Sculpture in the sky

September 1, 2019

The summer road trip—everything packed into the car for a journey to see the sights across the American landscape. That’s the inspiration for a multifaceted art event that took place in Massachusetts in July. But this excursion traded the automobile for a hot air balloon. The brainchild of Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken, New Horizon …

Washable, weavable sensors

Smart textiles continue to advance into more sophisticated and wearable options. Researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan’s School of Engineering are developing a low-cost, yarn-like sensor that can be woven into fabric and composite materials.  The sensor is microscopic, yet is able to recognize motion as the yarn stretches, due to being treated …

The Eco Pavilion at Wonderfruit 2018

While the U.S. has Burning Man and Coachella, Thailand has Wonderfruit, a pioneering festival that attracts more than 10,000 people to the lush hills west of Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand. Held in December, the four-day event attracts international music acts and celebrates the arts, sustainability and social responsibility with immersive experiences, workshops, talks, …

Air apparent: taking paragliding to new levels

One of the keys to paragliding is a glider aircraft that is as lightweight as possible. Porcher Sport-sponsored paraglider Jean-Baptiste Chandelier knows this. He demonstrated amazing feats in the recent YouTube film, “Weightless,” seen by more than 37 million viewers so far.  A pioneer of proximity flying—a form of the sport that requires extreme dexterity …

Living on the edge with the G7 POD

Imagine you’re climbing up a sheer rockface, and you want to take a break. If you’re a rock climber on an extended expedition, this scenario is quite conceivable. However, one of the problems is gear. A traditional framed hanging tent system known as a portaledge weighs as much as 16 pounds or more—a lot of …

Enhancing corporate culture with fabricated space

Capital One Corporation had a vision for their new Canadian headquarters in Toronto’s financial district: a design to enhance the company’s collaborative culture and be attractive to young tech talent. The financial services organization worked with IBI Group, a Toronto-based architecture and design firm, to create an interior design for the existing five-floor office space. …

From train seat to handbag

Amtrak’s Acela Express trains, which offer comfort and upscale amenities for passengers along the northeast corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C., were in need of a makeover. The redesign of the interiors, which began in 2018, included replacing 6,080 leather seats from 100 train cars.  The company didn’t want to waste the leather, so it …

An experiential exhibit of fabric color, texture and performance

August 1, 2019

When Belgian textile designer Casalis returned to Milan Design Week in April after a three-year absence, the company made a statement with its signature style. Casalis worked with designer Anita Kars to create an experiential display inspired by a labyrinth. Visitors walked through a series of spaces and were met with the colors and textures …

Gas-detecting threads

The detection of volatile gases can be critical in public health, workplace safety, military and rescue situations. The process requires the use of electronic devices operated by specially trained technicians. Engineers at Tufts University’s School of Engineering have recently developed threads that can detect dangerous gases—and while the technology doesn’t replace the precision of electronic …

Fibers of the future

This summer, visitors to the Bundesgartenschau grounds, a park in Heilbronn, Germany, will see an architectural marvel seemingly rising from the landscape. The BUGA Fibre Pavilion showcases the potential future of construction—created by combining construction principles found in nature with cutting-edge technologies. The design is the result of a partnership between the Institute for Computational …