This week at Dwell as the chilly summer gives way to the warmest, sunniest months in San Francisco's calendar, the troops have rallied up a collection of links from around the Web for your Week in Review reading curiosity, including webcams documenting the progress of construction projects, microphilanthropy for emerging artists and design solutions for salad droughts. Read on...
Sarah: Thanet Earth at Pruned
Alexander Trevi, the author of the blo Pruned, often pens breathless paragraphs of far-out speculation on the future of the planet by way of the land. This week he wrote about Thanet Earth, a greenhouse of genuinely epic proportions being constructed in the UK on the Isle of Thanet in Kent. An article about the project in a 2008 edition of The Guardian said that these greenhouses alone will boost the UK's year-round vegetable supply by 15 percent, growing 1.3 million plants in seven greenhouses, each longer than a football field. Trevi articulates aspects of such a undertaking that straight-arrow news reporting leaves out, such as the potential of a salad-starved population of "phantom EU neo-gypsies displaced by the econopocalypse" and the extreme technological control that such large scale operations represent. Simply as a design, Thanet Earth is something to marvel at.
I confess that though I find these construction webcams supremely boring, I cannot stop looking at them. The first (above) is for Herzog and de Meuron's long-awaited Elbe Philharmonic in Hamburg Germany and the second is at the other end of the architectural spectrum: Target Field, the 2010 home of the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis. Perhaps its the idea of very incremental progress, or the perpetual documentation a webcam affords, or the idea that at any given moment I can check in on how a building actually takes shape, but I've been surprisingly rapt. I confess to having checked in both of these fairly frequently, and it looks like Target Field is much closer to completion. I suppose the architectural equivalent of watching paint dry is actually watching paint dry, and though this isn't far off, it's certainly captured my attention this week. (Elbe Philharmonic via The Rest is Noise)
While it might be tough to believe that there's funding floating around these days for new artistic endeavors, finding the financial backing to support your projects isn't necessarily an impossibility. Reporter extraordinaire (and friend) Jenna Wortham wrote a great profile in the NY Times this week of Kickstarter, a Brooklyn-based start-up that connects people with plans to people with cash. Benefactors are incentivized with different bonuses based on the amount of money they're pledging, and if the necessary amount isn't raised in the alloted time then there's no commitment from anyone. When goals are reached, however, it seems the individual sponsors are getting as much pleasure and satisfaction out of the deals as the creative folk who are subsequently allowed to see their dreams realized. Click on through to the article for an encouraging read, and check out Kickstarter's site for more info.
Image by Chang W. Lee / Courtesy The New York Times
Miyoko: Workbench: Richard Whitehall
Seed magazine has a recurring feature called Workbench, in which it shows the desks of big thinkers and creators, like Oliver Sacks, and breaks down its contents. The magazine recently gave us a glimpse of what fills the workspace of Richard Whitehall, an industrial designer at Smart Design. Zoom in and out of the image and read why Whitehall keeps a Flip camera, two syringe molds, three soap dispensers, and more next to his computer.
I am really impressed that Askew, a CG designer who works for an architectural visualization company called Focus360, created this beautiful piece as a fan video in his spare time, and did it only because he felt a connection to the song and not because he was commissioned by the band. I love his use of light, movement, and depth of field, as well as the overall old-timey, diorama-like feel of the art direction. Askew painted all the textures by hand in Photoshop, and used 3dsmax, Vray and After Effects. Amazing.