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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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 Placer.ai, 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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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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At Home Austin! Ballard Designs Opens Furniture & Décor Store for Decorating & Design Enthusiasts in the Lone Star State, Again

National furniture and home decor store Ballard Designs is opening Austin this weekend at The Arboretum open air boutique shopping mall, Garden hills.

AUSTIN, Texas, January 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Home decor and furniture design company Ballard Designs announces its fourth Texas store opening this weekend. Austin’s Space of 11,500 sq.ft. foot now becomes Ballard’s eighteenth retail location nationwide, and follows a Houston store location opening in 2021.

“Wash excited to open Austin,” says Dominic Milanese, VP of Retail for Ballard Designs. “From the great reception our stores have received Dallas, Fort Worth and Houstonwe know the people of Texas LOVE Ballard Designs.”

Milanese adds, “Austin decor is evolving to embrace more transitional design, and Ballard is a perfect resource for creating that layered, sophisticated look.”

Ballard’s new location, 10000 Research Boulevard, offers decorated vignettes of furniture, art, lighting, bedding and accessories as well as personalized, complimentary design service. Austinites will also find everything they need for year-round outdoor decorating.

“With builders around creating more open-concept home designs, the ability to customize and coordinate your decor is more important than ever,” notes Milanese.

“We offer hundreds furniture frames and more than 300 designer fabrics, so you can create a completely personalized look. Our expert design consultants are always there and always ready to help, whether it’s color and material selection or decorating an entire house.”

Opposite The Domain – Easy access and ample parking

The new Ballard Designs store promises to attract interior designers and passionate home decor enthusiasts who frequent The Domaina nearby shopping mecca filled with unique shops, high-end fashion and luxury goods.

Regular store hours will be 10 am7 p.mMonday through Saturday, and 12 pm18:00 Sunday. See Ballard Design’s stores and products online.

About Ballard Designs

Since 1982, Ballard Designs® has offered a unique collection of home furnishings and decor from all eras and origins. Its designers travel the world for inspiration, translating the latest trends in fashion, color and style into finely crafted products found nowhere else. Ballard Designs is part of Qurate Retail GroupSm which includes QVC®, HSN®, Zulily®, Frontgate®, Garnet Hill® and Grandin Road®.

Ann Bailey, [email protected]

SOURCE Ballard Designs

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Don’t call it a refresh: The 6 most adventurous laptop designs of 2022

In a world of shiny clamshells and flashy convertibles, laptop releases can feel repetitive. Some of the most successful, well-known designs don’t always see massive overhauls from one year to the next. Stock up on the latest CPUs or GPUs, maybe demand a slightly cooler build, and call it a day (or year). After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

The problem with that is, well, it gets boring. And for tech enthusiasts interested in developments that could change how we work, play, repair and upgrade, it’s imperative that PC manufacturers are willing to take risks.

The laptops below all tried something more adventurous than a component upgrade in 2022. We’ll break down the groundbreaking designs, ideas, and capabilities these systems are trying to deliver—and whether or not the risks they took paid off. .

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3

Who says we don't need ultrawide laptops?
Enlarge / Who says we don’t need ultrawide laptops?

Premium laptop buyers are increasingly looking for screens with higher aspect ratios. But Lenovo took things in the opposite direction with its ThinkBook Plus Gen 3, a clamshell with a 17.3-inch, 21:10 primary display. To go even further, Lenovo didn’t let the extra long deck the screen creates—16.3 inches long—go to waste. Instead, Lenovo placed a secondary 800×1280 LCD next to the keyboard to create a laptop it says is uniquely designed for multitasking.

We haven’t seen an ultrawide laptop since 2017’s Acer Predator 21 X curved-screen gaming PC. Acer’s laptop focused on promoting immersion for gamers by making games seem to revolve around them more than a flat screen laptop. However, the 2022 ThinkBook aims its elongated screen at multitasking-obsessed workers.

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 3’s smaller screen lets users do things like show thumbnails while working in Photoshop, use a calculator, and take notes. It’s reminiscent of the ScreenPads Asus has been using for a while in its touchpads and north of some laptop keyboards, but less advanced.

Did it pay off?

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 is a fascinating exploration of the clamshell design that brought variety to laptop choice in 2022. Lenovo didn’t expect everyone to want this laptop or to ignite a wave of ultrawide laptops that would ignite 16:9 and 16:10 competitors. Since Gen 1, Lenovo’s ThinkBook Plus laptops have been about offering PCs that push the envelope and offer over-the-top features that most can live without.

But for the right user, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 offers a convenient way to work and organize multiple windows. It also challenges other companies to create designs that are not only striking, but that strive for clear value.

We’d like to see Lenovo play with the ultrawide PC’s ergonomics. Since it is so long, it can be difficult to balance on a lap. We haven’t tried the machine yet, but we’re concerned about our right hand accidentally brushing against the deck’s screen when typing or using the touchpad. The ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 isn’t a left-handed friendly design either.

But Lenovo has revived the idea of ​​ultra-wide laptops while bringing a new multi-screen option to users, offering more choice when it comes to balancing tasks.

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Dezeen’s top 10 product designs of 2022

A fake avocado, a portable vibrator for erectile dysfunction and a duo of James Turrell perfume bottles are among this year’s most impactful product designs, which we’ve rounded up as part of our 2022 overview.

Over the past 12 months, designers have turned their hand to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, from pollution and sanitation to the energy crisis.

Still others have focused on providing beauty and levity amid ongoing social and environmental crises, such as with a cheeky drivable office chair from German automaker Volkswagen.

Read on for Dezeen’s top 10 product designs of 2022:

Photo courtesy of Nike

ISPA Link by Nike

The ISPA Link trainer is made entirely without glue and instead consists of two separate modules – a sock-style upper and a studded sole that interlock with matching openings in the material.

Held together by nothing but laces and tension, the shoes are designed to be easily taken apart for recycling as part of Nike’s efforts to move towards a more closed-loop production system.

Learn more about ISPA link ›

Ecovado by Arina Shokouhi from the roundup of the best product designs 2022
Photo courtesy of Arina Shokouhi

Ecovado by Arina Shokouhi

Design graduate Arina Shokouhi worked with food scientist Jack Wallman to develop a more sustainable alternative to avocado made from local, low-impact ingredients, including broad beans, hazelnut, apple and rapeseed oils.

The product has a similar flavor profile to the real fruit and is packaged in a fake avocado skin made from wax – complete with a chestnut for a stone – in an attempt to wean people off the resource-intensive imported food.

Learn more about Ecovado ›

Wheeliy 2.0 wheelchair by Quantum
Photo by Akihiro Kawauchi

Wheeliy 2.0 by Quantum

Awarded Design Project of the Year at the 2022 Dezeen Awards, Wheeliy 2.0 is a foldable wheelchair that weighs just eight kilograms and introduces simple mechanisms to make movement and folding more simple.

Its footrest can be raised with a single movement and its armrests can be pushed down to act as breaks, while yellow accents help those unfamiliar with wheelchairs operate the design intuitively.

Learn more about Wheeliy 2.0 ›

Two hands using Great Wrap adhesive from the roundup of the best product designs 2022
Photo by Shelley Horan

Great Wrap by Great Wrap

This bioplastic adhesive is made from waste potatoes instead of petroleum, saving emissions while creating a product that will break down in home compost within 180 days.

“Great Wrap breaks down the same way food scraps do, into food and energy for the microbes in your compost,” Great Wrap co-founder Julia Kay explained.

Learn more about Great Wrap ›

Lalique perfume bottle
Photo courtesy of Lalique

Lalique perfume by James Turrell

American artist James Turrell applied his knack for manipulating light on a smaller scale in the form of two perfume flacons for French glassmaker Lalique.

The bottles are distinguished by their prismatic shapes and subtle color gradients, which deviate slightly as they nod to the architecture of Buddhist stupas – domed shrines used to house religious relics.

Learn more about Lalique perfume bottles ›

Hand holding up Tanuto 2, a portable vibrator for erectile dysfunction by MysteryVibe
Photo courtesy of MysteryVibe

Tenuto 2 by MysteryVibe

This portable vibrator is designed as a non-pharmaceutical alternative to Viagra, to help those with erectile dysfunction maintain their arousal while also stimulating their partner during intercourse.

Its two flexible “wings” sit tightly at the base of the penis to prevent the blood from flowing away, while four integrated motors provide localized vibration therapy to improve circulation and target various erogenous zones.

Learn more about Tenuto 2 ›

A woman wearing the Dyson Zone visor of the best product designs in 2022
Photo courtesy of Dyson

Dyson Zone by Dyson

One of the most viewed design projects to appear on Dezeen this year was Dyson’s controversial Dyson Zone headphones, which combine noise cancellation with a detachable air purification visor in an attempt to tackle the dual challenges of noise and pollution in cities to pack

After five years of research and development, the device will go on sale in January despite skepticism from several media outlets, with some calling the product “bizarre” and straight out of “a dystopian sci-fi movie.”

Learn more about Dyson Zone ›

Sun blanket by Mireille Steinhage
Photo courtesy of Mireille Steinhage

Sun blanket by Mireille Steinhage

As the war in Ukraine sent energy prices skyrocketing and highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas, design graduate Mireille Steinhage created an affordable and renewable solution to staying warm over the winter in the form of her Solar Blanket.

Made from conductive yarn, the heated blanket is charged using the included solar panel and designed to retail for less than £10.

Learn more about Solar Blanket ›

A black Volkswagen office chair from the best product designs of 2022
Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

Driveable office chair from Volkswagen

German car manufacturer Volkswagen has designed a drivable office chair that can travel at speeds of up to 20 kilometers per hour – rivaling most electric scooters.

The five-wheeled prototype comes complete with a seat belt, touchscreen display, reversing camera and two pedals that can be used to change direction instead of a steering wheel.

“You can drive, honk and listen to music – even a signal when you turn into a meeting room,” the brand said.

Learn more about the steerable office chair ›

A white toilet by Samsung and Bill Gates
Image courtesy of Samsung

Waterless toilet by Bill Gates and Samsung

Feces are dried and burned to ash in this prototype toilet launched by billionaire Bill Gates and South Korean electronics company Samsung, meaning it can function completely without water.

Meanwhile, urine is passed through a biological purification system to kill any pathogens and allow it to be fully recycled.

Learn more about the waterless toilet ›

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Nendo designs Christmas tree with flickering star-shaped cutouts

Japanese design studio Nendo has created a gold-colored Christmas tree for the Tokyo Midtown mall in Roppongi, Tokyo, with kinetic cutouts designed to look like “twinkle lights.”

The 7.5 meter tall tree, which sits in the center of the mall, has a multi-layered surface made of flat metal panels bolted together to form a pyramid.

The Nendo Christmas Tree is located in Tokyo Midtown

Behind the panels, which have fluttering star-shaped cutouts, sit 416 compact fans. It is programmed to move the panels in patterns up, down and across the tree.

“The pieces not only swing and move with the wind, but can also stop swinging in the air and catch the wind at the programmed timing,” Nendo said. “By constantly receiving a certain amount of air flow, the pieces also float upwards in a sustained manner.”

Christmas tree designed by Nendo in Roppongi, Tokyo
The conical installation is lit from within

The pattern cutouts, which Nendo says look like “twinkle lights,” appear to revolve around the tree or create a rhythmic pattern that moves up and down the conical installation.

Matching cutouts in the same colour, described by Nendo as a “matte champagne gold”, were hung from the ceiling elsewhere in the mall.

These pieces, which consist of both the cut-out stars and the squares from which they are cut, can be seen on Tokyo Midtown’s garden terrace as well as in its gallery and atrium terraces.

“The theme glitters in the sky translates the creation of the uplifting and glittering atmosphere, the essence of Christmas, by literally generating ‘glitters’ through ‘sky’,” Nendo said of the decorative ornaments.

Cut out stars in gold at Tokyo Midtown
Star-shaped cutouts were hung from the ceiling

Nendo, which creates both architecture and products, recently unveiled an archive to house its products and furniture made from prefabricated concrete box divers.

The studio also designed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cauldron, which opened to reveal a hydrogen-powered Olympic flame, and was among seventeen designers who reimagined fashion house Dior’s Medallion chair for Milan Design Week 2021.

The photography is by Takumi Ota and the video is by Bird and insects.

More images

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Citroën Designs Chariot Inspired By The 2CV For New Movie

Cars have appeared in movies since the earliest times and often appear in conjunction with film production. A notable example of this was when GM partnered with the Transformers film franchise. In the film, GM vehicles were the primary models of choice Autobots and Deceptionswhich turns the film into a blockbuster advertisement for the American car manufacturer.

Citroën is making a similar move, but in a slightly different way. In collaboration with Pathé, Trésor Films and the Editions Albert René, the French brand designed and developed a concept car for the upcoming movie “Astérix & Obélix: The Middle Kingdom.”

“Astérix & Obélix: The Middle Kingdom” will be the latest film adaptation of Asterix, a French comic book series created in 1959 by French screenwriter René Goscinny and French cartoonist Albert Uderzo in the French newspaper Pilot. Currently, the Asterix saga consists of 15 films and cartoons, with more than 25 million viewers in France and more than 70 million worldwide.

The collaboration between Citroën and the movie’s production house is a powerhouse meeting between two legends of French culture. The iconic Citroën 2CV has become part of the country’s cultural heritage since the 40s. It also inspired the design of the wagon concept designed by Citroën.

The bodywork of the Citroën wagon is made of solid oak with a roof made of lutece canvas. The wheels are made from recycled shields, while the suspension is handled by some pig intestines. Perhaps the coolest parts of the concept are the firefly headlights on the roof and the trunk made of Gallic steel. Citroën’s new logo has also been restyled with the wings of Asterix’s helmet.

The partnership between the car manufacturer and the film production is also seen behind the scenes. During the filming of the Asterix movie, Citroën provided the team with an all-electric fleet consisting of 10 vehicles: three ë-C4, three C5 Aircross PHEV, two ë-Spacetourer, one Ami, and one ë-Jumpy.

The “Astérix & Obélix: The Middle Kingdom” will initially be released in French cinemas on February 1, 2023. A worldwide release will follow soon after.

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Ennead Architects designs Wuxi Art Museum to emulate “natural erosion”

New York studio Ennead Architects has unveiled its design for a museum to be built inside Shangxianhe Wetland Park in the city of Wuxi, China.

Called the Wuxi Art Museum, the building will feature perforated surfaces and eroded cavities informed by Taihu stone – a type of limestone often used in traditional gardens in the region.

Aerial view of Wuxi Art Museum
Wuxi Art Museum will be located in a local wetland park

Both the perforated facade and large voids mimic the impact of erosion on the porous Taihu stone.

The pointed limestone facade and translucent glass curtain wall will allow natural daylight into the interior of the museum, while creating a contrasting finish between roughness and smoothness.

Wuxi Art Museum's main entrance
The carved out voids from the museum base form outdoor exhibition space

“Our vision for the Wuxi Art Museum is to place it in a larger overall composition, bringing views into and elevating us from the museum through subtractive notches and recesses, while mimicking the natural erosion of spirit stones,” said Thomas J Wong, partner of Ennead Architects, said.

At the base of the building, the carved out voids will be used as sheltered outdoor spaces for hosting events and exhibitions.

Next to the museum will be a civic square where art will be exhibited. Different gardens, courtyards and plazas will provide flexible space for visitors to enjoy art projections, movie screenings and performances.

Ennead collaborated with West 8 Landscape Architects on the design of the surrounding landscape based on the local wetland ecology and canal system.

Wuxi Art Museum public passage
The design of the structure is determined by Taihu stone with perforated surfaces and eroded cavities

Pedestrian bridges connecting galleries on the upper levels of the museum will create views of a central courtyard with a lily-filled waterscape below.

“The new art museum will serve as a symbol of Wuxi’s past, present and future, so it was important to us that its design emerge from the cultural history of the garden city and artfully integrate art, landscape and the museum experience into ‘ an inseparable synthesizing whole,” said Brian H Masuda, co-principal of Ennead Architects.

Last year, Ennead Architects completed a museum in Shanghai with no straight lines or right angles to reflect the shapes and geometry within the universe. The studio also recently unveiled its design for the Milwaukee Public Museum building in Wisconsin, based on geological formations.

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