Dare to Dream

I was lucky to arrive in London in time to catch the last day of the 100% design exhibition. There were plenty of cool stuff but only 10% of the products on show were original. One product, however, stood out more than the rest. More than the cool waterfall effect showers and glass fireplaces on moveable tables. What stood out in my opinion, was the Lomme Bed.

Cycle 13 launched their new egg designed production last weekend at 100% design.The bed has been developed over a number of years by young Polish designer Agnieszka Bernacka, and has just gone into production. Lomme, which stands for Light Over Matter Mind Evolution, incorporates sound and light therapies which supposedly help people sleep better. It had been a concept prototype for a 2 years and now it is a product that can be bought, and if it wasn't priced at 30'000 pounds I would bought it that day. It's a bed that offers so much more than a place to sleep, light therapy, sound therapy, massage and anti-magnetic protection from harmful rays while you sleep.

The Lomme Bed qualities include:


In addition Lomme features a unique light therapy alarm clock. After you have been lulled into a deep restful sleep by the gradual fading light of a simulated sunset, waken naturally as light from the virtual sunrise plays on your skin.


Forming a protective cocoon, Lomme limits external noise to distance you from the outside world. An iPod has been invisibly installed to enable the sleeper to listen to relaxing music, sounds and guided meditations. Advice can be given on the kind of sounds recommended for waking up and falling asleep.


Massage therapy is known to deepen relaxation and improve sleep quality and the Lomme mattress is available with an in-built massage system offering a choice of massage options.


The standard Lomme mattress is characterized by high degree of functionality, quality and durability.


Within the shell of Lomme there is a special system which blocks harmful electromagnetic waves and radiation.

I would love to wake up in a bed like this some day.


The Greenest Museum on Earth

The California Academy of Sciences consists of 12 different buildings such as the planetarium, aquarium and natural history museum. It is located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and is seeking to become the city's greenest building. They hired the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano who is famous for collaborating the Centre Georges Pompidou (Pompidou Center) in Paris, 1977. Renzo unified the 12 buildings to create a single 410,000 square foot building to provide more space but on less land, and return one acre to the park. The main aspect of this project is the two acre undulating "green" roof which is just one of many sustainable qualities that has been implemented on this building.

"It is like cutting a piece out of the park, lifting it up, and then putting the museum under so we wouldn’t lose any green space,” says Olaf de Nooyer, an RPBW partner. With the natural history museum as a client, de Nooyer says, “the green idea was something that we thought had to be integrated into the design.”

The building also houses a spherical (rain forest) biosphere. It heats/cools/ventilates itself and recycled 100% of the materials from the demolition of the old (earthquake damaged) building. It cost $488 million to renovate it. But I guess that's the cost of going green. Renzo also retained the facade of the original academy which appeased san francisco’s perpetually problematic “preservationists.”

Few, if any, buildings of this stature come close to making their sustainability programs comprehensible as well as visually inspiring components of their design. Green buildings often look much like other buildings, though they feature low-flow toilets, off-putting fluorescent lighting, and some recycled steel. The elegance, explicitness, and brio of the academy building’s green agenda—and its powerful execution—will not only bring it accolades and world fame but also serve as a spark for important dialogue about design’s role in addressing the crucial environmental concerns of this century.

I would talk about it in more detail but I believe this video walk-through will describe it better than I ever can. There is so much within one building I wouldn't want to bore you with the "green" details.

Museum Walk-Through on Wired.com



Although I'm not a huge fan of BMW and I find their designs crude and repetitive, a friend of mine made me do a double take when he mentioned a green car by BMW. To prove him wrong, I wanted to see if this was true. Fortunately for him it was, and I like BMW now.

Last week the crude car company unveiled their new model. GINA Light Visionary. Apparently this concept has been highly anticipated and it's concept is extremely original and would transform the traditional boundaries of car design. GINA, which stands for Geometry and Functions In "N" Adaptations (they left out the F in GINA), is made out of cloth. To be more precise, it has a seamless fabric polyurethane-coated Lycra sking which is pulled taut around the metal frames and carbon fibre wires. This makes it a sustainable, eco-friendly design as it requires far less energy to produce in comparison to the traditional BMW models. It's weight is also significantly reduced which makes it fuel-efficient.

Most imprtantly though, I would like to talk about the detailing of this model. The doors open like a Lambo and create beautiful rippled creases, however when it's closed it is completely smooth. You can acces the engine through a slit on the hood. The fabric is opaque translucent so the taillights shine through and a motor pulls back the fabric to expose the headlights. The interior is as equally sophisticated. The steering wheel and gauges swing into place and the headrest rises from the seat once the driver is seated, making it easier to get in and out of the car. Although GINA is built on a space frame that provides all the safety of a conventional car people may not embrace the idea of riding a fabric bodied car. I would venture to say that this car has the majority of a full race cage under the fabric. Meaning that it is probably already safer than whatever we presently drive.

If you are still not convinced by the design of this car then I highly recommend you watch the promotional video. The link is below. I for one can't wait to see what else the designers can come up with. Once someone dares to perfect an unconventional and unique idea, other geniuses will get inspired and our cars could actually change for the better if Zaha Hadid manages to stay out of it.

BMW Promotional Video


OMA Strike Again

There will be a new luxury residential building in New York City. Slazer Enterprises (the developer of One Madison Park), the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA, Rem Koolhaas's creation) and Los Angeles based Creative Artists Agency (CAA) presented to the public last week their design for this high-rise that will be on 23 East 22nd Street which is located off Madison Square Park. This will be OMA's first project in New York City. As a fan of Rem Koolhaas I am always pleased to announce projects by his firm, especially ones that are super interesting.
The building has 18 residences on each of the 24 residential floors, as well as a screening room, main lobby, pool and gym which are all designed by OMA. These facilities will be shared with One Madison Park which is also a residential tower which is adjacent to this building.

The building will be quite modest next to One Madison Park as OMA's partner Shohei Shigematsu wanted to exploit the potential of the building's scale. This mid-rise condition allowed them to design an unusual variety of spatial and programmatic conditions within the building. The tower streches up to 107m and starts to shift to the east cantilevering 30 feet over it's neighbour. It gains additional area as well as views of Maddison Square Park.

What I like about this concept is that it creates alot of interesting and unexpecting moments which appear at each step. One detail I favoured was the floor windows where the building starts to shift. This creates a new perspective that is different from an living space I have seen. Imagine having a glass floor in your living room that adds an extra view to the already spectacualr view you would be getting.

This project is due to be completed in 2010 and from what I understand Rem Koolhaas is personally involved in it aswell. I'm a huge fan of SANAA and this building reminded me alot of the New Museum by them as they employed the same technique. I believe it's quickly becoming the new visual language of choice in NYC and project developers are becoming a huge fan of it because even H & deM have used this concept in their Leonard St. high rise.

I think it's very nice. Reminds me of my Lego days.


Dynamic Living

Dynamic Architecture is an Italian experimental company that has proposed a rotating, sustainable skyscraper that is powered by wind turbines which are placed in between each floor. Each floor rotates independently at different speeds, and the building's profile constantly changes depending on the wind velocity. This introduces a fourth dimension to architecture... Time.

Architect David Fisher is the creator of this Dynamic Tower which is being built in Dubai. This will be the world's first building in motion and is the first step in changing the looks of our cities and our concepts of living.
The Dynamic Tower is environmentally friendly, with the ability to generate electricity for itself as well as other buildings nearby making it the first building designed to be self-powered, it achieves this feat with wind turbines fitted between each rotating floor. An 80-story building will have up to 79 wind turbines, making it a true green power plant. It is also the first skyscraper to be built entirely from prefabricated parts that are custom made in a workshop, resulting of fast construction and of substantial cost savings . This approach known as the Fisher Method, also requires far less workers on construction site while each floor of the building can be completed in only seven days, units can also be customized according to the owners needs and styles.

The architects are 'considering' that Dubai gets 4000 wind hours annually and that the wind turbines can generate 1,200,000 kilowatt hours of energy every year. Although I am no physician I highly doubt the United Emirates can generate sufficient energy solely on wind power. Wind travels at different velocities and in order to produce 300 kw per machine the wind would have to be wide open at 25 to 35mph which is highly unlikely in our climate. It's funny how the Fisher picked wind over sunlight in a desert country, it's actually more stupid than funny.

Aesthetically I do not agree with the design of the building. I appreciate the concept of introducing 'Time' to architecture however not in a living space. Or have we forgotten what space is?

1. Let us believe the winds are powerful enough to rotate each floor individually. How fast would each floor be rotating? Would it effect the human nature? Do we not get sick if we travel on rocky waters by boat? How would a person live in a constantly rotating floor?

2. If the floors are moving at an axis, where are the pipelines? How are the sewage pipes from each floor connected? I mean one day your toilet is on the East side, tomorrow its on the West. Do the pipes match? Huh????

3. The building will constantly be moving and so will the Sun. Since they haven't considered the spatial qualities of each floor i.e: the relationship of sunlight and room, the resident could get very hot waves and direct light from the sun into their bedroom, or living room which is not healthy at all. All the benefits of sunlight get filtered by glass and you'll be left with UV Light. If they use special glass heat still passes through, so how is this place livable exactly?

Putting all this ranting aside, I'm quite pleased with how far technology has gone regarding sustainability and energy powering. I'm a huge fan of prefabrication and green buildings. I just think this one was designed for the wrong reasons and placed in the wrong context. If this concept of Dynamic Living catches on and becomes the new planning movement, then I hope that the architects truly strategies the reasons and possibilities for their dynamic space - because as we know architecture means creating a space for function.


Pimp My Chair!

Designer Lee Broom will present a furniture collection called Rough Diamond in London later this month. They will be shown in Brick Lane gallery from the 16th - 22nd of september as part of the London Design Festival. This collection is called 'Rough Diamond' and he will also be presenting some of his old collection called 'Neo Neon'.

I have always been a huge fan of furniture restoration, especially vintage furniture, and Lee transforms these antique pieces into Design Art by adorning each piece with bright light.

There are alot of mixed feelings about Lee's work and whether 'pimping' a piece of furniture really is art, but I believe that altering something in an existing design by adding a different concept to it that would make it aesthetically pleasing is design!

I want the Louis IV armchair to be honest.

Although Shiro Kuramata sort of did the same concept years ago I think Lee highlighted the curves of the chairs better.

Banksy - Art or Graffitti?

One of Banksy's most famous graffiti paintings have been painted over by the London transport workers. This iconic image depicted a scene from the movie Pulp Fiction with Samual L. Jackson and John Travolta holding bananas instead of guns. The mural was located near Old Street tube station and drew alot of people to that area.
The Transport for London apparently doesn't know the difference between graffiti and art. They're statement was that they hired professional cleaners not art critics. Street art is the new urban culture and most of Banksy's paintings are political and meaningful. In my opinion I find his work beautiful. Two years ago Banksy left a life-size replica of a Guantanamo Bay detainee at the California theme park Disneyland. And in 2005, he decorated Israel's controversial West Bank barrier with satirical images of life on the other side.
Then again this is quite ironic. I would have enjoyed to see a Banksy being covered by another piece of graffiti art, but the fact that the government got involved makes me grumble. I guess this is part of the city and the city changes. I guess just because it's a Banksy that doesn't mean we should have listed graffiti right?
However, that painting was estimated to be worth 300'000GBP...


City of Silk - Kuwait

1300 years ago a Golden Age of scholarship, commerce, science, and faith began. For 400 years, the Middle East was the centre of learning, prosperity, well-being, and trade that reached from China to Spain, Russia to Africa. The great silk routes linked these nations together with trade on land and sea, and people from around the world came to Mesopotamia to learn, share, and explore the great ideas of antiquity. In the House of Wisdom, people of different faiths, nationalities, ethnicities and values met to exchange ideas and hopes of all civilizations.

Finally we can announce a new Golden Age for the Middle East with Madinat Al Hareer, the City of Silk. Far more than just a property development, Madinat Al Hareer builds upon the momentum and courage begun 20 years ago by our sister cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha that have created a new sense of excitement and prosperity for the Arabian Gulf. Kuwait has invested in all of these Countries so that these developments can prosper at an unprecedented rate, all the while Kuwait has been rebuilding its own Country from the ravages of aggression and invasion.

But today, Kuwait adds to this new heritage of world-class projects. This is a massive project that will take around 20 years to finish. The main attraction of Madinat al-Hareer, the Burj Mubarak al-Kabir will stand at 1,001 m tall, almost three times the height of the Empire State Building, almost twice the height of Taipei 101, which is 509 m tall, and even taller than the world's current tallest manmade structure, the Burj Dubai Tower which will be at least 818 meters when completed. Can you imagine?

Those who are living in Kuwait and have noticed the current works on the Sheraton Roundabout and by Wasabi and Ciro's Pizza Pomodoro and have been complaining about the traffic be assured that this time it's for great reasons. A 23.5-kilometer long bridge is being constructed in that area. The bridge should decrease driving times from Kuwait City to Madinat al-Hareer to seventeen minutes rather than the usual one-and-a-half-hour drive around Kuwait Bay. Madinat al-Hareer is also built on the dream of building a huge port in the biggest island in Kuwait, Bubiyan Island. Bubiyan Port, as it will be called, will serve the interests of major countries in the Middle East and Asia including Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran. In addition, the port will be one of the closest sea ports to Central Asia.

All of these ports: land, sea, and air cradle a new city in their embrace: Madinat Al Hareer.
Designed with not one, but four new City Centres, it is a new cosmopolitan city for a new century. Finance City, Leisure City, Culture City, and Ecological City match the demands of our contemporary society for new places to work, relax, learn, and preserve the natural heritage of our land. The Tower will also host a Mosque, Church and Synagogue to unit the three main religions.

Check out this YouTube video to see the overall urban planning of the city:

Madinat Al Hareer


PKN Paris - A Must See!

Pecha Kucha Night

For those of you who might be in Paris at the end of this month, I highly recommend you visit Pecha Kucha Vol.6 which will be held at Le Divan du Monde on sept 29th 2008, at 7:30 PM.

Pecha Kucha Night, devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham (Klein Dytham architecture), was conceived in 2003 as a place for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.
But as we all know, give a mike to a designer (especially an architect) and you’ll be trapped for hours. The key to Pecha Kucha Night is its patented system for avoiding this fate. Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each – giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show.
Pecha Kucha (which is Japanese for the sound of conversation) has tapped into a demand for a forum in which creative work can be easily and informally shown, without having to rent a gallery or chat up a magazine editor. This is a† demand that seems to be global – as Pecha Kucha Night, without any pushing, has spread virally to over 100 cities across the world.

It is a non profit organisation and there is no entry fee. So there's no "cheap" excuse not to go. If you would like to know when the next Pecha Kucha Night nearest to you will be, check out their website. Currently Pecha Kucha in the Middle East is either in Dubai or Beirut. I'll let you know when I'll bring them to Kuwait City!

Theo Jansen Rules.

Theo Jansen is the Dutch creator of what he calls "Kinetic Sculptures," where nature and technology meet. Essentially these sculptures are robots powered by the wind only... and he is so cool.

Click here to watch what geniuses create.

Broadway Market

East London in general is rumoured to be an intimidating place, but if there is one place I would risk going to in Hackney it's Broadway Market. Unlike Portobello and Camden, Broadway is custom made by artists that are new or "finding themselves". It wasn't always like this though and this new trend of funky designers has merged the essences of both old and new in this short but condensed street. Below are photos I took of my favourite parts of Broadway.

Io & My Model

My 1:50 scale model of The Archive project v.s my cat Io.

To My Girls...

Let us be sustainably friendly this season! Let us be green and one with nature... But still look hot!
Today’s eco fasion options can sometimes seem other-worldly or suggestive of a world that we hope to soon inhabit. The best designs often stem from one’s native surroundings and feature eco friendly textiles that are context sensitive and sustainably considered. Occasionally, though, a designer references far-off horizons, distant galaxies and deep space as away to bring us closer to the fragility and marvels of the universe and its complex workings. Enter Leila Hafzi’s stunning collections inspired by the scope of NASA photography with a unique spin on scientific prediction, colorful dreamy space, and enviro-art intuition.

Olympic Viewing Platform

Point of View

A 3 metre high, 17 kilometre long, blue fence surrounds the Olympic Park in east London. The Olympic Delivery Authority employs poker-faced security guards to patrol the perimeter of the site and stop visitors from taking photographs. Workmen armed with pots of the regulation cyan blue, paint out graffiti on a daily basis.
In response to the ODA’s attempt to block views of the site, and its failure to take advantage of a historic opportunity to get people interested in architecture, Blueprint asked Office for Subversive Architecture to create a viewing platform.
Point of View was designed and built in a matter of days, and installed by Blueprint staff with Bruce and Sam Tipper (the joiners who made it) and OSA’s Karsten Huneck and Bernd Truempler at 6am on 12 June. Point of View remained in position for several days before being removed by the ODA.

For some reason we can't see what could be the most interesting architectural revolution to occur in London. There must be a conspiracy behind this. We want to see!

Museum of Modern Arab Art by Rafael Vinoly

What's that you see in the distance? A giant dune?

No way... Impossible! But wait, is that glass?

Why but ofcourse, how typical. This large sand dune is actually Qatar's new museum for Modern Arab Art. Not only will it house 10,000 articles from the collection of Sheikh Hassan Bin Mohammed Al-Thani, but also art from contemporary arabic artists. There is a library, landscape gardens, terraces and massive gallery voids. But could we honestly call this innovative architecture? This is an imitation of a sand dune, a really massive sand dune. I appreciate the fact that unlike other architects who create buildings that look alien to our environment (i.e. Zaha Hadid!) this blends in nicely but only from a distance. As you get closer the building looks fake and typical, there is no abstract expression at all.

I am so pleased that we (arabs) are finally perserving our culture and art, however I diagree with this New York based firm. This truely feels like a missed oppertunity as this building could have had such an amazing experience. It could have been a treasure under a pile of sand. However, it's just a building that looks like a sand dune that holds arabic modern art.

Reed Model

Below are images of the reed concept. The formation on the square is determined by the circulation of the people but I won't go deep into that. This is a 1:10 scale model of a part of the square showing the different reed heights that would play on the shadows on the square, and the sounds created by the wind.


Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy was a project I worked on last year. The brief was to design furniture that is influenced by the weather. My site was Sloane Square in which wind was my weather factor. My design was a series of reeds that are made out of metal. These reeds would move depending on the wind and create different sounds as different heights create different tones. The second part of the brief which I found to be intriguing was the rendering part. We were given a list of artists to influence the way we render. My influence was Rembrandt because I'm fond of the way he uses darkness and shadows in his paintings to emphasize on light. He always highlights his main figures and darkens the background. Below are different scenarios on Sloane Square.