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Posts Tagged ‘architects’

Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty
Las Palmitas in Mexico, a giant example of a town painting itself.

In Gallup’s Global Emotions Report, the countries that come out best are completely different from those that top the UN’s better known Happiness Report, which gives more weight to metrics such as GDP. A design organization has taken note.

Christopher Turner provides background at the Guardian.

“The 2017 Global Emotions Report [is] an ambitious survey of the global mood. To compile it, Gallup conducted in-depth interviews with nearly 150,000 people in 142 countries.

“The report seeks to measure positive and negative daily experiences by asking people to rate their previous day. ‘Did you feel well rested yesterday? Were you treated with respect all day? Did you smile or laugh a lot? Did you experience enjoyment? Did you learn or do something interesting?’ … Conversely, interviewers asked them if they felt pain, anger, worry or stress. …

“In 2012 the UN launched its first World Happiness Report, using data also collected by Gallup, and called on member states to place more emphasis on happiness as a measure of social progress and to guide public policy.

“In the UN’s report, interviewees are asked about their perceptions of social support, personal freedom and corruption, rating their lives on a ladder from zero to 10. The results correlate closely with a list of the world’s wealthiest nations. Norway is currently the happiest country, followed closely by Denmark and Switzerland. … at the other end of the spectrum, people from Syria, Burundi, Tanzania and the Central African Republic rate life satisfaction at about three.

“In contrast, the Global Emotions Report poll of positive experiences is led by Paraguay (only 70th in the Happiness Report, and one of the poorer countries in terms of GDP), then Costa Rica.

“Indeed, Latin American countries traditionally come out top in the index, a fact attributed to the presence of strong social and family networks. …

“In the face of such statistics, what lessons can architects, designers, citizens and community activists learn from these polls? The theme of the second London Design Biennale, announced [in June], is ‘Emotional States.’ It aims to inspire a diverse, global commentary on our turbulent times, interrogating the ways in which design affects every aspect of our lives, and influences our feelings and experiences. …

“The biennale will feature an installation by Norway, in which the government is backing a decade-long initiative devoted to a people-centred approach to design. Engaging citizens in the process, it’s part of an ambitious action plan to make Norway inclusively’ designed by 2025. The government is also taking a proactive approach to the environment, and recently pledged that all cars on the roads will be electric within a decade. The exhibition includes examples of technology and innovation that employ design as a strategy for a better future.

“Guatemala, which ties for sixth place in the Global Emotions Report, will show an installation about the community action taking place in Santa Catarina Palopó. This town on the volcanic shores of Lake Atitlán is reinventing itself as a kind of conceptual art, using the paintbrush to boost civic pride and tourism. Its residents have become involved in a two-year scheme in which they are painting their houses in bold Mayan patterns, with a strict but vibrant palette of five colours sourced from local textiles.” More at the Guardian, here.

Photo: GraphicaArtis/Getty
“Now just 10 years away … a 1950s illustration of a family playing a board game while their electric car does the driving.” Ten years?

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Here is an idea whose time has come. Aux armes! We need to remove the barriers to napping!

Olivia Vanni at BostonInno explains the revolutionary new Sleepbox concept.

“Sleepbox, a startup that’s recently set Boston roots, is making our wildest dreams come true: You will soon be able to sleep soundly and safely in any public place conceivable. As the name implies, the company has developed cozy, technologically decked-out cabins that can be set up just about anywhere — in airports, offices or downtown metropolitan areas — and rented by folks looking to catch some Zs.

“How did this visionary venture come about? According to Mikhail Krymov, CEO of Sleepbox and research fellow at MIT, he and his business partner Alexey Goryainov started it as a theoretical side project for their architecture firm Arch Group. The two professionals travel a lot for work and were constantly subjected to flight delays and layovers where all they could do was wish for a comfortable, private place to rest. From their personal experience, they created an initial design for Sleepbox. But it was meant only as a concept, at first.

” ‘It was just a design idea, but then it was published — it was actually published quite a few times — we started receiving requests and orders from all over the world,’ Krymov told me. …

“There are some customers who are buying them for noncommerical uses — say, companies installing them in their offices for employees to use for free. However, there are clients who buy them with the intention of charging people to rent them, like airports and municipalities. …

” ‘I really want people to be more happy, productive and healthy by having enough sleep, and hope that our solution will help,’ Kyrmov said.”

Ye-es!

More here.

Photo: Mikhail Kyrmov

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An organization that I follow on twitter called SmallerCitiesUnite! (@smallercitiesu) tweeted today about a design for an educational marine center in Malmö, Sweden. It caught my eye because I like marine centers and because two novels I read recently took place in Malmö: Murder at the Savoy, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlööand Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Book 2, based on his life. (And of course, we have a Swedish connection in the family.)

Dezeen magazine reports, “Danish studio NORD Architects has released designs for a new Marine Educational Centre in Malmö, Sweden, comprising a 700-square-metre visitor centre with a large overhanging roof structure that covers an external aquatic learning environment. …

“The education centre will be set in 3,000 square metres of landscaping, including small ponds and planting that are intended to mimic an assortment of marine ecologies and create ‘an engaging learning landscape’ that allows visitors to have a hands-on experience of nature.

” ‘In the learning landscape, users will find floating laboratories on small removable pontoons, teaching signs on the seabed and underwater sea binoculars to name a few,’ said the studio.” More at Dezeen magazine, here.

Photo: NORD Architects

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People interested in imaginative uses of space to make cities more livable should get over to the Boston Society of Architects on Congress St. before September 29, when an intriguing exhibit closes.

Eight of us visited at lunch today, and the BSA’s marketing director went around the Reprogramming the City exhibit with us pointing out highlights and answering questions.

We saw photos of a lamppost that doubles as an umbrella, a staircase in Hong Kong (below) made into a public lounge, bus stops in Sweden using sun lamps at night, a “low line” community space under a highway (like New York’s high-line concept but under not over), a repurposed parking machine that spits out “tickets” describing how a nearby problem area has been fixed by the city of Boston, street mosaics in Portugal that have a QR code for accessing tourist information, and a Dutch solution to recycling teddy bears and other usable goods curbside for passerby to pick up. The list goes on.

I tried to round up more people to join the excursion, but business meetings at lunch seem to come first. It always surprises me that folks don’t take advantage of cultural activities at lunch: we are surrounded by really nice ones. At least the farmers market is popular. People always have time for that.

More on Reprogramming the City at the BSA website, where you can take an audio tour.

Update 9/18/13 — See some great pictures from the exhibit at the Boston Globe, here.

Photo: Scott Burnham
The Cascade by Edge Design Institute, 2007, Central Hong Kong.
Right, Urban Air by Stephen Glassman, 2010.

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