As we've heard, they are inevitable. The impact of change is different for most people. Lifestyle change, relationship change - job change, health change. The one inalienable human fact is that everyone, regardless of age, station in life - strengths, weaknesses, whatever - we have all experienced change.
Change is not quantitative. One never hears a comment such as, 'Well, I had 6 more changes than you did last week!'. Or, 'My change, yesterday, was much bigger (or smaller) than yours....'
No - change is life - it is the one constant. Some of us are better able to adapt to it, to rise above it - to incorporate and/or seize its moment - and harness either the positive, or negative fallout of change.
Most of you have by now received and read the change about to take place in the structure of DesignReview•International.
Sorry - not quite true. DRI, in and of itself, is not about to change. How you, the reading audience, engage with it is likely to change. Simply because, as previously stated, after three years of dedicated effort we are moving DRI to being a 'value-added' publication. Or, not - as you individually choose.
To reiterate, and for the last time, come September that month's issue will contain a subscription sign-up form. What means that? Means that this : : for those of you who continually enjoy the content, the insights - the 'value-added' features of DRI distribution and delivery of same will continue, monthly, uninterrupted following receipt of a paid subscription fee. For those of you who read the issuance this week of our email about this, you will recall that the survey feedback identified a per issue value of either $1.00 or $2.00......well, that actually hasn't beed finally decided on yet. You will receive a respectable advance notice in that regard.
However, moi - I felt guilty. Pourquoi? Well, I suppose I didn't give anyone a 'heads up' that this would ultimately be the direction that DRI would take - and now we've imposed this condition. On the other hand, we didn't know ourselves.....honestly. But out of respect for those of you who prefer not to pay for such content, and/or really just want 'flash' news items without the research, the backbone - I decided to provide, as a free service, a design bulletin, if you will. Just the basics of a story, the highlights.
A preview rather than a review. This week just such an effort was emailed to all recipients....it had the odd sounding moniker of 'datapoints'. Surely some of you wondered where, and when, I had lost my mind. I must apologize, explain and announce. As it was already a few days beyond month's end I felt it important to stick, as closely as possible, to the self-imposed discipline of always publishing on-time.
It slipped this issue - many reasons why - most beyond our control -but in the urgency to not let it slip any further the general announcement email was sent out and followed by the link to dr-datapoints.
If you observed the logo I designed for the design bulletin you will notice the letters, 'd' and 'p'.
I can now announce a successful negotiation to obtain the domain, www.DesignPreview.International.
Now it makes more sense, no? There is a delightful symmetry, to my mind, between DesignPreview and DesignReview......don't think it requires explaining.
www.DesignPreview.International provides me with freedom - a different kind of freedom than what is embraced in www.DesignReviewInternational - and it will permit me to, as I see fit, issue bulletins, blasts - 'hot off the press' kind issuances - and these will be free of charge. They will serve as a preview, naturally, to what will be contained in the more formal DesignReview issuance for that month. But, bear in mind - they will be just as described - news blasts - mostly a title with any compelling images associated with the information - there will be no depth. Sorry - that you get with a subscription.
And so, for this issue, 3•6, elements/stories as contained in the 'datapoints' issue will be further expanded. This will be the norm for this issue, and the following two.
It is my sincere hope that those of you who have been vocal about how you feel about DRI will continue to be readers. I have greater plans than this - this is a stepping stone to where I'd like to see DRI get to.
Thank you for your patience, your indulgence and your support. BTW - I want to make a personal/professional announcement here also. Last week I was informed that I was successful in my pursuit of a Master's degree from University of Gloucestershire, UK. I have earned an M.A., Creative and Critical Writing with the added distinction of, 'With Merit'. Hey - at 75 (middle age to me), being a freshly minted university graduate certainly tickles my fancy.
On a final note, henceforth, DR•I will restrict itself only to concerns regarding the world of design. No longer will there appear any personal comments or opinions.
Efficiency, versatility - adaptability, have become the watchwords of out digital daily survival.
In my daily professional experience, if I expect to be working off-site (in a library, a client's office - a train, plane) I spend way too much time setting aside this power cord, that USB connector type (are you all aware that there are three different types of connector ends for USBs? You must be....) I organize the connectors I need for my iPhone, iPad, bluetooth headset, earbuds, etc.....you get the picture. Oh yes, there's also my hard rives and/or a variety of data USBs.....it gets tiresome, wearying. And it actually all gets heavy. I love the minimalist ads we see that show the most elegant curved video screen with a wireless keyboard, a wireless mouse - a sleek laptop - and nothing else in sight. Come on! That is not real life.....if you saw my desktop you'd shudder. Not because it's messy or disorganized. Because I have 10 different external hard drives, a music system, mouse, digital drawing tablet, old iPhone 4 that serves as a really cool earthView clock, this connector, that connector.....if I dropped eead it would take a tech guy at least a day to unravel all that is there. And so it is with joyous abandon that I greet announcements such as the one following. It didn't take a rocket scientist (maybe it actually did....) to think clever and create this newest device. Quite simply it is a combination external hard drive and multi-port USB bus......
aw c'mon! Why has it taken all this years for such an obvious need to ben realized in an actual, honest-to-goodness, efficiency product?
Okay - enough! No more yattering - this product deserves full-tilt boogie in terms of announcement - please read, and enjoy.
Minix’s amazing USB-C hub is also a 240GB hard drive [Review]BY ED HARDY • 4:45 PM, JULY 7, 2019
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of MacThe Minix Neo Storage is one of those inventions so clever they make you ask, “Why didn’t someone think of this before?” It combines into one small package two accessories many people carry around: an external hard drive with up to 240GB of capacity and a 4-port USB hub.
We tested it with both a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro. We’re sharing our real-world experience.
Minix Neo Storage review: USB-C hub and SSD in one
At first glance, the Neo Storage appears to be a slightly bulky USB hub. Along one edge are a pair of USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and a single USB-C port. On one end is a short cable with a USB-C connector.
The exterior is machined aluminum, with sharp edges but curved corners. It comes in either silver or space grey, and there’s a white LED bar that glows when this accessory is getting power. The overall look matches Apple’s design esthetic fairly well.
The central unit is 4.5 inches by 1.7 in. by 0.4 in. and 2.3 ounces (0.14 pounds). As mentioned, it’s larger than a typical USB hub, but smaller than most external hard drives. It fits easily into a gear bag, and Minix includes a black drawstring pouch so it won’t get scratched up. Or scratch up anything else, which is more likely.
Minix Neo Storage has a USB-C port, HDMI port, and dual USB Type-A ports.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of MacThe two USB ports are 0.3 inches apart. This is fine for cables and average-size thumbdrives, but is a bit tight for anything even slightly oversized. The HDMI port is equally close.
The built-in cable is 4.9-inch long, a reasonable length whether the Neo Storage is used with a MacBook or an iPad Pro. It seems durable enough to stand up to regular use.
Buried on the inside is an Intel SSD, either 120GB or 240GB. This is non-removable — it’s not possible to replace it with something larger.
Minix Neo Storage performanceThe SSD inside this accessory acts like any other USB drive. Just plug this peripheral in and a drive called NEO Storage will mount. We tested it with an iPad Pro running iOS 13 and it performs equally well. The drive appears in the Files app exactly as it’s supposed to.
Minix Neo Storage appears in the Drive app like any other removable drive.
Screen cap: Ed Hardy/Cult of MacMinix says the 240GB version offers up to 400MB/s read and write speed, while the 120GB one is slightly slower: 350MB/s.
Tests with multiple peripherals show that the dual USB-A ports perform exactly as expected, whether it’s a keyboard, mouse, or a thumbdrive inserted. That goes for the iPad Pro, too.
The HDMI port is up to 4K video at 30Hz. Our tests found no problems with this. It does what it’s supposed to: let you connect your computer to a TV or projector.
No device has as many USB-C ports as we’d like, and this accessory doesn’t have to monopolize one. It has a USB-C port so power can keep flowing to the iPad or MacBook while the accessory is in use. But that’s all it can do. It’s not possible to daisy chain on another USB-C accessory.
And just so there’s no confusion, the Neo Storage doesn’t have to be plugged in to an external power source for all its functions to work. All that’s required is the power coming from your Mac or iPad.
The aluminum casing serves as radiator so expect it to get warm. Not hot, but definitely a way to warm your fingers on a cold morning.
Minix Neo Storage final thoughtsAnyone who’s already planning on carrying a USB-C hub to connect to USB-A accessories and HDMI TVs can now add some built-in storage. True, this accessory is a bit more bulky than the average USB hub but that’s not much of a drawback.
Pricing:Minix’s official price for the 240GB version of the Neo Storage is $99.90 (€99.90). It’s available on Amazon at that price, and here’s the cost in Canada and the UK.
Taking into account that this is both a USB-C hub and an SSD, these prices are quite reasonable. Take the Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C hub. It’s $69.99, and while it offers more ports it doesn’t include any storage. Now look at the OWC Envoy Pro Ex whose 250GB version is $129. It’s much, much faster, but also pricier. Compared to those two, the Minix Neo Storage starts to look like a deal.
Introducing the Light of Life- a single, uniquely shaped and astounding art piece that functions more than just a mere lamp. It's sleek and exhibits a thin, cherry wood shade, and brightness that can be smoothly adjusted via touch controls on the base.
It features a "Sleep Mode" setting that turns the light off automatically after 30 minutes so that you can sleep soundly and comfortably.
4In addition, the base of the lamp also has an integrated wireless charging pad, so you can charge any phone wirelessly!
This stunning lamp even comes with a built-in neodymium Bluetooth speaker. Just pair your device to the lamp, and play your favourite music wirelessly. You can even use the touch controls on the lamp to skip songs and adjust the volume.
Say good bye to dull and unpleasing desk lamps. Good bye to switches, chaotic tangled cords, electrical extensions and mess.
From the very innovative company, Articture.
Located just off the coast of Manhattan in the Long Island Sound, Columbia Island is a remote retreat just 30 minutes from the city. The private island comes with a 5,625-square-foot residence with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Its industrial-style interior features a spacious living area and kitchen with polished concrete floors and exposed brick walls. Expansive glazing and multiple terraces offer exceptional views while the rooftop deck affords sweeping panoramas of the New York skyline and nearby New Rochelle. Powered by solar panels and a desalination machine, the entire property is completely self-sustaining. Also included in the sale is the 3-acre Pea Island.
Photos: Sotheby's International Realty
$13,000,000.00 U S D • maybe a pretty cool BnB?
BOWLUS ROAD CHIEF ENDLESS HIGHWAYS CAMPER
Making its debut in 1934, the Bowlus Road Chief was the original silver bullet. Now, 85 years later, the travel trailer returns with some modern upgrades in the Endless Highway model. Its 26-foot exterior looks almost unchanged, sporting a similar aluminum shell that was created by aircraft engineer Hawley Bowlus. The interior is finished with wood walls and ceilings and features a master bedroom with king-size bed, an ensuite teak and chrome bathroom, dining for four, kitchen, and a sofa and armchair that convert into two twin beds. For added comfort while on the road, the camper also comes with heated floors, a cellular booster, a private wifi network, continuous hot water, and charging stations. It's all powered by a lithium iron phosphate systems, allowing you to stay off-grid for a full week adventure.
$185,000.00 - or attractive financing options - go here.
True portability and convenience : :
POURIGAMI COFFEE MAKER$30
Available on Kickstarter now, MiiR’s Pourigami pour-over system is a carry-able coffee maker that doesn’t succumb to the constraints of instant coffee alternatives or clunky camping presses. Three sleek slats of stainless steel (in black, stainless steel or white) interlock and form a nest for coffee filters. The system weighs just four ounces and, when unassembled, packs flat. Testing it out at this year’s Outdoor Retailer, we observed that it outperforms presses and clears a significant amount of space in your backpack.
HISPANO SUIZA CARMEN ELECTRIC HYPERCAR
Hispano Suiza introduced its first production car in over 70 years at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. The Carmen is an all-electric hypercar that extensively uses carbon fiber for the monocoque chassis, eleven body panels, and nearly everything else, where at all possible. This helps the Carmen weigh in at 3,726 pounds — a relative lightweight in the electric car world. A 700 cell lithium-ion battery pack powers each rear wheel for a total of 1,019 horsepower, a 0-62 time of less than three seconds, and a limited top speed of 155 MPH. The interior is handcrafted at Hispano Suiza's Barcelona factory, using leather and Alcantara for the seating surfaces and aluminum and carbon fiber trim. Each of the 19 buyers can even choose their own perfume for the interior if that new car smell isn't enough. Hispano Suiza has designed the Carmen to be upgradeable as technology improves, keeping the Carmen relevant even after its production run ends.
In the words of someone, famous, 'HOOWAH!'
A TINY RETREAT RESTING ON A LARGE BOULDER IN THE CZECH COUNTRYSIDE
Prague-based firm Uhlik Architekti were asked by a private commission to create ‘Forest Retreat’: a compact and multifunctional timber hideaway that balances atop a natural boulder.The client requested a private space in the countryside where he could escape for quiet contemplation, given his demanding work back in Prague. Speaking of the site location, the architects explain that the client took them to a spot in the midst of fields, woods and meadows, “Full of strange boulders, to a remote and somewhat forgotten place”. The rich landscape together with the client’s aim won the architects over instantly. The exterior of the tiny home is charred timber and when closed it resembles an unassuming storage container. Two side walls act as moveable shutters that open to reveal large glass windows, allowing forest views from inside. All materials are local; either from a neighboring forest or from other nearby sources. The interior is made from plywood and features a set of ascending steps that differentiate the space, with each step doubling as a storage unit. The client can sit, work, lounge, or sleep as he pleases—the top level can be flipped upside down, turning into a double bed.
Virginia Tech’s FutureHAUS brings tomorrow’s home into today’s world
Nina Zafar • The Washington Post
July 2In recent years, innovation in digital technologies transformed the way we live. Advances in smartphones, robotics and computers revolutionized every aspect of our lives leaving it almost impossible to imagine life without them, yet these types of technologies remain object focused vs. concept focused. At Virginia Tech, an interdisciplinary team of 25 students and faculty is taking existing technology that work independently of each other and asking the question, why can’t these components work together? Their FutureHAUS project is about creating an interface that is completely connected within one smart-home system.
Virginia Tech placed first in Dubai’s Solar Decathlon Middle East competition that challenged 15 universities from around the world to design, build and operate energy positive solar homes. While the baseline for the competition revolved around energy efficiency within a 900-square-foot space, what differentiated FutureHAUS from its competitors was the smart technologies.
“We didn’t enter the competition for the competition’s sake. We used the competition to test out an idea of how to build a future house,” says Joe Wheeler, an architecture professor and leading member of the FutureHAUS team.
The future house Wheeler refers to is composed of several cutting-edge concepts. The prefabrication concept proposes that homes be built like cars or planes, utilizing an efficient and sustainable factory. The system is different from modular or double-wide concepts which ship an entire build in one piece. Instead, the FutureHAUS comprises 18 prebuilt “Lego style” modules that are plug and play once they arrive on-site from the factory. This allowed the team to put the house together in two days.
Not only are the modules easily transportable, but they are loaded with state-of-the-art technologies that revolve around the idea of aging in place. The research team submitted their request for participation in the competition in 2016, giving them two years to come up with their plan.
“We did a lot of user group studies. The university is a perfect test fit for that, not only because you have the student body but also you have the researchers doing their own research,” says Bobby Vance, a professor and program manager at Virginia Tech’s Center for Design Research.
Technologies that support aging in place include rooms designed to accommodate users of any height, age or disability. For example, the bathroom includes a touch control smart mirror that controls bathroom functions and features, making the vanity and toilet height adjustable. The toilet will raise and lower based on who is about to use it. The kitchen counters detect height and automatically adjust to each user, too.
“Say you buy this home when you’re 25 years old and you want to live in it until you’re 85 years old. There’s a lot that happens in that time,” Vance said. “You could have small kids, you’ve got in-laws who come over, or maybe mom’s in a wheelchair now. The home should be able to accommodate every change and every person.”
Another central concept is that of flex space. The walls of the home can be repositioned based on different configurations that are stored in a central touch-screen interface. Users can adjust the size of the office/living/bedroom space with the touch of a button, allowing for maximum usage of a house with a smaller footprint. In fact, every aspect of the home can be changed and controlled through this interface.
“I think that’s why we won the competition. Anyone can make an energy-positive home, but is it relevant? Is it a place that someone actually wants to live? This is about integrating technology in a seamless way,” Vance said.
Skeptics may be hesitant to live in a home with as much innovative technology as FutureHAUS has, but Vance is confident that smart homes are close to being mainstream.
“You don’t have to go all-in in the beginning. One thing we say is does anyone miss crank windows in their car? But does your Murphy bed need to have a smart mirror on the back? No. Does your shower need to be automated? No. Is the infrastructure all there for when you’re ready to do that? Absolutely.”
The FutureHAUS team also spent much of the two years leading up to the Dubai competition finding funding for the project. Sponsors include large companies such as Kohler, DuPont and Dominion Energy.
“We’re committed to driving these types of projects, new opportunities for lower-carbon-footprint ecosystems, and this was a great chance for us to get involved,” says Emil Avram, vice president of innovation at Dominion.
“We want our customers to look for carbon-friendly solutions the same way we are as an energy provider, and we’ll help to provide them with those solutions,” Avram said.
Matthew Boys, a recent graduate of Virginia Tech who worked on the FutureHAUS project as part of his capstone, interned with Dominion Energy for three summers before connecting his management with the FutureHAUS team. The 23-year-old industrial and systems engineering major managed much of the logistics for getting the house to Dubai.
“It was a heck of an experience,” Boys said. “Being in a different environment, seeing the fruits of our tireless labor come together was amazing. At one point, this was just on drawings so to see it actually happening and watching people go into the house and seeing their reactions, their jaws were dropping.”
Although members of the FutureHAUS team are still thriving off the excitement of sweeping the competition in Dubai, they are already looking toward the future of smart homes. They have developed a VR model that lets users interact with their potential home in real time. This allows them to preview the finishes in the home, from the floors to the walls. The Dubai FutureHAUS is a very stark white, modern style, but the home can be customized to a more homey design.
“We’re taking this to scale. We’re going to find the investors and come up with a couple of model homes that aren’t necessarily so futuristic like this, something that would meet market demand and propose what I like to call the Sears home of the future. We’re going to revitalize it and bring it back in a modern iHome,” Wheeler said.
The team has already begun researching what it would take to scale up production in a factory setting with a new team of engineering students. For a house named after the future, the technology is very much current. It may be just a matter of time before the FutureHAUS concept becomes a new normal.
FutureHAUS will be open to the public until Aug. 16 at Virginia Tech’s new Innovation Campus, 2602 Main Line Blvd., Alexandria. Tours are offered on Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The house will be closed for private events throughout the summer and visitors should check the website for updated information at www.futurehaus.tech.
In much the same way that Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Marc Newson and many other distinctive designers/architects created an instantly recognizable style signature, so did Haha Hadid.
Her work was, and is, instantly recognizable. Its message is always consistent, never wavering - and her legacy carries on in the work of her firm.
This unique dwelling located at 520 West 28th Street, NYC, is typically representative of her signature.
Just now on the market at $48,750,000.00 there is no other quite like it.
Oh! But, one last thing!
I received, very recently, an enquiry from a company not even on our mail-out list....how they became aware of DR•I I have not as yet determined. But, given that they are in Rotterdam, the Netherlands I find it fascinating that our modest little journal came to their attention.
This is a purely fabulous innovation that all of you should want to be aware of......some may take exception to the core principle, others may outright applaud the ingenuity, cleverness and future benefits that may accrue from this forward-thinking initiative.
For me, I'm of the latter camp - I believe it may well have rich and productive rewards for a global society, down the road.
What is it? Simply stated it is a water-based, flooring animal farm....check it out:
Floating Farm Dairy
Through the process of scale enlargement, and the automation of activities, the harbour of Rotterdam shifts to the west of the city, and the border between harbour and city shifts accordingly. Consequently, the decline of traditional trade activities make room for residential- and other urban developments. The harbour economy with its corresponding trading dynamics is disappearing from the basins; the original contrast between the relatively calm residential landscape and the lively centre point for trade is revolving 180 degrees; the basins of the Merwehaven threaten to become open and empty spaces in a densifying urban landscape of the Merwe-Vierhaven (M4H) area. With the Floating Farm Dairy these beautiful, but slowly orphaned spaces, find meaning in a rapidly changing environment through the introduction of urban farming.
The Farm produces, processes and distributes dairy products in the city, close to its consumers. It brings producer and consumer closer together, adds to shorter supply chains and awareness of city residents. Urban waste flows are upgraded from residual product to valuable ingredients cow feed. Brewers grains, potato scraps and grass clippings from the Feyenoord football stadium are all part of the menu. This adds to urban recycling and constitutes a fairly efficient form of food production. The Floating Farm Dairy is the first step to subsequently planned ‘Foodstrip’ in which a wider range of food production will be represented.
The design is, in essence, an agricultural building based on nautical principles. Organization, structural principles and use of materials are used to enhance the buoyancy and stability. The result is a stacked organization that places all heavy structural- and technical components in the submerged part of the building. All significant and transparent functions are situated on in a lightweight structure on top. The result is a 3-layered façade ranging from concrete to translucent polycarbonate to entirely open.
The Floating Farm Dairy is a compact and logically stacked structure that merges technical installations, storage, processing and production in a singular entity. Three connected concrete pontoons house the production of fruits (ingredients for yogurt), rain- and wastewater recycling and additional installations. On the upper factory floor combines milk and yogurt processing, feeding system, manure handling and retail. The covered cow garden will house 40 cows that will be supported by a manure cleaning robot and a milking robot along with various elements regarding animal welfare like the centrally placed ‘green columns’ that ensure cooling. The cantilevering floors and roof address the multi-level agricultural hub, and articulate its architecture.
The two galleries around the cow garden - vertically connected via two steel bridges - string together various evocative spaces to make an educational route. Along this route visitors gain insight on all activities in the Farm without disturbing the business process. Feeding fences around the cow garden and glass walls around the dairy processing facilitate the sensory experience of visitors and underline the transparent character of the company. Feeding-, dairy-, and manure processing are all organized to a compact and efficient logistic system that make this unique multi-level program possible.
Client/Initiator: Floating Farm Holding BV
Completion Year: 2019
Gross Built Area: 2000m2
Project location: Merwehaven, Rotterdam
Photo credits: Ruben Dario Kleimeer http://www.rubendariokleimeer.com/
Think about it. Almost all great cities in the world are adjacent to water - either a river (London, Montréal), an ocean (New York City), a lake (Chicago), etc. And as urban sprawl continues too, sprawl, farming communities are more threatened, more encroached upon. The reality is, there will always be, animal-based farming communities. Might it not make sense to bring them back to the core of our cities?
This is an easy, efficient and mobile method to make local stuff, local again.
In Montréal we benefit from the wisdom and convenience of Lufa Farms (https://montreal.lufa.com/en/marketplace) - an amazingly clever rooftop gardening initiative, enterprise.
Check it out - this is advanced, and clever thinking at its best.
One last word, for this issue.....the survey also threw back one other interesting commentary.
Actually two - the first was that everyone preferred the distribution to remain at once-a-month - the other was, for many, DR•I is simply too big - too much to get through. Para mi, I see that as the bonus I deliver - by design - aside from hyperlinks to source web-sites, you are never confronted with the dreaded,
'read more...' cop-out. What you see, is truly, what you get. It's honest, accurate, timely and always,
we believe, on topic.
As a professional interior designer (45+ years) and as a Certified Graphic Designer (25 years) I have devoted my life to the pursuit of design excellence. Winner of numerous design awards I have also spent 25+ years teaching Interior Design.....the greatest quote regarding design is: the greatest faux pas in design is irrelevance