Design Digest: Ace Hotel Kyoto, IKEA Speakers, India Mahdavi, and More

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Kengo Kuma unveils his design for Ace Hotel Kyoto, IKEA debuts its first Bluetooth speakers, India Mahdavi creates a club atmosphere at Salone del Mobile—here are five design headlines to know right now.

Kengo Kuma Designs Japan's First Ace Hotel

Famed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has signed on as the principal architect for Japan's first Ace Hotel in Kyoto, which is scheduled to open in the winter of 2019. Japan's first outpost of the hip, Seattle–based chain will land in a historic city that's rich with industrial and imperial legacy. The project will be an example of adaptive reuse, incorporating renovations of the Kyoto Central Telephone Office—originally designed by one of the great Japanese modern architects Tetsuro Yoshida in the mid-1920s—into the new build.

The hotel is intimately connected to Kyoto and its surroundings. "To begin with, the proposition was to create a dense garden where communities, as well as the past and the present, are connected to this venerable land with its various gardens, which have existed since the Heian period," explains Kuma in a statement. "Through the central courtyard, this red brick building will converse and create a new harmony with a wooden grid system that reminisces traditional Kyoto." 

The hotel is intimately connected to Kyoto and its surroundings. "To begin with, the proposition was to create a dense garden where communities, as well as the past and the present, are connected to this venerable land with its various gardens, which have existed since the Heian period," explains Kuma in a statement. "Through the central courtyard, this red brick building will converse and create a new harmony with a wooden grid system that reminisces traditional Kyoto." 

IKEA Launches its First Bluetooth Speakers 

Perhaps in anticipation of the announced Sonos x IKEA collaboration, IKEA is debuting its first line of speakers. Called the ENEBY, the Bluetooth-connected unit features the same elegant, minimalist design and wallet-friendly pricing that we associate with the Swedish mega-retailer. The unit comes in two sizes: an eight-by-eight inch model for $49, and a 12-by-12 inch for $89. Although it has an auto-off function, an additional $20 will get you an battery pack that can provide up to 10 hours of extra battery life. 

via The Verge

Customers can choose between black or gray polyester fabric on top of the black or white plastic base. The smaller speaker comes with a handle that can be added for portability. It is also possible to mount the speakers to the wall or put them on a stand, both of which are sold separately. 

Customers can choose between black or gray polyester fabric on top of the black or white plastic base. The smaller speaker comes with a handle that can be added for portability. It is also possible to mount the speakers to the wall or put them on a stand, both of which are sold separately. 

This Is the World's Smallest Working Phone 

Designed and developed by Zini Mobiles, the Zanco tiny t1 claims to be the smallest working mobile phone in the world. With the device measuring just 21-by-46.7 millimeters, they're probably right. The company's Kickstarter page explains, "The first time you see it, you can’t believe it exists. Your second thought is, Why does it exist? When you look a third time, you realize how much you want it." The nano-SIM can be changed at any time, making the mini mobile compatible with any phone network. There's still time to back their Kickstarter campaign here, starting at just £39 (approximately $55).  

The battery supports a three-day standby and a 180-minute talk time.

The battery supports a three-day standby and a 180-minute talk time.

Designer India Mahdavi's Chez Nina Is a Club-Inspired Hangout at Salone del Mobile in Milan

Paris–based architect and designer India Mahdavi has created a refined lounge environment inside Milan's exclusive Nilufar Gallery specifically for Salone del Mobile. Dubbed Chez Nina after Nina Yashar, the founder of the gallery, the space features exquisite, textured silk wallpaper from De Gournay, rich velvets from Madhavi's True Velvet collection for Pierre Frey, and geometric patterns on a sweeping silk mural drawn by Mahdavi herself. Gorgeous pieces from Gio Ponti, Martino Gamper, and a selection from Yashar’s collections furnish the space alongside custom-made, candy-colored table tops. 

April 17-22 at Nilufar Gallery, Via Della Spiga 32 

via Wallpaper

Madhavi's masterful use of color is ever-present in her work, and her installation Chez Nina at the Nilufar Gallery in Milan is no different. 

Madhavi's masterful use of color is ever-present in her work, and her installation Chez Nina at the Nilufar Gallery in Milan is no different. 

This $4K House Can Be 3D-Printed in a Day

New Story, a company that builds housing in the developing world, has invented a massive 3D printer that will soon be able to create an entire four-room house in less than a day. The Silicon Valley–based nonprofit has been examining how to build safe housing for those living in extreme poverty for years, and now have partnered up with Icon, a construction tech company, to create a 3D printer called the Vulcan that can build a house for approximately $4,000. The printer was recently unveiled at SXSW, together with a 3D-printed home that now stands in an Austin backyard. 

via Fast Company

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