“Virtual design” is making life difficult for furniture companies says Marcel Wanders

Marcel Wanders portrait

News: the proliferation of computer renderings and prototypes on sites like Dezeen is making real products “look extremely boring,” according to Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.

Furniture brands are struggling to make their products appear interesting in comparison to online fantasies, said Wanders in an exclusive interview with Dezeen.

“You are so able to present every crazy idea as if it is reality, the whole universe of communication is so strong,” said Wanders. “But now it’s difficult for a company to be anywhere interesting in a world that is so dominated by prototypes and great and bright ideas.”

“The Dezeens of this world are extremely inspirational, but have no realistic dimension any more,” he added.

Wanders was speaking to Dezeen in Milan at the launch of the latest collection by Moooi, the furniture and lighting brand he co-founded in 2001 with Casper Vissers.

Moooi exhibition Milan 2014
This year’s Moooi exhibition in Milan. Photograph is by Nicole Marnati

Moooi has grown rapidly by recruiting a roster of international designers to create unusual products that sit alongside new work by Wanders, who was one of a generation of Dutch creatives nurtured by conceptual design company Droog.

“It’s funny that in the 1990s Droog was doing all this wonderful work,” Wanders said. “It was interesting that we kind of invented something which I call today ‘virtual design’. We started making prototypes as if they were real, we communicated them in Milano as if you could buy them. That was at the same time a kind of communication being invented as a mass medium.”

Today, designers are able to get international attention for products that are not ready for market and in many cases don’t even exist as prototypes, Wanders said.

“Now I think it is so big, this virtual design, the prototypes are so important in the world of design and the alternative ideas are so important,” he said.

“Now you go on Dezeen and you go through the pages and you find a company like Cassina and oh my God, I mean it’s not even their fault, how could they be interesting between all these bright and virtual ideas which nobody is ever going to do? How could a chair or a lamp be interesting?”

“All that is realistic starts to look extremely boring in the world of all this inspirational stuff. It’s a really interesting problem that we’re going to face. It’s a bit difficult to be in such an exciting world because they to start to feel really boring.”

Moooi’s exhibition is open until 13 April at Via Savona 56 in Milan.

Marcel Wanders image is courtesy of DesignPress.

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David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

News: “An architecture challenge doesn’t come much better than this,” says David Chipperfield, who has been named winner in the competition to design a new home for the Nobel Prize in Stockholm (+ slideshow).

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

David Chipperfield Architects saw off competition from Swedish studios Wingårdh and Johan Celsing Arkitektkontor to land the prestigious commission to create the Nobel Center – an exhibition centre and events venue for the award that recognises advances in science and culture.

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

“I think all projects are important but this project has enormous meaning, not just for the city of Stockholm but internationally. An architecture challenge doesn’t come much better than this,” said Chipperfield.

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

The architect’s vision is for a shimmering brass-clad building on the waterfront. It will be fully glazed on the ground floor, opening out to a new city park on the sunny south-eastern side of the site.

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

“The jury finds the lightness and openness of the building very appealing and consistent with the Nobel Foundation’s explicit ambition to create an open and welcoming centre for the general public,” said Nobel Foundation executive director Lars Heikensten, who was a member of the judging panel.

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

“We view the winning proposal as a concrete interpretation of the Nobel Prize as Sweden’s most important symbol in the world. Stockholm will gain a building – magnificent but without pomp, powerful yet graceful – with qualities like those the City Hall gave the capital a century ago.”

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

Fellow jury member Per Wästberg added: “We view the winning proposal as a concrete interpretation of the Nobel Prize as Sweden’s most important symbol in the world. Stockholm will gain a building – magnificent but without pomp, powerful yet graceful – with qualities like those the City Hall gave the capital a century ago.”

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

As well as hosting the annual award ceremony each December, the building will provide a public centre for exhibitions, educational activities, events and meetings.

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition
Proposed site plan

“It can be spectacular on its greatest night, but also it can be very useful and functional and working the rest of the year,” said Chipperfield.

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OMA and BIG propose transformations for America’s hurricane-struck east coast

News: architects and designers including OMA, BIG and WXY have unveiled proposals to revitalise parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and help protect them against future emergencies.

Big U by BIG
Big U by BIG, also main image

The Rebuild by Design competition asked ten teams of architects, landscape architects, engineers and urban designers to develop proposals for different sections of America’s east coast, which was struck by the hurricane in October 2012.

Big U by BIG
Big U by BIG

Danish studio BIG has developed a protective system, called Big U, which would wrap around the outside of Manhattan. Designed to shield New York City against floods and stormwater, the three separate sections would also create new public spaces.

Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge: A Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken by OMA
Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge: A Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken by OMA

For the Hoboken district of New Jersey, Rem Koolhaas’ OMA proposes introducing an “urban water strategy”, where a combination of hard infrastructure and soft landscaping can create a coastal defence integrating natural drainage.

Blue Dunes – The Future of Coastal Protection by WXY and West 8
Blue Dunes – The Future of Coastal Protection by WXY and West 8

New York studio WXY Architecture worked with landscape architects West 8 on a strategy for the New York and New Jersey harbour, entitled Blue Dunes. The designers made predictions about storms of the future and are promoting the establishment of a research initiative.

Living Breakwaters by Scape Landscape Architecture
Living Breakwaters by Scape Landscape Architecture

The design by New York landscape firm Scape features “a necklace of breakwaters” to offer a buffer against wave damage, flooding and erosion on Staten Island, while urban design studio Interboro have developed a series of approaches for the barrier islands, marshes and lowlands of Long Island.

Living with the Bay: A Comprehensive Regional Resiliency Plan for Nassau County’s South Shore by Interboro
Living with the Bay: A Comprehensive Regional Resiliency Plan for Nassau County’s South Shore by Interboro

Other proposals include ideas for Jersey Shore, Bridgeport in Connecticut and Hunts Point in New York’s South Bronx.

Hunts Point Lifelines by PennDesign and OLIN
Hunts Point Lifelines by PennDesign and OLIN

The competition was initiated last year by US housing and urban development secretary Shaun Donovan. The winning projects will be announced later this year and will be implemented with funding from community grants.

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Aires Mateus to design architecture school with a house-shaped entrance

News: Portuguese brothers Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus have won a competition to design a new school of architecture in the Belgian city of Tournai, with plans for a complex featuring a house-shaped entrance void.

School of Architecture, Tournai by Aires Mateus

Lisbon-based Aires Mateus saw off competition from Belgian studio Robbrecht & Daem and French firm Lacaton & Vassal to win the commission to create a 7000-square-metre architecture faculty for 600 students at the Catholic University of Louvain.

School of Architecture, Tournai by Aires Mateus

Located within the city’s historic quarter, the project will involve renovating an eighteenth-century hospital to accommodate administrative services as well as converting two industrial buildings to create space for classrooms and a library.

School of Architecture, Tournai by Aires Mateus

The architects also plan to demolish some existing buildings, making room for a tree-lined courtyard and a new structure that will serve as the spine of the complex.

School of Architecture, Tournai by Aires Mateus

Weaving between the renovated blocks, the new building will link different departments and provide a distinctive entrance. According to the architects, it will make contact with the existing brick volumes in as few places as possible.

School of Architecture, Tournai by Aires Mateus

“The design evokes the existing iconography in the architectural heritage of Tournai,” said the architects.

School of Architecture, Tournai by Aires Mateus
Axonometric diagram – click for larger image

“Its geometry causes various urban plazas and produces a large interior space which will house all academic activities, as well as establishing a close collaboration with the community,” they added.

School of Architecture, Tournai by Aires Mateus
Sections one and two – click for larger image

Work is set to begin on the project later this year and students are expected to start occupying the facility in 2015.

School of Architecture, Tournai by Aires Mateus
Sections three, four and five – click for larger image

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Five Things We Learned This Week: Robert Capa Comics, Black Toothbrushes, and More

• A new book by illustrator Dominique Bertail and writer Jean-David Morvan reimagines Robert Capa‘s iconic 1944 photo of Omaha Beach: as a (French) comic strip—with a hint of Doonesbury. Watch Bertail illustrate the cover in the video above, which is backed by a recently unearthed recording of Capa’s appearance on a 1947 radio program.

• Pentagram’s Abbott Miller and team are behind the fresh look of Sotheby’s, which extends from the 270-year-old auction house’s sharp new workmark (good riddance, strange Gill Sans hybrid! Hello, Mercury!), to the redesigned website, catalogues, magazine, and more.

Paul Cocksedge Studio is looking to Kickstarter to fund prototyping, tooling, and manufacture of the Double O, a bike light named for its distinctive shape. “I wanted to design a bike light and the inspiration for Double O comes directly from the shape of the bicycle,” says the London-based designer. “I wanted something that almost looked like the bike had designed it itself.”

Robert Fabricant of Frog Design is teaming with Cliff Kuang of Wired to pen User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play. The two have inked a deal with Farrar, Straus to publish the book about “how user experience design will rule the coming decade, just as technology ruled the last” according to Publishers Marketplace.

• All the cool kids have charcoal-infused black toothbrushes from Japan. Gets yours here.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Snøhetta designs visual identity for Oslo’s 2022 Winter Olympics bid

Snohetta designs visual identity for Oslo 2022 Winter Olympics bid

News: Snøhetta has designed a visual identity for Oslo‘s bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Snohetta designs visual identity for Oslo 2022 Winter Olympics bid

Snøhetta, an architecture and design firm in Oslo and New York, developed a design that combines geometric shapes taken from the letter O and the number zero, as well as forms that recur in the number two and the letter S.

The rings of the Olympic logo informed the repetition of circles and the choice of colour palette used to render the simple forms.

Snohetta designs visual identity for Oslo 2022 Winter Olympics bid

“The identity of Oslo 2022′s visual language honours the inherent simplicity and openness in Nordic culture,” said the designers in a statement.

“By balancing playful graphics and strict geometry, the identity represents both the celebration of the Games and the solid planning of the Norwegian bid.”

Snohetta designs visual identity for Oslo 2022 Winter Olympics bid

As part of the development process, Snøhetta worked with the bid team to create an initial identity without a logo for the funding application to the Norwegian government. The designers then created the logo and typography, which also included creating architectural elements and signage for a presentation during the recent Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Snohetta designs visual identity for Oslo 2022 Winter Olympics bid

The identity was finally applied to an application document submitted to the International Olympic Committee in March.

Some of the material created by the designers for the bid, including maps of the potential venues, was required to include content and colour coding determined by the IOC.

Snohetta designs visual identity for Oslo 2022 Winter Olympics bid

Branded material produced to demonstrate the application of the identity includes brochures, business cards, a website and a CD ROM, onto which the designers silkscreened the logo’s negative space in white, allowing the iridescent surface of the CDs to recreate the colours of the logo.

Oslo is competing with Kraków in Poland, Almaty in Kazakhstan, Lviv in Ukraine and the Chinese capital Beijing for the right to host the Games, with the winner due to be announced on 31 July 2015.

Snohetta designs visual identity for Oslo 2022 Winter Olympics bid

The sinuous Holmenkollen ski jump by JDS Architects would be one of the key venues for the Games should Oslo’s bid be successful.

Photography is by Erik Five Gunnerud.

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Richard Branson launches plane-shaped skyscraper and moon hotel

News: Richard Branson has today revealed new architectural designs from Virgin, including a New York skyscraper shaped like a bunch of balloons, a Sydney tower with the form of a space shuttle and a moon hotel that looks like tubular bells.

The projects come under the banner Virgin Buildings, a new strand of Branson’s empire aimed at “capturing iconic Virgin moments in a new generation of ultra-green skyscrapers”. The series also includes a plane-shaped building for London and a Cape Town structure resembling a kite.

“We’ve been lucky at Virgin to have done some pretty extraordinary things, whether its the music business, trains, planes or even spaceships, but I think this project perhaps caps them all,” said Branson.

According to Branson, each building will feature huge rainwater-harvesting facilities, living walls that can be used for growing food and moving walls that can adapt to suit different rooms and functions.

Richard Branson launches plane-shaped skyscraper and moon hotel

Describing the plane-shaped London tower, he explained: “This building is going to be the best looking building in the city but it also has the best unique features.”

“One of the very unique features about this building is that it can turn or the floor can turn in order to face the sun, to either generate energy from the sun or to heat a particular floor or heat the whole building.”

Richard Branson launches plane-shaped skyscraper and moon hotel

Not content with launching the project in every continent, Branson also wants to take the technology to the moon and open a space hotel.

“We’re looking at being the first company in the world to have a building on the moon, and we thought, if we’re going to do it lets try and pay for it by making it a hotel, and of course a pretty good-looking hotel,” he said.

Richard Branson launches plane-shaped skyscraper and moon hotel

Professor and television personality Brian Cox has applauded the ingenuity of the project. “The physics of creating rotating buildings in dense metropolises should not be underestimated, and efforts to source more of our primary energy from the sun –and put sustainable hotels on the moon – should be applauded.”

Asked about the timing of the announcement a Virgin representative told Dezeen “there are no coincidences at Virgin”.

The announcement follows the news earlier today that two companies have proposed bread-shaped skyscrapers for the City of London.

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skyscraper and moon hotel
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Richard Branson launches plane-shaped skyscraper and moon hotel

News: Richard Branson has today revealed new architectural designs from Virgin, including a New York skyscraper shaped like a bunch of balloons, a Sydney tower with the form of a space shuttle and a moon hotel that looks like tubular bells.

The projects come under the banner Virgin Buildings, a new strand of Branson’s empire aimed at “capturing iconic Virgin moments in a new generation of ultra-green skyscrapers”. The series also includes a plane-shaped building for London and a Cape Town structure resembling a kite.

“We’ve been lucky at Virgin to have done some pretty extraordinary things, whether its the music business, trains, planes or even spaceships, but I think this project perhaps caps them all,” said Branson.

According to Branson, each building will feature huge rainwater-harvesting facilities, living walls that can be used for growing food and moving walls that can adapt to suit different rooms and functions.

Richard Branson launches plane-shaped skyscraper and moon hotel

Describing the plane-shaped London tower, he explained: “This building is going to be the best looking building in the city but it also has the best unique features.”

“One of the very unique features about this building is that it can turn or the floor can turn in order to face the sun, to either generate energy from the sun or to heat a particular floor or heat the whole building.”

Richard Branson launches plane-shaped skyscraper and moon hotel

Not content with launching the project in every continent, Branson also wants to take the technology to the moon and open a space hotel.

“We’re looking at being the first company in the world to have a building on the moon, and we thought, if we’re going to do it lets try and pay for it by making it a hotel, and of course a pretty good-looking hotel,” he said.

Richard Branson launches plane-shaped skyscraper and moon hotel

Professor and television personality Brian Cox has applauded the ingenuity of the project. “The physics of creating rotating buildings in dense metropolises should not be underestimated, and efforts to source more of our primary energy from the sun –and put sustainable hotels on the moon – should be applauded.”

Asked about the timing of the announcement a Virgin representative told Dezeen “there are no coincidences at Virgin”.

The announcement follows the news earlier today that two companies have proposed bread-shaped skyscrapers for the City of London.

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skyscraper and moon hotel
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London’s bread-shaped skyscrapers unveiled on first day of April

News: plans have been revealed this morning for a series of loaf-shaped skyscrapers to accompany the Cheesegrater, Can of Ham, Toast Rack and Gherkin buildings in central London.

Property developer British Land has released proposals for a 240-metre tower featuring a photovoltaic crust, nicknamed “The Slice of Bread”, while bread company Warburtons has revealed a pair of twin towers, known as “The Loaf”, to sandwich Norman Foster’s Gherkin.

The plans are likely to fuel reports that London’s skyline is beginning to resemble “the Ploughman’s Lunch”.

Warbutons bread-shaped skyscraper for London
This image: The Loaf for Warbutons. Main image: Slice of Bread for British Land

British Land’s proposal previously went stale when it was halted in 2012, but chief executive Chris Grigg says things are back on track. “Obviously we are still in the proofing stage, but we think this would be an excellent site for the building, sandwiched between our own Cheesegrater and the Gherkin and in very close proximity to the proposed Toast Rack at 40 Leadenhall Street.”

“London real estate is on a roll and we’re pleased to be looking at an even bigger slice of the action when it comes to premium buildings in London,” he said.

Architectural consultants M. Brioche & Rye added: “This is just what London has been kneading – a beautiful building rising up as a glowing tribute to the City. The design is aspirational, yet recognising its location between the Gherkin and Cheesegrater, carefully develops the interplay between the vegetable and functional.”

The announcement comes exactly one year after Dowling Jones and Stone unveiled its design for a floating motorway to be constructed on the River Thames.

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unveiled on first day of April
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London’s bread-shaped skyscrapers unveiled on first day of April

Plans have been revealed this morning for a series of loaf-shaped skyscrapers to accompany the Cheesegrater, Can of Ham, Toast Rack and Gherkin buildings in central London.

Property developer British Land has released proposals for a 240-metre tower featuring a photovoltaic crust, nicknamed “The Slice of Bread”, while bread company Warburtons has revealed a pair of twin towers, known as “The Loaf”, to sandwich Norman Foster’s Gherkin.

The plans are likely to fuel reports that London’s skyline is beginning to resemble “the Ploughman’s Lunch”.

Warbutons bread-shaped skyscraper for London
This image: The Loaf for Warbutons. Main image: Slice of Bread for British Land

British Land’s proposal previously went stale when it was halted in 2012, but chief executive Chris Grigg says things are back on track. “Obviously we are still in the proofing stage, but we think this would be an excellent site for the building, sandwiched between our own Cheesegrater and the Gherkin and in very close proximity to the proposed Toast Rack at 40 Leadenhall Street.”

“London real estate is on a roll and we’re pleased to be looking at an even bigger slice of the action when it comes to premium buildings in London,” he said.

Architectural consultants M. Brioche & Rye added: “This is just what London has been kneading – a beautiful building rising up as a glowing tribute to the City. The design is aspirational, yet recognising its location between the Gherkin and Cheesegrater, carefully develops the interplay between the vegetable and functional.”

The announcement comes exactly one year after Dowling Jones and Stone unveiled its design for a floating motorway to be constructed on the River Thames.

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unveiled on first day of April
appeared first on Dezeen.