PUMA x Starck Naked Body

Philippe Starck’s collaboration with PUMA has taken another architecturally seductive turn with Naked Body, a series of streamlined, skin-tight, and selectively see-through men’s and women’s wear. The story behind the collection has something to do with evolution and distraught Super Monkies, so we’re actually not going to get into it, but we are going to talk about a) how much some of this line resembles Milla Jovovich’s Jean Paul Gaultier get-up in The Fifth Element; and b) how we’re really into that, because that shit was SEXY. I can’t decide if I’d think this line will ultimately look chic or whorish, but I’m definitely anxious to find out. I had trouble finding the official release date or any information on availability, so if you know something we don’t, feel free to set us straight. Full-blown sexy, after the jump. (more…)

Wattson

When you live in any eco-conscious area, doing your part to save the world becomes a natural extension of your day-to-day routine. You recycle, you bring your own bags to the grocery store, you drive less and bike more. However, a scary thing develops after spending some time in this lifestyle — in my experience, anyway — and you find yourself feeling a little justified in ignoring the other ways you may be messing with the planet. Somehow, by doing a few small things, it seems like you’ve done your part, and are therefor exempt from further responsibility. Yep, it’s a nasty little trick, and because we’re human and seemingly genetically wired for ignorance, it can take a good dose of reality to keep us active in our pursuit of a better earth.

As another side-effect of living in the world as we currently know it, we are also wired to react to numbers. Often, numbers translate as money, something that we all respond to with various degrees of emotion. This is where the Wattson, a brilliant new energy-saving tactic available in the U.K., steps in. Instead of encouraging users to save money and trees through the classic see-and-tell method, the Wattson enables users to learn about personal energy use through interactive play. By connecting itself to all energy-using household appliances, the device measures total electricity being used at any point in time in the house, then displays that amount in either Watts or Pounds Per Year. By creating a visual for something so conceptually tough to imagine, the Wattson teaches users the benefits of conscious energy-usage, and positively reinforces good decision making when it comes to choosing energy sources– or even just leaving lights and electronics on or off. Additionally, the Wattson takes up very little space, looks rather nice, and makes for a decorative home addition (an aesthetic value that likely increases in correlation with the decrease in your energy bill). There’s plenty more to be found about the Wattson on the manufacturer’s site, and my fingers are crossed for U.S. distribution in the next few years — because I am not doing enough as it is, and any form of a solid whack in the gut would be appreciated.

Internet Radio Day of Silence

I rely on both Pandora and Yahoo! Music on a daily basis to listen to streaming music. Both sites offer their services for free and are excellent at what they do. Since I found them I have been liberated from the confines of my music library and from the need to constantly try to augment said library…so imagine my dismay when I loaded both sites today and found that they had gone silent.

Pandora and Yahoo!, along with many, many others have halted their services today in protest of a March 2 ruling by the congressionally-appointed Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to raise the royalty rates that internet radio stations must pay to stream music. The ruling stipulates a rate increase of between 300 and 1200 percent over the next 5 years. According to the SaveNetRadio coalition, a group representing the stations, this raise will make it nearly impossible for smaller stations to stay in business.

To make matters even worse for the stations, this year’s smaller (but still substantial) royalty hike has been made retroactive to January 1, 2006, meaning that internet stations have suddenly found themselves at loose ends to pay 18 months worth of back royalty fees that they didn’t know they would have to pay. If the royalty hike is not overturned, every day might be a day of silence on the internet.

For more information on the issue read the clear-headed BBC article, and to join in the effort to save internet radio go to SaveNetRadio.org.

–Dan Steckenberg

Songjiang Hotel: China

While Josh gets nomadic on our asses (read: jet-sets) to Taiwan to see that part of the world in person, the rest of us are doing the best we can to see the sights the old-fashioned ‘internet way.’ Today I’d like to give a nod to the sustainable, Chinese Songjiang Hotel. It looks like something out of a Star Wars movie, or maybe off of an episode of “When the Earth Melts into a Molten Puddle of Shit and We Move to Another Planet,” but supposedly it’s going to become a reality on our own planet Earth. Sci-fi aesthetics aside, this Atkins designed hotel will be built in a huge quarry in the Songjiang District near Shanghai by (reportedly) 2009 (FYI: Atkins also designed Tianjin’s Pile of Boxes and Bahrain’s World Trade Center). The quarry setting allows for the incorporation of a wealth of Green features like reuse of an already exploited site, geothermal energy for electricity and heat, a green roof, and the shelter and natural cooling properties of the quarry itself; oh, and lest we forget… bungee jumping!

Via Inhabitat

Bugaboo Daytrips

When Dutch stroller company Bugaboo discovered that maintaining a curious, adventurous, and active lifestyle was of big concern to new parents, they decided to develop a program that would help to associate their products with that mindset. A tough challenge, one might say, due to the other features — like safety, comfort, and retractable sunroofs — parents find themselves looking for in a baby-toter. Despite the need for Volvo-like peace-of-mind, parents still wanted to feel like they were behind the wheel of an open Jeep on their way to a wild playground safari, but their strollers were just making them feel mature and predictable. To solve this problem, Bugaboo teamed up with 72andSunny to develop Daytrips, a series of 22 downloadable walking tours that weave through major cities across the globe. Each map is developed by different local artists and, like this one of Vancouver, take an exciting approach to getting strollers to kid-friendly hotspots. By offering these maps, Bugaboo hopes to develop their brand to appeal to adventure-seeking parents. I think it’s a little hilarious that the same thought process behind developing a car’s personality is now infiltrating the stroller industry, but I also love it because, c’mon, Stroller-safaris? Now that’s just precious.

Comer-Calder Cases

Nick Comer-Calder’s cases have come a long way the first time we posted the exclusive plans of development more than 2 years ago. After dozens of months of evolution, blood, sweat and tears, Nick tells me he finally feels like he’s achieved something really special…and we whole-heartedly agree. Both guitar and laptop cases are hand built in England using top grain leather stretched over carbon fiber. The guitar case (shown above) is lined with hand painted silk velvet and the laptop case (shown after the jump) is lined in calfskin; They’ve challenged all traditions to the core of mobility, resulting in a remarkably strong and elegant product — one that they’ve built to last. All cases are made-to-order direct through Calder’s website or through the Bill Amberg store in London. Congratulations Nick, and well done — these are truly gorgeous! Be sure to check out all the pictures after the jump.

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Stair Squares: Brooklyn

August 17th through 26th will see the installation of Mark Reigelman‘s “Stair Squares” on the cascading staircases of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall. A study in human interactions with public furniture made possible by a grant through the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, the installation will bring a fresh and welcome pop of color and modernity to a what’s considered a very classic piece of Brooklyn architecture. That’s not all Mark has to offer, though — his website is clean and slick and displays his highly creative and versatile portfolio brilliantly, and you can definitely expect to see more from this rising star very soon.

via Core77

Hero Design Studio

What’s the story with Buffalo? Equally mocked and praised in popular culture for its industrialist décor, its nowheresville pace and its quintessentially American toughness, for most of the nation the town remains just a punch line or an obscure touchstone. But a quick glance at Hero Design Studio‘s website proves that things do happen in Buffalo. Bands come to play and young people gather. And when these things happen, Hero often provides the visual advertisement.

Hero has a maxim on its webpage: “advertising is art.” As a mission statement, that’s as good as any. Hero’s work, as its name might suggest, tends to run towards the masculine: clean lines, bright colors and simple themes. Thankfully, Hero’s website also has a store section where you can pick up reproductions of the posters they’ve created for concerts in and around Buffalo — as well as nationwide — and count Wilco, Panic! At the Disco and Ben Kweller amongst their past clients. Some of these are truly fantastic, and would do wonders for blank walls.

–Dan Steckenberg

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