Tag Archives: urban

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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A Mies So Cool moment

As a Torontonian, one thinks of his hometown romantically. A younger city, Toronto hosts architectural gems that the world marvels at; Mies Van Der Rohe’s Toronto Dominion Building in the International Style is a romantic encapsulation of Toronto’s history as a continuously growing global city in one structure.
The International Style aggravated critics because of its seeming lack in architectural lineage with its buildings now dotting urban centres throughout the world. Herr Van Der Rohe’s contribution mirrors Toronto’s story of growth and development.
As Toronto grew exponentially in population and in area, the International Style became, well, international. The city still continues its development towards the suburbs. Did people come to make the city the way it is? Or was the city already here for the people enrich further? One thing is for sure: Toronto, like the Toronto Dominion Building, is in the International Style.

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Have both halves. You’re welcome.

From woodenkimonos.com

Having half of something is better than nothing but having both halves is better.

My fascination with film photography is undying, persistent to say the least.  The main limitation attached to analog is the finite amount of photos that one can take on a 35mm roll from Rite-Aid or Shoppers Drug Mart, etc. The 24 self-made portraits-at-a-bad-angle-with-only-your-half-shaved-chin-showing are not enough for our digital times.

Olympus, the Japanese camera manufacturer, addressed the issue of costly rolls of film and processing with the introduction of their Pen series into the market. With the camera, a 36-exposure roll of 35mm film can potentially have 72 exposures! It’s just like magic but with fractions. The Olympus Pen F was fully manual, meaning you cannot just ‘wing’ your photographs and deleting was not an option. (Think commitment.)

Many other manufacturers followed suit with the concept of half-frame cameras. Ricoh and Canon had successful half-frame models. Lately, I have seen a renaissance of these cameras in their cheap camera reincarnations at Urban Outfitters like the Diana Mini and the Golden Half (biblical puns for the win!). I would favour buying the originals on eBay but brick and mortar stores are still the easiest way for consumers to buy what they want, when want.

The half-frame camera’s 72-shot offering is no contest for the onslought of SD or other multimedia cards that can store thousands of images. Olympus’ Pen series digital cameras is the most beautifully-designed on the market, just my humble opinion.

It is interesting how our consumption of data in photography can be deemed equivalent to our consumption of junk food. We are digitally-speaking obese. If we cut our consumption in half, we can have twice as much. Is this enough of an incentive to cut down?


Filed under art, ideas, Industrial Design, Photography