Tag Archives: city

Of guppies and yuppies; or Cities, Vertically Speaking


Life in cosmopolitan presents complications that can easily be resolved or not. Aging infrastructure and limited finances leave citizens distraught. Urban sprawl has motivated architects and designers to find ways to alleviate the stresses that affect city-dwellers. The best example is condominium development.

The vertical growth of a city centre can be used as a measure of economic growth and development. However, when a boom in development ensues, it has been observed that a recession takes place upon these projects’ completion. Dubai’s Burj Khalifa comes to mind from recent history.

On a much smaller scale, stacked settlements like condominiums have inspired industrial designers like Teddy Luong. His FishHotel for Umbra is an ingenius piece of design that applies the concept of space conservation. Traditional fish tanks and bowls have been points of interest in a space. (Feng shui states that a fish tank is a means to attract wealth and abundance.)

With its design, stacked FishHotels are a refreshing way to play with a space. I can see a wall of different coloured Siamese fighting fish. I think they’re going to be big this year.


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These wheels were made for riding

(Top to bottom: a photo from Tour de France, rush hour Shanghai, from Copenhagen Style, and lastly Omer Sagiv’s Izzy City bike)

I have mentioned before that the taxi is my favourite car. It is a stress-free form of transportation that does not regularly break the bank. However, the taxi is not a guilt-free replacement for the automobile.  It is the bicycle that will help offset a huge part of our carbon emissions.

The Izzy City bike is the perfect example of how design can make the world a better version of itself today.  The beauty of the bike would make non-cyclists want to commute to work, weather permitting. The two-wheeled beauty is made of plastic. Though not made of material that would make the eco-gods smile down (or up) at us, let’s play a game of give-and-take. The plastic that was used to make the bike would easily be offset through the life of the product. No other such commodity comes to mind.

Omer Sagiv‘s Izzy City Bike is a great way to reconnect with the cityscape, in a stylish manner. The more we incorporate smart design (see: self-locking mechanism on his design) into our lives, the more we get use to the purpose and function of all that surrounds us. We will be April fools no more.


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Streetscaping as canvas

Space and resources are becoming limited.  Artists still need to create while needing materials to do so.  Cityscapes are now becoming inclusive art galleries with no velvet ropes to keep people away from the pieces.

The photo that I took above at rue De Buci in the 5th arrondissement is a captivating example of how people still need to make their surroundings more personal (to some), or more beautiful (to some).  To me, street art is just an extension of design beyond the home.  Can you imagine if everyone made the city a bit more comfortable for themselves? There would be a claim to proprietorship with the city.  Mutual respect would be the outcome.

Imagine if everyone in Toronto made a contribution to the streets that they take.  I would want a Félix Del Marle outdoor furniture at city hall.  And then, my Alvator Aalto chair for those sunny days at Trinity Bellwoods, next to someone’s preferred Philippe Starck.  Imagine a city of happy people with mutual respect of each other’s sense of aesthetic and comfort.

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