As big as a Bus….or Bigger!

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The GE9X Engine (the larger one!)

This new video of a massive aircraft engine, the new GE9X, had me enthralled. As well as being neatly produced, it reveals that a wealth of parts are being produced by 3D printing.

I’m just fascinated by large structural things, be they buildings, bridges or boats. They don’t even have to start with a “B” either!

Most aircraft have 4 engines, or a quartet  but maybe this engine is so powerful it only needs two engines per aircraft. Or maybe that’s a new style, three normal sized engines and one massive one. An engineering marvel.

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Port of Antwerp

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Port of Antwerp

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, has been announced as The Design Museum’s  design of the year 2017, from a huge selection of that year’s best designs.

There are six broad categories to accommodate such a wide inclusion. Which range from the almost ludicrous, such as the Premier League on-air branding, to the now outdated Pokémon GO. There are the contemporaneous cultural curios like the “Pussyhat Project” and “Professional Women Emoji”. Then there are the potentially practical and useful such as the “Avy Search and Rescue Drone” and “The Pilot translating earpiece”.  The latter sounds inspired from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and I thought the Babel Fish had been around since the 1970’s?

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Avy  Search and Rescue Drone

While I do appreciate there are more humanistic and beneficial designs, such as the Warka Water concept,  I do like a dash of big bold architecture. But rather than the actual winner, for me it’s the Port of Antwerp.

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I love the striking soaring skyline, and somehow the bold structure fits the skyline, or should that be the waterline. It would be fascinating to take the tour and discover what the inside is like, a great posthumous homage to the imaginative designer Zaha Hadid.

 

Art of Building

There are some wonderful images in the CIOB Art of Building 2017 competition.

Probably of all of them I prefer the “Eye of the Tower”. It’s a curious and alternative view on something that has probably been photo-processed many times. Something you would normally expect to look up at, and Ascend is transformed and appears you are looking down on this enormous bell. I love the hard-edged brickwork and strong vibrant colours and textures. While the image is still, somehow there seems to be movement and power captured there.

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Eye of the Tower

The short list  is full of fascinating images, from the “Cemetery of 21st Century” (don’t worry it’s not an actual cemetery.) which is eerie and evocative, almost Chernobyl-like, but it hardly seems to qualify as an actual building.

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Cemetery of 21st Century

The “Bicycle Rider” is so stark and lifeless it looks more like an artist’s illustration or a page from a graphic novel rather than a photograph. Reminds me a bit of David Hockney’s work such as “A Bigger Splash” with its flat child-like colours.

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Bicycle Rider

The “Cross Bridge Waltz” shot from the air is mesmerising and joyful, almost a photographic version of naive art.

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Cross Bridge Waltz

So your chance to vote is available until the 8th of January 2018, and of course you can always think about entering next year. You can see previous winners and my view on last year’s.

If you’ve read this far why not add a comment  and tell which one is your favourite and why.

Hand-Built DB’s 4 GT

Aston Martin’s iconic model the DB4 is over 50 years old, but a new version of it is now to be hand-built at its original site in Newport Pagnell, England.

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Aston Martin, Newport Pagnell, Bucks, England

Currently the site restores Aston Martin Cars, so this will be returning the hand-built craftsmanship that has been missing for many years, albeit only 25 new cars.

But does the fact that this is a pastiche mean there is less Craft involved? Probably not, and its charming to see that hand built cars can actually still be produced in this over-mechanised world.

Graffiti clean-up?

A bit like cycle lanes views on graffiti generate contradictory arguments. Personally I appreciate graffiti, often find it challenging, and appreciate the medium as being immediate and local. It can often be thoughtful, and I like the opportunity it provides to give a glimpse of another perspective, views from the urban artist.

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Hipster wall art Shoreditch

Oftentimes I find the colourful displays an antidote to the cold bare urban concrete environment. Indeed the inspired good natured graffiti can transform what would otherwise be an uninspired dreary experience, such as walking through an underpass, into a less threatening, even pleasant journey. While I’d prefer not to have gang tags or offensive stuff scrawled on the walls, I don’t think there is any need to blatantly remove everything that is up there.

I’m not sure whether I realised that people tagged their own work. After reading  Christana’s blog, it seems they do. Somehow it seems curious why someone should tag their work. I thought they preferred anonymity and from the viewer it was part of the medium about recognising the work.

By its nature it is transitory. I reckon you should just enjoy it while it is there. I think the idea of re-siting graffiti into art galleries is irony at its best. Once it is gone, well then, you have a shared experience with all other local people and visitors who have seen it.

 

 

Building images

Murphy House, named after Richard Murphy, the architect and home-creater and owner, won the RIBA house of the year award this year.

Love it or loathe it, a least it’s a fascinating design, and looks like some sort of house. Other shortlisted ones included the ubiquitous endless glass panels of the Outhouse. Oh come on, give in with the sliding glass doors; and for goodness sake at least try and make it resemble a private dwelling rather than a trendy office block with lifestyle fixtures!

Meanwhile the CIOB are showcasing some fabulous photographs in their “Art of Building” competition. I know with Instagram and endless image banks there are already plenty of striking images, but trust me, these are striking images worth looking at. Plus unlike RIBA it’s a public vote so you can have an input into this year’s winner. But only if you’re quick, before 23rd January 2017. And if you’re not quick, you can look at next years!

My favourite? The art deco of “Control”, by Roman Robroek, from Hungary.

The competition attracts fabulous talent, so is a great opportunity for any budding photographers out there.

Earthquake proof table

The design museum have recently announced the overall winner for their designs of the year 2012, which turns out to be the Olympic torch. The annual event is always an interesting and stimulating opportunity to see what’s been included and what is happening. With seven categories there tends to be something for everyone – and of course it always raises a debate (why is that there!). The Olympic torch which you would think would be a no brainer has taken criticism, with daily telegraph readers voting it looked more like a cheese grater than a torch – but is that a bad thing?

There are lots of gems in there – I particularly liked the flying cycles bike parking, although I’m not sure if it goes around at the speed of the London eye or at a fast flowing windmill. It would be interesting to know. Is the bike hanger that practical – probably not – but it does make me smile. Something quite practical and a bit jaw dropping the first time you see it is the incredible Hovding invisible helmet. You simply have to watch the demo – not sure whether I was watching this to be impressed by the product or in endless fascination as a poor old cyclist keeps getting repeatedly mashed.

Wandering around exploring the nominations I was taken with the moses bridge in the architecture section as well as with the category winner the Olympic velodrome. I also liked the late night chameleon café or maybe I just liked the photography, its hard to tell. There is an earthquake proof table in there somewhere, although I’m not sure if it comes with terms & conditions – replace after use maybe? Fascinating stuff.