Weekly Trend: Timeless Marble | Insplosion – Interior Design Ideas

Timeless Marble

Weekly Trend: Timeless Marble

New week, new trend! Inspiration doesn’t have rules when it comes to creativity.

Marble is timeless, it never gets old and deserves a space in every interior design project.

Timeless Marble is inspired in a beautiful material, with unequal elegance and brightness. It can be included in any ambience, either luxurious, either rustic.

Available in several shades, marble can be matched with different kinds of decor, in order to make the perfect interior designed ambience.

Koi Bathtubs by Maison Valentina

Usually, marble used to be used on specific pieces of interior design such as kitchen settings (kitchen counters), furniture (tables, mostly) and also, in an ambience (floors).

Nowadays, marble uses have been upgraded to that of walls, other casegoods, details on upholstery, and even accessories.

Timeless Marble is a unique inspiration which can be integrated in a design in many distinct ways.

If used on floors, it’s hardly an effort to combine it with anycolor trend and decor.  The feautures of decor are dependable on the shade of marble.

If the marble is in white tones, the room can be design and decorated around shades of black, grey, metallics (silver, gold, copper, even pink copper), red. Other color may be combined with white marble but in certain amounts and with selected pieces.

If the marble is black, the isnpirations on decor may be mostly white or metallics (silver, gold, copper) since anything else would fade in comparison.

However, Marble is not limited to white or black. Nowadays, you can find  light white and brown shaded marble, even white-blueish and so on. It really is a game of tastes and can do.

When speaking of marble products, there is no limits to the designs and color combinations you can find. Neither the design is fixed, since you can have curved line items or clean geometric lines designed. Neither the adorning of the items is written in stone, beacuse every piece can have different proportions of details.

The Agra Bar Table by BRABBU is inspired on the famous monument, the TajMahal, as the marble mausoleum. As so, Agra Table is a work of art and craftmanship, imponent yet elegant, in white marble and gold contouring.

Agra Bar Table by BRABBU

 

The Beyond Center Table by Luxxu is an exquisite design piece made of marble and wood, with golden brass contours. It’s available on several marble, wood and brass finishes.

An impressive display of elegance, Beyond center table shows the exquisite capacity to fill a variety of ambiences thanks to its luxury presence. This delicate work of brass, wood and marble reflects warm and golden tones on its polished surface.

Koi Washbasin by Maison Valentina is a japanese inspiration made for decoration, although in japanese culture is mostly used on water gardens and tattoos. It’s design is highly creative between the diversity of color and the scales on the wash basin panels, both enhanced by the brass finished surface.

 

The Matheny Table Lamp by Delightfull is a unique modern lighting design, although inspired in classic designs and aesthetics. Mostly composed by geometric golden tubes, its marble base is the ultimate touch of imponence.

Ideal for a classic living room with a modern touch, Matheny stilnovo table lamp came to reinvent classic designs with a high aesthetic feeling. With a marble base and a shiny design, it will suit just perfectly your dining table or living room. Composed by geometric golden tubes, it reflects the sophistication of a timeless iconic piece.

 

Yoho Stool is a beautiful inspiration of glaciers and impressive waterfalls of the Yoho National Park, Southeastern British Columbia. An amazing design with irregular marble texture on the base, with polished marble from the base and up to the top. It’s a design inspired on nature forces.

YOHO contemporary stool illustrates the expansive glaciers and impressive waterfalls located in the Yoho National Park, southeastern British Columbia. YOHO is highlighted by its irregular marble texture on the base. YOHO fits in every contemporary space or gallery leaving a trace of Nature's Forces marked by the Human Hand of Design.

 

Vinicus Side Table is inspiration on duality, by its form and color. Its design is symetric, divided by a large gold brass detailed ring. By color duality, its upper base is made of white marble and the bottom base made of black marble. It’s gorgeous, practical and easy to fit into any design, evoking luxury and exuberance in on simple elegant design.

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The Best Marble Designs for Room Interiors – Interior Home Design

Marble is one of the most durable and attractive design options for a variety of rooms in your home. From flooring to tiles for your bathroom, there are a lot of ways to add this element to your home design. But what are the best designs from which to choose? Below, you’ll find four of the most popular types and styles of marble to help you imagine how these styles will look in your home.

4 Marble Styles for Your Home

Marble Walls Countertops Bathroom

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Emperador

For something that’s warm and goes with many decors, consider Emperador, which is a Spanish marble that definitely adds a level of sophistication to any room.

Marble Emperador Dark Spain

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This style can be purchased in dark brown and light brown colors with white and gray veining. Either way, you’ll have countertops that are the envy of your neighborhood.

Calacatta

There are several different types of Calacatta marble, as you can see by visiting Marble.com. You might mistake Calcutta for Carrara because both of these designs are similar in their veining and color.

Marble Calacatta Gold

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However, there are things that set Calacatta apart. It features a bright white color and thick veining in black and gold. You can easily incorporate this marble into a wide variety of interior design schemes to make any space look more luxurious than before.

Carrara

Another hugely popular marble design is Carrara. In fact, this design is considered the most common and affordable of all of the marble types available. If you’re on a budget, this design is a great choice, as it allows you to incorporate the look of sophistication at an affordable price.

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When you look at this marble, you notice the background color is a lovely greyish white. The veining, which is soft and typically linear, is also colored gray, and the veining can even be described as feathery and fine.

Nero Marquina

If you are in search of a style that is more striking, look no further than the dramatically beautiful Nero Marquina style. This Spanish marble features a deep black color with white veining that provides a striking and glamorous contrast.

Marble Nero Marquina

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Perfect for modern interior design schemes, you can add this marble as a backsplash in your kitchen, or you can add it to your bathroom when you want to add a darker color to the mix.

As you can see, there are a lot of marble types from which to choose. Of course, if the selection process becomes too overwhelming, I recommend that you consult with a professional to select the specific type and style of marble that is just right for you, your home, and your interior design.

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Jac Studios creates delicate glass exhibition in Tadao Ando’s Genius Loci – Home Design Ideas

Jac Studios has designed minimal glass display cases for an exhibition in a Tadao Ando-designed museum – a project that has just won top prize at the Inside awards.

The Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition is a permanent showcase at Tadao Ando’s Genius Loci, a museum made up of board-marked concrete walls, located on Jeju Island, South Korea.

Interiors of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition designed by JAC Studios

This exhibition features art-nouveau glass crafted between 1870 and 1940 by by French artist Émile Galle and her contemporaries.

The project was named Interior of the Year at the Inside interior design awards, which took place in Amsterdam last week.

Interiors of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition designed by JAC Studios

Copenhagen-based Jac Studios chose to contrast the building’s austere and heavy walls with transparent glass surfaces and volumes.

“The architecture by Tadao Ando plays a magnificent setting for the exhibition. The architecture is in itself a piece of art and visitors cannot avoid being touched by its beauty,” explained Johan Carlsson, founder of Jac Studios.

“The proposal responds to the dramatic setting of the volcanic island of Jeju with emphasis on framing the artefacts, just like how the building frames the landscape.”

Interiors of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition designed by JAC Studios

Carlsson and his team worked alongside art-nouveau specialist Didier Laugault on the arrangement of the exhibition, ensuring that pieces are displayed in a way that draws attention to their ornate detailing.

In some of the exhibition rooms, pieces are shown individually inside central glass boxes, while in others they are shown in small groups behind glazed openings in the walls that are illuminated by spotlights.

Text signage for the exhibition has also been printed on pieces of glass, joined by tatami mats on the floor where visitors can sit and observe the works.

Interiors of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition designed by JAC Studios

Panels of dichroic glass that appear to change colour when viewed from different angles feature on the building’s exterior, hinting at the subject matter of the exhibition inside.

The studio hoped the panels would also “animate” the site by reflecting oncoming visitors, the surrounding coastal terrain, and altering levels of light and shadow throughout the day.

Interiors of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection exhibition designed by JAC Studios

Jac Studio’s interior for the Yumin Art Nouveau Collection topped Inside’s Display category, before going on to scoop the top prize.

It was commended by judges for its “crafted sensibility, to both the building and the Gallé glass to which the museum is dedicated to”.

Photography is by Yoonsung Choi, Jeongyoun Hong, and Mathias Kromann Rode.


Project credits:

Exhibition architect: Jac Studios
Lighting design: Fortheloveoflight
General contractor: Chang Creative

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UNStudio designs Lyric Theatre Complex for West Kowloon in Hong Kong – Home Design Ideas

UNStudio is building a theatre complex in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong, featuring three performance spaces connected by ramps.

The Dutch architecture studio is revealing its design for the Lyric Theatre Complex for the first time at the Business of Design Conference in Hong Kong this week, although the building has been under construction since April.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

Featuring a compact design intended to maximise visibility, the complex will contain the 1,450-seat Lyric theatre, the 600-seat Medium theatre, and the Studio theatre that seats 270.

There will also be a large rehearsal room and an eight-studio centre for the resident dance company, along with shops and restaurants.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

Each theatre will have its own foyer, allowing all three to be open simultaneously. Each of these foyers will have balconies and overlooks, so theatre-goers and the public can enjoy what the architects described as a “see and be seen” atmosphere.

In an inversion of the traditionally enclosed “black box” theatre design, UNStudio put transparency at the core of the building. Large sections of the facade will be glazed to allow the public to see inside the building and watch the dancers rehearse.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

The theatres will be stacked for compactness, connected by two ramps curving in a 3D figure-of-eight design. The first ramp will down to the Lyric theatre, while the second will ascend to the Medium and Studio theatres.

Located in the centre of the looping ramps, a large opening topped by skylights will allow natural light into the centre of the building and give views from the rooftop terrace into the spaces below.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

This central “spine” will run through the complex, acting as an “alleyway” connecting the Artists Square to the waterfront.

The three theatres will be differentiated by their own colour-coded palette, which will start at the foyers and build in intensity of hue as it reaches the auditorium.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

Intended to evoke baroque-era grandeur, the Largest Lyric theatre will be coloured red and bronze, with contemporary touches added through brown and grey wooden accents.

The Medium theatre will be decorated in deep purple with contrasting metal and walnut inlays, while the Studio theatre is to be realised in dark blue, in order to complement the smaller scale dramatic productions it will host.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

In order to fit the site, the Lyric theatre will be situated 11 metres underground. The seating will be stacked asymmetrically to make the best of the space, but will arranged to appear symmetrical to the dancers from the stage.

This arrangement is necessary to preserve the acoustics for each venue, which is further complicated by the Airport Express Line running underneath the complex.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

The Lyric Theatre Complex forms part of the Foster + Partners masterplan for the West Kowloon Cultural District – a vast new cultural district being built on reclaimed land on the waterfront.

The area will also soon be home to M+, a major new architecture and design museum designed by Herzog & de Meuron, and the Xiqu Centre, a centre for Chinese opera designed by Bing Thom and Ronald Lu.

Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong by UNStudio

“The constraints of the site for the Lyric Theatre Complex presented numerous fascinating challenges for the arrangement of the various programmes within this very compact building,” said UNStudio co-founder Ben van Berkel.

“However, in the end we were able to create a vibrant building that celebrates the enchanting world of the theatre and will cater to the future needs of Hong Kong’s theatre-going public.”

Renderings are by DBOX.

Project credits:

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Hannes Pfau with Garett Hwang, Shuyan Chan
Project team: Sean Ellis, Praneet Verma, Josias Hamid, Irina Bogdan, Alexander Meyers, Jeff Lam, Iker Mugarra Flores, Deepak Jawahar, Mimmo Barbaccia, Evan Shieh, Ben Lukas, Caroline Smith, Vera Kleesattel, Albert Lo, Arnold Wong, Emily Yan, Haibo He, Abraham Fung, Mihai Soltuz, Betty Fan, Johnny Chan, Berta Sola Sanchez, Eric Jap, Chuanzhong Zhang, Kyle Chou, Bennet Hu, Kenneth Sit, Kevin Yu, Weihong Dong, Stephni Jacobson, Piao Liu, Francois Gandon, James Jones, Mingxuan Xie, Iris Pastor, Jonathan Rodgers, Kaisi Hsu, Pragya Vashisht, Nora Schueler
Lead consultants: UNStudio / AD+RG
Structure, civil and geotechnical advisor: AECOM
MEP and environmental advisor: WSP
Theatre consultant: The Space Factory, Carre and Angier
Acoustic consultant: Marshall Day
Facade consultant: inHabit
Landscape consultant: LWK Partners
Lighting consultant: ag Licht
BIM consultant: isBIM
Traffic consultant: MVA

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Herzog & de Meuron turns Hong Kong buildings into Tai Kwun art centre – Home Design Ideas

Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron has transformed a collection of historic buildings in Hong Kong into a vast arts complex, for the city’s largest heritage conservation project to date.

The Tai Kwun art and heritage centre spans 27,000 square metres across a sloping site, reflective of Hong Kong Island’s mountainous terrain.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron combined conservation and adaptive reuse to preserve the city’s former main police station, central magistracy, and prison, established by the British after they took control of the territory in 1841.

Most of the city’s colonial architecture was not protected, and therefore bulldozed for redevelopment.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

The studio has also added two new structures to the site, which was decommissioned and vacated in 2006, bringing the total number of buildings to 16. Overall, the transformation makes Tai Kwun the largest heritage conservation project in Hong Kong.

“What we have done in Hong Kong is to transform a former police station into a cultural centre,” said Herzog & de Meuron. “In Hong Kong and also in Mainland China this is still a totally new approach to architecture – an unusual thing to do because normally old buildings and entire neighbourhoods are being removed and being replaced by new ones.”

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

Working with British conservation architecture firm Purcell, Herzog & de Meuron preserved the outdoor corridors, arches and pillars of the old brick structures. A series of outdoor staircases connect the site’s numerous walkways and alleys.

Tai Kwun is positioned on a corner lot and is walled-in with masonry structures along Hollywood Road and Chancery Lane. Their gabled roofs reflect a bygone era in the skyscraper-prevalent city.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

Visitors walk through the main gates, past a series of former administrative buildings, and into the main plaza and former Victoria Prison. The prison now a museum that recounts the its former use, with many of the cells in their original conditions.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

As a whole, Tai Kwun arranged around two large courtyards: the Parade Ground and the Prison Yard. “From an urban perspective, the compound is a rare ‘courtyard’ in the middle of one of the densest cities in the world,” Herzog & de Meuron said.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

At the rear of the complex is a high masonry wall, which tops out at a sidewalk to reveal Hong Kong’s towering cityscape. Here, the two new buildings by the firm have a contemporary design language that contrasts with the surrounding historic structures.

Both are square-shaped and clad with cast aluminium facades. The grid system takes cues to the bricks used elsewhere, but also serves as sun shading and rain protection in Hong Kong’s subtropical climate.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

On the southeast corner of Tai Kwun is a new wing on Arbuthnot Road, with a volume that hovers above the retaining wall to create a covered public outdoor space, with stairs that also serve as seating.

Across the way is a contemporary art museum with a restaurant on its top level. Inside is a strong concrete materiality, reflective of the prison cells nearby, and a concrete spiral staircase that spans the building.

Tai Kwun Centre by Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron is also working on another museum in Hong Kong – the M+ Museum in the Kowloon area – and has a wide portfolio of cultural projects globally, including the National Library of Israel and the Museum of the 20th Century in Berlin.

The studio’s ability to turn decommissioned historic structures into impressive exhibition spaces was proven at the Tate Modern gallery in a former London power station, which also gained a contemporary addition in 2016.

Photography is by Iwan Baan.

Project credits:

Partners in charge: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Ascan Mergenthaler
Project directors: Edman Choy, Vladimir Pajkic
Project manager: Chi-Yan Chan
Project team: Raymond Jr Gaëtan, Abdulfatah Adan, Roman Aebi, Maximilian Beckenbauer, Aurélie Blanchard, Emi Jean Bryan, Alexander Bürgi, Soohyun Chang, Julien Combes, Massimo Corradi, Duarte De Azevedo Coutinho Lobo Antunes, Dorothee Dietz, Peter Dougherty, Piotr Fortuna, Luis Gisler, Carl Kristoffer Hägerström, Kelvin Ho, Justin Hui, Kentaro Ishida, Anna Jach, Sara Jardim Manteigas, Hauke Jungjohann, Anssi Kankkunen, Rina Ko, Johannes Rudolf Kohnle, Dannes Kok, Pawel Krzeminski, Jin Tack Lim, Mark Loughnan, Jaroslav Mach, Donald Mak, James Albert Martin, José Ramón Mayoral Moratilla, Olivier Meystre, Lukas Nordström, Cristian Oprea, Leonardo Pérez-Alonso, Thomas Polster, Maki Portilla Kawamura, Tom Powell, Günter Schwob, Oana Stanescu, Kai Strehlke, Fumiko Takahama, Zachary Vourlas, Kenneth Wong, Sung Goo Yang, Daniela Zimmer
Executive architect: Rocco Design Architects Ltd
Conservation architect: Purcell
Historic buildings: Stonewest Ltd, Yau Lee Construction Co Ltd, Harvest Century Holdings
Structural, civil, facade and lighting engineer: Arup
Landscape architect: AECOM
Client: The Hong Kong Jockey Club

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Foster’s 425 Park Avenue skyscraper tops out in New York – Home Design Ideas

Norman Foster has declared that the stepped 41-storey office tower his firm has designed for New York‘s Park Avenue will “set new standards for workplace design”, as the building tops out in the city.

The British architect celebrated the construction milestone in New York City yesterday, as a beam was hoisted atop the skyscraper – the first office tower builr to occupy a full block on Park Avenue in 50 years.

425 Park Avenue by Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners celebrated the topping out of the Park Avenue tower yesterday

Called 425 Park Avenue, the high-rise office features a tapered steel and concrete structure, which outlines three stepped volumes that rise 724.5 feet (221 metres) to the roof. A glass feature set to be added atop later will complete the formation, and add an extra 36 feet (11 metres) to the total height.

Foster + Partners‘ tower joins a host of modernist skyscrapers along the famed boulevard, such as Mies van der Rohe‘s 38-storey Seagram building – behind which the firm’s super-skinny One Hundred East Fifty Third skyscraper is nearing completion.

425 Park Avenue by Foster + Partners
The skyscraper comprises a tapered steel and concrete structure, which outlines three stepped volumes

“The design for 425 Park Avenue emerged as a response that is respectful of its historical context, while reflecting the spirit of its own time,” said Foster in a statement. “It will set new standards for workplace design and provide an enduring landmark that befits its renowned location.”

Triangular steelwork knits together the three glass volumes, as they gradually recess from the seven-storey-high base to form a central section, and a final slender portion on top.

Each of the diagrids will enclose double-height planted terraces to encourage tenants relax and socialise, with the staggered arrangement designed to optimise views towards the nearby Central Park.

The firm – which won a Dezeen Award for its Bloomberg Headquarters in London last week – has placed the vertical circulation to the rear of the structure. The elevators will be glazed to provide vistas of the East River on the other side.

425 Park Avenue by Foster + Partners
425 Park Avenue is designed to complement modernist structures along the boulevard. Rendering by Dbox, courtesy of Foster + Partners

The concrete and steel external structure will also allow for column-free and flexible workspace layouts inside.

An amenity floor will be located in the middle volume to make the most of the park view. Here, tenants will have access to dining areas, meeting spaces, as well as a relaxation and mediation room.

“The building’s design is about providing a sense of light, air and space within the dense urban environment of Manhattan – reflected in the fact that it will be the first WELL certified building in New York City,” said Foster + Partners’ head of studio Nigel Dancey.

425 Park Avenue by Foster + Partners
The tiered design tapers towards the top to maximise views of Central Park. Rendering by Dbox, courtesy of Foster + Partners

Another standout features of the tower is a three-storey entrance lobby, which will adjoin a new flagship restaurant from chef Daniel Humm.

“Everyone enters through the soaring triple-height lobby, which forms the social heart of the building,” Dancey added.

425 Park Avenue’s topping out was documented in true Foster style on his Instagram account. It rounds off a busy few months for his architecture firm, which recently unveiled plans for a tulip-shaped viewing tower in London.

Its unusual shape has sparked much debate, with London City Airport concerned that the structure could impact its radar system. Meanwhile, architect Peter Cook claimed the structure is “not spooky enough”.

Photography is by Nigel Young, courtesy of Foster + Partners.



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Design Museum research finds “shocking” lack of women in design – Home Design Ideas

Just one in five designers in the UK are women, according to new research by the Design Museum.

The survey found that women make up just 22 per cent of the design workforce, even though seven out of 10 students taking design at A level are women.

“This uptake does not feed through to the design workforce where women continue to remain underrepresented,” the Design Museum said.

The percentage of women working in design has risen just four per cent since 2004 and women are under-represented in all design disciplines, including architecture, civil engineering, town planning, software design, fashion and product design.

“Failure to draw on all the talents out there”

The survey, conducted by the Office for National Statistics, was issued to coincide with the centenary of women being allowed to vote in UK elections.

The museum said the survey “reveals shocking gender imbalance in the design industry”.

“As we mark 100 years since the first UK general election in which a percentage of women were permitted to vote, these figures show just how far we have to go – in many spheres – in order to reach equality,” said Design Museum co-director Alice Black.

“The fact that the percentage of women working in the design workforce has remained virtually unchanged since 2004 shows a real failure to draw on all the talents out there, and promote inclusiveness in our industry.”

Women Design event at museum this week

Later this week the London museum hosts Women Design, a two-day programme of talks highlighting women in the industry.

In addition, the museum’s Designers in Residence programme, which starts on 8 December, will this year feature an all-female line up.

“We must take this moment to commit to work together to improve gender diversity in all sectors of the workforce,” said Black. “In the design industry, this means encouraging girls who take design-related subjects in schools to become product designers and civil engineers.”

Designers Hester Buck, Ella Bulley, Legrand Jäger and Helga Schmid will take part in the seven-month residency, which will explore the relationship between design and home.

Black said: “At the museum we are committed to finding new ways to make women more visible in the design industry and inspire change, and I am delighted that we have a cohort of talented women designers in the Designers in Residence project this year.”

“An impoverished future for design”

The Women Design talks take place on 7 and 8 December, and features architects Farshid Moussavi and Odile Decq, sociologist Saskia Sissen and graphic designers Marina Willer and Frith Kerr.

“While we might think that women’s voices are echoing around the world right now through the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, in design publications, conferences, judging panels and other public realms, women designers tend to be outnumbered by their male counterparts,” said curator Libby Sellers, who is hosting Women Design.

“Whatever the rationale behind the gender bias, it has already eliminated or repressed an overwhelming majority of talent in the industry. To continue without championing a balance, would only encourage an impoverished future for design as a result,” she added.

“Perhaps, as we will do through Women Design, by highlighting some of the historical injustices and also seeking out and celebrating role models we might be able to create a discernible difference.”

Last year, Dezeen’s survey of the 100 biggest architecture firms in the world found a “quite shocking” lack of women in senior positions. Just one in 10 high-level staff were women, while only three of the 100 firms were headed by a woman.

Photograph of the Designers in Residence is by Felix Speller.

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west must lose “sense of superiority” – Home Design Ideas

Rem Koolhaas says the west is missing out on crucial conversations about architecture and urbanism because of a prejudice towards projects in authoritarian countries.

Dutch architect Koolhaas, who said he “believes deeply in democracy”, has warned that an automatically negative approach to work completed in China, Russia and the Arabic-speaking world is counter-productive.

“In China, there’s a very authoritarian regime that is doing wonderful things in many ways for its citizens,” said the OMA founder in a keynote speech at the World Architecture Festival on Friday.

“What preoccupies me is the only thing we can do is judge, and judge those developments entirely as negative,” he stated. “We are unable to be both critical and have sympathy.”

“There is too much moralism going on”

The architect, who is also a professor in architecture and urban design at Harvard University, called for western architects to adopt a more nuanced approach when looking at developments in countries with dictatorships.

“We are not active enough in undoing the sense of innate superiority that we have seen as our birthright,” he added. “Dialogue is clearly crucial. There is too much moralism going on that sabotages that.”

Rem Koolhaas at World Architecture Festival: CCTV Headquarters by OMA
“Chinese architecture will benefit” from CCTV building, says Rem Koolhaas

OMA has completed projects in all of the places Koolhaas mentions. Among them are the Garage Museum in Moscow, the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing and the Qatar National Library in Doha.

The architect says the CCTV Headquarters is a good example of how architecture can benefit from broader international engagement.

The twisted skyscraper, which forms a technically impressive loop, was only achievable because the design process mandated over six meetings with 150 of China’s top engineers, said Koolhaas.

Architecture can “intervene to defend values”

The building proved controversial – OMA sustained criticism both from the west for working with the Chinese government, and then from within China when president Xi Jinping called for an end to “weird architecture”.

But the collaborative effort created a shift in the conversation, said Koolhaas.

“One of the effects of CCTV is that China you can now do more experimental structural things,” said Koolhaas.

“[Architects] can intervene in a way that modifies maybe slightly or defends certain values,” he added.

“Once we have a crisis, we have an alibi not to deal with it”

Western democracy itself is under threat from within, said the architect, due to a pervasive lack of “imagination” to engage with current issues or think critically about them.

“If you now listen to American businessmen in Silicon Valley, that conviction that democracy may be a form of inconvenience and that other regimes are more pertinent seems to be widespread,” he said. “I feel that a society like ours is unbelievably passive in indulging that kind of reading.”

Koolhaas takes particular issue with the destructive language favoured by tech companies. For instance Facebook, which has come under the spotlight for the potential impact its platform may have had on elections in the US and UK, used to operate under the motto “move fast and break things”.

“I’ve been for a long time also very surprised that the word disruptive, disruption, has such a magical appeal, because I find it in the context a rather off-putting word,” he said.

He claimed that, while business leaders undermine democracy, there is a growing complacency on issues such as identity, immigration and the refugee crisis. Even the word crisis has become problematic, he said.

“We call everything a crisis and, once we have a crisis, we have an alibi not to deal with it,” said Koolhaas.

“It’s deeply depressing or sad that there is not more energy emanating from… the classes in the countries that are in as frankly privileged a position as we are,” he added.

The Netherlands is now “absolutely hostile”

He bemoaned that the Netherlands, a country that was once “totally open” has in just three years become an “absolutely hostile environment”.

“It seems like the last energy we are ready to spend is to retain our own privileges.”

The keynote speech took place on the final day of the World Architecture Festival 2018, held in Amsterdam from 28 to 30 November.

Other speakers included David Adjaye, who spoke out against the corrupting force of money in architecture and urged architects to “push justice into the equation” when designing for cities.

Main image courtesy of WAF.

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Madeline Gannon’s Manus robots move together like a pack of animals – Home Design Ideas

Robots are programmed with traits such as impatience and confidence in an installation by designer Madeline Gannon, whose work explores the potential for humans and machines to live harmoniously.

Gannon – who last year charmed visitors to the London Design Museum with Mimus, an industrial robot that played with passers-by like it was a 1200-kilogram puppy – worked with 10 robots for the new installation, titled Manus.

This time the machines, standard ABB IRB1200 -5/0.9 industrial robot arms, act like pack animals. Lined up in a row and controlled by one central “brain”, they move as people walk in front of them, each robot with its own idiosyncrasies.

Madeline Gannon's Manus robot installation at the World Economic Forum in China
Gannon programmed robots with traits such as impatience and confidence in her installation

“The robots in Manus don’t look like and they don’t act like us – but they can still connect with us in meaningful ways,” said Gannon, who has a PhD in computational design from Carnegie Mellon University and co-heads the independent research studio Atonaton.

“Subtle things like their posture, their motion or even the sound of their motor can all be harnessed to build a body language that can better communicate with the people around them,” she explains in a video.

“When a group of robots are imbued with these behaviours, they begin to feel less like manufacturing equipment and more like a pack of mechanical creatures, each with their own personality and quirks.”

Madeline Gannon's Manus robot installation at the World Economic Forum in China
The robots move as people walk in front of them, each with its own idiosyncrasies but controlled by one central “brain”

One of the reasons Gannon’s robots appear to move so naturally is that their actions are not directly programmed; instead, they follow the motion of a simulation that is triggered by the positioning of the people in front of them.

Twelve depth sensors at the base of the installation track a 1.5-metre area around the work, in particular focusing on people’s hands and feet.

Slight differences in the robots’ programming gives each one a different “personality”, so they respond to people in varying ways.

“Some have ‘less patience’ so they are more likely to move towards a new person more often,” Gannon told Dezeen. “Others have more ‘confidence’ so they are more likely to approach closer and from above a person’s head.”

“These subtle behavioural differences help push these machines away from their normal mode of operation – at 100 per cent choreographed coordination — to misbehave a bit and move more like a pack – a group of individuals all responding to the same external stimuli.”

Madeline Gannon's Manus robot installation at the World Economic Forum in China
Slight differences in the robots’ programming gives each one a different “personality”, so they respond to people in varying ways – some have less patience while others have more affection

The kinds of movements the robots produce give viewers an insight into what they’ll do next. For instance, when a robot notices a new point of interest, it will look towards it before moving.

Other movements inspire affection – an example is that the robots will never hold a pose too long before shifting their weight. The implication is that they’re tired or uncomfortable, although in reality they could hold a still, outstretched position all day.

One of the observations Gannon makes about her animalistic industrial robots is that people seem to warm to them quickly, without the “Uncanny Valley” effect that makes humanoid robots seem creepy.

She sees this as a useful lesson for designers and engineers in the robotics field.

Madeline Gannon's Manus robot installation at the World Economic Forum in China
Gannon observed that people seem to warm to the industrial robots quickly without the “Uncanny Valley” effect that makes humanoid robots seem creepy

“As designers and architects, we are trained with a hypersensitivity to how people move through space,” Gannon told Dezeen. “So we intrinsically understand and believe in the power of environments, and the people in those environments, to shape our behaviours. But this is not the approach that most roboticists and engineers take, which, due to their own disciplinary training, tends to be more robo-centric.”

“I see a great potential, and a need, for architects and designers to contribute their specialised spatial knowledge to the field of robotics, especially as these intelligent, autonomous machines are becoming more normal inhabitants of our built environments.”

Manus was commissioned by the World Economic Forum and displayed at its 2018 Annual Meeting of New Champions in Tianjin, China in September.

The psychology of robot-human bonding is an area of active research, with Cornell University engineers making a robot that gets goosebumps to communicate its “feelings” and BMW working on ways to increase people’s trust of self-driving vehicles.

Autonomous car designers also want the vehicles to communicate easily with pedestrians. This concern led Jaguar Land Rover to recently test a car with eyes.

Gannon wrote on the topic of human-robot coexistence in a column for Dezeen.

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3 Common Mistakes to Avoid With Your Home Insurance – Interior Home Design

Home insurance policies are a topic familiar to every homeowner. Homeowners insurance protects, what is for most of us, your greatest financial asset. That makes it a big piece of homeownership and a very important topic to discuss.

So, let’s explore the question, “what is home insurance?” To start, it is a type of insurance in which the insured and the insurer enter into a contractual agreement. The contract protects the homeowner in the event of property damage and other unexpected events.

Home Insurance What You Need to Know

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Sounds easy, doesn’t it? However, there are some common mistakes that unknowing people make when they purchase their homeowner’s insurance. Here is a handy list of mistakes to avoid before you sign on the dotted line.

Home Insurance • 3 Mistakes to Avoid

Buy the Policy with the Least Expensive Premium!

This is the most common mistake. A policy with the least expensive premium is not necessarily the right one for you. In addition, these low-budget policies often fall short when it comes time to submit a claim for coverage.

Home Insurance Agent Meet Face to Face

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If you really want to save costs on insurance, speak with a qualified insurance agent to ensure you get the right coverage for the right price. You might contact them online or face to face but be sure to get more details before you push the submit button on a website.

I Don’t Understand Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost.

The difference between “cash value” and “replacement cost” is a big deal when it comes time to submit a claim. Cash value is the value of the item when it was new minus any depreciation that has occurred since you purchased it. Replacement cost, on the other hand, is what it costs to replace the item with a “new” item of equal value at the time of loss or damage. A cash value policy costs less which makes it easy to fall into the trap of the lower premium. However, with the cash value option, you clearly won’t be able to replace what you lost.

Why Buy All My Policies with One Company?

Remember to check for bundle pricing. Most insurance companies offer discounts for bundles of insurance that may include health, travel, life, business, auto, recreational vehicle, homeowner, condo, mobile and manufactured, earthquake, flood, and others. This is a great way to get coverage at a discount for all the valuable assets in your life.

Home Insurance Bundle Your Policies

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