Grand Designs viewers slam couple who built ‘ugly’ home

Grand Designs viewers hit out at a couple who knocked down an inoffensive bungalow to create ‘the worst house ever’.

Davi and Matt bought the house in Hertfordshire for £800,000 – but decided to knock it down to make way for a contemporary family home with a black flint-clad exterior.

Local residents were furious with the plans but permission was granted – with the couple initially hoping to pay £550,000 for the radical build.

Instead, they overbudgeted by £160,000 and took 17 months to finish their dream home.

Twitter users were left unimpressed after the repeated episode on Channel Four, questioning how they got permission to build it in the first place.

One wrote on Twitter: ‘Why knock down an £800,000 house, build something that overshadows both neighbors and totally knocks them off too? Bet they’re not very welcome there.’

Another wrote: ‘Crikey. It’s a bit ugly. Not really in keeping with the surroundings at all, a bit of a gaudy big lump.’

Another wrote: ‘Worst house ever’, while another wrote: ‘But it’s so ugly.’

Viewers have also generally criticized Grand Designs and the people who go on them.

One wrote: ‘Another oversized ugly monstrosity. Here we go again.’

While another wrote: ‘I’ve never watched #GrandDesigns before. Do these people often run out of money before they put up curtains?’

When the episode first aired in the fall of 2022, it explored the couple’s dream plans.

They wanted a house that represented their nationalities – from Zimbabwe and Australia – with the house featuring a black flint-clad exterior and a projecting skylight.

Davi and Matt bought the house in Hertfordshire for £800,000 – but decided to knock it down to make way for a contemporary family home, complete with a black flint-clad exterior and eye-catching skylight

Grand Designs viewers were left reeling by a couple who knocked down an inoffensive bungalow to create a 'monstrosity and eyesore' property for £710,000 after going £160,000 over budget.

Grand Designs viewers were left reeling by a couple who knocked down an inoffensive bungalow to create a ‘monstrosity and sore’ property for £710,000 – after going £160,000 over budget.

As is usually the case with a Grand Designs building, the project did not initially go to plan - including two weeks of bad weather at the start which washed out the site

As is usually the case with a Grand Designs building, the project did not initially go to plan – including two weeks of bad weather at the start which washed out the site

But their plans have “freaked out” residents who insist they are “too different” to their own homes.

Even as construction began in the picturesque suburb, one neighbor told presenter Kevin McCloud: ‘It doesn’t [fit in on the street]. I think it just looks awful.’

The construction work also – perhaps not surprisingly – did not go according to plan. Bad weather at the start of construction washed out the site. The couple also made mistakes – buying windows before the walls were even built.

Parents of two Davi and Matt decided to project manage the construction themselves – even though they were city office workers – and constantly encountered problems.

The property eventually managed to include a bay window, a modern open plan kitchen, a private sculpture garden and ground floor offices.

Yet Matt admitted the stress of the project was ‘still pretty raw’ when he spoke to presenter McCloud after the build was completed after 17 months.

In the end the build cost £710,000 – £160,000 over budget.

The finished house was also slammed on Twitter.

Viewers were very critical and dismissive of the design, which according to one was the worst house ever

Viewers were very critical and dismissive of the design, which according to one was the worst house ever

The couple wanted to build an 'Australian and Zimbabwean inspired' home to reflect their nationalities

The couple wanted to build an ‘Australian and Zimbabwean inspired’ home to reflect their nationalities

However, permission was granted and the duo hoped to complete the new home within nine months, at a cost of £550,000. However, they went £160,000 over budget and took 17 months

However, permission was granted and the duo hoped to complete the new home within nine months, at a cost of £550,000. However, they went £160,000 over budget and took 17 months

Even as construction began to take shape, one neighbor told presenter Kevin McCloud (pictured left): 'It doesn't [fit in on the street].  I think it just looks awful'

Even as construction began to take shape, one neighbor told presenter Kevin McCloud (pictured left): ‘It doesn’t [fit in on the street]. I think it just looks awful’

Parents of two Davi and Matt decided to project manage the construction themselves - despite being city office workers - and were hit with problems throughout.  In the photo: one of the bedrooms

Parents of two Davi and Matt decided to project manage the construction themselves – despite being city office workers – and were hit with problems throughout. In the photo: one of the bedrooms

They had to deal with increasing costs, while incorrect dimensions meant that at one point the structure was out.  In the photo: another bedroom

They had to deal with increasing costs, while incorrect dimensions meant that at one point the structure was out. In the photo: another bedroom

Twitter users were left unimpressed after the latest tour of the property, with one writing: 'Feel sorry for the neighbors who live next to that monstrosity.  The bungalow they knocked down looks a lot nicer.'

Twitter users were left unimpressed after the latest tour of the property, with one writing: ‘Feel sorry for the neighbors who live next to that monstrosity. The bungalow they knocked down looks a lot nicer.’

Previously, when the house was first shown, viewers attacked it in a similar way.

One wrote: ‘How the hell did this get planning permission? It’s huge, blocks out light and view completely for the neighbors, it’s really oppressive. It looks nothing like the surrounding houses.’

Another added: ‘They have devalued their neighbours’ property with that gigantic, extravagant, light-blocking, privacy-invading eyesore. Flat roofs are also a nightmare. They always leak in the end. Epic fail.’

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Hogwarts Legacy leaker who claimed the design director was their dad struck by Warner Bros copyright notice

The Hogwarts Legacy community mourns the temporary disappearance of a bizarre leaker who claims to be the son of a senior developer.

In a now-nuked Reddit post (opens in new tab)user HogwartsInsider claimed that they were able to help with QA on the game through their ties to their father, design director Chad Liddell, and while a non-disclosure agreement partially bound them, they were allowed a limited Q+A session, which reveals details about the game.

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Victoria Beckham Dresses Daughter Harper Beckham in Design

Victoria Beckham has called her 11-year-old daughter Harper Beckham her “number one muse”.

The Spice Girls singer-turned-fashion designer, 48, dressed her mini-my pre-teen in one of her designs from her Spring/Summer 2023 collection, with the final look in a sweet mother-daughter- selfie shared on her Instagram page on Monday.

In the photo, Harper wore a strapless blue dress with an ombre design. She teamed her outfit with a pair of comfy sneakers and a small blue handbag. Victoria stood by Harper’s side for the photo, holding hands while wearing a baby pink ruffle dress from her collection.

“My number one #VBMuse #HarperSeven! Mommy loved creating this dress for you 💙” Victoria wrote in the caption.

The Spice Girl also posted a photo of herself posing with model and jewelery designer Isabela Grutman, who also wore a baby blue dress from Victoria’s new collection.

“I love seeing my new collection on you @IsabelaGrutman!! You look amazing! Kisses xx VB,” Victoria added of Isabela, who is married to their good friend David Grutman.

Victoria, Harper and father David Beckham (47) were recently in Miami where they celebrated the wedding of singer Marc Antony (54) and model Nadia Ferreira (23).

The marriage came after David took their 17-year-old son Cruz Beckham to the Autumn/Winter Dior menswear show at Paris Fashion Week 2023 earlier this month.

Both Beckham sons attended the show in bold coordinating father-and-son suits. The former footballer donned a classic charcoal gray set, white shirt and boots. Cruz opted for gray pants and a jacket. He completed his outfit with a silver tie worn backwards, sneakers and red-rimmed sunglasses.

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In October, Victoria presented her Spring/Summer 2023 line at Paris Fashion Week 2022 with David and all four children rooting for her.

“I love you all so much x,” she captioned a family photo shared on her Instagram feed, which included sons Romeo, 20, and Brooklyn, 23, as well as Brooklyn’s wife Nicola Peltz.

The fashion show was a real family affair, with Victoria’s extended family also in attendance. Parents Jacqueline and Anthony Adams were there to show their support, as was Victoria’s sister, Louise Adams.

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How people are making money on Canva and turning their graphic-design side hustles into full-time gigs

Shruti Pangtey is the founder of Digital Empires, a digital marketing business built by Canva. (Shruti Pangtey)

  • Canva’s popularity is exploding, bringing with it a boom in creators selling digital products.
  • Some have turned creating templates, images or files to sell into a full-time gig.
  • The entrepreneurs tell Insider the benefits are wide-ranging, despite varying financial success.
  • For more stories, go to

After a tech company fired 31-year-old Shruti Pangtey from her product marketing manager gig, she took the opportunity to start her own digital products business — and she says she has no regrets.

Her online business, Digital Empires, sells digital marketing courses for entrepreneurs built on Canva, a popular graphic design platform known for its ease of use. Pangtey earns between $95,000 and $120,000 a year working at least 20 hours a week.

“I never want to go back to a nine-to-five,” Pangtey told Insider.

And she is not alone. Canva’s popularity is exploding, leading to a surge in creators making real money selling digital products — templates, images or files for others to use — with some taking it from side jobs to full-time gigs. This gives the creators the opportunity to work fewer hours, spend more time with friends and family, and for some, make more money.

By putting in anywhere from three to 84 hours a week, creators can earn between $1,000 and $10,000 a month, four Canva business owners told Insider. One creator made a total of $1.4 million in sales in about three years.

But “it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme,” said Meranda Dysart, an Arkansas-based Canva creator.

Dysart has built a business that brings in about $3,300 every month. This allowed her to quit a full-time marketing job and become a stay-at-home parent. For her and other creators, starting a Canva-based business goes far beyond design.

Creators spend time doing behind-the-scenes work like marketing, writing copy for sales landing pages, and sending emails to potential customers. The digital products creators sell include Instagram and Pinterest post templates, custom YouTube profile banners, wedding invitations, and printable daily planners.

These products are especially in high demand among bloggers and small business owners, Rebecca Lake, a certified personal finance educator with a side hustle blog called Boss Single Mama, told Insider. Purchasing pre-made templates saves them time and money on their design efforts, Lake said.

Meranda Dysart, a small business owner.

How Canva works

Founded in 2012 and based in Australia, Canva takes a point-and-drag approach to graphic design so users with little or no experience can create custom images.

More than 100 million users around the world use the platform, and the firm is set to surpass $1 billion in revenue in 2022, a Canva spokesperson told Insider.

Entrepreneurs, who can use the site for free or subscribe to a paid version, choose a template idea and then customize the design using the platform’s editing tools. After that, creators can export the design as an image file or PDF and sell it on a third-party platform like Etsy or Amazon.

As independent creators, these digital product store owners may have to go the extra mile to get discovered. Creators who have been successful selling Canva products are finding a niche in the market to fill and creative ways to market their businesses, they told Insider.

Jennifer Singer, who is in her late 20s and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, doubled her salary to $4,000 a month by focusing on creating children’s picture books, workbooks and more. Creators like Singer found their niche by doing keyword searches on platforms like Pinterest, Etsy and Google Trends to see what products were popular.

Canva has not commented on how the rise of entrepreneurship on the platform affects its business model. But it supports the “huge range of ways people are using Canva to start and scale businesses,” Rob Kawalsky, the head of product at Canva, told Insider.

Jennifer Singer, an illustrator, author and entrepreneur.

Sales of digital products fluctuate, and not every Canva creator has seen financial gains

The market for Canva products has become flooded.

The independent seller site Etsy returns nearly 300,000 results for Canva templates. But the payouts are uncertain, and it’s not always clear which digital products will take off each month.

This means that for some creators like Raquel Kay, who is based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it has been difficult to reap financial gains. She took a massive pay cut to focus on her digital products business Canva, quit her management consultant position at Accenture in 2020 that paid $94,000 a year. As of October 2022, she was earning between $1,000 and $1,500 (between about R17,000 and R26,000) per month selling Canva templates and Canva coaching services full-time for aspiring entrepreneurs, she told Insider.

“The transition was difficult,” Kay said. “I love it, but it’s very challenging.”

Raquel Kay, the founder of Tips and Templates, a digital marketing business built on Canva.

And that’s part of the reason why money isn’t the only motivation for turning to Canva content creation full-time. Millions of people have quit their jobs at record levels over the past two years due to burnout, poor management, low salaries and a lack of work-from-home flexibility.

This causes some full-time employees to re-evaluate their career choices in search of work that fits their lifestyle preferences, such as creating a digital product storefront from home. This allows creators like Singer to have full control over their time.

“My life has completely changed,” Singer said.

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Avatar’s Early Concept Art Reveals Na’vi Who Glow

Movie concept artist Joseph C. Pepe reveals a portrait of a different kind of the Avatar franchise’s Na’vi, inspired by bioluminescence in nature.

The second Avatar movie, The Way of Water, introduced audiences to a race of the Na’vi people who adapted to aquatic conditions. There are still endless variations on the nimble blue aliens yet to be revealed, and some early concept art highlights one interesting possibility.

Artist Joseph C. Pepe shared the piece on his personal Instagram, along with an in-depth explanation of how he helped create the design for Avatar’‘s characters. The photorealistic digital portrait, titled “Na’vi Elder Male,” was created in 2004 and first published in The Art of Avatar: James Cameron’s Epic Adventure by Lisa Fitzpatrick. It shows the face of a Na’vi man with the blue skin and yellow eyes of the final design in the movies, but he also has a feathery nose ornament and a glowing patch on the crown of his head that appears to be slightly above him floating.

RELATED: Avatar 2: Why James Cameron Let Sigourney Weaver Direct an Important Scene

Pepe provided a bit of history for the image, writing: “We were given 14 days to ‘show Cameron something new, develop the characters further and give them new life.'” At the time, Cameron said the film was photorealistic would be once it was completed and I felt the utmost pressure to illustrate something that would impress him.”

James Cameron’s use of natural sciences in avatar

The glowing feature on the Na’vi elder, according to Pepe, was inspired by some kind of real-life invertebrate, and Cameron immediately picked up on the idea. “At the time, Cameron expressed no emotion during the review, only that he recognized the Sea Slug bioluminescence I used on the forehead,” Pepe says in his caption for the artwork. “Cameron said, ‘It’s a pelagic nudibranch, Phylliroe bucephala.’ My mouth is agape with total surprise that he not only recognized what type of animal’s bioluminescence I used, he also knew its scientific name.”

RELATED: Why Avatar: The Way of Water’s One F-Bomb Landed at the End of the Film

The Na’vi people in Avatar and its sequels look like blue-skinned humans with tails and vaguely cat-like features. They are much taller than humans and have several evolutionary adaptations to their home planet, Pandora, including an organ that allows them to connect on a spiritual level with other native life forms.

Avatar: The Way of Water, now playing in theaters, was a huge box office success and was nominated for a Best Picture award at the Oscars. Further installments in the Avatar series are in the works.

Source: Instagram

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Walmart is rolling out sleek new store designs

Walmart has introduced a new look at five flagship stores, including its big box store in Teterboro, NJ. The renovated stores have brighter lighting, mannequins and more spacious aisles.

Melissa Repko | CNBC

As Walmart‘s cheap groceries lure shoppers, the retailer is rolling out a new strategy aimed at getting them into other aisles: stores with brighter lights, fashion-forward mannequins and colorful displays of makeup, pet supplies and more.

The big-box retailer, known for competing on value, has turned five of its SuperCenters into flagship stores with the revamped look. They are located in Teterboro and North Bergen in New Jersey; Yaphank, New York; Quakertown, Pennsylvania.; and Hodgkins, Illinois. All of the flagships debuted in the past three months — with North Bergen and Teterboro opening in mid-January.

And at least one more is on the way soon: A remodel of the store in Secaucus, New Jersey, is planned for next month.

Walmart’s sleeker look is part of a broader effort to sell more discretionary items — like jeans, lipstick and baby strollers — that typically carry a higher profit margin than groceries. Last summer, he tested the slimmer model at one of his big-box stores in Springdale, Arkansas, a short drive from his corporate headquarters.

Alvis Washington, Walmart’s vice president of marketing, store design, innovation and experience, said it was time to bring the look to other markets after receiving positive feedback in Arkansas. In company surveys, he said nearly every shopper said the store’s displays and mannequins encouraged them to browse longer.

“They appreciate the fact that we’re still true to who we are as Walmart,” he said. “Fantastic prices. But then we also now have these new brands that we’re actually showcasing in inspiring ways.”

Walmart’s new store design includes displays that show how a customer can decorate a nursery or kitchen. The displays also include a QR code that pulls up more merchandise on Walmart’s website.

Melissa Repko | CNBC

The company is rebuilding the stores – and taking some store features from competitor Target – at a time when more high-income households are shopping at the retail giant. In the past two quarters, about 75% of its market share gains in food came from households earning more than $100,000 a year, according to Chief Financial Officer John David Rainey.

Those shoppers can become a fresh audience for Walmart’s exclusive brands, such as a style- and value-oriented activewear brand, Love & Sports, developed with fashion designer Michelle Smith and SoulCycle instructor Stacey Griffith, and a kitchen- and home decor line called Beautiful, which was co-developed with Drew Barrymore. It also has a variety of clothing from national brands, such as Levi Strauss, Wrangler and Reebok.

“They’ve been kind of a one-trick pony,” said Scott Mushkin, a retail analyst and CEO of R5 Capital. “They’ve always been about price and what they’re doing now is, yes, they’re still leading on price. But they’re starting to accelerate the dynamics in stores that matter to other people, along with value.”

He said it is notable that Walmart has chosen to rebuild some of the stores near New York, a competitive market where it has struggled in previous attempts to gain traction.

Mushkin had been a critic of Walmart for its shoddy stores, but has changed his tune. He said store leaders and employees turned things around. And he said that, along with sharper-looking shelves and neater displays, Walmart has demonstrated its skills by working more with well-recognized brands and developing more stylish private labels.

At Walmart’s flagship stores, such as the one in Teterboro, NJ, Walmart plays up many of its exclusive brands such as activewear brands, Love & Sports and Beautiful, a kitchen and home decor line developed with Drew Barrymore.

Melissa Repko | CNBC

Walmart declined to say how many of its roughly 4,700 U.S. stores will get the new look. Through a spokeswoman, the company said it will share its plans for remodeling and capital expenditures for the fiscal year when it reports earnings in late February. The company would not say how much it spent on the changes, nor how the cost compares to other renovations.

However, Washington has already said that some elements of the revamped store — such as displays displaying Walmart’s clothing brands — have been added to 30 stores.

The retailer completed nearly 500 store renovations in the U.S. as of the third quarter, which ended Oct. 31. It did about 600 last financial year and about 500 in the previous financial year.

Still, Walmart needs to prove that its revamped stores can persuade shoppers to spend even if they feel the pinch of inflation and think twice about buying more than they need. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a CNBC interview this summer that even wealthier customers are more price conscious because of high inflation.

The company revised its outlook for the fiscal year, which ends at the end of January, saying it expects same-store sales to be higher in the U.S. but profit margins will be lower as shoppers buy more food and fewer discretionary items.

Walmart’s new store design features many discretionary goods that typically have a higher profit margin than groceries, including makeup and other beauty items.

Melissa Repko | CNBC

Washington declined to share data on Walmart’s store traffic and sales at its Springdale store and other flagships that have opened in recent months.

Still, its new store design appears to be resonating with shoppers, according to data from, an analytics firm that uses anonymized data from mobile devices to estimate overall visits to locations.

Visits to its Walmart store in Springdale, Ark. — the original prototype — were far higher than what an average Walmart or Target location receives. In the fourth quarter, the store received 31.2% more visits than the average Walmart received during that period. It received 66.6% more visits than the average Target received during that time.

Some of that additional foot traffic may come from Walmart’s hometown advantage and with many employees living nearby and shopping the store.

But the new layout is also winning some converts outside of Arkansas.

Victor Millan, of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, shops weekly at the Walmart in Teterboro for groceries and other items. Since the store debuted its new look about two weeks ago, the 45-year-old father of four said he’s spent more time in the new-look Walmart — about twice as long per visit, from about half an hour to closer to an hour.

On Thursday, while looking for a pair of Wrangler jeans, Millan said he felt the store now offers higher quality clothing, and lots of it.

“I’m not a fan of clothes shopping,” he said, “but they have so many things.”

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Rocket Report: NASA validates new engine design; Chinese firm tests mini Starship
Enlarge / United Launch Alliance hoists its Vulcan Cert-1 booster into the vertical integration facility at Cape Canaveral.

United Launch Alliance

Welcome to issue 5.23 of the Rocket Report! It was a very fun week for American rockets: Electron made a smashing debut in a launch from Virginia, Vulcan went vertical in Florida, and Starship passed a key test on its way to its first orbital launch. I look forward to more big leaps in launch later this year.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small, medium and heavy-lift rockets, as well as a quick look at the next three launches on the calendar.

Rocket Lab makes successful US debut. For years, the Electron rocket and the company behind it were stuck in limbo at the Virginia launch site, awaiting various approvals—for regulatory agencies to share enough paperwork with each other to convince everyone that the launch was safe. Then weather and the end-of-year holiday kept pushing back the launch. But on Tuesday, everything went as smoothly as it’s possible to imagine, and the Elektron shot into orbit almost as soon as the launch window opened, reports Ars.

Important to the local community … The launch was celebrated by the surrounding community in Virginia, which has seen relatively few launches from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. But Electron is designed to be built and deployed quickly, so it has the potential to dramatically increase the number of launches from Virginia. In fact, Rocket Lab already had a second vehicle in the assembly building the day the first was sent into orbit. The increased use has the potential to bring many benefits: More experience with introductions can streamline procedures, a greater use of facilities can build up additional services, and so on. (submitted by EllPeaTea and Ken the Bin)

NASA validates rotary explosion engine. The space agency said this week it has completed testing at Marshall Space Flight Center of an advanced rocket engine design that could significantly change how future propulsion systems are built. This full-scale rotating rocket motor was fired more than a dozen times, lasting nearly 10 minutes, the agency said. Operating at full throttle, the engine produced more than 4,000 pounds of thrust for nearly a minute at an average chamber pressure of 622 pounds per square inch. NASA worked with IN Space LLC, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, on the project.

Move to a larger version … As a result of NASA’s recent success with this engine, follow-up work is being done by NASA engineers to develop a fully reusable 10,000-pound class rotary detonation engine to identify performance advantages over traditional liquid rocket engines. This design differs from a traditional chemical rocket engine by generating thrust using a supersonic combustion phenomenon known as a detonation. This design produces more power while using less fuel than today’s propulsion systems and has the potential to propel both human landers and interplanetary vehicles to deep space destinations, such as the Moon and Mars. The technology is being researched around the world. (contributed by YetAnotherBoris)

The easiest way to keep up with Eric Berger’s space reporting is to sign up for his newsletter, we’ll collect his stories in your inbox.

Canada moves to regulate launches. Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced Friday that the federal government will develop the regulatory requirements, safety standards and licensing conditions needed to authorize commercial satellite space launches from Canada within the next three years, CBC reports. Alghabra said the country was also ready to approve launches in the interim period on a case-by-case basis, and he invited private companies to come forward with projects.

Bring that launch business back home … “For many years, Canadian satellites have been launched from sites in other countries,” he said at the Canadian Space Agency’s headquarters in Longueuil, Quebec, south of Montreal. “It’s time we start introducing them right here at home.” Alghabra said he is confident the first Canadian runway launch will happen within the next three years. (contributed by Ken the Bin and brianrhurley)

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Piuarch designs Fendi’s factory in Florence with “extensive” green roof

Italian architecture studio Piuarch has completed a production factory for fashion brand Fendi in Florence, which has a green roof to “look like an elevated garden”.

Located in the municipality of Bagno a Ripoli, Piuarch collaborated with landscape architect Antonio Perazzi to design a factory that would resemble its surroundings.

The green roof is designed to blend in with the landscape. Photo courtesy of Fendi

“The Fendi Production Building looks like an elevated garden, designed to repair a long-standing rift in the site and recreate the hillside of the site in which it is located,” said Piuarch partner and co-founder Gino Garbellini.

“The architecture therefore establishes an open dialogue with its natural environment,” he told Dezeen. “The building, apparently underground due to the landscaping choice to create a continuous and extensive green roof, becomes an integrated ecological system that recreates the contours of the land to restore the shape of the original hill.”

Bird's eye view of the Fendi factory's green roof
A courtyard in the center of the building lets light into the interior. Photo courtesy of Fendi

According to Piuarch, the 14,000 square meter building is designed to be energy efficient and is predicted to achieve LEED Platinum certification this year.

The factory’s exterior walls are constructed from a mixture of earth and cement, chosen to refer to earthy colors found in the Tuscan hills.

The interior walls were covered in terracotta cladding designed by Fendi. Large expanses of glazing provide views of a central courtyard and the exterior landscape.

Interior office space in the Fendi factory by Piuarch
Office spaces have views of outdoor planting

“The green roof offers the advantage of effectively counteracting the so-called heat island effect caused by a new construction with such a large area,” said Garbellini.

“The massiveness of the roof is contrasted by the use of large glass surfaces and patios that allow natural light to be exploited.”

Piuarch organized the layout of the factory over one floor, informed by the factory’s production process.

As well as the production warehouse, the building houses office spaces, a restaurant, workshops and a school for luxury leather goods.

Courtyard at the Fendi Factory by Piuarch
The main factory spaces are on one floor

The workspaces and circulation spaces are broken up with courtyards and planted patios that allow natural light into the interior spaces.

“The concept is based on the idea that the project can find its ideal form through the best functional arrangement of all its parts,” said Garbellini.

Interior of the Fendi factory by Piuarch
The interior walls were clad in terracotta

“The first step was therefore to understand the functioning of each activity, study flows and routes, with the aim of designing an efficient functional distribution,” continued the architect.

“Then we addressed the issue of context, of respect for the landscape in which the intervention is located. This led to the idea of ​​organizing the workspaces only on one floor, the ground floor.”

Interior workspace at the Fendi factory by Piuarch
The building includes a school for luxury leather goods

A basement has parking and on the top floor is the restaurant that overlooks the green roof.

Other recently completed factories with the environment in mind include a factory in Veitnam with plant-covered facades and a mass-timber Passivhaus factory in Norway designed by architecture firm BIG.

The photography is by Andrea Ferrari, unless noted.

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Vo Trong Nghia Architects designs Urban Farming Office for own studio

Vietnamese studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects has completed Urban Farming Office, its own headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City, creating a concrete frame building covered with a “vertical farm” of vegetables, fruits and herbs.

Located on a corner site in the city’s Thu Duc district, the Urban Farming Office is designed to be emblematic of the plant-filled, low-energy architecture that Vo Trong Nghia Architects is known for.

Next to the office, the practice also built a version of its low-cost housing prototype, S House, which was designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes and was first unveiled in 2012.

Urban Farming Office was designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects

“Under rapid urbanization, cities in Vietnam have diverged far from their origins as vast tropical forests,” explains the practice. “The lack of greenery causes various social problems such as air pollution, floods and the heat island effect.”

“In this context, new generations in urban areas lose their connection with nature, [and] increasing droughts, floods and salinization are putting food supplies at risk,” it continued.

The core of the office building is constructed with an exposed concrete frame, while the planters themselves are supported by a shelf-like external structure of thin steel, allowing them to be flexibly rearranged as plants grow or replaced entirely.

Image of the facade at Urban Farming Office
The building is covered with a vertical farm

The wall of plants, which completely covers the building’s glazed southern side, filters sunlight and air, prevents overheating and creates a shaded microclimate for the office interiors.

Inside, workspaces are organized around a central atrium, and full-height sliding glass doors provide access to balcony areas for moving or harvesting the planters, with a roof garden providing further space for growing plants.

“Together with the roof garden and soil, the system provides up to 190 percent of green ratio to the site area, which is equivalent to 1.1 tons of harvest,” explains the practice.

“[The vegetation] is irrigated with collected rainwater, while evaporation cools the air,” it continued.

Interior view of Urban Farming Office
The building is the architecture studio’s own office

The concrete structure has been left completely exposed internally, complemented with dark wood furniture and minimalist light fixtures to provide a contrast to the bright green of the planted facade.

To allow the office areas to be as open as possible, the elevator and stairwell were moved to the northern corner of the building, where brick walls with small openings for ventilation were left bare to allow for the possibility of future rear extensions.

Interior view of the concrete office
It has an exposed concrete interior

Architect Vo Trong Nghia founded his eponymous practice in 2006, and it has since become known for its explorations of low-energy architecture, often incorporating plants and bamboo into its designs.

Other projects recently completed by the studio include a bamboo welcome center for a resort on the island of Phu Quoc, and a house in Bat Trang wrapped by a perforated brick wall and a series of elevated garden spaces.

The photography is by Hiroyuki Oki.

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Burberry brands volcano and meadow with iconic check pattern

British fashion house Burberry has used milk-based paint and flowers to create a pair of temporary installations in the Canary Islands and South Africa that mimic the brand’s signature check pattern when viewed from above.

The project was designed as part of the Burberry Landscapes series, in which creatives collaborate with the brand to produce temporary site-specific landscape art.

Burberry collaborated with Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada to create an installation in the Canary Islands

One installation was designed in the Canary Islands, where it remained for one week last November before being swept away.

Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada used natural milk-based paint to create a large-scale version of Burberry’s signature check pattern across a volcanic terrain on the island of El Hierro – the first self-sufficient island in the world to use wind as its main source of energy, according to the brand.

Aerial view of Burberry check pattern created with milk based paint
The artist used natural milk-based paint

“One of the things I enjoy about this paint process is that it is created from minerals,” said Rodriguez-Gerada.

“So, as you mix your colors, it’s like alchemy.”

Seen from an aerial perspective, the signature geometric stripes of beige, red, black and white were draped across the undulating landscape and mimicked the fashion house’s cashmere plaid scarf, one of Burberry’s most famous accessories introduced in the 1970s is.

The temporary illustration was removed from the site by wind, as well as the use of hand-turning and local water sources in an effort to leave no traces behind.

Photo of a meadow in South Africa with a large-scale temporary installation
Another installation was placed in a meadow in South Africa

A meadow in Overberg, a region east of Cape Town in South Africa, formed the background for the second installation.

Early last December, Burberry commissioned local experts to plant flowers across the meadow in a similar shape to Rodriguez-Gerada’s project.

Native African daisies and honey-scented helichrysum petiolare were chosen to echo the Burberry colors and attracted birds and insects while keeping the installation intact.

Water obtained from a rainfall catchment pond fed the plants before being turned over to break down and compost back into the earth within a week.

Native South African plants arranged to look like a Burberry scarf
It is formed from native plants

The fashion house chose El Hierro as a nod to Elsie Burberry, who was the daughter-in-law of the brand’s founder Thomas Burberry. Elsie traveled to the Canary Islands in the early 20th century where she formed a connection with the region’s landscapes.

Western Cape was chosen as a reference to the late pilots Betty Kirby-Green and Arthur Clouston, who co-piloted a Burberry plane from London to Cape Town in 1937 and landed it near the meadow in Overberg.

“[Burberry Landscapes intends to] complement global landscapes in original ways through natural materials, while demonstrating a continued commitment to the pursuit of sustainable practices,” said the brand.

“Together, these landscapes embody Burberry’s belief that creativity opens up spaces,” it added.

Colorful paint marks on a site in the Canary Islands
Each temporary installation lasted for a week

Previous iterations of Burberry Landscapes have included the use of sand sculptures, drone displays and hot air balloons, and have appeared in locations such as above a Colorado reservoir.

The iconic Burberry check motif was first used as an accessory in its own right in 1967 when Paris-based buyer Jacqueline Dillemman removed the check lining from a coat and repurposed it as a luggage cover and an umbrella cover.

Rectilinear diamond pattern placed in hay in South Africa
Burberry created the project to “complement global landscapes”

Founded in 1856, Burberry has created a mirrored pop-up store on South Korea’s Jeju Island to reflect its mountainous surroundings, while the brand has also designed virtual clothes for the video game Minecraft.

The images are courtesy of Burberry.

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