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Architecture is a Corporate Product - and We're All Buying

Google Dublin. Image © Peter Wurmli Google Dublin. Image © Peter Wurmli

Architecture, unlike other aspects of culture (such as fashion or music), can only really be experienced and understood in person. For highly branded companies, designing a new building can be a prime opportunity to signal taste and values - but also creates an interesting architectural conundrum. While the buildings will be inhabited (nearly 24/7) by company employees, they’re also very much populated by the imaginations of people across the globe. What is it like to be in these places?

Intelligent Interiors: Robotic Furniture Retracts to Ceiling When Not in Use

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

Driven by an artificially intelligent butler, this smart furniture system promises to free up valuable floor space by lifting and lowering modular interior design elements as needed, putting them into play or pulling them up to the ceiling on demand.

Bumblee Spaces has designed their bot to learn and adapt, anticipating needs in addition to responding to specific requests — it even scans items in storage then tracks their location for retrieval, helping you find stuff like lost keys faster. And if it’s raining, the roombot can also call down your umbrella in case you forget.

Apple Unveils Greenest MacBook Ever, New iPad and Mac Mini

© Apple © Apple

Apple has released new details about their MacBook Air, Mac Mini and iPad Pro. The MacBook Air has finally gotten the long-requested Retina Display, and the design has new features like its Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The broad redesign also extends to the new iPad Pro, where the design nearly gets rid of the bezel that has traditionally wrapped around the sides of the screen and Apple's Face ID facial recognition technology has been included in the tablet for the first time ever.

Morpholio Trace and Shapr3D Create "Drag'n'Fly" to Streamline Sketching and Modeling

Morpholio Trace and Shapr3D have joined forces to imagine a new workflow for iOS 12. Their new feature named “Drag’n’Fly” allows users to “literally put a live 3D model into their Trace sketches, create infinite views and then, automatically generate the perspective grids to draw over.”

Designed for the iPad Pro, Drag’n’Fly seeks to streamline the existing process of architects exporting one view at a time to sketch over. The new feature offers an infinite number of views to draw over, allowing designers to navigate around a 3D model from sketch to sketch to create a narrative, or zoom in on spatial details.

The iPad Pro has now become as powerful as our computers and has made it effortless to work between apps. This opened up the gateway for Shapr3D and Morpholio Trace to rethink the design workflow, finally fusing together sketching and 3D modelling.
- Anna Kenoff, Co-Founder, Morpholio

Measuring Wheel: Ditch Roll-Up Tape for a Coin-Sized Pocket ‘Rollbe’ Ruler

[ By WebUrbanist in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

Architects, carpenters and other design and construction professionals often carry measuring tape wherever they go, but this small wheel makes for a much less bulky companion tool.

Measuring trundle wheels used to determine distances by rolling on a surface are not new, but they are big, and this design miniaturizes their function while maintaining a critical advantage: it can measure up to effectively any length as long as its operator keeps track of the number of spins.

The Rollbe comes in various sizes, but at its smallest it is just a few inches in circumference (around an inch in diameter), making it fit like a coin and easy to carry on the go. It also comes with a pouch, turning it into a keyring.

Spotlight: Norman Foster

Spaceport America. Image © Nigel Young Spaceport America. Image © Nigel Young

Arguably the leading name of a generation of internationally high-profile British architects, Norman Foster (born 1 June 1935)—or to give him his full title Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank of Reddish, OM, HonFREng—gained recognition as early as the 1970s as a key architect in the high-tech movement, which continues to have a profound impact on architecture as we know it today.

How To Add People To Your Renders Like a Pro

The proposed plan for the TheaterSquared’s mainstage. Image © Charcoalblue. Rendering by Kilograph. The proposed plan for the TheaterSquared’s mainstage. Image © Charcoalblue. Rendering by Kilograph.

It’s no mystery why we put people in our designs. People are the quickest way to an emotional connection. With the right visual cues, you can evoke deep feelings, turning a simple image into a source of awe or aspiration. In architectural visualization, we try to shape those feelings, working off the perceptions most of us share. While we are all creatures of circumstance, using our experiential knowledge to guide us day-to-day, a lot of our conditioning is the same. Which is why it is so important to consider how you use people when you create visualizations of your designs.

Entourage are your visual guides, alerting the viewer to the story or feelings you want to convey. Sometimes that story is one of usage, an explanation of how someone interacts or moves about a space. Other times, it’s a bit more abstract. Whatever the direction, the art of entourage is really a study of composition, conditioning, and narrative. The more you know about each topic, the better your visualization will turn out—especially when you have a complicated brief.

A Guide To Smart Home Automation In 2018

As 2018 gets into gear, many are predicting that this year the smart home revolution will enter the stratosphere. Domestic automation has never been more advanced or more affordable, so what are some of the devices and systems that are set to define the next 12 months?

The Hubs To Watch

Fashion Swatch

Back when Apple first introduced Siri with the iPhone 4S in 2011, the idea of talking aloud to a voice-controlled virtual assistant seemed faintly preposterous. Cut to seven years later and people are much more at home with the concept, not least because the rise of smart speakers and hubs has helped to eliminate a lot of these inhibitions.

By far the most prominent product range in this niche at the moment is offered by online shopping stalwart Amazon. The Echo family of smart speakers, including the full sized model, the more compact Echo Dot and the touchscreen-toting Echo Show, have brought Alexa into millions of homes worldwide. And in doing so, expectations about what smart home hubs should offer have skyrocketed.

Tech Typography: An Entire Alphabet of Electronics Shaped Like Letters

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

Can you think of an iconic electronic object for every letter of the alphabet? A for Apple, B for Bose, C for Canon, D for Dell and so on, all the way to Z? Graphic designer Vinicius Araujo found the most obvious (and satisfying) answer for all 26 letters and crafted them into renderings of appropriately shaped electronics. The series, which he calls ‘36days Electronics,’ is based on the Helvetica typeface.

Apple Store Opens in Chicago

Today the Apple Michigan Avenue store opens to the public. Designed by Norman Foster, the store replaces the older Bohlin Cywinski Jackson store a few blocks up Michigan Avenue. Like other recent Apple stores around the world, this one is more lightweight, transparent and outwardly simpler than older stores.


[All photographs courtesy of Apple]

The store is also a symbol of Chicago's move toward the river, something it has been doing with the Chicago Riverwalk (south side of the river, roughly between Michigan Avenue and Lake Street) and projects like this one on the north side of the river and the new CAF location opening across the river from Apple next year.