Don't have enough space to park your bike safe at home? No worries! Store it in the local Bike Hangar!
Image courtesy @lucylband.
This PlayHouse (designed by Rawson Homes) is part of a temporary, fun and children focused activation that's also raising much needed money for charity.
Over a 6 month period, the community at Willowdale (a new estate in Sydney by property developers Stockland) are not only get some interesting play equipment for their neighbourhood, they'll also have the opportunity to vote for their favourite design, and if they want, even purchase it at auction.
All proceeds will go towards local charity Touched by Olivia Foundation and feedback on the concepts will go towards designing better places for kids in the future.
Here at TC we love this idea - both playful and meaningful!
Images courtesy of Rawson Homes.
You may have heard of the High Line (once, twice or a million times)?! Well now, New Yorkers are looking underground, and want to reclaim subterranean space for public good.
The clever brains at (non-profit) Lowline want to turn an abandoned trolley terminal under Delancey Street into a public green space.
After a successful kickstarter campaign, that went viral raising more than $220000, the Lowline collective have launched a Lab space in Manhattan. It will become a living laboratory to investigate how best to grow plants, and an even more difficult task, a public park underground.
On the weekend, over 2,500 people visited the public launch of the Lowline Lab with the space remaining free and open to the public every Saturday and Sunday through to March 2016.
Top image courtesy of Lowline and bottom image courtesy Charlie Grosso.
Located between Roy Street and Du Mont-Royal Avenue, La Grande Terrasse Rouge (translated to the Grand Red Terrace) is nearly one kilometre long and has become an iconic destination in Montreal, Canada.
Key to its success has been the grassroots design involvement by the local community. “Storekeepers are creators, passionate men and women who have made Saint-Denis what it is now: a vibrant, friendly commercial street offering a variety of boutiques, shops, restaurants and services unique in Montreal” says the The Société de Développement Commercial Pignons rue Saint-Denis.
The Terrasse includes a range of furniture types, including moveable chairs and hammocks, and hosts free events targeted to both locals and visitors.
Image courtesy Nicola Balch.
Called Perspective, the mural is made of white tape and the anamorphic design changes as you move in the space. At a certain point, the full image is revealed making it both an experience and great instagram moment.
The mural complements other activities happening as part of the annual Festival and is located on the Powerhouse Museum warehouse.
While temporary in nature, there are talks to make it now permanent given its success and growing interest from the public.
Something similar: Australian artist, Buff Diss, creates detailed murals using tape, here.
Images courtesy Nowhere Famous.
Around the world, City's are branding themselves with clever marketing techniques based on experience and personalisation. In Shoreditch, an area of London known for its contemporary art scene, Berlin has recently created a pop-in space called 'Hallo London'.
While only setup for a week, the very concept of a popup, Hallo London has scored much praise for its innovation, including a highly commended tweet by one of our contributors Tom Payne.
The store features events, products and possible the world's smallest disco outside. If you drop by let us know your thoughts!
More information here.
Image courtesy Tom Payne.
A youth organisation, ‘German Crew' has joined forces with a local Mexican government to transform the image of Palmitas - a small underprivileged town just north of Mexico City.
The mural, entitled ‘El Marco Mural Barrio de Palmitas’ is a vibrant expression that covers an impressive 20,000 square meters or 209 houses.
Organisers of the mural intended for the project to unite and empower the local community through promoting a sense of identity and ownership.
Photo courtesy of Sophia Jaramillo.
Australia's largest street art festival is back for another year in Wollongong. Featuring works by sofles, selinamiles, drapl, fintan magee, butchdaddy, ironlak and many others, the Festival is changing the City's brand and creative life.
Read about this great initiative here.
Image courtesy Chris Phillips.
Here at TC we love projects that combine engagement opportunities with digital infrastructure with physical interventions. The clever brains behind Guidarini and Salvadeo in collaboration with Interstellar Raccoons have done just that with #nevicata14 at Piazza Castello, Milan.
Guidarini and Salvadeo Architects have created a series of white, temporary, pedestrian spaces promoting online engagement opportunities and marketing the City's digital infrastructure, including municipal wifi.
Read more about this project here courtesy of Andrea Pollio.
Images via Future Cape Town.
In Kitsilano, a giant egg has been painted on the street by locals wanting a safer and more creative suburb.
The brainchild of Dax Belanger and other local residents, the egg draws attention to the intersection, slowing traffic and prioritising safety of all who use the road - cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. It's also pretty creative and gets the thumbs up from us at TC.
Read more about the project here.
Image courtesy Jennifer Gauthier.
Anyone heading to Spain soon? Stop by this park and see if anything weird/different/awesome is going down.
It appears, Lexus have just built (adapted) a custom skatepark for hoverboards, using technology called SLIDE. In short, it looks like the boards work because of the inbuilt liquid nitrogen and magnets laid directly into the ground. While only in prototype phase, and not for general release, it could be an interesting project to watch.
Here at TC, we're inspired by Sci Fi films of the past (and future). In a world dominated by ideas, are we dreaming big enough? Could this hoverboard tech one day help transport cargo across continents, deliver aid to drought affected countries or even help redefine how our cities form?
In the meantime, watch this video and learn more about the SLIDE project here.
Image courtesy Lexus.
New York may have dominated headlines regarding big tactical urbanism efforts in years past. But it’s New York’s near neighbour Philadelphia that might be the U.S’s real tactical capital. Greg Meckstroth looks at the small-scale interventions that are making big collective change in the City.
Read more here.
Image courtesy newsworks.org
Got an underpass needing some love in your city? Do what they do in Vancouver and put some string on it!
'City Fabric' uses bright orange cloth to transform a previously mundane underpass. This project is the latest public art and placemaking installation from VIVA Vancouver located on the bike path underneath the Burrard Bridge. The brain child of artists, Rebecca Bayer and Matthew Soules, as well as Burrard Arts Foundation and 221A Gallery (who sponsored the project) City Fabric is making impressions around the world.
Image courtesy Chris Bruntlett.
Japanese property developers are converting office towers into hotels to keep up with growing tourism demand.
Sankei Building Co. recently converted a 35 year old office building into a hostel and lounge, called Grids. It features a range of living options and bar where people can 'connect'.
With changing work patterns, digital economies and global tourists wanting authentic experiences wherever they go, will we see more of these conversions over the coming years? What's the life span of your office tower?
Images courtesy of Grids.
Reclaiming disused and forgotten spaces within the community, Micro Galleries permeates the streets and changes the way we see the world for a (micro) moment.
Here at TC we love seeing artist collectives change our urban environment and reframe traditional attitudes around space and its use. So many of these interventions are simple but could bring about longer lasting and positive change.
We're looking forward to watching Micro Galleries grow into a worldwide movement. Submit you town and change the way you see the world.
Images courtesy Micro Galleries.
Curated by Project OKYO and distributed by Australian sustainable packaging company, BioPak, the BioCup Art Series interrupts the daily coffee ritual with an injection of art.
The project activates an unusual urban surface and awakens the need for sustainable choices in the consumer space. The first BioCup Art Series was launched in August 2013, working with artists who are passionate about the environment and use related themes in their work. These artists identified the project as a platform to gain exposure for their work and celebrated the opportunity they had to share their passions and create change.
Over 36 artists have now been printed on over 10 Million BioCups, distributed Australia and New Zealand wide. 18 new artists are engaged each quarter. The success of the project has been mapped with the Instagram hashtag #biocupartseries and hundreds have snapped and shared the now visibly beautiful resources that are at the core of their daily coffee ritual.
Images via Instagram.
At TC we love Instagram. It's by far one of our favourite platforms and is only getting bigger/more relevant as we increasingly crave imagery over text (return of hieroglyphics anyone??!).
One standout account we love to follow for inspiration and creativity is @jaunknown or Jessica Bee, a Sydney based film photography artist.
Working with 35mm film, preferably expired, and old SLRs Jess is attempting to give old equipment new life. She uses a 35mm film manipulation technique where she soaks her rolls in any number of substances prior to shooting to create analogue effects that look like they could have been made digitally; these substances could be anything from coffee to aftershave to bleach. Additionally, she uses multiple exposures and negative scanning techniques in creating her images. In doing so, she creates images that bring on feeling of nostalgia and make you believe there is more to this world than what we see. She is inspired by all things ethereal, unusual, imaginary and odd.
Visit her website for more information and inspiration.
Images courtesy Jessica Bee.
From time to time we feature products here on TC. Mostly, they make the cut because of their innovation and forward thinking response to making our lives more convenient and/or sustainable.
Today we bring you Quinny, a European longboard-stroller hybrid that's recently hit the market in Europe (but not currently available in other world regions).
We love the smart industrial design elements on this product, the combination of transport and family needs, but mostly because it's pushing boundaries and in a way that we traditionally wouldn't perceive transit.
Although not being 100% safe it does highlight a potential trend and growing need for family friendly transport options other than the car.
Read more about (and order your very own) Quinny here.
Image courtesy of Quinny.
Copenhagen – the city that first put bicycle-only bridges on the map – has taken these strictly cycle bridges to the next level, focusing not just on function, but also form. The recently opened Cirkelbroen, designed by artist Olafur Eliasson, serves as both transport infrastructure and urban art. The bridge encourages users to slow down, to not just to pass over the bridge, but also to stop and examine the bridge and the city. Designed with what look like tall sailing masts above, it plays to the city’s nautical heritage as well as its love of good design.
For more info on the Cirkelbroen, check: Design Boom.
To learn about Copenhagen's cycle bridges, check Guardian Cities.
Need a house? Build it DIY!
Founded by Tim McCormick, Houslets are a low-cost housing option that can be setup quickly and easily using DIY fabrication. The modular dwelling concept has gained a lot of attention recently after receiving a Knight Foundation grant for great urban living ideas.
Here at TC we love everything about this idea - from its affordability and accessibility, through to its potential for impacting on the complex (and growing) issue of urban homelessness.
Hats off to the brilliant Bay Area-based designer, Tim McCormick. Definitely someone to watch.
Read more here.
Image courtesy @houslets.
Here at TC we love a good waterfront. The mix of people, businesses, landscaping and weather (changing daily or seasonally) make them some of the most desirable urban spaces around the world.
Recently, our favourite Amsterdam local, Jennifer Lenhart, stumbled upon a new activation, Waterkant. "It is one of the City's latest and finest bars, and is also located on the bottom floor of a parking garage" she says.
We agree! Perfect new use for an old carpark!
Image courtesy of Jennifer Lenhart.
Talented French artist, JR, is taking art to new places with his oversized urban installations.
JR’s most recent work was a collaboration with New York Times. The work gives voice to non-English speaking migrants arriving in our cities.
Watch a time lapse of the installation here.
Here at TC we continue to love seeing new ways in which artists are taking to our streets and public spaces as blank canvases for expression, education and art (see also work by Australian artist Buff Diss).
Top image courtesy of The New York Times and bottom image courtesy of Andrew Warman for The New York Times.
Mikael Colville-Andersen has been dubbed the ‘rock star of urbanism’, 'the modern day Jane Jacobs' and the man who'launched a million bicycles’. Tom Payne sat down with Mikael and had a chat about urbanism, cycling and the future.
Read more and watch the great interview here.
Image courtesy Tom Payne.
Last year TC was excited to be one of the first to break the Netherlands solar bike path story. We actually can't get enough of innovation in solar energy and just the other day came across Onyx Solar, who create photovoltaic glass in Spain!
Image courtesy Onyx Solar.
Australian artist, Buff Diss, creates detailed yet temporary street murals using one simple and unexpected material, tape.
Here at TC we love projects that re imagine the street art process, or what's perceived as 'traditional' street art, to develop new ways of using the City as a canvas (see also HoTTea's work here).
Images courtesy Buff Diss.
The City of Vancouver has a mighty ambition - "to be the greenest city by 2020". To achieve this, the local council has set specific targets related to climate leadership, transport, building, waste, water, air quality, and food production. Some of these green goals are communicated and promoted through live interactive signs and installations, that track the City's daily environmental performance.
Here is one example of an installation, which tallies the running total of cyclists commuting on a key city bridge. At TC we appreciate Vancouver Council's commitment to including its people in making change and shaping the city. Kudos comrades!
Image courtesy Katrina Torresan.
In Mexico the ITDP, an international NGO specializing in urban, sustainable and equitable mobility, recently organised a tactical intervention at an intersection in Colonia Doctores, Mexico.
The ITDP's Camina Strategy promotes improved pedestrian environments to encourage transfers to walk safely, efficiently and comfortably. Here are a few images from the tactical intervention courtesy Joy Nuño on twitter.
Here at TC we love a good rooftop garden. It gets even better when we hear stories of how that garden grows food where there was once cars. Enter Weiss Hospital, Chicago.
In 2009, a local not-for-profit, Loud Grade Produce Squad, took over the rooftop parking lot of Weiss Hospital and today, it now provides excess produce to the local farmers market down the road.
The 'Squad' and Hospital have also partnered with schools, to educate kids about the importance of agriculture, and other organizations doing good in Chicago such as Heartland Alliance for Refugees.
You can also follow the 'Squad' on instagram @loudgradeps.
Images courtesy Weiss Hospital.
If it's not coffee we're obsessing about here at TC it’s definitely tea (...or basically any other excuse for humans to gather comfortably, and for little cost, in public space).
While scrolling through Instagram recently, we came across this great shot by Enya Mommsen of Myanmar (Burma). It features a line of seats, catering for tea drinkers on Yangon Street. In the image you can also see the contrast of progress with traditional life. “Myanmar is experiencing a short and unique moment in history, where one can observe a fascinating juxtaposition of its own culture.” Says Enya.
Read more about modern Myanmar and its tea culture here.
Image courtesy Enya Mommsen.
The past few months have been COLD in North America. But what's interesting to us at TC is how innovation still manages to thrive when even your plumbing is freezing over.
Not letting the bad weather get the best of them, Kristy Nardone and Chris Haynes, created a DIY bar, from snow, in their front yard. Awesome!
Image courtesy Dave Pitzold.
Urban revitalization at it’s ‘sweetest’! Designed by renowned Canadian landscape architect Claude Cormier, this development is one of a string of man-made beaches along Toronto’s newly revitalized downtown waterfront.
Inspired by the sugar spray that drifts across the site, from the neighboring Redpath Sugar Factory, this whimsical design incorporates stripped candy-inspired objects and fairy floss pink furniture. It’s so far been a hit with locals and visitors!
The success of Sugar Beach has largely grown from a dedicated social program that allows the site to thrive as a vibrant public space. Through unique events, such as it’s open-air cinema session (complete with an inflatable screen mounted on a customised barge), Sugar Beach has not only gained popularity, but social and cultural value and meaning.
While the artificial beach has received some criticism for prohibiting access to it's waterfront, it stands to offer a unique urban beach experience that plays on the memory of “beach”. It provides city dwellers with a place to escape, soak up the sun, and engage in community life - and it get’s a nod of approval from the TC team!
Learn more about this design intervention here.
Top image courtesy Claude Cormier Associates.
Bottom image courtesy Jesse Colin Jackson.
In 2013, we featured a new craze sweeping the world - Lego Bombing! Now 2 years on, we're seeing something similar yet truly amazing in its own right - 'Urban Geode'!
Created by Paige Smith, AKA A Common Name, the 'Urban Geode' street art project finds nooks and crannies in the side of buildings and abandoned street furniture and fills them with paper and resin casts.
Here at TC we love these projects that bring attention to the everyday and 'mundane' urban landscape. It's this creativity that helps us imagine opportunities where there previously was none.
Read more about this project here.
Image courtesy of A Common Name.
Across the globe we love seeing great examples of innovative recycling/upcycling methods. Usually, the products created from this process serve a functional or aesthetic purpose and give life to previously unwanted materials.
Street art culture is no stranger to this movement and a recently completed work by Bordalo II in Lisbon is its latest iteration.
The local Portuguese artist Bordalo II, AKA Artur Bordalo, has just finished the oversized rabbit "built using trash and found materials".
Image courtesy of Street Art News.
At the University of Hawaii, Mānoa, you no longer need to hide your skateboard while you attend class, the campus now has an innovative system to store your board.
Just like bike parking, the skateboard rack has been located to allow for more next to the original if proven popular.
Read more about this initiative here.
Image courtesy of @DamonSalesa
It's easy to fall in love with Portland. At every level, the City seems to foster innovation and champion sustainable ways of living.
For us here at TC, it’s definitely one place we like to keep our eye on. For residents, your house may be soon partly powered by small turbines in your drinking water.
Read on (and be amazed) here.
Image courtesy of Sherri Kaven.
Hidden in a Eucalyptus forest in Presidio National Park, California, is this simple yet enchanting installation by British artist Andy Goldsworthy.
Ephemeral, organic and thoughtful, Goldsworthy's installation aims to celebrate the life-cycle of the historic forests planted in the surrounding area.
Read more about the artwork here.
Image courtesy of The Bubbly Bay
An oldie but a goodie! If you cycle and live in Copenhagen, it's free to ride on S-Trains throughout the greater metropolitan area!
Back in 2010, the Danish State Railways wanted to let riders know about the fee changes, so instead of traditional communication methods, the team setup a ‘mock train carriage’ to build interest, and then handed out flyers at the red light up ahead.
Here at TC we love innovative ways to engage and build excitement around urban policy. It's what we'd like to call 'people first' marketing, that focuses on positive behaviour change rather than pushing a product of consumption.
For more information and other images of the carriage, click here.
Image courtesy of Copenhagenize.
A marketing campaign for Brisbane, Australia, launched a year ago, has been encouraging locals to promote their place with the slogan ‘Give Me Brisbane Any Day’. The campaign encourages everyday citizens to become virtual ambassadors of Brisbane and post their experiences online.
The latest iteration of the campaign has seen Brisbane bus stations ‘hacked’ with iconic Queensland themes. The campaign was designed and delivered by Brisbane Marketing in collaboration with Tourism and Events Queensland, various local governments and industry bodies to boost an already increasing tourism market.
Image courtesy of @oh_pixelle.
If you blink you might miss it! This ‘Little Free Library’ on the sidewalk of downtown Vancouver, offers the community a chance to exchange novels and leave book reviews for future avid readers. The library operates on the generosity, honesty and enthusiasm of its many local supporters. Here at TC we love these small gestures of placemaking by locals. It just works.
Image courtesy of Katrina Torresan.
'StreetPong' is an interactive version of your favourite 1970s arcade game Pong. Designed by the team at Urban Invention in Hildesheim, Germany 'StreetPong' enables two people to challenge each other at pong whilst waiting for the traffic light to change. This interactive game features skateboards instead of table tennis rackets and includes an hour glass to show how much time you have to beat your latest rival. The team here at Trending City say "Let the games begin!"
A video of StreetPong in action can be found here
Images courtesy of streetpong.info
Union Square in the heart of downtown San Francisco has closed some of its key streets to vehicle traffic, to create a consolidated public space dedicated to people and activity.
Complete with Christmas markets, music, food trucks, visiting animals and outdoor furniture this transformation has been a hit with locals and begs the question why bring the cars back?
Image courtesy of @erlinamorning via #winterwalksf.
This striking art installation by Sam Falls at the Metro Tech Centre in Brooklyn, New York, is a true delight for the senses.
Falls draws on thermal qualities of varying materials to register heat, sunlight and rainfall, in an attempt to celebrate the effects of time and light on everyday objects. These exquisite, oversized objects invite the viewer to intimately engage with them, bringing them to life and blurring the asymptotic line between art and function.
Image courtesy of Liz Ligon Courtesy Public Art Fund NY
Hats off to Modo, a not-for-profit co-op that manages affordable and efficient car sharing across Vancouver. Modo has also recently invested in extending its fleet to include electric vehicles!
Find out more about this fantastic green initiative here.
Image courtesy of Modo.
Across the globe, the hotel industry is experiencing an evolution. No longer are customers expecting to endure the global sameness that made chains like the Hilton popular, but innovative and bespoke hotels are fast becoming the norm.
Take for example QT Hotel that was launched in 2011 on the Gold Coast, Australia, and now has a nationwide chain of unique destinations. A mix of small and large wins makes QT not just another Hotel but an ambassador for the Gold Coast. Read more about QT Gold Coast here.
Image courtesy of John O'Callaghan.
In Seattle a suspect is wanted for renting, repainting, and then returning bikes from the City's bike share scheme.
Here at TC we're wondering if it's art or vandelism, and if the police need to even pursue the matter? Sounds a lot like a form of Tactical Urbanism to us!
The difference between sanctioned and unsanctioned works is often a fine line and one that SPD Graffiti Detective Chris Young says is "all about permission". But in this instance perhaps permission has come from the public with the public 'owning' by the bike share?
Read more about the interesting case here.
Image courtesy of SPD Blotter.
Perth is an Australian city on the move! The mining boom and a growing knowledge economy has woken up this sleepy town and recent urban developments, like the Northbridge Piazza, are bringing rhythm back to the central business district.
Artist Lorenna Grant’s public piece is a great example of this rejuvenation. A bold and progressive City that promotes public life at every turn. Grant's art helps calm traffic and "the design also works on the principle that the roads can be shut down so the whole space becomes a piazza in the true sense of the term."
Read more here.
Image courtesy Michael Ellis.
What are Jafflechutes I hear you ask? Well in Australia toasted sandwiches are also known as jaffles and if you attach a parachute you've got the latest innovation in urban street food. Customers order online via PayPal and wait at a mystery location for their sandwich to arrive safely from the heavens. Lunch time in the city may never be the same again!
A video of jafflechutes in action can be found here
Images courtesy of we-heart.com
Australia's first glow in the dark footpath has been installed in Gosford. A layer of minerals covers the path and absorbs ultra violet light to emit a soft glow at night. Could this soon become the norm?
Read the press release here.
Image courtesy of Transport for NSW.
A crowdfunded bridge in Rotterdam, the Luchtsingel, is a catalyst for change throughout the neighbourhood, reconnecting people and place.
Image courtesy of The Luchtsingel Foundation.
Wind turbines + art...dare we say anymore?!
Also support their pozible campaign for getting ghostpatrol involved with Gale's friend Gusto (aka the other wind turbine on the property).
Image courtesy of Bernard Winter.
Designed by Norwegian architects Yashar Hanstad and Andreas Gjertsen, the Klong Toey Community Lantern is a football court and public playground in one of the largest and oldest areas of informal dwellings in Bangkok. It also doubles as an important community gathering space to discuss social issues in the area.
The community centre is the result of a year long preparation period that allowed the project team to connect with residents and understand their needs. The space was built in less than three weeks with materials sourced from local merchants.
Read more about this great project here.
Image courtesy of TYIN tegnestue Architects.
Here at TC we love the concept of 'sittability', that is, as William H. Whyte would describe, making areas for sitting in our cities both physically and socially comfortable.
Building Blocks by Jess Scully is an urban experiment that explores this notion of sittability. The installation, made up of large wooden blocks, provides a space for people to sit, play and interact. "Building Blocks was designed to soften the edges of a part of Sydney that has the potential to be a warmer, more inclusive, more exciting place" says Jess Scully.
Read more about this project and see other images here.
Image courtesy of Jess Scully.
Empathy Garden is an interactive installation that connects the spheres of urban food production, architecture and interactive-design. A key feature of the install uses MaxMSP software to create an interactive musical instrument, capable of generating music depending on context.
The concept was showcased by MoMA in NY (Cut'n'PAste Exhibition, St Horto) and was awarded the Architizer Award 2014.
Read more about the project here.
Image courtesy of Federico Giacomarra.
Here at TC we've been waiting for this for a while (and are pretty super excited)!
The smart cogs over at SolaRoad have developed the world's first solar bike path & it's looking good so far! The pilot initiative located in Krommenie, 25 kilometres outside Amsterdam, follows years of prototyping, testing and feasibility studies.
Read more about the project here.
UPDATE: It's been 6 months since we shared this story, read about how well the road works here.
Image courtesy of SolaRoad.
A new light tunnel located in Kolding, Denmark, is interactive, playful and curiously social.
The project titled Interference, is comprised of a series of light boxes that glow as people walk through the space. This in turn raises awareness that they are 'interfering' with their surrounds, hence the project name. The brainchild of Danish designers, Kollision, Interference is part of the Design City Kolding initiative and a great example of how to use sensor data to create a unique and dynamic urban experience.
Image courtesy of Kollision.
This, is the future.
A great initiative by Shell called 'Make the Future' has installed kinetic panels under the astroturf on this football field, allowing players to power the lights as they run. The project, located in Mineira Favela, Rio de Janeiro, has provided a much needed upgrad for the football field and highlights innovative solutions to our global energy problem.
Read more about the project here.
Image courtesy of Shell Global.
We've been waiting in anticipation for this and it's just arrived! The MPavilion opened in Melbourne this week. A commission by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation and designed by Architect Sean Godsell, the MPavilion is a new public meeting room for the city.
Read more about it here.
Also jump to the Serpentine Galleries here.
Image courtesy of Sean Fennessy, The Design Files.
Story Yard is a temporary art installation featuring giant posters of local business owners. The initiative is part of Lents Grown, a growing network of passionate businesses, neighbours and entrepreneurs located between Mt Tabor and Powell Butte in Portland.
Lucas Gray from Propel Studio, the Architecture firm behind Story Yard, says "We applied for the grant through the Portland Development Studio to design and implement [the project] converting the vacant lot into a public plaza. We designed the gabion walls, benches, performance stage, and the photography stands. We collaborated with ROSE Community Development and Dawn DiAno who organized the portraits and interviews. We were honored to be a part of the project and enjoyed working with other creative groups within the neighborhood."
Here at TC we love hearing stories of locals making their communities better through innovation and creativity, and talented professionals being catalysts for change.
Image courtesy of Portland Development Commission.
The Urban Acres co-op connects city dwellers with farm fresh produce and regionally made products. A key philosophy behind the business is 'knowing where our food comes from' and supporting local growers. In this way, it becomes obvious that Urban Acres places importance on slow food, food that is grown nearby rather than flown-in from the other side of the world.
Find out more about the Urban Acres program here.
Image courtesy of Stephen Moore.
Federation Square is not only one of Australia's most iconic buildings it will soon be 100% Carbon Neutral. A number of large and small scale initiatives have contributed to this target milestone including the farming of honey bees, installation of solar panels and rain tanks, and the popup rooftop garden.
Federation Square's unique heating and cooling systems have also helped to achieve this rating, leveraging off site context and the nearby Yarra River. "We've paid back the cost of this [concrete passive cooling system] in the first 5 years" says Architect and Professor, Donald Bates.
Image courtesy of Donaldytong.
Like your coffee in a nook? Or better yet, want to make your own space, nesting or burrowing into the urban fabric? If so, Flipboard Cafe by Brolly Design is your place!
For some time now, the clever brains behind Brolly Design have been testing and undertaking temporary activations within Melbourne's inner city but with Flipboard Cafe they've settled on something more permanent. "Flipboard Cafe is vertically oriented, the space bisected by a prominent stair, and prioritizes users’ space rather than preparation space." says Marcus Baumgart in ArchitectureAU.
Image courtesy of Tanja Milbourne.
Out House is a dedicated public space (that was once a public toilet) for street art located on the northern quarters of Stevenson Square. "Every three months the three blocks will be reworked to provide new inspiration for anyone and everyone." says the Out House website.
As part of Sydney 2030, planter boxes across the City are not only pretty but also educational. The latest round of plants, just in time for Spring, focus on weeds, many of which are edible and growing in surrounding locations right in the heart of the City.
For more information about the Sydney Living Colour initiative click here.
Image courtesy of @wildwonprojects.
Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB) manage their power needs through innovative design and technology. With projects around the world, these ZEBs aim to use the same amount of energy that they generate annually putting them at the forefront of sustainable architecture.
Click here for a great selection of Zero Energy Buildings across the globe.
Image courtesy of The Urban Developer.
A bottle recycling machine that rewards its users with discounted fares is proving popular with commuters in Beijing. Currently at trial stage, there are plans to extend the network of machines to 34 other locations around the city. It's an exciting initiative and one that reflects China's growth in the recycling industry.
Image courtesy of Pay Ding.
Architecture collective OH.NO.SUMO have designed a pop-up cinema in response to the lack of social interaction on their local street corner in Auckland. Locals were invited to recommend short films and playlists via social media to bring life back to the streets in our smart phone world. This project is a great example of how innovative pop-up architecture can engage the public in unique and exciting ways.
Further details of this amazing project can be found here
Images courtesy of OH.NO.SUMO
Here at TC we love a good game...and for us bigger is always better! Giant boardgames are in vogue across the world and Seattle's Street Scrabble tournament is not only fun but also highlights a need for more open space and better public realm offer in the First Hill neighbourhood.
Organised by the Seattle Department of Transportation as part of the First Hill Public Realm Action Plan, the Street Scrabble tournament is a great example of participatory design, starting a conversation between policy makers and locals on how their everyday spaces can be improved to create better gathering spaces.
More information here.
Image courtesy of Joshua Trujillo from seattlepi.com
Self-taught pop artist Xoe Hall has been revamping bus stops as part of a street art project supported by Wellington Council. Once bleak and degraded bus stops are now being transformed with bright colourful murals. The first was a bus stop in Aro Valley in 2011 (top image), and in recent months another has been completed in Newtown (bottom image). The striking pink bus stop reflects elements of the character of the local area, the city, and Hall's own life, including music, art, and a sister with green hair.
Images courtesy Billy Haworth (top), and Kevin Stent/Fairfax NZ (bottom).
Designed by German Architect and Artist, Alexander von Branca, the underground addition and pedestrian tunnel to Munich U-Bahn: Marienplatz is hard to avoid.
Some of the best subways in the world, including Marienplatz, embrace their subterranean positioning with high quality design, lighting and inspiration through art or memorial.
Want to see other subways from around the world that are worth the ride? Click here for 6 of the best as sourced by The Guardian.
Image courtesy of Shaun Clarke.
Brisbane was recently named Australia's coolest city and it seems at every turn, the City is embracing innovation and supporting creativity.
One great example of this is 'Echo Orbit' a part-shade part-art installation by award winning artist Sandra Selig. It is located down Brisbane's Brunswick Street Mall in Fortitude Valley and is a key component of the Mall's revitalisation.
Selig's work is also "pinpointed with small LED lights which appear star-like within the pattern, offering a gentle atmospheric canopy for the buzzing night-time flow of people through the mall".
Image courtesy of Dan Pike.
We don't often share products on TC, but when we do, you know it's going to be good!
Authority Clothing collaborates with international street artists to create unique urban apparel with all royalties paid to artists.
It's about revitalising spaces with high quality murals and then reconnecting people with place through the clothes they wear on their back. "Design isn't just limited to buildings or architecture, it's on street walls, and even on the clothes we wear. This impacts on how we experience the city." says Christopher Skyner, founder of Authority Clothing.
Images shown here are from Bennetts Lane in Melbourne by Vanderlism.
Image courtesy of Authority Clothing.
Bike parking doesn't have to be ugly.
The Umbrella Arc by Bike Arc has been "crafted by cyclists, architects and urban designers with a love of the built environment, our bike parking and storage systems also offer security, organization and an enjoyable parking experience."
Here at TC we believe every element of the city, including bike infrastructure, should be designed with the same level of interest and enthusiasm as our own private spaces, our kitchens and backyards.
See more great images/examples and read more about Bike Arc here.
Image courtesy of Bike Arc.
Wow! Another incredible building by Kengo Kuma.
Here is the new architectural detail at the University of Tokyo/Hongo launched in May 2014. Kuma has covered the new Graduate School of Information Studies with 9000 pieces cedar plate.
Image courtesy of @urbanscape.
Running out of power to take that last insta shot of the perfect sunset? No sweat in Boston, a charge station is just a bench seat away.
City officials in Boston have recently collaborated with Soofa to produce a series of solar-powered benches and have been asking locals which parks deserve one the most.
These guys have an amazing story to share. Visit the website and read more here.
Top image courtesy of Soofa.
A series of black and white images have popped up around town as a teaser for the Red Earth Arts Festival held in Karratha and the surrounds in late September. They make a nice contrast to the red dirt of the Pilbara region.
It's great to see an initiative that takes art to the people, welcoming and accessible, but also from a marketing angle, builds brand awareness. Looking forward to seeing what the REAF 2014 has in store for us!
More information here.
Image courtesy of @spheruledesigns aka Bron Shipway.
It's subtle but so so good! Fresh work by Minneapolis artist, HoTTea, in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, California. HoTTea uses yarn as his weapon of choice and often conveys deeper social meaning through his work.
Image courtesy of HoTTea instagram account @hotxtea.
In Vancouver park benches welcome the homeless instead of rejecting them. How cool is that?!
The brain child of Spring Advertising, and in colaboration with RainCity Housing and Support Society, the campaign modifies bus stops and park benches to change from seating during the day to bed shelter at night.
Read more here.
We'd love to see this take off in cities across the globe and shift stigma and public attitude towards homelessness.
Image courtesy of fastcoexist.
Infrastructure as art...yes please!
We love seeing initiatives that flip what is considered normal for infrastructure and urban planning projects. Leuchtturm, meaning Lighthouse, was conceived by Ail Hwang, Hae-Ryan Jeong and Chung-Ki Park.
Image courtesy of klasse löbbert.
'Rush Hour – Acknowledging everyday practices' is an intervention as part of the International Union of Architects World Congress of Architects in Durban, South Africa.As a collaboration between local collective dala and raumlabor, an experimental practice from Berlin, it aims to transform a plot of land into a temporary station for hitchhikers.
Read more here.
Image courtesy of @goethejoburg.
Seen from the Murray Street car park is a large scale work by London based street artist Phlegm. Painted for the Public mural festival by FORM, the wall is from his creation myth series, "Phlegm speaks of his characters as dream-like reflections of the imagination central to the person in the 'womb'. When he's not creating murals, Phlegm follows the stories of 10 of his creations in picture books he hand-crafts individually." says FORM.
Image courtesy of Phlegm.
Around the world, art in transport nodes is not new! We love seeing crazy awesome art, old and new, in train stations, bus stops, taxis, airport terminals and many other spaces of transport.
However, in Australia, many transport interchanges need a dramatic and well overdue redesign. One great example is the inner circle CBD train stations of Sydney. At times overcrowded and overcapacity, design is often overlooked in favour of just keeping up with customer demand.
That's why it's so great to see the 'Conductors Project' install by Tim Andrew at Museum and St James Stations. While small in scale, it has a dramatic effect on the space and improves the daily (and often monotonous) experience for commuters. More pictures here.
Here at TC we love cool facades! Especially ones that move, shake and have a heart. This one at the Eskenazi Hospital reminds us of the work by Ned Khan at Brisbane Airport, two great examples of making place more dynamic, especially in unexpected spaces and in unusual ways.
Read more and watch a video of the work here.
Image courtesy of Urbana Architecture.
Commissioned by non-profit organisation Visit California, this floating skate ramp was designed and built by Jerry Blohm and Jeff King. This surrealist structure took 300 hours to build before its first test run by Brazilian pro skateboarder Bob Burnquist.
Read more and watch a video of this amazing project here.
Images courtesy of Visit California.
The UN Food and Agriculture Association estimates that circa 30% of edible food is disposed of even before it hits the table – damaged in the distribution process or discarded because it doesn’t meet aesthetic standards. To address this, French supermarket chain Intermarché sells fruits & vegetables, which do not comply with EU standards at a 30% discount. Less aesthetic than the average carrot or tomato, these lumpy, bumpy fruits and vegetables have their own branding strategy – called moche or ugly – and have attracted their own customers. Moche has increased overall store profits and received positive press reviews in social and popular media.
Check out their video – a great idea for other supermarkets to follow.
It’s summer in the Northern hemisphere. As temperatures climb, so too does the urge for a quick dip. In a city or suburb, the easiest choice is often the neighborhood or backyard swimming pool. While lounging around the pool may be enjoyable, swimming pools are energy intensive, and their filters and chemicals damaging for urban wildlife. To address this, David Pagan Butler of Norfolk, England designed the organic pool. Using solar panels to power a simple air filter, the rest of the filtration is done using aquatic plants. The organic pool provides a space for aquatic ecology to thrive, while offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Check out this short video for your own escape.
The 'House for Trees' prototype buildings designed by Vietnamese studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects have been designed as a sustainable solution to the rapid urbanisation of Ho Chi Minh City. Each concrete box building incorporates a green roof structure which acts as 'pot plant holders' for the Banyan trees and deep soil. Infill housing doesn't get much greener than this!
Images courtesy of
Since 2000, the Beneficial Brick Initiative by Portus Praha has helped raise $1000s for mentally handicapped people in and around Prague.
If interested and you happen to stumble upon the street stall, you are asked to donate a small amount of change and paint a brick with anything you like, before adding it to the giant 'jenga-like' wall.
The proceeds go towards the construction of a new building for Portus Praha and the bricks will be incorporated on site.
More images here. Image courtesy of Kelly Price.
Since 2007, Vélib has been changing the transport grid in Paris and inspiring cities around the world to do the same. With 20,000 bikes and 1,800 bike-hire stations, it’s hard to miss this Parisian sensation. Vélib is now moving into uncharted territory – a bike hire programme for kids. The so-called "P'tit Vélib'" will offer some 300 bikes available in four different sizes (and helmets) for kids 2-10 years old. This is the first such programme in the world to do so, but certainly a trend to follow.
Take a book; leave a book. That’s the concept behind the Little Free Library. In 2009 Todd Bol of Wisconsin, USA, built a miniature one-room schoolhouse in front of his home and filled it with books in a tribute to his mother, a former schoolteacher.
Rick Brooks, University of Wisconsin-Madison, soon discovered this and saw an opportunity to develop a social enterprising project. Inspired by traveling libraries and neighborhood kiosks, these mini-libraries began to appear in neighborhoods across Wisconsin and in other US cities and around the globe. (Photos are from Seattle). The ‘Little Free Library’ aims to promote literacy, a love of reading and a sense of community.
This train station in Stockholm is definitely worth the commute! Containing rainbow murals and other quirky additions, it's a great example of mass transit public art.
Want to see more? Check out these other train stations here.
Image courtesy of say.com
Here at TC we love a good light show! Especially one that also talks, is renewable and also physically responsive. Enter Ray, a joint effort between Pollinate Energy, Amigo and Amigo, S1T2, Wildwon Projects and SCU Sunflower Solar Sound System, Ray is the first ever solar powered installation at Vivid Sydney.
Ray is also the proud owner of a website and reports live data feeds from the site throughout the day. He'll also talk to y'all if you reach out!
Image courtesy of Sally Hill.
The “hut on sleds’ designed by New Zealand architects Crosson Clarke Carnachan has recently received the 2014 Architizer A+ award in New York for small space living. The 40m2 holiday home contains sleeping and living quarters for a family of five due to its innovative use of space, storage and sustainable design. However, what is most unique about the design is its sled base which enables it to be towed in and out of the coastal erosion zone via a Massey Ferguson. Site responsive architecture at its very best!
Images courtesy of Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects
Fast food redefined!
Christchurch’s award winning C1 expresso has been at the centre of cool since it first opened its doors on the corner of Tuam and High Street back in 1996. In 2012 after the devastating Canterbury earthquakes the café moved into the Old Post Office on High Street which has inspired the coolest fast food in town… Pneumatic sliders! For only $20 you can order three mini burgers with fries and have these delivered straight to you table via a 140km/hour pneumatic tube system. This futurama dining experience should not be missed.
Images courtesy of C1 Expresso
LED messaging artwork by Jenny Holzer at 8 Chifley Square in Sydney. It is the first permanent work by the artist to be realised in Australia-Asia Pacific.
Image courtesy of Tim Carr.
We spotted this amazing artwork on our Instagram and couldn't go past it!
Created by Olafur Eliasson, a Danish-Icelandic artist, 'Your Rainbow Panorama' is located on top of the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum and transforms the surrounding city and bay with all the colours of the rainbow.
More information and pictures on this amazing project can be found here.
Image courtesy of Julien De Smedt.
Need an umbrella? Why not rent one? Bella Umbrella in New Orleans offers over 800 vintage umbrellas for hire and ship nationwide (US).
We love this concept and in an age of Collaborative Consumption, are constantly amazed at what service will pop up next!
Follow Bella Umbrella on facebook here.
Image courtesy of Kevin Schrader.
Melbourne's insatiable desire to shop, eat and party in the city's signature laneways is driving a new economy.
Street artist, Adnate, was recently commissioned by Hosier Inc, a collective of residents, artists and members of the street art community, to create a 23-metre high portrait down Hosier Lane in the heart of Melbourne.
Image courtesy of Dean Sunshine.
Prior to its unveiling in 2012, the site was an infamous 'hole in the ground' for over 20 years and had been voted one of the ugliest features in the city. Today, the new tower and public domain aims to 'knit' the site together, leveraging off previously abandoned heritage buildings, to create alfesco dining spaces and high quality public sphere.
Read more about Brookfield Place here.
Brookfield Place was recently recognised for design excellence at the WA Architecture Awards winning best building for Commercial, Urban Design and Heritage.
Image courtesy of Fenella Kernebone.
Fences around construction sites are the new urban canvas. Don't trust us? Check out the awesome Pinocchio army and read on...
Forget train tracks, dark alleys and abandoned warehouses, street art is making construction fences look great while capturing the attention of big business. We're a little slow on this news story but it looks like street art on the fences outside the new European Central Bank in Frankfurt may just make an appearance inside the €1 billion construction site once the doors open.
There are many great examples of construction hoarding art across the globe but here at TC we're yet to see anything of this scale before. It's an exciting frontier, looking for opportunities either temporary or permanent, for including art in all phases of the project timeline.
Read more about this exciting project here.
Image courtesy of REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach.
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