Monthly Archives: March 2011

Books and Technology, How Augmented Reality is Combining The Two

Augmented reality is something that I have been interested in for a while and wrote about in my pre-blog days. For my project work I am looking into ways of getting information to individual users that requires them to interact with an object or space so the concept of this book is an ideal case study.

Between Page and Screen is a book of 20 poems by Amaranth Borsuk that can only be read using the aid of a webcam and augmented reality. The book itself features black and white geometric shapes and a website address. When you access this website and hold up the book to a webcam the poem appears on screen. It could almost be considered a modern day pop up book!

As you turn the pages or move the book around the image on screen responds accordingly. Yes this may be detracting from the poetry itself and it is the method of reading rather than the content that takes the stage but in a world so driven by technology I feel this would be a brilliant way of getting children to read and interact with subject matter. Learning devices could be incorporated into the programme to make the most of this technique.

The video below shows the book in action.


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Filed under Film, Just For Fun, Pop Up, Technology

What If You Could Rearrange Your City?

My Masters Project work involves me carving up and reorganising a town centres high street in order to give it a better functionality. I have been looking into master planning and as such the work of Armelle Caron has been of great interest to me. The French artist takes a city map, simplifies its features into blocks and then creates a new system of organisation according to the shape and size of each element. The result is the Anagram Of The City.

Berlin 2

The final result of the project was not only two dimensional images (like those of Berlin above) but also featured 3,500 wooden pieces that represented the block forms of Paris. The pieces laid out on the floor almost became a giant jigsaw that the audience of the exhibition could play with. Recreating the city that they themselves occupy.

Paris Model

Looking at her process, just taking a map of my project area and simplifying forms would be a good start. Then deciding what shapes work together and how such shapes could be grouped better would be a great initial response to finding a solution for my high street.

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Filed under Art, Cities

Young Designers Take Note and More Importantly Have A Giggle!

As a young designer myself people often forward me funny websites or images. I thought I would pass two of the best on to you. One that I printed and stuck on my wall as a helpful reminder and the other just something to read if you fancy a chuckle!

1. Although aesthetically this is not my thing I can’t help but agree with the posters content. The piece is by Doug Bartow of id29 and is in a way a good list to live your design life by.

22.5" sq_29_tips_v1

2. The second thing I want to show you is an article on the website Notes On Becoming A Famous Architect. In particular is an article entitled A Compromise Manifesto: 50 Techniques For Aspiring Starchitects.

The article is hilarious and I have come across a number of the featured personality traits. The article is a guide on how to act on becoming a Star Architect and includes such gems as…

1. Profess a commitment to collaborative design. Proceed by designing what ever you want.

17. Develop multiple personalities. Deploy as needed.

27. Interrupt, interrupt, interrupt.

31. Change part of the design during project documentation. Next, forget that you made this decision. Upon encountering the change as built on site. Fly into a rage.

49. Remember, inside you are just a child who needs to get his way.


For all students of design this article is a must read!

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Filed under Just For Fun

Perfect Present For An Architecture Geek!

I’m not going to lie, I have a small obsession with all things stationery and so the Free Form Ruler grabbed my attention in an instant!

What looks like a pencil is actually a measuring tool. You simply trace along the subject that needs to be measured and the clever South Korean technology inside does all the rest!

An LED display on the side reveals the measured length and by simply twisting the end of the pencil you can choose to measure in a number of different units or convert the length you have already measured.monocomplex 1

The pencil is by Monocomplex and is not only practical but has a slick, aesthetically pleasing design. Unfortunately I have been unable to find a website where I can get my hands on one!

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Filed under Just For Fun, Stationery, Technology

A Stairway of Colour Heaven

I recently came across the Holsteiner Stairs pictured below and I love them. They are a simple idea, well executed and bring a big injection of colour and attitude to what could have been a fairly bland streetscape.

Holsteiner stairs 1

The painted stairs, in Wuppertal, Germany are by the artist Horst Glasker. The piece entitled Scala features a series of individually painted steps and on each step is a different German word. The words are used to describe different relationships between humans. The piece is not just beautiful it is a well thought out social commentary.

Holsteiner stairs 2

The piece is now five years old but the ideas are as fresh today as ever and I could see this idea being replicated in a number of cities.

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Filed under Art, Cities, Colour

Public Skateboarding? Good or Bad?

Since looking at free running I have been considering other forms of sporting activities that could occur in a public space. Skateboarders and BMX riders instantly came to mind.

The Bench below has been specifically designed to prevent skate boarding. Although the bench is beautiful I cant help but dislike the idea that its purpose is to prevent something that can bring joy to so many. The bench is called the Zipper Bench and is by WXY Architecture + Urban Design.Zipper BenchThe bench in the image below does the exact opposite of that above. Its purpose is to aid grinding. Its form is simple, elegant and purposeful.

In my study of Architecture a key idea that was often engaged was that of an ‘active frontage’. The idea was to create a self policing space by surrounding a space with functions or activities. By surrounding the bench below with activities the use of the bench in the middle should be limited to non-threatening pursuits. Groups of kids hanging around and vandalising the area should be reduced. Instead people are given a space to gather and have fun with the urban sports they enjoy, but as they are surrounded by other people going about their everyday lives they should be less inclined to misbehave.Tom Hawes Skateable Furniture

The bench above is from a range of ‘Skateable Furniture’ by Tom Hawes. Hawes himself states “The design of public spaces needs to respond to the uses of it by the public. If young people are using these spaces for positive activities like skateboarding, then the design of these spaces needs to evolve alongside these new uses, not discourage and criminalize, alienating and socially excluding the youth.”

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Filed under Cities, Furniture, Sport, Street Furniture

Urban Environments From Another Angle

In my attempt to view high streets slightly differently I have been considering different ways that people use spaces. Free runners certainly take a different view on the urban environment and in my research I came across this film by Kaspar Astrup Schroder.

The above video is a trailer for My Playground, a film mostly based in Copenhagen that explores how people interact with urban environments.

For more information click here

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Filed under Cities, Film, Sport