Innovation
Design | Materials
The Humble Mushroom Becomes an Alternative Construction Material

Aleksi Vesaluoma, a student at Brunel University, experimented with mushroom mycelium—the “root” part of the mushroom organism—and produced a structure made entirely out of “mushroom sausages.” These sausages were rendered by growing a combination of mycelium and cardboard within a tubular cotton bandage, then arranged over a mold inside a ventilated greenhouse, where they grew for a month. While this isn’t the first example of mycelium being used as a material, it is another notch in the natural materials column for architects looking to build with more earth-friendly materials.

Design | Architecture

An Ambitious Waste-to-Energy Plant Comes to Copenhagen

In 2018, the world will see Amager Resource Center (otherwise known as ARC Power Plant or CopenHill), the first waste-to-energy plant with a built-in ski-slope, open for business. This charmingly whimsical but vital building designed by Bjarke Ingels Group will convert 400,000 tons of waste annually, providing low-carbon electricity to 550,000 people across 150,000 homes in Copenhagen. Through harvesting rainwater, daylight, and natural airflows, the power plant will convert waste into burnable fuel, forming what Ingels calls an “urban metabolism with the city of Copenhagen,” not to mention sporting a rooftop ski-slope, climbing wall, and hiking trails with excellent views of the city skyline.

Design | Architecture
Rising Sea Levels Prompt Innovations in Amphibious Architecture
Design | Augmented Reality
IKEA Dips Its Toe Into Augmented Reality
Design | Docservis
Adidas Is Running a "Creator Farm" in Brooklyn

How Design Inspires Creativity in the Workplace

We’re all born with varying degrees of creativity. Companies that want to be competitive and innovative in today’s market are turning to workplace design as a solution to boost creativity. Rapidly, the design community has responded by envisioning projects and products that honor the creative urge in all of us and seek to hone that drive into an even sharper expression of what the contemporary digital workforce is able to accomplish. 

Design | Urban Planning
Manhattan Skyscraper Concept Solves for Sustainable, Affordable Living
Design | Sustainability
Print Your City! Designs Chair From 100 Pounds of Plastic Waste
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Design | Docservis
How Design Inspires Creativity in the Workplace

We’re all born with varying degrees of creativity. Companies that want to be competitive and innovative in today’s market are turning to workplace design as a solution to boost creativity. Rapidly, the design community has responded by envisioning projects and products that honor the creative urge in all of us and seek to hone that drive into an even sharper expression of what the contemporary digital workforce is able to accomplish. 

Design | 3-D Printing

Inspired by Case Study Houses, WATG Urban Builds the First Freeform 3-D Printed Home

, the firm’s three-year old planning/landscape arm, claimed first prize in the 2016 Freeform Home Design Challenge, commissioned by  to build the first house that combines freeform 3-D printing with conventional construction materials. Despite its futuristic contours, , as it’s called, is actually inspired by the past: Case Study Houses—but using technology those mid-century architects could only imagine. “We definitely carried the inside-outside concept through from the Case Studies,” associate vice president and design director  says.

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Design | Architecture
Adjaye Associates Masters Interactivity at New York's Spyscape Museum
Design | Urban Planning
Facebook's Fixation on “Community” Extends to New Company Town
Design | Materials
The Modernists’ Favorite Material Gets a 21st Century Upgrade
Design | Products

Nendo’s Oki Sato Gives the Portable Toilet a Sleek Redesign

The devastating impact of natural disasters on power grids, water supplies, and basic hygiene spurred  principal Oki Sato to rethink a relief-effort essential: the portable toilet. Unlike standard mobile loos, with their clunky and cumbersome structures, the elemental  is, well, good to go.

Design | Hospitality
Tokyo Salon by Moriyuki Ochiai Architects Evokes Braids and Twists
Design | Art
Alex Chinneck’s Logic-Bending Chimney Sculptures to Transform U.K. Town
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Design | Retail
Easton Helsinki by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects Empowers Car-Heavy Locale

The freeway-riddled neighborhood of Itäkeskus in Helsinki, Finland, was in need of a little social glue: something that sparks joy in its residents as well as entices commuters to venture off the exit ramp. Enter , a 710,000-square-foot shopping center with community spirit.

Design | Transportation

Smart Crosswalk Makes Cities Safer

London-based design firm Umbrellium is testing the first LED crosswalk, dubbed the Starling Crosswalk, which displays a lighted path on the road when a pedestrian steps off the curb. Cameras mounted at opposite ends of the street, equipped with machine learning and street data, determine when it is safe to cross and create signals with LEDs embedded in high-impact plastic to stop traffic, help pedestrians, and even signal to cyclists where they should wait. For now, additional safety and materials tests are needed, as well as a voice system for the visually impaired, but it still remains an exciting development in the new world of smart cities.

Design | Materials
Susan for Susan Explores Chemical Processes to Create Unique Lamps
Design | Transportation
Bentley Reinvents Production Process for New Continental GT
Design | Products
Steel Easy Chairs Promise One Way Ticket to Nirvana
Design | Architecture

Mario Filippetto Architetto Gives Modern Refresh to 18th-Century Milanese Chapel

Reverence is the theme in any house of worship. In the case of the tidy Votive Chapel, reverence takes on double meaning: religiously as well in regard to the 18th-century masonry structure it replaced. Situated in Casnate con Bernate, just north of Milan, modern city planning had placed the historical roadside structure, once at the entrance to the town, in the midst of a roundabout, rendering it inaccessible to worshippers. So, the local government commissioned a new shrine from  that would stand in a parklike setting.

Design | Hospitality
Rooftop Oasis by V Studio Enlightens Beijing’s Golden Resources Mall
Design | Manufacturing
The Surprisingly Beautiful World Inside a Pencil Factory
Design | Products
Clever Toy Expands on the Possibilities of Lego
Design | Architecture
Alice Bleton's Capsule Prototype Reconnects Office Workers With the Outdoors

Talk about hanging out. But not if you’re prone to vertigo. , a prototype that debuted during  in Eindhoven, is ’s response to “office workers needing a private spot away from the office where they can re-engage with the outdoors,” she notes.

Design | Architecture

Wutopia Lab Treats Two Shenzhen Homes to Gender-Inflected Makeover

Spotlighting a global lineup of firms, the  alternates between Hong Kong and neighboring Shenzhen, China. The latter hosted the most recent biennale, but, unlike previous ones sited in typical exhibition venues, this edition staged high-concept interventions in migrant villages outside the city center. It was there that  transformed side-by-side residences into His House and Her House, a gender-inflected meditation on the modern cosmopolis.

Design | Appliances
Small-Space Dwellers Get Their Dream Appliance
Design | Transportation
Elon Musk's Hyperloop Plays to Pedestrians
Design | Architecture
Mongolia Proposes a Moving Bridge That Sails to New Locations
Design | Sustainability

A Tesla Solar Roof Is the Same Price as a Normal Roof

When Elon Musk isn't launching rockets, electrifying cars, or selling flamethrowers, he turns his attention to solar panels. Through his successful electric car company Tesla, Musk has created an off-the-shelf consumer solar roof that looks exactly like a traditional residential roof, features customizable energy output, can withstand more extreme weather than traditional tiles, and costs about the same as asphalt roofing to install. Tesla guarantees “the best warranty in the industry — the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” according to Inverse.

Design | Engineering
Supertall Towers Means Supertall Elevators
Design | Docservis
How to Get Docservis Services on Demand
Design | Architecture
Architects Envision a Human Colony on Mars
Design | Landscape Design
Violent Attacks Trigger a Surge in Protective Landscaping

With the tragic frequency of mass shootings and terrorist attacks, landscape architecture offers an important line of defense for vulnerable sites. Current designs include clusters of trees that allow pedestrians through but act as a barrier for cars, walkways that control crowd flow for easy surveillance, and windows covered with bullet-blocking hardeners. Despite the innovations, it remains difficult to protect against future threats—architects can only build based on past attacks, and attackers become increasingly devious—but firms are increasingly using computer simulations and studies of crowd dynamics to observe the movement of bodies under different variables.

Design | Architecture

Students Imagine the Airport of the Future

In the sixth annual Fentress Global Challenge, Fentress Architects called for students to envision “the airport of the future” (in the year 2075 to be exact) and featured a jury of aviation experts and architectural professionals. Applicants were judged on the airport’s structural and human efficiency, as well as a thorough consideration of its ecological impact. This year’s first place winner is Thomas Smith of University College London. Unsurprisingly, principal architect Curtis Fentress commented, “we were very impressed with the quality of design submissions in this years Fentress Global Challenge.”

Design | Robotics
World’s First Robotic Brick Layer
Design | Sustainability
Urban Algae Farms Are the Future
Design | Manufacturing
Century-Old Steel Manufacturer Gives a Rare Glimpse Inside the Factory

Interface Takes Design Notes From the Hardworking Honeybee

The honeycomb is a masterpiece of natural engineering. Without the benefit of the human brain or design thinking, bees create functional spaces that are practical, sustainable, and beautiful. Designers are starting to replicate nature’s innovations through biomimicry, recognizing that organic systems can solve manmade problems, as well.

Design | Architecture
Google Goes All-In on the Horizontal Skyscraper
Design | Transportation
An Electric Vehicle Prioritizes the Passenger Experience
Design | Products
How Digital Companies Use Furniture to Encourage Collaboration
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