Tag Archives | Design

Britain’s Stylishly Mod Secret Underground City

How To Be A Retronaut has an arresting set of images of Burlington, the 35-acre “Cold War City” lying twelve stories beneath Wiltshire, England. Built during the 1950s, it was to be home to the prime minister and a few thousand others in the event of nuclear apocalypse. With record players, rotary phones, and Singer sewing machines folding out from enclosures in the walls, it makes the prospect of a post-disaster future seems quite charming:

It was equipped with the second largest telephone exchange in Britain and a BBC studio from where the prime minister could make broadcasts to what remained of the nation. 100,000 lamps that lit its streets and guided the way to a pub modeled on the Red Lion in Whitehall. The bunker’s very existence was meant to be top secret until it was decommissioned in 2004.

Cold-War-City-222

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Mask For Full-Head Pixelation In Public Places

Pixelhead_PublicSpace_03-ledeIf you long for privacy in a world of near-constant surveillance, take note. Finally there is an analog device for pixelating one’s face while walking the streets. Wearing this will definitely liven up your day. Via Co.Design (thanks to John K. Smith for the tip):

Martin Backes has designed some conceptual fashion headwear to assuage your paranoia. “Pixelhead” is a full-coverage mask decorated in pixelated colors, so that if you do get caught by Google Street View’s cameras, your privacy is assured.

Clearly, Mr. Backes has his tongue at least partly in-cheek with his design: as he explains on his site, that pixelated pattern is actually a “fashionable” de-rezzed image of German Secretary of the Interior Thomas de Maizière. Pixelhead is no tossed-off piece of conceptual art — created with advisement from fashion designer Liza Sander, this “media camouflage” is made from the finest stretch satin.

If you feel like your commitment to upholding personal privacy in the digital age is worth getting tackled by cops wherever you go, then you can actually order a limited-edition Pixelhead from Backes by contacting him directly.

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Clothing In The Year 2000

A video in which fashion designers circa the 1930s were asked to design clothing as they predicted it would look in the year 2000. More fun than accurate ("transparent nets to catch males", "an electric belt will adapt the belt to climatic changes", "a dress of aluminum"), although their vision of the tie-less, goateed 21st century male -- with his portable phone/radio and pockets for "keys, coins, and candy for cuties" -- is fairly prescient.
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The Video Game Preservation Crisis

studio_II_layoutPerhaps they were conceived as toys for children, but video games of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s are significant artifacts of 20th-century technological, cultural, and design history. Much of that history is being lost or thrown away. Gamasutra discusses the Game Preservation Crisis:

Trash cans, landfills, and incinerators. Erasure, deletion, and obsolescence. These words could describe what has happened to the various building blocks of the video game industry in countries around the world. These building blocks consist of video game source code, the actual computer hardware used to create a particular video game, level layout diagrams, character designs, production documents, marketing material, and more.

These are just some elements of game creation that are gone — never to be seen again. These elements make up the home console, handheld, PC and arcade games we’ve played. The only remnant of a particular game may be its name, or its final published version, since the possibility exists that no other physical copy of its creation remains.

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Fake Plastic Trees For Our Urban Future

faketrees4A Parisian design team has conceived the Treepod, a synthetic tree that soaks up CO2 and expels oxygen without requiring water, soil, or years spent growing to full size. Should our planet’s trees be killed off by plague, pollution, or water shortfalls, this is what will fill the void. Via My Modern Metropolis:

When tasked with creating a synthetic urban tree for the City of Boston (or any city) that could provide all the benefits of a real tree (de-carbonization and protection) without requiring soil and water, a team from Paris rose to the challenge. Their innovative concept is called Treepods. The systems are capable of removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen using a carbon dioxide removal process called “humidity swing.”

Inspired by dragon blood trees, its wide branches and umbrella style tops support large solar panels. After some testing, they found out that the trees couldn’t be powered by the sun alone so they added interactive hammocks and see-saws to the base of the tree, so that humans could help create a secondary source, through kinetic energy.

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The Weird And Wonderful Sketchbooks Of Alexander Graham Bell

horsekiteThe Atlantic has scans from the notebooks of telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell, who had an abundance of ideas for serious and non-serious devices. It’s a delight to peruse his sketches, of both nature and such inventions as helicopters, futuristic eyeglasses, playground equipment, the “radiotome”, and (at right) the horse-pulled kite:

It was on March 10, 1876 that Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful telephone call. “‘Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you,” he said to his assistant, who was in the next room. Bell recorded those early telephone experiments in his lab notebooks from the time, as he did with countless other experiments and ideas.

The books are a priceless treasure of an incredibly fertile mind working through one of the most exciting periods of technological innovation in the history of the world. The sketches, though, are more than just dry recordings of physical principles. Bell’s drawings are expressive in ways that few technical sketches are.

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Mobile Bubble Homes In France

Initially produced by designer Pierre Stephane Dumas, “bubble tents” are now available for use at a growing number of campsites across France, the Daily News reports. Equipped with wardrobes, shelves and electric lights, the bubbles can be rented for around $600 per night, or purchased outright for $12,000. Right now they’re a luxury option for European campers, but I dream of a day in which this will be a viable housing option:

bubble

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Grab A Can Of Spray-On Clothing

fabricanltd-comDon't have time to deal with negotiating tricky sleeves? Just pick up a Fabrican aerosol and spray a t-shirt onto your torso. In all seriousness, the spray-able fabric has all sorts of applications (spray-on bandages, for instance), but I like the idea that in the future, this is how we will get dressed.
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