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Cool products, clever ideas, an app and the latest reading material
Short of a thought, or in need of inspiration when blagging your way through a client meeting? A quote from a famous architect may be just the thing you need. Architect QuickQuotes brings more than 380 of them together into one tiny app. You can search for selection from particular people, or shake your iPhone for a random selection. Quotees include Frank Lloyd Wright, James Wyatt, Christopher Wren, Kenzo Tange, Alvar Aalto, and Rem Koolhaas, among plenty of others.
Porsche Design Kitchen P’7340
If you like your kitchens dark and brooding, Porsche Design may have just the thing for you. You can see it first hand in the new Kitchens & Beyond showroom in Dubai, built in collaboration with Poggenpohl. What the manufacturers describe as ‘purist styling’ is combined with dark colours, aluminium profiles and other materials reminiscent of precise engineering. Kitchen options also include nifty built in bits, such as a plug-and-play TV and coffeemaker.
Stretch Ultra Light Mirror
For the occasions when you need a mass of mirrors on the ceiling, but the weight of glass would be an issue, there is now a light-weight alternative. The Stretch Ultra Light Mirror, from Stretch Ceilings, is a reflective film made from a fine polyester fabric, which gets a highly reflective metallization process to create a mirror film. This can then be stretched over light weight aluminium rails and installed in the same way as a fabric paneling system. The product is bespoke, so can be made to measure in panels as large as 6000 x 1900mm. The manufacturers claim superior optical quality to ‘regular mirror systems’ and have half a dozen or so colours on offer.
Jabra is famous for its headsets and the Stone is the firm’s latest device. On unpacking the Stone we were immediately taken with its design. The earpiece sits in a charging dock and when they’re both together, it resembles a smooth black stone (pictured). Separating the earpiece the Jabra impresses again, but some users might find the fact that it’s designed for right ear use only a limiting factor.
To aid usability the headset boasts battery life and Bluetooth connection indicators that light up when the headset is used. The headset, which can connect to two phones at once, is usable with only one hand and provides exceptional sound quality. And, thanks to its ‘noise blackout’ technology the headset was able to mask most of the background noise which made conversing in noisy environments a little easier for both parties.
Philippe Nigro, Ligne Roset
Winner of a Red Dot award in 2009, the Confluence sofa pieces were designed by Philippe Nigro, who, apparently, was inspired by contemporary art. The sofa pieces can be shuffled around, but they don’t rely on symmetry to fit together, making it a little like a giant puzzle you can sit on.
Almanac of Architecture & Design 2010
Edited by James Cramer and Jane Paradise Wolford, Design Intelligence ISBN: 978-0-9840846-2-3
If you are into detail, the Almanac of Architecture & Design will provide you with a reference work full of architecture and design statistics for the last decade. Now in its eleventh edition, the almanac now includes the DesignIntelligence 333 – a ranking of the top design firms in North America, accompanied by a detailed directory of more than 800 leading architecture and design firms.
As a nice touch you get to select the cover you want when buying online. The Masdar HQ (Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture) is shown here. One alternate option is the Sears Tower Renovation (Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture).
The Architect’s Formulator is an iPhone app with 200 or so formulas for frequently used calculations. It covers areas such as electrics, carpentry, concrete and excavation formulas. While a small app won’t do everything, it might be handy to have around.