaclava that warms oxygen before it’s inhaled. Developed by Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, England, and German advanced knitting machine manufacturer Stoll GmbH, the prototype features a knitted patch of electric-conductive …

Canopy scores a touchdown

As part the plan to realize head coach Jimbo Fisher’s commitment to rebuild the Seminoles football dynasty, Florida State University’s Doak Campbell Stadium recently underwent a major renovation. The project included the construction of a premium club seating section featuring 6,000 seats and hosted services at the south end of the stadium. The 24,930-square-foot area …

Fast women, light bikes

January 1, 2017

At this year’s women’s Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf again dominated the women’s field for the win. She set a new course record with an 8:46:46 finish defending her 2015 title. The 112-mile bike route takes competitors along the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway where they must be prepared to withstand trade winds …

Spinning meaningful yarns

Upon a first glance, a visitor to artist Chiharu Shiota’s art installation at Berlin’s Blain|Southern gallery might have thought the artist painted her dramatic concept in mid-air. Named “Uncertain Journey,” the piece is actually a dense web of red yarn. Known for installations that immerse gallery goers in a world of color and texture, Berlin-based …

Stand out in a crowd

There are many options for businesses and other organizations that exhibit at events. But it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle if you opt for the fairly standard types of tents used by most vendors. Now there’s an option that could make any exhibitor feel like a star. The Star Tent stands out because …

Inspired by nature

How do you reimagine the design of a convention center? After all, it’s a structure that generally has an industrial feel in order to accommodate large event, meeting and trade show space and the expanses required to move displays, equipment and groups of people in and out. The international architecture firm, Studio Fuksas, looked to …

Textile, heal thyself

What if you accidentally spill a chemical on your shirt, causing a hole, and miraculously, the shirt repairs itself when you throw it in the wash? It’s not just the stuff of science fiction. Known as self-healing textiles, fabrics are being developed that can repair themselves as well as neutralize chemicals dangerous to human health. …

Blowin’ in the wind

While on several long trekking tours, Nils Ferber ran into one problem: His electronic equipment kept running out of batteries. The Zurich, Switzerland-based designer realized that there was no easy way to keep his devices powered up in the wilderness. He also recognized that this could be a real issue for mountaineers, filmmakers and expedition …

Setting the stage

December 1, 2016

Each summer, Hermosa Beach in Southern California is home to the popular Sunset Beach Concert Series. This year, the organizers, music venue Saint Rocke and the City of Hermosa Beach, expanded the Sunday series with a free movie night every Saturday in August. The concerts and movies took place on a stage constructed on the …

“Second Skin” to serve soldiers

In modern combat situations, soldiers in the field need protection from biological and chemical agents. At the same time, their protective clothing is a hindrance if it is too hot to wear or unnecessarily burdensome. Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif., have developed a material that shows promise for futuristic smart uniforms. …

Urban canoeists, into the fold

If you like to paddle your own canoe but don’t live on a lake, river or stream, the mechanics of urban canoeing can be daunting. First, strap the clumsy aluminum or fiberglass vessel to the car, park near a launch area, carry the canoe to the water’s edge and enjoy a serene glide. Then, do …

Tough as steel, but made for the road

How do you build a composite hangar that is as sturdy as a concrete or steel building, but is still fully transportable? That was the challenge for Dasyc SA, a Greek manufacturer of bulk molding compound, thermoplastics and composites production, in the design of their composite hangar for civilian and military applications. The answer was …

Special powers: sunshine and movement

As more people want easy-to-use, take-along power sources for phones and other electronic equipment, smart fabrics that generate electricity are gaining interest. Typically, they produce energy from motion. But a team of researchers led by Zhong Lin Wang, a regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering in Atlanta, Ga., has …

Specialty wraps, food and ambiance

Korean-inspired restaurant B. Bim Asian Eatery, Chicago, Ill., offers marinated meats and “ban chan” sides, sprouts, sesame spinach, kimchi and other goodies in a taco or lettuce wrap. The wraps, along with custom-made bowls of similar tasty ingredients, are B. Bim’s specialty. So when restaurant management sought a new modern “dive bar” look to attract …

Rain? Wind? Fire? There’s a jacket for that

Oil and gas industrial workers need to withstand foul weather conditions on the job on top of dangers from fire exposure. The right outdoor gear is critical to safety and productivity. A new generation of flame-resistant foul-weather outerwear can help. Created by Newark, Del.-based W. L. Gore & Associates Inc., Gore® FR apparel is designed …

On the cold front

November 1, 2016

Cold kills more people than all other weather-related causes combined, according to the National Center for Environmental Health. People in areas with milder winters can be at a greater danger than those in frigid climates because they aren’t always as prepared for severe situations. XeroGear, a Wilmington, Del., manufacturer of portable personal protection equipment, has …

Suited against Zika

With the dangers of the Zika virus, West Nile, Lyme disease and other mosquito- and tick-born illnesses, protection for people who work outdoors is more critical than ever. Green Mountain Products, Norwalk, Conn., is now making available its time-tested superpolymer suit to provide head-to-toe protection against mosquitoes, ticks, bees and other insects. Virtually impregnable, it …

Crisis connectivity ‘in vest’ment

Soldiers on the battlefield, firefighters in the midst of raging wildfires and first responders to natural disasters often succeed or fail in their life-saving missions by having the right information in the right place at the right time. In situations where power and the ability to communicate are the first casualties, connectivity can be a …

High-tech camping, in the bag

Nothing kills a great outdoor camping experience quicker than tedious equipment assembly. Enter Cinch!, the brainchild of Lancashire, U.K.-based Jack Jackson, a life-long camper who wanted an affordable tent that sets up quickly and incorporates today’s best technology. Described as the ultimate pop-up, Cinch! incorporates high-quality superflex fiberglass poles that go up in seconds and …

Stars and stripes forever

While serving two combat tours in Afghanistan, Sam Russo flew every mission with one special flag. It was particularly meaningful to him and his family because this flag was given to his grandfather when he returned home from World War II. Russo wanted to provide the same emotional connection to the Red, White and Blue …

One winner, 310 tents

The U.S. Open Golf Tournament serves as a premier stage for the best golfers in the world—156 athletes in 2016 vying for $10 million in prize money. Dustin Johnson walked away with the $1.8 million winner’s purse, but Arena Americas, Oak Creek, Wis., was another big winner as the provider of 310 tents and structures …

Art and architecture, comfortably

The Brickell City Centre, a new $1.05 billion, 5.4-million-square-foot, mixed-use development in downtown Miami, Fla., has it all. There are luxury residences, a hotel, office space and a five-story pedestrian mall with shops, restaurants and cafés. Connecting this vast space into one architectural statement is a 100,000-square-foot canopy called the Climate Ribbon™. Made of faceted …