Stirling Prize shortlist revealed

The ShardRIBA has released the shortlist for its prestigious Stirling Prize.

Six new buildings have been shortlisted for the Prize, which is awarded to the project that has made the most significant contribution to architecture in the United Kingdom.

The nominations, which include Renzo Piano’s The Shard, are drawn from the public, commercial, and educational spheres.

Zaha Hadid, a previous recipient of the Stirling Prize, has also been nominated for the London Aquatics Centre.

The winner will be announced by RIBA on the 16th October.

Find out which buildings have been nominated here.

LEGO bus stop on Regent Street

LEGO bus stopTransport for London (TfL) is celebrating the Year of the Bus by installing a bus stop made entirely from LEGO bricks.

The stop, which is on Regent Street, has been created in conjunction with the nearby Hamleys toy stop and is made from 100,000 pieces of LEGO.

It took two weeks to put together, but TfL hopes the bus shelter with a difference ‘will bring a smile to the face of even a hardened commuter’.

Even the windows of the bus stop have been replaced with clear LEGO bricks, although the more complex transport maps were printed as usual and then pasted onto the LEGO wall.

The Year of the Bus celebrates several bus-related anniversaries, including the 60th anniversary of the iconic Routemaster bus.

Take a closer look at the LEGO bus stop here and let us know what you think of it.

RIBA Awards winners

Tate Britain, Millbank ProjectThe Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the winners of the 2014 RIBA Awards.

The fifty six winners are drawn from regional categories for the National Awards, with a separate category for projects by British architects in the European Union.

High-profile winners include The Shard by Renzo Piano Building Workshop; Tate Britain, Millbank Project by Caruso St John Architects; and Danish Maritime Museum by BIG.

The Stirling Prize shortlist will be drawn from the winners and will be announced in July.

Find out more about the Awards here.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s online collection

Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe Metropolitan Museum of Art has released thousands of images from its collection into a digital archive.

The museum, which is the largest in the United States, has released nearly 400,000 iconic and historical paintings and photographs.

Pictures from the digital collection can be downloaded and used for non-commercial purposes from the museum’s website.

The works of Picasso, Manet and Rembrandt are included in the collection, which can be downloaded here – tell us what you think of this digital move.

Bossy: the smart task reminder

BossyA design student has created a new way to keep on top of tasks and boost your productivity – and he’s called it ‘Bossy’.

Designed to make the most of your time, Lucas Neumann’s ‘Bossy’ is a paperweight-style device, which connects to all your online calendars and apps.

It can display up to three priorities, such as ‘write assignment’, and will even remind you to take a break with its clear and colourful icons.

Find out more about the handy product here and tell us if you would find this useful.

25 creative packaging designs

Packaging is crucial for any product – not only should it clearly represent the product, it helps if the packaging itself is memorable.

Demilked has found the best creative packaging designs on the market, from a gnome bread sleeve to headphones packaged in the shape of a musical note.

Other products include ‘NYC spaghetti’, which is arranged to look like the Empire State Building, cute matchsticks and orange juice in segment-shaped cartons.

Take a look at the whole list here and tell us your favourites, or any other fun packaging designs that you’ve spotted.

The Evolution of the Camera

The Evolution of the CameraEasy Canvas Prints has put together an infographic showing the evolution of the camera.

The infographic, which is laid out in an easy-to-read timeline with simple pictures, spans 500 years, from the first Camera Obscura to the first camera phone.

The ground-breaking Kodak Brownie camera is included in the timeline, while Polaroid is also mentioned.

Take a look at the whole infographic here.

How big is the universe?

How big is the universe?The Royal Observatory Greenwich has released an animated video talking about the real size of the universe.

The animation was created by London animation studio Beakus.

The video talks about how scientists can calculate the actual size of the universe, and the factors that affect it.

The animation breaks down a lot of the science into analogies and principles that are easier to understand.

Take a look at the video below, and let us know if you think more scientific videos should be presented this way.

Lumio: a book of light

Architect Max Gunawan has created a ‘book’ that emits light when the user opens it.

The Lumio is made from pages of Tyvek, a durable synthetic material, and contains high-performance LEDs.

The book, which has a laser-cut wooden cover, unfolds in a concertina style and can provide light for eight hours before it needs to be recharged.

The portable light can be transformed into several shapes, standing up or flat on a surface, and simply needs to be opened to turn on or shut to turn off.

Inspired by origami, the Lumio was funded through Kickstarter and is now on sale for $160.

Find out more about the Lumio here and tell us what you think of this innovative product.

A giant vending machine for a shopless village

A village in Derbyshire has found an unusual solution to its lack of local shops: it has installed a giant vending machine.

Community engineer Peter Fox spent three years building the machine for the villagers of Clifton, which has not had its own convenience store since the 1990s.

The vending machine has a quaint façade, with a striped canopy and brick-like exterior; unlike ordinary machines, it takes cards and notes as well as coins.

The local people no longer have to trek to the nearest town, as the machine stocks essentials, such as milk, and other handy items like gravy granules, umbrellas and pet food.

Take a look at the vending machine here and tell us if you would like to see more vending machines like this installed around the country.

Evolution of the Bicycle

Danish studio Visual Artwork has demonstrated the evolution of the bicycle in a fun one-minute video.

Evolution of the Bicycle’ uses only a few shapes to seamlessly transition through each era of the early bicycles and the perpetually spinning wheels add a quirky dynamism to the animation.

Famous bicycles such as the Penny Farthing and the ‘Boneshaker’ are depicted in the video, which uses Benny Goodman’s jazz piece ‘Flying Home’ as its soundtrack.

You can watch the animation below or find out more about the history of bicycles here.

White Tree: a tower with branches

The design for a 17-storey tower in France has been revealed, named ‘White Tree’, or ‘arbre blanc’.

White Tree, which will be built in Montpellier, has an organic feel with ‘leaves’ branching off the main body of the tower, creating modular spaces and areas of shade.

Inspired by Mediterranean and Japanese influences (the design team includes NLA, OXO and Sou Fujimoto), the tower also incorporates hanging gardens, plants and trees.

White Tree will overlook the historic and modern parts of Montpellier, and is designed to be a mixed-use tower, including an art gallery and a panoramic bar.

Find out more about the unique design here and tell us what you think of it.

The most interesting hotels in the world

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sleep underwater? Or maybe to stay in a hotel on stilts? Dezeen has compiled a list of the ten most interesting hotels in the world.

Each hotel offers a completely unique experience to its guests.

‘The Bird’s Nest’ by Inredningsgruppen, which has a retractable staircase and uses the surrounding trees for support, is part of the Tree Hotel in Sweden. Letting its guests get close to nature, ‘The Bird’s Nest’ can accommodate a family of four and uses a network of tree branches for its façade.

Another hotel on the list is Canada’s Fogo Island Inn, a minimalist building constructed on stilts, which reduces the hotel’s impact on the landscape.

Take a look at the whole list here and tell us your favourites.

‘Mini Museum’ shares history in fragments

A collector of interesting artefacts is now giving everyone the opportunity to share his specimens, through his ‘Mini Museum’ project.

Hans Fex painstakingly breaks down ancient objects into smaller fragments, then places and labels them in resin display cases, so their new owners can enjoy tiny parts of history.

The exhibits include scraps of an Egyptian mummy’s bandage, shards of dinosaur fossil, and lumps of meteorite.

Fex has been collecting the objects for thirty-five years and his (nearly) lifelong project has finally come to fruition, with help from Kickstarter.

Find out more about ‘Mini Museum’ here or by watching the video below. Tell us if you would like your own display of extraordinary artefacts.

Epic geometric sandcastles

A sculptor’s assistant has spent his holiday working on some remarkable sandcastles, transforming a fun pastime into a work of art.

While relaxing on a beach in Hawaii, Calvin Seibert turned his hand to the local sand and occupied himself by building a series of intricate sculptures, which he photographed before the tide could wash them away.

On his Flickr album, Seibert says: “Building ‘sandcastles’ is a bit of a test. Nature will always be against you and time is always running out. Having to think fast and to bring it all together in the end is what I like about it. I am always adding just one more bit and if time allowed I wouldn’t stop.”

Seibert’s creations include a Tetris-inspired sculpture and an Esher-style castle; many of the sandcastles use strong, geometric shapes, which look even more striking amongst the sand.

Take a look at his gallery here and tell us if you think you could build a better sandcastle.

An office desk with space for 175 people

An office in New York is now the proud owner of a 1100-foot-long ‘super-desk’ which can seat every single one of its employees, with room to spare.

Advertising company Barbarian Group commissioned architect Clive Wilkinson to create an office that would ‘encourage collaboration and communication’, giving staff the space to move freely.

However, the desk isn’t straightforward and rectangular – instead, it curves up and around different points of the office, giving it an open and organic feel as it creates cubbyholes and corridors.

Take a closer look at the ‘super-desk’ in the video below or in Wilkinson’s interview with The New York Times here. Tell us if you would like to work on a desk like this.

Introducing the Superdesk from The Barbarian Group on Vimeo.


Birds Eye launch ‘Mashtags’ potato range

Frozen food company Birds Eye is exploiting the social media zeitgeist with its new potato shapes range, named ‘Mashtags’.

Along with classic potato smileys, ‘Mashtags’ also contains hashtags, hearts, asterisks and @ symbols.

Birds Eye used to produce potato ‘Alphabites’, which formed letters of the alphabet, and it is easy to view this new range as a modern successor to ‘Alphabites’.

Pete Johnson, senior brand manager at Birds Eye, said: “Social media is all about conversation and we’re confident Mashtags will resonate across various groups of people.”

‘Mashtags’ will be launched this March in several leading supermarkets – will you be trying these brand new potato icons?

Nichetto at Stockholm Design Week

Italian designer Luca Nichetto has debuted some innovative new products at Stockholm Design Week 2014, including his ‘Notes’.

Nichetto created a series of sound panels, entitled ‘Notes’, for furniture manufacturer Offecct.  Made from recyclable felt and other materials, the different shaped panels can be easily arranged and decorated, lending themselves to dividing space as well as absorbing sound.

Luca Nichetto’s company, Nichetto & Partners, opened in 2006 and since then he has won several awards, including the ‘Interior Innovation Award 2013’, ‘IF Product Design Award 2009’ and ‘Grandesign Award 2008’.

Stockholm Design Week has been a yearly fixture in the Swedish capital since 2002 and incorporates the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, at which Nichetto exhibited the new products.

Nichetto’s other collaborations at Stockholm Design Week included Canadian shop Mjölk, De La Espada, and One Nordic Furniture Company.

Find out more about Luca Nichetto and his work here.

Surface Design Show opens its doors

Surface Design Show, an innovative surface solutions trade fair for the built environment, opened its doors from Tuesday 4th to 6th February at the Business Design Centre in London.

The event is well visited by architects and designers who come to the fair to discover innovative materials like natural stone, green materials, glass, illuminated surfaces, tiles and coatings that can be used for various applications such as flooring, cladding or wall coverings.

Visitors could enjoy over 100 participating companies exhibiting at the fair, and further benefit from a series of talks, seminars and live demonstrations. They could also learn about the colour and material trends for Spring/Summer 2015 or debate the meaning of BIM.

The fair kicked off with a preview evening hosted by the charismatic Maxwell Hutchinson for RIBA Journal who was joined by George Saumarez Smith, director at Adam Architecture, Pernilla Ohrstedt, director at Pernilla Ohrstedt studio and Robert Sakula, partner at Ash Sakula Architects to debate and discuss the role of materials in architecture and the vernacular in the built environment.

The other highlights of this show include the Pecha Kucha Evening on Wednesday, where leading architects and designers presented 20 of their favourite images, each for 20 seconds, The Trend Wall presented by Global Color Research, Mix Publications, highlighting future trend concepts for 2015, as well as Light School, introduced for the first time at the show, designed to educate and inspire through a programme of seminars hosted by lighting designers.

You can find out more about the show here.

The Archibet City – an illustrated alphabet of architects

An illustrator has created a pictorial alphabet, incorporating architects and their most iconic buildings.

Federico Babina, who is also an illustrator, transformed each letter of the alphabet into the work of a famous architect to create the ‘Archibet’. For instance, ‘F’ is represented by Foster + Partners and their ‘Gherkin’, while ‘U’ incorporates Utzon’s Sydney Opera House.

Babina said: “The idea on which the Archibet project is based is to find a way to express through 26 illustrations the heterogeneity of forms and styles that make up the architecture.”

Each individual letter is intricately detailed and as a whole, the letters form a city of distinctive buildings, organised around roads and trees.

Take a closer look at Babina’s ‘Archibet’ here and tell us what your favourite letters are.


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