Toyota’s City of the Future Weaves Autonomous Tech Into Daily Life

Toyota’s City of the Future Weaves Autonomous Tech Into Daily Life

It’s par for the course to expect the announcement of new technologies on a personal or even industrial scale at CES, but this might be the first time a company has used the annual technology industry event to reveal a project on a civic scale. Toyota’s Woven City is imagined as a fully connected ecosystem powered by hydrogen fuel cells, an idealized prototype “city” of the future to build upon a 175-acre site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan.

History is littered with utopian projects founded to realize a better life for some or all, but Toyota’s intent is to utilize the Woven City project less as a genuine growing city and more of a self-contained “living laboratory”, one inhabited by full-time residents and researchers specializing in a myriad of research including autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes, and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment.

Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the city’s infrastructure. With people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology… in both the virtual and the physical realms … maximizing its potential.

– Akio Toyoda, president, Toyota Motor Corporation

Toyota commissioned Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) as the chief visionary assigned to interlink the automotive and technology giant’s vision of connected, autonomous, emission-free, and shared mobility solutions of the near-future with an architecture empowering their everyday use and access. The city plans include an organic grid pattern engineered to maximize mobility for all grade tiers of speed and autonomy: for faster vehicles only, for a mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians, and for a park-like promenade for pedestrians with native vegetation and hydroponics.

The city also represents an effort to build urban life with sustainability woven in from the start, rather than added in after the fact. Wood is the primary building material, chosen to minimize the carbon footprint, while traditional Japanese wood joinery and robotic production methods additionally lessens environmental impact.

In California every newly-built home must now be outfitted with enough solar panels. Woven City is to follow suit, covering every rooftop with photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power to complement power generated by hydrogen fuel cells. Only time will tell if the utopian Woven City will expand beyond its initial 2,000 “citizen” population, with groundbreaking for the site planned for early 2021.


Fernando Mastrangelo’s Sculptural Mirrors Reference Dubai

Fernando Mastrangelo’s Sculptural Mirrors Reference Dubai

New York based artist Fernando Mastrangelo’s latest work, The Capital Collection, is a series of sculptural mirrors that tell the story of Dubai. Mastrangelo used natural materials as metaphors for Dubai’s natural resources in order to portray the city’s ascension into an economic and architectural powerhouse.

Titled Aurora, Marina, and Sahara, the trio of mirrors are cast from hand-dyed sand into organic shapes to reference an architectural oasis emerging from the desert. The Sahara mirror honors Dubai’s primary natural elements – sun and sand, Marina is an interpretation of the waterways that make Dubai, while Aurora captures the abstract reverence for Dubai’s sunsets.


Make Your Dog Even More Adorable with Dog Bandanas

I know dogs can’t really get more adorable than they already are, but it’s fun trying, right? Maybe you’re not one of those people that puts your pooch in a new outfit every day, but there’s always dog bandanas to give your pup a little something. Whether you prefer a more distinguished look or are going for ridiculously cute, outfit your dog with one of these bandanas and you can’t go wrong!

Make Your Dog Even More Adorable with Dog Bandanas

1. Abstract Bandana by Rex & Bandon
2. Summer Crush Bandana by Paco & Lucia
3. Luxe Leopard Silk Bandana Scarf by Dog Threads
4. Modern Mud Cloth Natural Dog Bandana by The Foggy Dog
5. Coal Windowpane Bandana by Billy Wolf
6. Endless Summer Dog Bandana by Beast + Babe


COLONEL studio Releases a Fresh + Bright Collection

COLONEL studio Releases a Fresh + Bright Collection

Isabelle Gilles and Yann Poncelet founded French brand COLONEL studio in 2012, specializing in furniture, lighting, and object design that features light woods and vibrant colors. Look at any of their pieces long enough and you’ll be ready to book an island vacation ASAP!

Manufactured in France, in collaboration with different artisans, COLONEL’s latest collection stays true to their brand with furniture and object designs that feel relaxed and ready to live with. Metal framed doors and natural rattan lend a casual, warm feel to many of the pieces, while Art Deco touches make others feel energetic and playful.


Friday Five with Matthew Rosenberg of M-Rad Inc.

Friday Five with Matthew Rosenberg  of M-Rad Inc.

Canadian transplant Matthew Rosenberg is Founder, acting CEO, and Design Director of Los Angeles-based M-Rad Inc. He founded the firm in 2012 and currently heads up an international team that’s doing business worldwide with a mission of revolutionizing the architecture industry by resolving inefficiencies via expanding the scope of the role of architects. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Rosenberg went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art at the University of Saskatchewan, a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture at Dalhousie University, and a Masters of Architecture at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Since, the international award-winning designer has developed projects around North America, and hopes to eventually expand to Italy, Portugal, Taipei, and Australia. His most recent press found him on Forbes Small Giants list as well as Inc. Magazine’s Top 10 Designers Every Business Should Have On Their Radar. Today Rosenberg is sharing five of his favorites in this Friday Five.

Photo: Carl Bovis

1. The flight of a falcon
It’s amazing how little work they have to do, and how much space they traverse. Peregrine falcons have been recorded diving at speeds of 242 miles per hour (390 km/h), making them the fastest-moving creatures on Earth. They are majestic and efficient. My wife and I have recently moved to the Hollywood Hills where we have had the chance to see two Peregrine falcons raise their fledgling. It is their land and we have a lot to learn from them.

Photo: Matthew Rosenberg \\\ Model: Bridgette Rosenberg

2. Sarakiniko Beach in Milos, Greece
It’s like walking on another planet. Seeing how the two natural elements of stone and water negotiate each other shows the importance of balance and forgiveness, and the necessity of one on the other.

Photo: Stephen White

3. Blind Light by Antony Gormley
In 2007, when I first took a year to travel the world, I had the opportunity to experience Antony Gormley’s Bling Light exhibition in London. It was then that I first became obsessed with the five senses. Since that moment I have tried to create architecture and spaces that tap into as many as the five senses as possible. He taught me that removing certain senses allows the others to become heightened and activated. This truly timeless work is what I find artistically invaluable. I reference his work, and specifically this project, constantly.

Photo: Matthew Rosenberg

4. Casa Gilardi by Luis Barragan
One of the most infamous architects of modern day Mexico City was Luis Barragan. He used light and color in ways that allowed the architecture to support nature rather than mimic it or intrude on it. His spaces are emotional and metaphysical. Casa Gilardi is the living, breathing personification of his body of work. While his work is impressive in its own right, it’s his business model and ethics that make him most inspirational. Barragan’s son even describes the house as “silence you can feel”.

Photo: Jimmy Cohrssen

5. Hoshinoya Hotel in Tokyo
I had the opportunity to stay at this hotel during the New Year period in 2016. It has resonated with me ever since, influencing the way M-Rad Inc. designs projects and products. Upon entering, all guests are asked to remove their shoes, which are kept in cubbies. This immediately changed the way we experienced the hotel. The details and materials used are cognitive while the lighting emphasizes key textures, allowing guests to touch and tap into a multi-sensorial experience. While the architecture creates the meditative backdrop, it is the quality of service and attention to detail that elevated the stay beyond anything I have experienced before. It is a modern-day Ryokan in the center of Tokyo that gives credence to the notion that the way we do anything is the way we do everything.


Norway’s New Arctic Attraction Promises a Whale’s Tale

Norway’s New Arctic Attraction Promises a Whale’s Tale

Forging into a new year, architectural buffs and nature lovers alike will have something to look forward in the arriving decade when the Norwegian island of Andøya becomes host to a dramatic architectural expression celebrating the surrounding landscape and its local aquatic denizens. In 2022 Danish architect Dorte Mandrup’s The Whale is to become “a world class attraction celebrating whales and their relationship with man through science and art”.

“Large windows that open toward the archipelago underline the connection between landscape and building and create a visual connection between the exhibition spaces and the vast natural surroundings.”

Located three hundred kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, in the small town of Andenes, a small population located at furthest tip of Norway’s Andøya island is where Mandrup’s The Whale will find its dramatic home – a site where the austere beauty of ocean and rocky shore presents an undeniable challenge for any construction, let alone an enormous undulating parabolic form structure slated to host exhibition spaces, cafe, store, and adjoining offices under its cavernous stone covered roofline. Andøya was specifically chosen for its proximity to a deep-sea valley frequently visited by migrating whales offshore, offering visitors an intimate opportunity to observe the ocean mammals in their natural environment.

It was back in the spring of 2019 when The Whale AS invited architectural firms to design a new attraction for the island Andøya in Northern Norway, eventually choosing Dorte Mandrup’s design for her sensitive appreciation for both the shore and marine ecosystems in her parabolic structure designed to dissolve the lines between landscape and building.

Located this far North, Andøya is a unique place and The Whale an extraordinary project. Not only will we be creating architecture in yet another remarkable landscape, but we will also take part in increasing the understanding of whales and preservation of marine life. Right here on the edge of the ocean, we will be making a mark in a magnificent and ancient landscape. This opportunity comes with a great responsibility, which is extremely motivating and inspiring.

– Dorte Mandrup

The other competition entrant designs are similarly interesting in their attempts to marry a monumental exhibition space to an even greater monumental landscape, but Mandrup’s flowing and growing proposal deservedly won for keeping intact a sense of place unique to the Arctic landscape.


TOO Designs Is Anything but Too Much

TOO Designs Is Anything but Too Much

Architectural lines, geometric shapes, and bold colors. All hallmarks of TOO Designs, a new minimalist art and design brand helmed by architects Thomas and Sureen Gouws out of Australia.

Their TOO Tone Clock caught our eye for its playful minimalism that blends art and home decor together. You can choose two powder coated aluminum parts, mixing and matching color combinations as you go. Rotate the entire clock around the mechanism to create different designs as well! The TOO Tone Clock is available in three sizes – Standard (250mm diameter), Large (500mm diameter), and Extra Large (750mm diameter).

Using the same approach of including the user in the ultimate design, TOO D(ynamic) Art invites everyone to be creative. Four metal canvases of various sizes feature an array of geometric magnetic shapes that come in kits and can be manipulated an infinite number of ways. Look to it to release your inner creativity, self-expression, accomplishment, and stress.