VW’s Phaeton transparent factory in the heart of downtown Dresden runs counter to the traditional impressions of a car assembly plant. Instead of blue-collar workers, there are white-gloved technicians. Instead of deafening noises, there is the hushed atmosphere of a research lab. The floors are lovely Canadian maple, and the walls are clear glass, which is why a loudspeaker outside imitates territorial bird sounds to keep birds from flying into the glass. There are no smokestacks, shrill sounds or noxious fumes. The grungier stamping, welding and painting of steel bodies take place elsewhere. VW’s transparent factory, designed by architect Gunter Henn and opened in 2002, showcases the final assembly of the luxury Phaeton sedan. Futuristic, exacting, open, and pristine, the Dresden facility is as much a marketing device as a working production plant, drawing thousands of visitors for tours each year. This video is from Megaworld Germany.
In a town known for its over-the-top decor, the new $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan Hotel, which opened on the Las Vegas Strip in December 2010, is a show-stopper from the moment you walk into the main lobby. Designed by Digital Kitchen, the interior of the resort greets guests with a dazzling electronic art installation. Digital images dance up and down towering illuminated columns, dreamlike and surreal. Technology is integrated seamlessly into the design, offering the flexibility to change and refresh the texture, character and mood of the interior from a central control. It’s entertainment. It’s art. It’s a respite from the slots and roulette table.
When Boys and Girls, a new Irish ad agency, acquired space in a Georgian office building in Dublin, it wanted to dispel the look of a stuffy law firm, but didn’t want the décor to appear juvenile either. A Dublin-based architectural firm called abgc took up the challenge by painting everything white, and then building a 4 foot x 9 foot rectangular boardroom table out of 22,742 pieces of Lego bricks, covered with glass, and surrounded by clear acrylic chairs. The effect is sophisticated yet playful, and completely reusable. If the ad agency gets bored with how the table looks, they can always pull the blocks apart and build something else.
Molo Design is tearing down rigid beliefs about what walls should be. The Vancouver, Canada-based creative firm , founded by architects Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen, has come up with an innovative family of soft architectural products made from paper and non-woven textiles. The core of molo’s collection is softwall and softblock, a modular space shaping system that allows users to form a wall or partition off an area without need of nails or construction tools. Like party decorations made out of honeycombed crepe paper, molo softwalls are based on a honeycomb cellular structure that can be expanded or compressed at will.
“When we originally designed softwall, we were looking into a solution for making homes smaller and flexible,” explains MacAllen. “The idea was that a home could consist of one main space that could be divided into smaller, more intimate spaces when required.” The pair began experimenting with lots of small paper models and discovered that the structure of honeycomb itself gives paper amazing strength that could be scaled up to large sizes.