Category Archives: Design

Open House Creates a Creative Community Area in Alabama Town

Artist Matthew Mazzotta, the Coleman Center for the Arts, and the people of York, Alabama have teamed up to transform one of York’s most iconic blighted properties into a new public space. Open House is a house with a secret, it physically transforms from the shape of a house into an open air theater that seats one hundred people by having its walls and roof fold down.

OPEN HOUSE – Matthew Mazzotta 2013 from matthew mazzotta on Vimeo.

The metamorphosis of Open House is designed to require cooperation. It takes four people one and a half hours to unfold the structure. The foundation is made of used railroad ties which anchor the custom fabricated industrial hinges to five rows of stadium seating. The rows of seats fold down with the aid of a hand winch and enough manpower to counter balance the hefty, but agile structure.

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Through the project, the artist hopes to directly address the lack of public space in York, AL by providing a physical location that becomes a common ground for community dialogue and activities. The new structure carries the weight of the past through the materials that were salvaged and repurposed from the old structure, most visibly the original pink siding. When Open House is fully unfolded, it provides an opportunity for people to come together and experience the community from a new perspective. When it folds back up, it resembles the original abandoned house, reminding people of the history of what was there before.

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#Floorcore. It’s a new hashtag obsession that is spreading like wild fire among design-loving Instagrammers. It’s tough to get enough of the inspiring tiles, antique rugs, inlaid hardwoods, and more people are sharing from around the world. Here are some of Lonny’s favorite snaps:

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The retro fabulous carpet at Portland International Airport even has its own Instagram account: @pdxcarpet.

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In the artist enclave of Sidi Bou Said in northern Tunisia.

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Lonny editor on a hex-happy carpet by Kinderground at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York.

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Lonny editor following a yellow brick road.

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This fashion photographer found some cool tiles

 Images: Lonny

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A Simple Design Fix to that Awkward Public Bathroom Moment

One of the worst things about public bathroom stalls is how hard it is to tell when someone’s in them. A lot of people end up resorting to that not-at-all awkward practice of peeking under the door, looking for feet.

A company called Tooshlights is promising a way to end this embarrassment and make that line of desperate people move more quickly, too. Its simple LED light sensors turn green when a stall is free and red when it’s occupied.

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The company just installed its technology at The Hollywood Bowl, which claims the lights have “improved the flow of traffic.” The company says its lights are appropriate for basically any venue where bathroom queues often form. According to Tooshlights, more than 66% of the time, facilities do have vacant stalls, but guests are not aware of them or are not moving to them quickly enough. Could an idea so simple be the future of public bathroom design?

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Images: Fast Company

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Charge Your Devices on Boston’s New Smart Benches

Thanks to a new park bench design equipped with solar-powered docking stations, it’s easier than ever for Bostonians to enjoy the great outdoors by staring directly into their phones. The benches, which are known as “Soofas“, include two charging docks and have begun popping up in city parks as part of a pilot program.

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The Boston Globe reported that these Soofas were created by a MIT Media Lab spinoff called Changing Environments, which is a Verizon Innovation Program. “The creators behind the smart urban furniture, Soofa, are three women who share one vision: Getting you out of the homes and into a new, smarter and more sustainable city,” the group explained on their website. These benches don’t just charge phones, they are also wifi enabled allowing them to report information on local noise levels, air quality, etc.

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Images: Soofa

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Need a Standing Desk? Pull Up a Chair.

By now, I am sure you have heard that sitting for long periods of time is bad for you. Because of that, you are now interested in one of those standing desks – whether it be designer or DIY. Or you could try the StorkStand, which recently passed its fundraising goal on Kickstarter.

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While it may not have the accessories that some standing desks do, StorkStand does offer you portability – allowing you to create a desk anywhere. All you need is a chair. A little tabletop you strap in place, the StorkStand was invented by Mike Goldberg from San Francisco. He explains in the pitch video (below) that he was tired of sitting all day (preach!) and wanted something different.

Goldberg says it weighs 4.2 pounds, supports 50 pounds (which is enough for several laptops) and comes with a built-in holder for your phone. One perk is that you can adjust the height (assuming you use an office-type chair), which is obviously important. It is not 100% perfect (where do you put your papers? Etc.), but it beats sitting all day!

Now that Goldberg has the funds for full production, you can buy your StorkStand here for just $199.

Images: Fast Company

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