Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Walking on flowers, permanently...


That's my usual reaction. Just plain blah.

Sure, industrial concrete finishes in businesses and designer lofts are all the rage, but let's face it; no amount of acid finish, stamping or staining can warm up the feel of concrete to that of, say, a reclaimed wood plank floor salvaged from a 100-year old barn. Concrete is cold, unwelcoming and often times just plain boring, regardless of whatever faux tile finish or slate texture application you can find. Blah.

And while the concrete industry has made some tremendous advancements --from CERATECH's carbon reducing sustainable concrete to cement based composites like Syndecrete (they've even developed a self-cleaning concrete from Essroc that uses photocatalysis to scrub itself)-- when it comes to unique aesthetics, not many concrete floors can hold their ground.

Try as they might, they're still just plain old, cold concrete floors. Scraped and scratched, dyed and bleached, blah concrete floors.

One solution?

Bring in the design team from Transparent House, a 3D visualization studio that specializes in creating photorealistic 3D renderings of architectural designs. They're taking concrete to a whole new (see: beautiful) level...

Transparent House Team presents its vision of the classic flooring material – concrete.

We’ve created a way to refine a popular element of contemporary interior design such as polished concrete flooring. The design concept allows for application of any pattern to the surface either when pouring or afterwards when the concrete has set. The fine floral ornament promotes the clean and simple character of the space while adding a touch of warm and live contrast and highlighting the cold austerity of the material.

Now THAT's the farthest thing from blah I've seen in a while.

Check out more of Transparent House concrete HERE.

How does your garden grow? In transit?

Grown in Transit is a tremendous concept from the LifeSigns network, a web based portal for the Future Laboratory's extensive network of professionals working in the creative and branding industries. If you haven't already registered to read the LifeSigns material, now would be a good time to do so.

Each day, the LifeSigns team uploads trend-based stories and reports from a wiiiiiiiide range of events/trade shows/design outlets/solar systems. The material is very on-edge, fresh, and full of original content.

Sign up now and when you're approved (yes, you must be approved to read their content), you'll have full access to some amazing stuff.

The LifeSigns network's Grown In Transit:

This week, LifeSigns is continuing its menu of food trends from the Future Laboratory's new Food Futures Report.

Supermarkets and modern food transportation systems have sacrificed freshness and seasonality in favour of warehousing depots, bulk transportation and blemish-free produce. But a new attitude is emerging, with the creation of innovative ways of growing food in transit rather than refrigerating products into suspended animation.

Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Agata Jaworska's project Made in Transit, aims to eliminate the wasted time and trapped inventory in many supply chains by actually growing produce en route to the store. Jaworska's concept aims to move from best before, preservative packaging to ready by, cultivational packaging which consumers would open when the product was ready for consumption. Jaworska's first example would grow mushrooms on the way to the supermarket.

The instant a crop is removed from the ground or separated from its parent plant, a steady process of deterioration begins, says Jaworska. Methods to compensate for the loss of quality, taste and nutrients can only slow the process of deterioration down, but the result will never match what we have at the source of life. The grown-in-transit, concept enables growth along the way, to deliver absolute freshness and allow the consumer to harvest, their own food. The idea would also minimise the excess packaging, such as the plastic film and crates that protect delicate food items in transit. These are rarely re-used.

Award-winning chef Arthur Potts Dawson hopes to bring a community aspect to the trend with his veg barge, concept. He plans to create an aquatic allotment on one of the barges on Regent's Canal, adjacent to his Water House restaurant in Shoreditch, London.

The barge is an extension of the city-grown produce cultivated on the roof and in the front and back yards of Potts Dawson's Acorn House in the busy King's Cross area. It would service the restaurant by travelling up and down the canal as the herbs, fruits and vegetables grow. Potts Dawson is also keen to use the barge to serve the community, travelling into the Hackney borough to promote and sell locally-grown foods.

For more on this or other trends contact Hester Chan for copies of the Food Futures report or a ticket to the Food Futures Forum.