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    Wild Wonder named Colour of the Year 2023

    Paint brand Dulux has revealed Wild Wonder, a pale yellow paint colour that it described as “a soft gold with hints of green” as its Colour of the Year for 2023.

    Wild Wonder was selected for its close association with nature. The brand said this echoes the global shift toward sustainability, reconnecting with the outdoors and wanting to be more grounded, particularly following the recent period of uncertainty.
    Wild Wonder is a golden green paint colour”Our relationship with the natural world feels more precious and precarious than ever,” said Dulux UK.
    “Wild Wonder is a soft gold with hints of green inspired by fresh seed pods and harvest grain,” the brand added.
    The colour was selected for its association with natureAs well as its affiliation with nature and raw materials, Wild Wonder is also intended to capture the collective quest for better mental health, which has become increasingly important in light of global events such as the climate crisis and coronavirus lockdowns.

    “As people search for support, connection, inspiration and balance in the world today, they’re diving into the wonders of the natural world to find it,” said the brand.
    “Wild Wonder is a positive, natural tone that, by connecting us with the natural world, can help us feel better in our homes,” it continued.
    “As well as understanding the value of nature more keenly, with climate change becoming a reality for all of us, we also feel the urgency of reconnecting with nature and the necessity of working with rather than against it.”

    Bright Skies named Colour of the Year 2022

    According to the brand, the colour can be used to add colour to areas in the house, such as living rooms, that require warmth and light. The brand also said that the hue is suitable for commercial spaces across all sectors including schools and hospitals.
    “Wild Wonder and four complementary, versatile colour palettes can be used to create stunning spaces across all sectors,” explained Dulux.
    The paint colour is suitable for all commercial sectors as well as residential interiorsDulux’s parent company AkzoNobel decided on the shade, which is the 20th colour to be chosen as a Dulux Colour of the Year, after a three-day workshop with a panel of industry experts from across the globe and months of researching with the paint company.
    Wild Wonder is a slightly more upbeat hue than Brave Ground, an earthy beige that Dulux selected as its colour of the year for 2021 against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
    The colour is a marked change from last year’s sky blue colour Bright Skies, which the brand said captured collective desires for a fresh start.
    The images are courtesy of Dulux.

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    “Fake fruit is just as absurd as fake meat” says commenter

    In this week’s comments update, readers are discussing a low-impact alternative to “unsustainable” avocados and other top stories.

    Central Saint Martins graduate Arina Shokouhi has invented an avocado alternative called Ecovado, which is meant to wean people off the resource-intensive imported fruit.
    “This could be one solution of many”
    Readers had mixed feelings about the Ecovado, which contains a pale green, creamy foodstuff made from a combination of local ingredients that has been packaged in a fake avocado skin fashioned from wax.
    Tabitha Poppins is keen to give it a go: “I hope they make it to a local market so I can try one,” she said. “If they taste good and cost similar or less, I’ll switch in a heartbeat.”

    However, others were unsure. “Why imitate the form when you can offer a totally new alternative to avocado?” said Indrė Butkutė. “Food is a culture, not a product.”
    “Fake fruit is just as absurd as fake meat,” added Lena Feindt.
    DesignGeek thought that the design could contribute to reducing the impact of our diets.
    “It’s sad to see how much time people have on their hands to sit their asses down and criticise. This could be one solution of many that takes into consideration current food trends and tries to re-make them more locally and sustainably.”
    Would you try Ecovado? Join the discussion ›
    Foster + Partners unveils “iconic” supertall skyscraper in Kuwait”The inside areas of the uppermost floors are quite astonishing”
    The distinctive supertall skyscraper that Foster + Partners has created for the National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters in Kuwait City has sparked conversation among readers
    “Actually quite like the look of it and the quality of execution seems to be on point,” said KLM. “Evil villain vibes? Maybe. But it could equally be a superhero HQ.”
    Bsl agreed: “This building embraces what it is: an edifice of corporate vanity, but an elegant one at that,” the reader added. “There are interesting interiors and the materials will age well.”
    “The inside areas of the uppermost floors are quite astonishing,” added Simply Indulgence.
    What are your thoughts on the building? Join the discussion ›
    Michael Maltzan Architecture completes Ribbon of Light bridge with swooping arches in LA”Reminds me of Terminator 2″
    Readers are discussing the new Sixth Street Viaduct in Los Angeles, also named the Ribbon of Light for its multiple concrete arches lit from below.
    John loves it: “I drove by it this morning and it is beautiful,” he said. “Once all the parks and landscaping are finished around/under it, this will be even more incredible.”
    [email protected] is not so sure: “I like the integral design of the stairs but I’m concerned that there’s no railing. The approach needs to be upgraded to match the now-beautiful viaduct.”
    “Reminds me of Terminator 2,” said Logorithm. “Terminator 7 should be shot here.”
    Do you think the bridge is a good addition to LA? Join the discussion ›
    Styles and eras mingle inside “unfinished” diplomat’s home in Rome by 02AUnfinished apartment in Rome is “exquisite” and “stunning” say commenters
    Readers are impressed with a diplomat’s intentionally unfinished one-bedroom flat, which is located on the ground floor of an early twentieth-century building in Rome’s Flaminio district.
    “Highly calibrated,” commented JZ. “Really well done spatial moves. The shower with the plants!” he added. “This feels like the architectural equivalent of tattooing your body: each tattoo represents an event, a memory, something unique, held together loosely because of the poetics of the body.”
    “Exquisite. I’m impressed,” said Zea Newland.
    “Stunning. Every corner has its very own strong personality, even within the same room,” agreed Lndcntmpry. “A treasure trove of an apartment.”
    Do you like it, too? Join the discussion ›
    Comments update
    Dezeen is the world’s most commented architecture and design magazine, receiving thousands of comments each month from readers. Keep up to date on the latest discussions on our comments page.

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    IKEA designs “safe spaces” for children and at-risk refugees fleeing Ukraine

    Furniture company IKEA has donated its products and design services to create a series of refugee support centres in Eastern Europe, set up by the United Nations to offer aid and sanctuary to the most vulnerable groups displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    The Swedish furniture brand created interiors with a homely, comforting atmosphere inside several recently established Blue Dot centres, which are run by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR to offer specialist support to children, families and other at-risk refugees.
    Top: numerous Blue Dot shelters have been established in Eastern Europe since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. Above: IKEA designed the interiors for the sheltersSet alongside major border crossings and transit routes, the centres supply legal aid, mental health support and family reunification services, as well as food and temporary shelter.
    “The work calls for a whole new set of skills because we’re designing spaces that can support people who are experiencing trauma,” said Martyna Pater, who is an interior design specialist for IKEA in Kraków, Poland.
    “We’re using walls made of Kallax shelving units and thick curtains to create a quieter and more comfortable environment, to make it feel more like a home, and we’ve also used decorations and picture frames, to make the space feel as cosy and calm as possible.”

    6.9 million people have fled Ukraine
    Out of the 36 Blue Dot centres that UNICEF and UNHCR have established across seven European countries since the start of the Ukraine war, IKEA has helped to design 10 in Romania and five in Poland.
    Three more are currently in development and plans are in the making for IKEA to help set up of additional outposts in Hungary and Slovakia.
    The initiative forms part of a wider €1 million donation that IKEA has pledged to UNICEF and UNHCR’s emergency relief efforts for the Ukraine war, with an additional €30 million going to other selected organisations.
    The furniture company previously joined a number of brands and studios in pausing its operations in Russia, closing its stores and halting imports and exports from the country.
    The shelters are run by UN agencies UNICEF and UNHCRSince the war started in February, more than 6.9 million people have fled Ukraine – 90 per cent of which are women and children, who UNICEF says are especially at risk of abuse, exploitation and trafficking.
    Blue Dot centres, which were first established in 2016, are designed to provide “safe spaces” for these vulnerable groups, containing playrooms for children, private areas for mental health counselling and safe places to sleep.
    “By far, most of the refugees who have fled unimaginable loss and devastation in Ukraine are women, children and older people or people with disabilities, in need of dedicated support,” said Marin Din Kajdomcaj, Poland’s representative at the UN Refugee Agency.
    “Thanks to our great collaboration with IKEA, we can design comforting Blue Dot spaces where refugees at greater risk can find a moment to rest, feel safe and protected again, access reliable information, counselling and psychological support, all in an effort to have them start healing and recovering from traumatising events.”
    Shelters designed to be convenient, child-friendly and site-specific
    For IKEA’s design teams, this involved creating interiors that are easy to navigate and tailored to both adults and children alike.
    “We’re designing spaces for children that are cosy and playful, but we use low furniture so their parents can see them when they are speaking to advisors,” Pater explained.
    “With thousands of people coming to the hubs, you also have to think about crowd control and creating good signage that helps people move through the space so they can find the right support they need.”
    Since Blue Dot shelters are temporary, they occupy a wide range of settings from tents to repurposed arenas.
    As a result, IKEA’s designers developed tailored interiors schemes that respond to specific sites and scales, rather than coming up with a universal template.
    Martyna Pater is an interior design specialist for IKEA Poland”It’s all about a fast response and providing a comfortable safe space,” said Laurentiu Stefan Serban, a visual merchandiser and shop designer for IKEA in Bucharest, Romania. “The aim is to create an environment where people can recover and find their strengths again.”
    A number of architects have applied their expertise to creating temporary shelters for those displaced by the Ukraine war.
    Kyiv practice Balbek Bureau developed a concept for a modular refugee village, which was picked up by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and is now set to be constructed in the country’s Ternopil region.
    Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban focused instead on creating more privacy in existing shelters by making use of his modular Paper Partition System, which can be constructed from cardboard tubes and strips of fabric in around five minutes.
    The images are courtesy of IKEA.

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    Park Slope condo becomes New York City's “largest mass-timber building”

    Local studio Mesh Architectures has completed Timber House, a condominium in Brooklyn that developer The Brooklyn Home Company claims is “the largest mass timber building in New York City.”

    Timber House is made of glue-laminated timber, a type of structurally engineered wood used to make mass timber structures, and is the largest mass-timber project in New York City in terms of square footage and height, according to The Brooklyn Home Company.
    It is also the first condominium project in the city to be built using mass timber, the developer said.
    The building has 14 condos”Timber House started with the simple notion of creating a sense of life in a building, which engages, stimulates, and at the same time, calms us,” said Eric Lifton, founder and principal of Mesh Architectures.
    “The way we do that here is by using a plant as the primary building material.”

    The building’s columns, beams and floor plates are all mass timber, while the core had to be made of concrete masonry because of city restrictions, the studio said.
    The apartments stretch across the length of the structureTimber House is located in the residential Park Slope neighbourhood in Brooklyn and comprises 14 condos that stretch from the street-side to the back of the building.
    According to Mesh Architectures, the building was “constructed with passive house principles”.
    While not passive-house certified, it was built with solar photovoltaic panels on the roof to provide energy, and mineral wool and polyisocyanurate insulation to reduce the need for air conditioning.
    Heating and air conditioning is provided by air-source heat pumps.
    The building was developed in collaboration with The Brooklyn Home CompanyIt also features passive house-quality windows with triple glazing, and the 10 parking spaces in its ground-floor garage each have an electric charging station.
    The building’s facade is characterized by a flat face made with Danish brick that, according to the team, was chosen to integrate the building into the mostly brownstone neighbourhood.
    On the upper levels, the envelope is sculpted into jutting windows and recessed balconies with glass railings. The balconies’ undersides are wooden, giving the exterior palette a touch of the timber within.
    The floors are also made of woodA rooftop terrace provides views of Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan.
    Inside, wooden walls and ceilings line the corridors, which have hexagonal tiling on the floor that was designed custom by Mesh and produced in Turkey.
    The condos have 11-feet-tall (3.3 metres-tall) ceilings and feature exposed timber beams with LED lights that are integrated directly into the wood.

    The Dezeen guide to mass timber in architecture

    The timber beams also extend down from the ceiling to frame some of the walls and windows, providing insight into the building’s structural makeup.
    “The exposed wooden beams present in the home create a style reminiscent of city living in the 1960s and ’70s when we picture those large loft-style residences, which is really special,” said Bill Caleo of The Brooklyn Home Company.
    “As a city, if we want to lower our carbon footprint we need to prioritize mass timber.”
    In addition to the ceiling and beams the condos have wooden accentsFlooring in the living areas is wood, while the kitchen is floored with white tile to match the white cabinetry – accented with natural wood tones – and a long, white island.
    Other recently-announced designs for mass timber structures include the world’s tallest timber building designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen and a Henning Larsen-designed Volvo experience centre in Sweden.
    The photography is by Travis Mark. 

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    Meta to open first physical retail shop for virtual reality products

    Social media brand Meta, formerly the Facebook Company, is opening its first permanent Meta Store for customers to purchase its virtual reality products as a “gateway to the metaverse”.

    The 1,550-square-foot shop will open on 9 May in Burlingame, California, near the company’s Reality Labs campus – a research and development hub for virtual reality products.
    Meta Store is the social media company’s first physical storeHead of Meta Store Martin Gilliard said that the shop will demonstrate how the brand’s products are a “gateway” to the metaverse” – a parallel virtual world where people operate as avatars.
    “The Meta Store is going to help people make that connection to how our products can be the gateway to the metaverse in the future,” he said.
    It is located in California close to the company’s Reality Labs campusIn the shop, which will be open Monday to Friday, customers will be able to try out and play games on Oculus Quest 2, an updated version of the virtual reality headset Oculus Go, in a dedicated demo area.

    A large, floor-to-ceiling LED screen will project what is being seen in the headset.
    Meta’s video-calling device Portal will be displayed on backlit wooden shelves on the main shop floor. Customers will be able to try out Portal in another demo area, as well as place video calls to retail associates to see the gadget in action.
    Customers will be able to try virtual reality productsA separate cubicle with glass walls is reserved for Meta’s selection of Ray-Ban Stories, smart glasses that allow wearers to record videos via in-built 5MP cameras. Visitors will be able to try a range of style, colour and lens variations.
    Unlike the other products in Meta Store, the glasses will not be available to purchase in-store. Customers will have to order them directly from sunglass retailer Ray Ban’s website.

    Facebook to open pop-up cafes to give users privacy checkups

    Other accessories such as headphones, earphones and charging cables will also be on show and available to purchase in the store.
    “We’re not selling the metaverse in our store, but hopefully people will come in and walk out knowing a little bit more about how our products will help connect them to it,” explained Gilliard.
    “Once people experience the technology, they can gain a better appreciation for it.”
    The store will house virtual reality headsets, smart glasses and Meta’s video calling deviceMeta’s first physical store represents the company’s move further into what it calls a “social metaverse company” and away from its origins as a social media company. Last year the brand changed its name from Facebook to Meta.
    Gilliard also said that the Burlingame store marks Meta’s expansion further into the retail sphere.
    “Having the store here in Burlingame gives us more opportunity to experiment and keep the customer experience core to our development,” said Gilliard. “What we learn here will help define our future retail strategy.”
    The minimalist store displays products on wooden shelvingA number of brands are working on real-life and metaverse cross-over products, such as shoe brand Giuseppe Zanotti, which has released a digital edition of its Cobras trainers in the metaverse.
    Design studio Layer recently unveiled a pair of smart glasses for tech company Viture that lets the user play games or stream media via a virtual screen.
    Photos are courtesy of Meta.

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    Space Perspective reveals design for “world's first” space lounge

    Space tourism company Space Perspective has revealed the interior design for its lounge-style travel capsule, which will be hauled into the stratosphere by a giant balloon.

    Created in-house for the company’s Spaceship Neptune, the cabin has room for up to eight passengers.
    Space Perspective has dubbed it “the world’s first space lounge” and said it wanted the interior to be distinct from typical spacecraft, with elements such as reclining and reconfigurable seats, plants and sustainable materials and a small cocktail bar.
    It will form the interior of a pressurised capsule attached to a high-performance balloon and was designed to give the maximum view of its surroundings.
    The space lounge is located within the Spaceship Neptune capsule, which is lifted via a giant balloon”Our mission is to inspire Space Explorers to connect more closely with our planet and each other, and the environment in which they travel with us is central to this,” said Space Perspective co-founder, co-CEO and chief experience officer Jane Poynter.

    “Our Space Lounge is a world away from the white, utilitarian environments you find in other spacecraft.”
    The Neptune space lounge is wrapped in 1.5-metre-high panoramic windows that Space Perspective says are the largest windows ever flown to space, and which it claims will provide a view that appears seamless to the human eye.
    The lounge is designed to optimise the viewing experience of the Spaceship Neptune’s six-hour space flightThe main purpose of the interior design is to support the enjoyment of this view. The seats can be reconfigured to host activities such as an intimate dinner for two or a small party, while the centre of the capsule is kept open to accommodate group photography.
    A separate bar area with multiple windows and a different look and feel gives guests a destination to explore beyond their seats.
    The design team physically trialled hundreds of layouts within a mockup before landing on the final configuration.
    “The biggest challenge of designing the interior was to create a multipurpose space that gives users the flexibility to not only sit and enjoy the view but celebrate and share with others,” Space Perspective co-founder, co-CEO and CTO Taber MacCallum, who oversees the in-house design team, told Dezeen.
    The space lounge’s seating can be reconfigured for different occasions and moods”We worked hard within the footprint to make the space feel as large and generous as possible, and this is accentuated by the domed ceiling that makes the space feel airy and luxurious,” he continued.
    “We’ve also added a multitude of activities for explorers during the flight, including a telescope, podcasts from astronauts, cameras on the inside and outside, small molecular gastronomy meals and inventive space cocktails.”

    “Every self-respecting spaceship should have a bar” says CEO of space tourism company

    To reduce reflections in the windows and visual glare from the intensity of the light at full altitude – 100,000 feet up – there is a dark, muted, blue-based colour palette, enhanced by RGB lighting.
    “Our colour palette is a reflection of the view outside, with astronauts reporting having seen extremely vivid blues and purples at this altitude,” MacCallum said.
    The space lounge is decorated in a muted colour palette on the blue spectrum to avoid reflection and glare”We wanted to create a space that feels both feels warm and homely, but still adventurous and out of this world,” he added.
    While some of the decor is tech-focused, such as an overhead “doughnut” screen displaying information, there are also domestic touches such as floor lamps, plants and herbs including lavender, basil and rosemary, which will be used in the food and drinks.
    The materials chosen are soft and tactile, with a focus on sustainability that mirrors Space Perspective’s mission to limit environmental impact, as its hydrogen balloon technology avoids the high greenhouse gas emissions typically associated with space travel.
    The separate bar area includes a telescopeThe bar top is made from proprietary materials recycled from the company’s SpaceBalloon, while the interior is lined with soft, padded, insulating recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) microcloth, and the lounge seats are upholstered in all-natural wool.
    Copper details are intended to bring warmth and were also chosen for their resistance to bacteria. They echo the copper tone on Neptune’s exterior windows, which helps to reduce light intensity.
    The cabin has 360-degree panoramic windowsSpace Perspective has also announced the appointment of David Grutman, who created The Goodtime Hotel with musician Pharrell Williams, as its”experience curator”.
    He will advise on the overall experience design, as well as customisation possibilities for occasions such as birthdays and corporate getaways.
    Space Perspective’s six-hour space flights will lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with tickets prices set at $125,000 per person. The company expects to commence commercial flights in late 2024 and places are already sold out for the first year.
    The exterior of the two-part spacecraft was designed by PriestmanGoode and revealed in 2020.

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    Nintendo's former HQ to reopen as hotel designed by Tadao Ando

    Japanese architect Tadao Ando has transformed a building that was once home to video game giant Nintendo into a boutique hotel.

    Due to open on 1 April, Marufukuro Hotel will be located in Kyoto in a building that was occupied by Nintendo between 1933 and 1959, when the company was called Yamauchi Nintendo.
    At the time, the company was a manufacturer of Japanese playing cards called “hanafuda” and Western-style playing cards called “karuta” and “toranpu”.
    The building was home to Nintendo from 1933 to 1959Located in the Kagiyacho neighbourhood, just north of Kyoto railway station, the building has been unoccupied ever since Nintendo vacated it.
    Ando has renovated and extended the old structure, converting it into an 18-room hotel including a restaurant, bar, spa and gym.

    The building’s exterior has remained largely unchanged, retaining elements such as old Yamauchi Nintendo entrance plaques and window grilles patterned with details from the old playing cards.
    Ando’s task was to reimagine the building’s interior but incorporate many of its original 1930s details, which include decorative tiling and art-deco lighting fixtures.
    Art-deco details are retained in the renovationFor the annex, the architect has adopted a more modern approach with floor-to-ceiling windows and elements in raw concrete, the material he is famous for.
    Photos of the completed Marufukuro Hotel have so far been kept under wraps, but the hotel is already taking bookings and has released some visuals showing layout and furniture details in the guest rooms.

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    Guests can choose to stay in either the old or new parts of the building, in rooms ranging in size between 33 and 79 square metres.
    The project is backed by property developer Plan Do See.
    Tadao Ando converted the existing building into an 18-room hotelAndo is among Japan’s most prolific architects. Awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1995, his best-known projects include Church of the Light and Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum.
    Recent projects include the renovation of the Bourse de Commerce building in Paris, which proved controversial, and art centre Casa Wabi in Mexico.
    It was recently announced that Ando is designing a Palm Springs home for reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

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