Saturday, October 31, 2009

Invisible Man

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A series “Camouflage” by the young person and very talented artist Liu Bolin. 35 years old, it is originating in Shandong in China. It is put in scene, cover of paintings to camouflage itself in the decoration. The whole without post-production or final improvement. More images in the continuation.


















Friday, October 30, 2009

Spectacular Swiss Villa By Attilio Panzeri For Sale

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luxury swiss villa2 Spectacular Swiss Villa By Attilio Panzeri For Sale
A slick European retreat with a stunning lake view, this Swiss villa is a concrete and glass-encased wonder designed by acclaimed architect Attilio Panzeri. Built in 2008, the 1,800 square-foot home is situated in Lugano, a southern Swiss lake town that borders Italy. The two-story house is for sale and has both a wine cellar and media room and is outfitted with modern appliances and fixtures throughout. An azure lap pool centers a large outdoor patio and the straight lines of the boxy 6-bed/5-bath home are broken by large glass windows and nooks carved out for decks and terraces. [via design-milk]

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World

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To the religious and the secular alike, wine holds a special place in the hearts of men.  It is no surprise, then, that the wineries of the world have become like churches themselves– while adherents to the worship of wine travel the world over, visiting the great wineries in Napa, in France, in Argentina.  Continuing this metaphor, the modern wineries of today have been given the same architectural importance as the chapels of times past.  To celebrate the most progressive, most beautiful modern wineries in the world today, here is DesignCrave’s list of the Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World.

Dominus Winery, California

When Dominus Winery decided to build their new winery in Napa Valley, California, they turned to Herzog & De Meuron architects to design a functional, environmentally conscious warehouse, winery and office building.  The result is a stunning angular obelisk of natural stones contained within a tough wire mesh.  From afar, the building appears to be fully concrete, but as you approach its stone character is revealed.  The result is a functional system that allows the California breezes to aerate the winery and its product.  [photos courtesy: ianxharris and brandonshigeta]

dominus winery 3 The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World

Peregrine Winery, New Zealand

peregrine The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World
Designer Chris Kelly’s simple industrial canopy lets the light in while offering spectacular views of the countryside. Kelly has described it as “a transformation reflecting the process the grapes go through.” Judges from UK magazine The Architectural Review like it too, placing it in the top five of its annual emerging architecture awards. [Peregrine Wines]

The Merus Winery

merus winery napa valley The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World
A wide open tasting room with couches and a communal table make this Napa Valley, Calif., winery a great place share drinks with friends. The smooth black countertops and slightly arched ceilings give way to the somewhat un-modern arched ceilings, but we’re okay with that. [Merus Winery]

López De Heredia Winery

bodegas The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World
Though much of this winery’s architecture dates back to the 19th century, designer Zaha Hadid built a thoroughly modern stand at the front of the complex to greet visitors. The structure, built of a lattice framework of metallic rails, blends with the surrounding walkways and accesses. It’s a modular building, but we like it right where it is. [Lopez de Heredia, Photo]

O. Fournier Winery

ofournier1 The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World
First, get the pronunciation right: O-Four-Knee-Err, because it’s Spanish, not French, being located in Argentina. Now, admire how the green fields give way to the building, which winds up to a perfect frame of the Andes Mountains. To minimize the use of pumps, this winery uses gravity, and somehow this architecture manages to suggest that. [O. Fournier]

Petra Winery

petra The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World
Designer Mario Botta has said this structure “wants to be a new version of the old houses in the countryside in Tuscany,” in which the surrounding farmland plays a role in the overall design. Made of stone, the building features plant life on top and two arcades that extend, flowerlike, out to the grounds. [Petra, Image]

I. Boutaris & Son Winery

magalohori The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World
Fitting with the quaint white structures that dot Santorini’s cliffsides, this winery in Megalohori includes an administration area, an exhibition and sales building and “Tholos,” the domed structure pictured above. Tastings and audio-visual presentations happen inside, but the real treat is outside, with the contrast of the buildings against the greens and blues of the island. [Designer Yannos Yanniotis, Photo]

Artesa Vineyards & Winery

artesa The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World
This Napa Valley winery has the unusual appearance of being built right into the countryside. Hints of the manmade come from the entrance way and the prism-shaped window, which offers great views from the inside. The building, also peppered with artwork, follows a path to a courtyard with a beautiful fountain. [Artesa, Photo]

Winery Collemassari

collemassari The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World
This Italian winery resembles a luxurious modern home, but maintains the spirit of a factory, with each compartment performing its individual task in making wine. The browns of the building blend with the green grounds, as do the horizontal and vertical lines leading to the vineyards. [Photo]

Leo Hillinger Winery

hillinger The Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World
Inside and out, the Leo Hillinger in Austria oozes style. The building keeps a low profile with to the grounds, cut deeply into the slope and replaced with soil used to plant grapes. The eight pyramidal structures you see in the left-hand photo let light into the underground aproduction halls, and at night the well-lit grand window can be seen from miles away. [Leo Hillinger]

Sunday, October 18, 2009

11 Impossibly Loaded Bicycles

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A shoulder to lean on
Image via Coolfunpics
Whoever doubts that the humble bicycle is the world’s most versatile vehicle will have to rethink upon seeing these pictures. Regardless whether in China, South America or India, people use bikes not only to get themselves from Point A to Point B, but also a whole load of other stuff. Here are a few pictures of impossible bicycle loads that seem to defy gravity.
Especially if the load is light, bulkiness seems to be of no concern. According to the motto, as long as there are two wheels, there’s a way. And you thought transporting a case of beer on your bike was a big deal…
Can we carry it? Yes, we can! – Watched too much Bob the Builder again?
Overloaded bike
Image via bikerumor
Here’s a great example of how a bike can become a mobile stall for anything under the sun: plastic containers in all sizes, stools, hangers, toilet brushes, dusters, even clothes. Very enterprising indeed. We wonder if there’s an improved version for rainy days…
Household articles, anyone? There’s nothing this friendly neighbourhood vendour doesn’t have:
Mobile stall
Image: Kimi & Martin
Make sure to look closely at the next image or you might miss one important item of the rikhshaw’s load – the mother (presumably) of the young man steering the cycle, perched precariously on top of what looks like bags of vegetables. She looks quite comfortable though, maybe because her husband is steadying the load from behind. Oh, and don’t miss the fact that none of the other people in the picture even give them as much as a glance. Just business as usual in Jaipur…
Fully loaded family outing in Jaipur, India: 
Jaipur rickshaw
Image: amanderson2
One can’t fail to notice that it’s often recycling items that are transported on bikes. Kind of like being green all around… Here’s a cycle rickshaw, for example, seen on the streets of Lima, Peru, loaded to the brim with cardboard and probably other recyclable items. The owner has given up the idea of cycling and is pulling the rickshaw from the front, not an easy task for sure. Don’t miss the dog scurrying over on the otherwise deserted streets.
Recycling and green transportation:
Recycling in Peru
Image: Nicoloas Nova
Technically, one could say that in the picture below, the bike is not loaded at all, just the trailer, but one got to admire the spirit! The bicycle owner must’ve thought, better two wheels than none, and really went for it. He shoved eight bags full of empty bottles onto his cart when even one would have been one heck of a load… Luckily, he’s not attempting to cycle, which might have been a traffic hazard.
Taking recycling to the extreme:
Extreme recycling
Image via swobo
In the case of the next picture, we’re not sure if the bike was found as it is and then exploited for an ad (for tape) or if the whole load was recreated simply for advertising purposes. In view of the creativity of recent ads and commercials (or lack thereof), we tend to believe the former but in either case, the picture is stunningly beautiful.
Reed baskets, anyone?
Reed baskets on bike
Image via Scaryideas
The next picture reminds one of the old trick question children are often asked: What is heavier, 1 kg feathers or 1 kg lead? (Not quick to catch on, my reply was always 1 kg lead…) If you load up enough Styrofoam, its weight will add up, eventually.
Is styrofoam really weightless? A hardy cyclist on Chongming Island, Shanghai:
Bike loaded with styrofoam
Image via winterson
This cycle rikhshaw, spotted on the streets of India, seems to be carrying a bulky but luckily light load for some company. One wonders if business is so bad that they can’t even rent a truck for the transport.
That’ll be one passenger and five bags. And make it quick:
Big bags India
Image: Sam Greenhalgh
The next picture is great for playing I Spy because it looks like this guy has loaded anything under the sun on his tricycle. There are several broken chairs, planks of varying sizes, plastic tubs, probably some bottles for recycling but hey, where’s the cyclist?
A shoulder to cry, er, lean on:
A shoulder to lean on
Image via Coolfunpics
Here’s another marvel from the packing world: A cycle in China loaded to the brim with styrofoam bags. But hey, that didn’t really seem like a challenge so they added a cart and loaded that up too.
Could this be any more loaded?
Bike in China with trailer
Image: Vinnie
Last but not least, this is easily the winner because of the picture’s unintended humour. Just as one wonders how the guy on the right will make it with all his boxes hanging more than askew, one spots the guy on the left, casually cycling with only one of those boxes, duh! Spotted in Guangzhou, China.
Lots of load bearing but no load sharing:
No load sharing here
Image: Roger Price

When Tulip Fields Transform into Modern Art

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Tulip mosaic
Image via onpaperwings

Red, yellow, orange, purple, blue, white, pink – we’re not talking about rainbows here but tulip colours that look like they’ve sprung from a painter’s palette. No wonder then that rows and rows of tulips and tulip fields look like impressionist paintings up close or like modern or abstract art from above. Beautiful for sure and a great way to celebrate summer.

Red tulip rows with poplars in the background, most likely in Japan:
Tulip rows in Japan
Image: Nao

Did you know that the orderly tulip (Tulipa) as we know it has its origins in the rugged mountain ranges close to Islamabad in today’s Pakistan? From there, tulips reached China, Mongolia and then Europe but before the Dutch took over as tulip connoisseurs, this title belonged to the Turkish. They had a reputation as tulip cultivators as early as 1000 AD and were known for their skill throughout Persia and Asia.

Today, tulips are grown all over the world; here tulip fields at Table Cape, Tasmania:
Tulip fields in Tasmania
Image: Martin Howard

The head gardener of the University of Leiden in Holland and botanist Carolus Clusius tried cultivating this wild flower in the early 17th century. He is credited today with starting the Dutch tulip tradition.

Tulip bulbs are truly tough cookies; they actually need a chilly winter before being planted, so gardeners advise placing them in the refrigerator around four weeks before planting. They should then be placed deep into the soil in a cool spot so that they don’t warm too quickly. Also, the deeper a tulip bulb is planted, the tougher the plant will be.

Like a carpet of tulips – tulip gardens at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in northwestern Washington:
Skagit Valley
Image: Ramanathan Kathiresan

Oh, and did we mention that tulips are truly social animals, er, plants? Looking at the pictures of rows and rows of beautiful tulips in all kinds of colours, they’ve literally come a long way from lonely mountain plant to abundant and hardy city flower. Well done!

A rainbow on the ground – another impression from the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival:
Skagit Valley 2
Image: Ramanathan Kathiresan

Monet would have happily cast aside those boring water lilies:
Like a Monet painting
Image: Julie Markee

Rows of red as far as the eye can see:
Red tulips
Image: Andrew Larsen

Another tulip mosaic:
Tulip mosaic
Image via shophorne

My tulip heart beats for you:
Tulip heart
Image via desktopnexus

Yellow, orange and red tulip fields at Keukenhof in Amsterdam:
Keukenhof, Amsterdam
Image: Ian Katz

An old barn and tulips in the Skagit Valley, WA, between LaConner and Mount Vernon:
Skagit Valley, WA
Image: Divya & Deepak

Gentle waves of yellow tulips:
Yellow tulips
Image: Steve Voght

Red, white and blue like the Dutch flag – don’t miss the sailboats in the background:
Red, white and blue
Image: David Evers

Tulips as far as the eye can see:
Till the horizon
Image: Amy Bonner

Red, purple and pink
Red, purple, pink
Image: Lauren Elyse Lynskey

Not French lavender but purple tulip fields at the LaConner, WA Tulip Festival:
Purple tulip fields
Image: Stephen Cochran

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Most Terrifying Mountain Bike Trail On Earth

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All images by Victor Lucas via Hans Rey

Dawn was breaking. The wheels of the bike crunched over the shale-covered surface of the path as the wind swirled beyond the overhanging ledge. Conditions were far from ideal: damp, misty and with more than the hangover of a storm in the air, they left little margin for error – an error that equated to a sheer 600 foot drop down to the waiting rocks and waves of the Atlantic. The riders had ventured out not knowing fully what to expect, but it was too late to turn back now.


When Hans Rey embarked on a road trip with fellow mountain biking star Steve Peat, the plan, as he told Environmental Graffiti, was “to ride all the cool biking trails and spots in Ireland and to visit a few pubs along the way.” Yet the Swiss trials rider and multiple World Champion had long had his sights on the Emerald Isle’s legendary Cliffs of Mohan and just knew he had to “ride that edge one day.”


The problem was that they hadn’t foreseen the Cliffs being quite such a tourist trap by day, nor that the weather would be as adverse as it was. So they postponed their plans until early the next morning, though not without misgivings. “We were well aware of stories of the dangerous upward drafts, strong winds that would sweep the cliffs, and as stories have it, pulled several people down over the years,” said Hans.


Daybreak came, and it wasn’t just the visibility that was a bit on the murky side. “Our heads were slightly foggy as well,” Hans explained, “from the Guinness the night before.” Still, they only had one shot at it, and weren’t about to be put off. “As we went out there, I quickly felt comfortable and in my zone. As a trials rider you learn to focus on your line, on what you want to do, not what you don’t want to do – in this case, fall to death.”


The guys’ confidence grew as they became more comfortable in their environment – and like a dog that smells no fear on you, their environment seemed to grow more accustomed to them. “Even though it was a stormy day, the winds were calm right on the edge of the cliffs. We got more and more daring. We rode ledges that were only about 4 inches wide and even jumped over 4 foot gaps.”


Yet however crazy this sounds to us, pros who are used to navigating over all kinds of obstacles – often without ever putting a foot down – know where the real perils lie. “The dangerous part riding the ledge was not to ride too close to the hillside, since we didn’t want to catch a pedal on the rocks and high-side down the cliff.” Obviously it takes superlative skill to pull off a stunt like this, and the riders completed their spectacular trail without mishap.


Of course, the local authorities knew nothing about what was going down on the Cliffs of Moher that cold Irish winter morning, and apparently they were none too pleased when they later found out. But since when have extreme sports guys cared about doing things by the book? “Just for the record, there were no parachutes in our backpacks, as some had speculated,” Hans concludes. “Mind over matter and the mercy of Mother Nature.”

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