Front-Lines March 2013
Words Anna Whitehouse
Make the grade
Improved workflow / Clever clogs
Concerned that time is slipping away from you? Worried that your work days aren’t as productive as they might be? The Pomodorogon may be the simple answer. The pomodoro technique is a time-management tool that has been mentioned on these pages before. It encourages four working periods of 25 minutes each, with five minutes of rest in between and a 25-minute rest at the end, before the cycle is repeated. It is increasingly popular in academic circles. The Pomodorogon ‘focuses on the visual and tracking aspects of this technique’. Or, it’s an octagon that you turn over.
Coffee table tome Holland, by renowned photographer Erik Hijweege, offers an inspiring photographic insight into The Netherlands in the 21st century. Expect intricate and beautifully-executed images of the iconic tulip-filled landscapes, alongside vibrant scenes of everyday Dutch life. Hijweege sets out (and succeeds) to show that small countries are just as beautiful as their larger neighbours.
Singapore’s Bay South Garden has 18 man-made trees that act as vertical gardens, generate solar power, provide ventilation and collect rain water.
Lit up at night, the ‘Supertrees’, from 25m to 50m high, offer sky view bridges for visitors.
Ultra 10 may be the ultimate ‘capsule collection’. The ten-piece wardrobe (which has picked up an Ethical Fashion Forum Innovation Award) includes a 4-in-1 coat/ dress/jacket/skirt and a 2-in-1 jacket/vest, while the savvy cuts, zippers and accessories have day and night covered. Perhaps green is the new black?
Pure sound plus eco design equals The Pulpop MP3 Speaker by design duo Balance Wu. Donut-shaped, made from recycled pulp and with an amplified sound quality to rival its competitors, listen up to these guys. See www.balance-wu.com.
Anglo-Dutch design duo Glithero (Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren) have created achingly cool candle-wax chandeliers by a process of repeatedly dipping wicks into molten wax.
Lollapalooza Brasil 2013
São Paulo / 29-31 March
Founded by Perry Farrell, the frontman of band Jane’s Addiction, this rocking music festival hits the Atlantic Coast at the end of March. Held at the Jockey Club in São Paulo, the line-up includes Pearl Jam, The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age and Kaiser Chiefs, among an abundance of rising stars.
Shades of brown
The aptly-named Hue is a toaster that heats bread according to the shade you want. This handy breakfast appliance by interactive designer Basheer Tome has an array of colour sensors in order to get the right shade of brown. Instead of working with the ’1,2,3,4′ options of a regular toaster, just tap in your chosen shade and off it goes, resulting in a perfect start every day. Surely that’s worth toasting?
Peter the Great, an Inspired Tsar
Hermitage Amsterdam / 9 March-13 September
A major exhibition devoted to Peter the Great (1672-1725), as part of 2013 celebrations of Dutch-russian relations. the tsar formed a special relationship with Amsterdam during his travels, befriending leading figures in Dutch society and learning about shipbuilding, carpentry, printing and gardening. He even modelled his new capital, St Petersburg, on the city. As well as historical artefacts, paintings, jewellery and weapons, the exhibition includes many personal effects that show how profoundly influenced he was by Western tastes.
Design / Buggy bicycle
This surprising creation is the Taga. Made by a Dutch firm, it is a baby stroller that converts to a bicycle (and vice versa) in 20 seconds. Perhaps inspired by the parents seen on most streets in The Netherlands, cycling with their children attached to their bikes, the Taga is awash with safety standards and design awards. The seat can also be flipped around to face the cycling parent, and a second baby seat can be added, should your brood expand further.
See www.tagabikes.com for more.
The art of 3-D printing is coming on fast (printed bone, anyone?) but Dutch architecture firm DUS has taken things to a new level with its recently launched KamerMaker. Take one shipping container, add some 3D printing technology and the result is "the world’s first movable 3-D print pavilion" that, quite simply, prints furniture. It only works with bio-degradable PLA (a plastic made from corn), which means sofas may lack a little comfort, but perhaps that will be compensated for by your inner glow of environmental goodness.
Transport / Futuristic cruiser
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s a ‘Shark’ by naval designers Aguila Design. This zippy, futuristic vessel is part airfoil, part speed cruiser and flies just above the water with its aerodynamic hull. The wing-shaped blade underneath lifts the body as speed increases, allowing it to glide over choppy waters. Painted in fire engine red and offering low fuel consumption, high speeds and a smooth ride, this 3m-long predator of the deep is a real head-turner.
Idea / Book-vending machine
Taking inspiration from 1950s refrigerators, an old soup vending machine and the milkshake blenders used in vintage diners, the Biblio-Mat has given a Toronto bookshop an inventive way of redistributing old books. The retro vending machine designed by art director Craig Small combines the nostalgia of a gumball machine with the excitement of a raffle. Each ‘go’ costs a mere €1.5, which releases a used, random title – tomes err towards obscure nonfiction.
Ice Age creatives
British Museum London / Until 26 May
Long before Rembrandt, Picasso and Da Vinci were making their artistic mark, there was another group of masters. Ice Age art at London’s British Museum sheds light on the early artistic flair of prehistoric humans. Named Arrival of the Modern Mind, this exhibition unveils works between 10,000 and 40,000 years old. To show how far humankind has come, these artefacts will be shown alongside current works by the likes of Henry Moore.