Category Archives: ARCHI&DESIGN

Medical Herbman Cafe Project


When you don’t feel well in your stomach you’re supposted to drink camomile – and when I was pregnant I was told towards the end of my term to drink a tea made from raspberry bush. It is supposed to loosen up your uterus muscles. (for the girls among you,  I heard that it also helps when you suffer from menstrual cramps).
But that’s about all that I know about the virtues of plants and herbs. Unfortunately because I’m pretty sure that some plants could help us just as well or even better as some of the chemical drugs that we use so often to treat our little pains a aches.

That’s why I think this is really quite a great project!


EARTHSCAPE, a Japanese landscape design studio have created Medical Herbman Café Project (MHCP)  which is basically a giant travelling human-shaped herb garden – herbman, ‘teaching’ people the virtues of plants for the different parts of our body. MHCP aims to raise awareness about how herbs can be used to treat and heal our body.

The project travelled in big shipping container that serve as a temporary café and shop once the herb garden is installed. The herbs are planted on the surface of a giant 60m herbman (which serves as a big map) according to the parts of the body they can treat. Plants that can treat your digestions will be planted on the stomach area, for example and so on.
The proceeds of the project serve to help build playgrounds in developing countries.


A social action project that is expressed through design work and carried out by the landscape design studio EARTHSCAPE. We consider all the necessary production and activity that occurs around the project, such as the details, related items produced, and the flow of people visiting events — indeed the entire project — as a work of design.

MHCP is a project that travels to different locales like a circus, growing a little with each stop. Wherever we go, we build a human-shaped field called “Herbman,” through which we educate visitors about the relationship between humans and nature. MHCP is a social enterprise realized in part by the landscape design studio Earthscape. We treat all the project details and production—indeed, all the activity that occurs around the project—as design elements. The project expands as Herbman travels around the world, carrying his luggage in a single shipping container. He will meet many people at his various destinations, gaining knowledge and growing bigger and stronger as he goes.
Herbman carries his trunk (the container) as he travels, delivering dreams to children and teaching good health to all. This is the vision of our project.
His trips may be irregular, but he will keep on traveling forever.


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London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper is putting the street on fire

London Walkie Talkie building melts car

You might already have heard of it, as I have read about it several times today already. The new skyscraper in London (still under construction) nicknamed ‘walkie talkie’ or now ‘walkie scorchie’ .) is literally putting the street on fire. His glass facade is reflecting the sunlight and bouncing heat from the sun on to buildings and everything else that is on the street across. A reporter measured 92 degrees celsius in a spot of the street! Can you imagine? Apparently it’s melting parts of cars, causing tiles to smash and paintwork to blister and makes it possible to fry eggs in the street! Hot!

see for yourself here


picture above from theguardian

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Spraying instead of tailoring




Body painting gets quite a new meaning here.
Spanish fashion designer Manel Torres invented world’s first spray-on fabric! How crazy is that?!
The spray creates a seamless fabric on contact with the body, consolidated within a couple of minutes you can remove it, wash it and wear it again!

Torres has worked almost ten years on the realisation of his project. He teamed up with Paul Luckham, chemical engineer and professor on the Imperial College London and set up a company called Fabrican Ltd. They also explore other applications like spray-on medicine patches, hygiene wipes or textiles for furniture covers..
The spray consists of short fibres that are mixed into a solvent, allowing it to be sprayed from a can or high-pressure spray gun. The fibres are mixed with polymers that bind them together to form a fabric. The texture of the fabric can be varied by using wool, linen or acrylic fibres.
..”By adding or altering the various components in the basic formula we are able to produce different products for widely different uses.”



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Architects gone shoe designer


Em told me the other day that Jean Nouvel has designed a shoe lately. Well, I thought to myself, after furniture, lamps and rugs we come to the world of fashion – that’s something. But I learned a few days later that he’s not the only architect, not at all. Actually it’s quite in vogue right now, architects going shoe designer.
The collection Pure designed by Jean Nouvel is a leather and rubber boot for Italian shoe brand  Ruco Line. It comes in white, black, fluorescent yellow and fuchsia.

If you want it a little more fancy look for Zaha Hadid, who has designed already several shoe models.
One of them a sandal for the hot Brazilian plastic shoemaker Melissa

shoes-Zaha Hadid


You remember those? I’m sure you also had one of them in your childhood .)

Those were the beginnings of Melissa . They’ve come quite a long way, right?



Zaha Hadid has also designed a line for Lacoste

shoes-Zaha Hadid-Lacoste

and for the dutch brand United Nude. It’s called Nova and it’s supposed be the first shoe ever to use rotation moulding in its manufacture. I would LOVE to see somebody walk in this! Right?

shoes-Zaha Hadid_Nova

And something more classic for the traditional among us, the good old converse by Oscar Niemeyer


Jean, I love the architecture you do but considering shoes I think I’m more the Oscar type .)

more here

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Nendo is a japanese design studio that creates really really cool stuff. Like this Thin black lines line – the Thin black lines table above or this Black lines chair beneath



They were part of an exhibition with the theme ‘Outlines’ at the Saatchi Gallery in London.

And look at this Fadeout chair


Brilliant, right?

Nendo’s philosophy

“Giving people a small ” ! ” moment.
There are so many small ” ! ” moments hidden in our everyday.
But we don’t recognize them.
and even when we do recognize them,we tend to unconsciously reset our minds and forget what we’ve seen.
But we believe these small ” ! ” moments are what make our days so interesting, so rich.
That’s why we want to reconstitute the everyday by collecting and reshaping them into something that’s easy to understand.
We’d like the people who’ve encountered nendo’s designs to feel these small ” ! ” moments intuitively.

That’s nendo’s job.”

Nendo makes projects in architecture, interior, events, furniture, product, and graphics. Click and see.

Love it ” ! ”

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Dreamplaces – Stars building for stars


Tom Ford got himself built a ranch by nobody less than our famous, beloved Tandao Ando and it looks just beautiful – so clean and pure, so Tandao Ando.

I’m not a fashionista and I don’t know much about Tom Ford but what I do know about him I really like. Très sympatique – as the french would say. At least he seems so. He’s this good-looking (so handsome!), successful (cause hardworking), smart, self-confident but not arrogant designer, film producer…  and did you know that he has a diploma in architecture which he got in Paris?  What gained him even more points  than he already got from me (not that he would care) with his movie A single man – beautiful movie.
Of course he’s not on the market, Ford is  in a relationship with the same partner since more than 20 years, with dogs and a baby as of late.
And the fact that he has chosen japanese architect Tandao Ando as architect for his home in Texas… This man has taste and culture.  I don’t know of many from the fashion business who have shown an interest in..  architecture, I mean really architecture, you know what I mean. Do you?

I’m aware that as an architect I should write probably more about Tandao Ando and not Tom Ford – but the woman in me was stronger than the architect .) Though I know that men- like mine- do like him as well – to boot.


Photos Guido Mocafico

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Rain room

The Rain Room Is Unveiled At The Curve Inside The Barbican Centre

Have you heard of the new installation at the MOMA, New York -the Rain Room?

Random International’s experimental project is part of the MoMA PS1 exhibition EXPO 1: New York.

It allows visitors  to “experience how it might feel to control the rain.”
Basically, you walk into a space with pooring ‘rain’ without getting wet. The pooring water just disappears whenever you step into this huge ‘shower’, it stops right over your head, wherever you move.
The secret are 3D camera sensors installed througout the dark room which detect objects and their movements.

“Using digital technology, Rain Room creates a carefully choreographed downpour, simultaneously encouraging people to become performers on an unexpected stage and creating an intimate atmosphere of contemplation.”

Sounds stunning, right? I would love to go and see..feel it for myself.

Getty images



Have you heard of Ron Mueck?

ron mueck2

ron mueck

Ronald Mueck is an australian sculptor based in London.  A hyperrealiste sculptor who creates human sculptures which resemble human beings up to the smallest detail, except for one element, the scale: his figures are either huge or tiny.  Which is very troubling.. weird, right? (Look the picture and the people standing in the back.)

Mueck started his career as puppeteer for the Muppet Show and other children television shows.

I stumbled upon him since he has an exhibition going on right now at the Fondation Cartier , Paris until the end of september. I’m very curious to see.

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Of palm-shaped windows and other…

The other weekend we went to Barcelona to visit friends of ours and for the inauguration of the new Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel by Jean Nouvel (AJN). Em collaborated on it – which is mainly why we went. And it was great!

The hotel is amazing, even though the position is not very fabulous, it’s practical though since it’s close to the airport.
Just staying in the hotel was already like a journey apart. It’s all about palm trees in all its shapes, colours, shadows, light effects..

The windows have the shape of a palm tree



the lights in the rooms cast motives of palm leaves and the corridors and stairways are a big jungle.
The hotel is actually composed two towers with a huge vertical atrium-garden in the middle with plants and palms on every floor


– definitely not something for people with fear of heights as you feel the hight as soon as you leave your room, when you take one of the panoramic elevators or even just and especially when you take the stairs. But the views are definitely worth it!
There is a great restaurant in the middle where you sit surrounded by palm trees ad enjoy the view . The best view though you enjoy of course on the top, on the roof terrace with its nice pool,  sipping a yummy cocktail 😉


One of my favorites is probably the fact that as soon as you leave your room you’re outside – you’re not in a dark or narrow corridor but see the sun, the sky, feel the air – and all the plants make it really seem like being in a vertical garden. And for a little more you take the suite with a nice little private terrace with palm trees and a jacuzzi 🙂


It is quite tempting, right? I definitely recommend it for those who like it a bit different!

And then, sunny Barcelona, you’re always worth a visit!

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SOFFIO Piccola luce. Grande gioia – Little glow. Great joy


Beautiful this new lighting project by IXI for Toshiba. Soffio is italian and means breath or breathing..something like a whiff. Something so light, delicate, feathery ..which resembles so much a dandelion.
In reality the project consists of tiny LEDs that are suspended from the ceiling seeming to create 3dimensional lightcircles. The lights can be dimmed which gives the impression that they’re slightly moving, breathing..



Here’s a clip of the presentation at Milan salon 2013

via designlines

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