Suited against Zika

November 1, 2016

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 …

Inflating space for public discourse

October 1, 2016

One minute, the neighborhood park is quiet; the next, it’s filled with protesters, party animals or players of Pokémon GO. The Seattle Design Nerds is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to design in the public realm. The Nerds decided that when temporary or flash gatherings happen, they deserve a structure that can be delivered by …

Robotics, biomimicry and museums

Inspiration for design can easily be found in nature. Take the wing of a beetle: It has an outer shell called an elytra that is both protective and lightweight. Those construction principles are the basis of a striking new exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, celebrating the institution’s annual Engineering Season. The …

The Plaza Hotel—or is it?

When the Plaza Hotel in New York City was undergoing architectural renovation a few years ago, managers wanted to present its “best face” to the public. So they contracted Britten Studios, a Traverse City, Mich., manufacturer of banners and signs, to create a building wrap to hide the hotel’s edifice during construction. Britten recreated the …

‘Ghostbusters’ reboot recreates New York

Who you gonna call? If you’re Martin Charles, the graphic designer hired to design and create realistic sets for the remake of the 1984 supernatural hit “Ghostbusters,” you call on Roland DGA Corp., Irvine, Calif., experts in wide-format inkjet printers. Charles, founder of Santa Monica-based SagaBoy Productions, worked with designer Jefferson Sage to bring to …

True performance: wearable intuition

Simone Schramm, a German product interface designer interested in the intersection between analogue products and digital interfaces, devoted her master’s thesis to the idea that when people continuously check their Fitbit or other electronic performance tracker to ascertain their health status, they are missing something important—their intuition. “Numbers are objective,” writes Schramm in her mission …

Light and color, inflated

Fabric Prism no. 2 is an inflatable and immersive color installation built around the fundamental properties of light and color. Made from an architectural double membrane, it was designed and built by , a Providence, R.I.-based design collective comprised of architects, designers and artists working within the fields of spatial design, temporary structures and contemporary …

Smarter thread

Tufts University engineers say that revolutionary health diagnostics may be hanging on a thread—one of many threads they have created that integrate nano-scale sensors, electronics and microfluidics into threads ranging from simple cotton to sophisticated synthetics. “We think thread-based devices could potentially be used as smart sutures for surgical implants, smart bandages to monitor wound …

Get a grip

Traditional athletic gloves didn’t cut it for former North Carolina State University (NCSU) football players Jamelle Eugene and DaJuan Morgan. They wanted something that would provide the right grip, but they also wanted to feel the ball to better control it. Instead of gloves, Eugene started taping his fingers to get the friction he needed …

Iconic canopy greets travelers

September 1, 2016

The San Diego International Airport (SDIA) wanted to make life easier for travelers needing rental cars by providing a one-stop centralized hub that would be quick and easy to access. They developed the SDIA Rental Car Center, a two million square-foot complex that houses all car rental companies and vehicles and enables them to provide …

It’s cool to be square

Companies looking for a stand-out way to promote their product or message have attractive new options with the sleek new AXION Cube. The inflatable structure is symmetrical and streamlined, offering a tasteful backdrop to highlight an organization’s brand. With its hidden water drain, the roof can stay optically flat. Designed and manufactured by Stretch Marquees …

Vehicles for change

The signature form of transportation in Mumbai, India, is the iconic black and yellow taxi. Many drivers like to make their taxi stand out by decorating it with personalized touches. But designer Sanket Avlani noticed that the seat covers were fairly standardized and dull. He also recognized that in India, design has limited scope and …

Follow the yellow fabric road

Renowned fabric artist Christo has worked his magic again—this time on picturesque Lake Iseo in Northern Italy. The Floating Piers transformed the landscape of the lake and the surrounding area for 16 days between June and July 2016. First conceived in 1970 by Christo and his wife and artistic partner Jeanne-Claude, who passed away in 2009, The …

Furniture meshes with footwear

Could athletic footwear inspire furniture design? It did for Benjamin Hubert of the London, England-based experience design agency, Layer. Hubert likes to look at existing materials and technology and consider how they can be re-imagined and used in unique, new ways. For his three-piece Cradle collection, which includes high-back and low-back chairs and a room …

Flotation in style

People who spend time on the water, whether for work or play, need to take the right flotation protection with them in the event of an emergency. Damel, a Portuguese textile company that specializes in technical clothing, has introduced outdoor apparel that integrates automatic inflation, eliminating the need to carry extra equipment. The SeaB2 jackets, …

Antique sewing machine museum attracts Expo attendees

August 1, 2016

  One of the special attractions being offered to attendees at this year’s IFAI Expo in Charlotte, as a fundraiser for the Industrial Fabrics Foundation (IFF), is an opportunity to see a unique private collection of antique sewing machines: almost 600 machines, originating from the early 1850s to the early 1940s, not only from the …

Space-themed fashion explores possibilities

To mark the 2014–2016 European Space Agency (ESA) mission to the International Space Station, European fashion schools from the astronauts’ home countries explored the future of fashion and all its technical possibilities. “Couture in Orbit” was a project of ESA and the Science Museum of London. It brought together students from the Fashion Akademiet in …

Protective footwear for sports makes a splash

People who enjoy board sports like body boarding and surfing, or other outdoor activities like rock climbing, trail running or volleyball, will tell you they prefer to be barefoot for better balance. But there’s a problem with that: cuts, abrasions and other injuries are always a possibility. Swiss Barefoot Company, Landschlacht, Switzerland, has solved the …

Glass curtainwall gives great transparency

The UCLA School of Medicine’s South Tower building is undergoing a major renovation to convert nine of the former hospital’s 12 floors into a research lab. Known as the South Tower Seismic Renovation project, the four-phase initiative includes reinforcing the building’s structure, making interior improvements and exterior upgrades to comply with new energy requirements, all …

Motorcycle racers confront danger in D-air®

Motorcycle racing isn’t for the faint of heart, and the 2016 Supersport World Championship is a top-tier competition for international riders on production-based motorcycles of 600 to 750 cm³ displacement. Czech rider Ondrej Ježek finished in 14th place at the Motorland Aragon race in Spain, but made history nonetheless by being the first to wear …

Photographs tell a Texas-size tale

Haltom City, Texas, is a community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with a long history. It was the county seat of the early Birdville Settlement, which was established four years before Texas became a state. It remained the Tarrant county seat until 1856 when Fort Worth won the designation in an election. The Haltom City …

Space under pressure

The first inflatable structure designed for human use in orbit was attached to the Tranquility module of the International Space Station (ISS) in April. A collaboration between Bigelow Aerospace, Las Vegas, Nev., and NASA, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was delivered to the ISS in the trunk of an unmanned Dragon cargo ship. Using …

Satellites and silk conjure earthly delights

It’s called the “overview effect”—a term coined by space philosopher and writer Frank White in a book of the same name. It’s the mental shift that happens to astronauts in space when they see Earth as a tiny, fragile ball of life. National boundaries vanish and the reality that we are all passengers on the …

‘Batman v Superman’ premier tent is blockbuster

June 29, 2016

Everything Entertainment, an event-production company based in Staten Island, N.Y., routinely provides services for red-carpet events, trade shows and outdoor festivals in New York City. When tapped to provide a heated tent covering the exterior of Radio City Music Hall spanning Rockefeller Center to Avenue of the Americas for the “Batman v Superman: Dawn of …

Fast forward for footwear

In the quest among athletes for longer, faster or better performance, shoe selection can provide the competitive edge. The adidas Group, headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, launched its Futurecraft series to open up new avenues for the design and manufacture of performance footwear. The company’s most recent collaboration with Alexander Taylor Studio, a London, England, industrial …

MIRA supercomputer puts on a bold front

In the world of high-speed calculations, supercomputers rule. MIRA, a supercomputer constructed for the Argonne National Laboratory’s Argonne Leadership Computing Facility in Lemont, Ill., is capable of 10 quadrillion calculations per second. An average personal computer would take 20 years to accomplish the same feat. To showcase MIRA’s abilities in climatology, seismology, chemistry and math, …

Flying tent works up top or down low

Explorers who go everywhere in nature have to travel light and react quickly. A start-up company, Startraveller Equipment GmbH, Carinthia, Austria, developed the perfect companion for wanderers in the wild—the flying tent, an all-in-one tent that works as a ground tent, a floating tent hung on tree trunks, a hammock or a rain poncho. The …

Upcycling oceans of debris

Javier Goyeneche, president of Ecoalf Recycled Fabrics S.L., headquartered in Madrid, Spain, established his recycled clothing company in 2010. Ecoalf jackets and backpacks made from recycled wastes appear in upscale shops, such as Harrods in London and Bloomingdale’s in New York. Now Goyeneche and partners in both the fabric and fishing worlds have set out …

Mirrors of reflection

Milan Design week allows designers and innovators in materials to wow the cognoscenti with creativity, and 3M™, the inventors of films, adhesives, tapes and thousands of other products for homes and businesses, went to Italy with a reflective idea. In partnership with Stefano Boeri Architetti, 3M Design installed Urban Tree Lounge to allow visitors prowling …

Safety net for avid fans

Baseball is the all-American pastime, but it is not without its hazardous moments, for players and fans alike. Major League Baseball announced in 2015 its recommendation for extended screens to protect fans from batted or thrown balls and other hazards associated with flying debris. Fans gave the idea a raspberry, assuming screens would destroy the …

Knitting math, nature and beauty

June 1, 2016

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “yarn” in two ways: spun thread used for knitting, sewing or weaving; and a long and rambling story, particularly one that is implausible. Jenny Sabin Studio LLC, Ithaca, N.Y., is an experimental architecture and design group that has yarn expertise in both respects. The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design …

All-season canopy for L.A. Rams stadium

Before Dallas, Texas-based HKS Architects developed a design proposal for a new 3.1 million-square-foot multipurpose venue and stadium in Los Angeles, the company did a California reconnoiter. “Homes and restaurants in the region have areas that flow from indoors to outdoors, with glass doors that open to patio spaces for outdoor living,” says Mark A. …

Wall art stands up to disinfectants

Hospital and health care facilities have discovered that home-like surroundings, soothing sounds and enlivening art play roles in helping a sick child, declining elder or traumatized accident victim feel cared for and safe. Nevertheless, health care institutions must prioritize infection control over feel-good factors. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. acute …

Skin-tight, skin right

Slide into a pair of Calzedonia cosmetic effect jeans, and the slinky, body-hugging design will showcase long legs to perfection. It’s what the jeans do after you take them off, however, that makes them an innovative investment in beauty. Calzedonia, a brand of Calin Group, based in Attica, Greece, sells hosiery, leggings and swimwear from …

Italian courtyard transformed into border crossing

Milan, Italy, takes its role seriously as an international center of design and fashion, so 2016 Milan Design Week featured mind-bending examples of modern architecture, interior design and product development. The Italian magazine Interni curated an exhibition for the event called “Open Borders,” and invited MAD Architects, a futuristic architecture studio located in Beijing, China, …

Fighting AIDS with fine design

The Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids (DIFFA) raises funds for grants to organizations engaged in HIV- and AIDS-related activities—and does it in style. In conjunction with the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York City, DIFFA hosted a Dining by Design event in March, featuring dining installations with award-winning interior design. This year, Ghislaine …

Infinite possibilities

May 1, 2016

Even though many options exist for outdoor canopies for residential and commercial use, Dr. Alan Shargani couldn’t find one that would work for his home. He found that the canopies available were difficult to install and maintain. Made from one long piece of fabric, they required precise measurements and fabrication, and once they were installed …

Military-grade comfort

In hot, humid weather most people want to wear light, breezy clothing. If you’re in the military, however, the clothing option is limited to the uniform you’re issued. Outdoor Research, a Seattle, Wash.-based designer of high-performance outdoor gear, has partnered with W.L. Gore & Associates, Newark, Del., to create military clothing that is comfortable in …

Fit to print

Epson America Inc., Long Beach, Calif., revealed the creative potential of its SureColor® F-Series dye-sublimation printing solutions at the Epson Digital Couture event in New York City on Feb. 9. In its second year, the event showcases clothing collections fabricated by 11 North and Latin American designers using Epson print technology. The designers unveil their …

Exam rooms to go

When an athlete is injured on the field, it’s critical that medical professionals evaluate him or her right away. At a football game or other arena sport, distractions and confusion can inhibit a quick, efficient diagnosis. Engineering students at the University of Alabama devised a solution: They designed a collapsible tent that can be set …

Self-cleaning skins

The Victoria Conference Centre in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, has a strong commitment to sustainability. Located on First Nations land, the center received BEST® certification by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada—a recognition of eco-friendly operations and infrastructure. One of the more unique sustainable features the center installed consists of self-cleaning surfaces on …

Urban shade, on the move

Imagine a massive bright red, two-story canopy heading toward you on multiple bicycles. Sound like something out of the movies? Well, it’s no fantasy. Called the People’s Canopy, the structure was commissioned by the city of Preston in the United Kingdom, working with In Certain Places, an art program for urban intervention and events, as …

Designed for drama

Szczecin is a charming city situated in the northwest corner of Poland, near the Baltic Sea. The city was looking to update its 1976-era summer theater, a popular spot for big name concerts, celebrations and cultural events. Flanagan Lawrence, London, England, won a competition to design the new space. The original theater features an iconic …

Outdoor furniture with warm embrace

April 1, 2016

When it comes to relaxing on a patio or by a pool, the comfort of the outdoor furniture is an important component of the experience. German designer Sebastian Herkner had this idea in mind when he created MBRACE, a stylish chair with an extra-wide back that wraps around the body, providing the feeling of a …

Big Ben doesn’t bend

Few things are more relaxing than enjoying a meal or a drink on an outside patio during the warm months. But the restaurants, resorts, clubs and other venues that provide outdoor space have to plan carefully for the bad weather as well as the good. Wind and storms can wreak havoc with patio umbrellas, furniture …