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GRAFT Architects: Camelback Houses

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The landscape of many suburban towns are dotted with cookie cutter Ranch or Victorian homes surrounded by white picket fences and calling to mind the perfect little world brought to life by films like Edward Scissorhands or The Truman Show. Families exist within their box and talk to their neighbors within the boundaries of their property. While this aesthetic is a strange embodiment of the American dream, it almost seems as though it could use a 21st century update. GRAFT Architects have seemingly come up with the perfect update on the modern Suburban neighborhood with their Camelback Houses designed as part of the Make It Right Project to pioneer duplex designs and redesign and rebuild the lower 9th ward of New Orleans destroyed by Hurrican Katrina. These wonderfully sleek homes spice up the boring flat face of your average subdivision; lending an equal importance to the maintenance of private family life while also providing space that encourages neighborly interaction.

Hybrid Wind/Solar Street Lamp

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The old street lamps in your neighborhood may still do their job of illuminating those darkened city streets with a flicker and a buzz here and there, but as time has gone on they’ve also managed to remain quite the drain on the electrical grid. The thoughtful folks at Urban Green Energy ask the question, “Why continue all of that energy consumption, when you could just as easily achieve the same effect off the grid?” Their Hybrid Wind/Solar Street lamp seems like an absolutely perfect environmentally friendly alternative to those old flickering lampposts littering city sidewalks. Instead of sucking at the teat of the local power source, these divinely designed sources of street illumination use nature’s own goodness in the form of the sun’s rays and the whispering wind to make sure you feel safe as you traipse from corner to corner and block to block once the center of the universe has set.

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Tom Judd's Eyebrow Hat

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When used correctly, the ever-expressive eyebrows can be a window into the soul …or at least into the opinion being formulated deep within. Those who are unfortunate sufferers of facial paralysis might never command the effective power of displaying worry through the furrowing of one’s brow or the curious inquiry hinted at by raising just one side. Fortunately, Tom Judd, a recent graduate of the masters in Animation program at the Royal College of Art, has come up with a solution for the unfortunate few with little control over their facial expressions. His Eyebrow Hat has harnessed the evocative power of one’s double fuzzies into a remote controlled device, capable of showing just what you might be feeling at any given time provided you haven’t run out of batteries.

When Mr. Judd isn’t busy helping those who can’t animate their own feelings, he’s busy putting together some kick ass cartoon work. His three and a half minute long masterpiece, Bruce, tells the tale of a boy who through the use of open source genetic programming, creates his very own pint-sized action hero . Sounds like something we’d like to have. Check it out here and be on the lookout for this rising illustrative talent.

Oh Joy! A Pop-Up Shop

6a00d8341c6a0853ef011570df0c3d970c-800wi.jpgAttention Philadelphia! If your penchant for brotherly love has recently morphed into a desire for designer-ly delights; don’t despair, you’re still in the right city. A sterling opportunity to quench that fresh thirst, although briefly, has presented itself in the form of a wondrous pop up shop courtesy of the fine folks (and our friends) at Oh Joy! and URBN. Indulge yourself in a fine array of precious paper and print goods that are sure to be a compliment to even the shoddiest of penmanship. The whole shebang kicks off tomorrow, July 9th, at 11:30 at URBN Building 543 on 5000 S. Broad Street on the Urban Outfitter’s campus and lasts a scant three hours ’til the clock strikes 2:30. Plan accordingly and don’t miss out, because shops don’t just pop-up out of the ground like this too often.

The Livestrong Chalkbot

The two most important factors in combating a beast such as cancer are courage and hope. Perhaps there’s no better embodiment of those two words than Livestrong founder and seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. While Armstrong may have triumphed over the disease there are still many who need the strength to fight it every day and still those who have not been so fortunate. Still, the message of hope and remembrance of the struggle of others goes a long way towards inspiring those currently engaged in such a battle and the loved ones who face it with them everyday. That’s why Nike and Livestrong have teamed up with Deep Local and StandardRobot to make technology a little more human and spread positive messages about the fight survival during this year’s Tour De France. They’re not doing so by passing out flyers or writing pretty messages in the clouds over the Pyrenees. Instead they’re using the wondrous trailer-sized replica of an inkjet printer known as Chalkbot, to spread personal messages of perseverance and remembrance across the roads of competition of all those who have endured the pain over the long haul on the road of life, regardless of which side they’ve come out on. Check out the Nike site for more info or text LIVESTRONG and your message to 36453 and it will let you know when it has been painted. Wonderful.

Update: It wouldn’t be fair to mention this project without a hat tip to the amazing team at W+K who pushed this project through!  Two W+K folks are in France right now with it!  Fantastic work…

Bughouse Scratch DJ Coffee Table

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Your urban sensibility is already apparent in mostly every aspect of your existence. Whether it’s the way you dress or the the music you listen to, everyone knows that you’re watching the streets. When you escape the sidewalk’s influence and return to the calm shelter of your abode, however, it’s a different story. Your staid coffee table only tells visitors that you’ve gotta put your feet up somewhere, saying nothing of how you’ve got your prescient eye on the hustle and flow of current culture. Well then maybe your furnishings could use a change that’s more in keeping with the tempo of the next song on your iPod. Might we recommend the incredibly hot Scratch DJ Coffee Table from the divine minds and able craft-making hands at Bughouse Art & Design. This pine turntable facsimile with chromed out legs and a glass tabletop allows a place to put your kicks up at the end of the day and to show off some choice vinyl without accidentally scratching it up with some faulty needle play.

MuvBox's Shipping Container

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The term “fast food” usually applies to the speed in which a frozen hunk of processed mystery ingredients mutates into a wondrously cheap and edible delight; not the rate at which a seemingly innocuous old shipping box transforms into a chic new restaurant. Alas, MuvBox might change the meaning of fast food forever, not only with it’s unique sort of sanctuary, but also with the gourmet fare being dished out on site. The space-saving solar-powered Montreal eatery created by Daniel Noiseux serves up high quality cuisine using the finest of local ingredients. Customers delight in savory seafood pizza, lobster rolls and the like. And when the day is done and it’s time to shut up shop, it all goes back in the box in a matter of minutes. If you want to witness this magnifique mealtime miracle head to Montreal’s Old Port and satisfy your inner fast foodie.

Via Springwise

Monsieur T Summer Collection

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Monsieur T has always provided us with plenty of kick ass tees to rave about on a regular basis. However, with the sizzling season officially upon us, our good friends have upped the ante on their kick ass-ness to not only warm the cockles of our hearts, but our otherwise naked torsos as well. Their scorching new Summer ’09 collection features designs from a gaggle of top-notch talents such as Arbito (best known for teaming up with MHAK, and Evan B. Harris). While there’s no shortage of eye-popping graphics on this set, there are very limited quantities of the actual shirts. So whether you’re walking around half-naked and need to cover up to get into that fast food restaurant or you’re just looking for a top that will catch that special someone’s attention while cruising the skate park this summer, we suggest you head on over to the Monsieur T website and grab something before they’re all gone.

Oh Joy!

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A longtime source of design whim and wonder, Oh Joy! has frequently supplied us with delightful morsels of innovation and adorableness that are simply to die for. With the dawn of a new season, comes the dawn of a new day for this top notch site and home base for Joy Deeangdeelert Cho. The mastermind behind the Oh Joy! (formerly Nantaka Joy) line of stationery and driving force behind her widely read design blog of the same name, has a newly relaunched site encompassing all that you know and love from before, placed inside a bright and shiny new package. Check it out for yourself.  Congrats Joy!

Recess on Governor's Island

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There are plenty in the creative arena who scoff at the idea of sport, likening athletic competition as entertainment for uncivilized mongrels. However, when the chasm between brute force and artistic inspiration is bridged, some wonderful things can occur. The Lawn Series from Recess is a refreshing and original happening aiming to eliminate the gap between endlessly inventive artisans and the arena of athletics. For three glorious days during the sweltering NYC summer on Governor’s Island, playful pastimes will overtake the creatively inclined as they attempt to best one another in exhilarating events such as badminton, table tennis, and bocce. In addition to the flowing of the competitive juices, each event will be met with some pretty kick ass sponsors as the likes of Tretorn and Puma will be putting their stamp on the festivities while Biomega and Kronan will be on hand to offer bike test rides. Count us in and bring it on. The first day of competition is June 20th. We’ll see you there…unless you’re afraid of defeat.

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