Category Archives: Transportation

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Phone Box, Tube Train, get new life

Two traditionally British staples— the red phone box and London Underground tube trains— get a makeover when they’re no longer in use.

The people of Westbury-sub-Mendip, a village in Somerset, England, salvaged their beloved red phone box by transforming it into a mini-library. People bring in the books they’re done with in exchange for new ones. There are all sorts of different genres available, from manuals to romance novels. The turnover is rapid, ensuring that there’s always something new for the avid reader.

Photo: guardian.co.uk from swns.com

For just £30 the village bought the phone box, installed four shelves and a light, making it accessible all-night long, all-year round.

The unconventional phone-box-bookshop saves villagers the four-mile trip to the library and, unlike the library, has no fees!

***

When four London Underground tube trains retired, they took on a second-life as part of the Village Underground project in Shoreditch, London. The mastermind behind the project is Auro Foxcroft. As a furniture designer he was constantly on the hunt for affordable studio space in London. So what he did was take the ex-trains and turn them into affordable and sustainable studio spaces for fellow creative minds.

Photo: villageunderground.co.uk

Each studio space is a little bit different. One has a children’s play area in the back, another has kept all of the existing seating but has re-upholstered them in black and white floral prints and has painted the floor red. The trains use carbon-neutral heat and power and include a rooftop garden and deck. Here’s a workplace you’ll actually want to go to in the morning!

-Otiena Ellwand

A train interior. Photo: treehugger.com

Photo: treehugger.com

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Filed under Architecture, Art/Design, Campaigns, Economics, Green Living, Interior Design, Technology, Transportation

Take the Boredom Out of Boarding

For those who can’t take the boredom of waiting to board, twitter has come up with a way to pass the time in airports.

image from techcrunch.com

It involves, of course, social networking. Its new boarding.fr tool helps “twitterers” locate other “twitterers” who also feeling restless before take-off. All you have to do is simply tweet #boarding and your airport code and twitter will help you locate people in the same boat, or, plane as the case may be.

Whatever happened to books? Apparently, twitter does not think they’re enough for today’s traveler. Social networking is the way of the future.

-Emily English

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Put this in your shopping cart

The recession may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean that everyone’s out of the red. Luckily, Brooklyn-based artist Kevin Cyr has a solution to pricey accommodation— a shopping cart shelter!

Camper Kart. Photo from: kevincyr.net

The “Camper Kart” is a collapsible, tent-like structure all contained within a movable shopping cart. It includes a retractable roof, a back door and is large enough to house Cyr’s 5-foot-8-inch body.

Camper Kart Blueprint by kevincyr.net

The structure was inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel, The Road (which was adapted into a film starring Viggo Mortensen and released in autumn 2009), in which father and son’s lives are contained within one shopping cart. Cyr decided to play upon the shopping cart’s double life: it is at once an object related to excessive consumption and, at the same time, with poverty and homelessness.

Similarly, Cyr’s previous project, the “Camper Bike”, places an object of middle-class prosperity—the camper— onto the back of a Chinese three-wheeled flatbed bike. The odd juxtaposition between West and East, rich and poor, is humorous, but its functionality is serious.

Camper Bike by kevincyr.net

Cyr plans on experimenting with an Indian rickshaw for his next piece. Making one wonder, are these the condos of the future?

-Otiena Ellwand

Camper Bike Blueprint by kevincyr.net

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Bicycle Seat, Meet Paul Smith

Image from paulsmith.co.uk

We did a post on designer condoms yesterday, and today we have news of another practical designer collaboration, the designer bike seat.

In a collaboration with the Japanese bicycle saddle maker Kashimax, Paul Smith has covered a bicycle seat with his signature striped leather. The result is adorable! With only 28 being made, this collaboration is the definition of exclusive.

And when was this cute and comfortable seat launched?

Four very appropriate words, The Bicycle Film Festival, in Japan.

Why aren’t we closer to Tokyo?

– Alexa P Gray

Image from paulsmith.co.uk

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Addicted to Oil

Edward Burtynsky: Oil Refineries #34 Houston, Texas, USA, 2004

Highways, chunky suburban houses, manufacturing plants and desolate oil refineries make-up the new Edward Burtynsky exhibit on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

For over a decade, the Canadian photographer traveled the world documenting how far humans will go to comprise the urban and rural landscapes for fuel. Oil is a collection of 55 colour landscape photographs that pose the question, “What will happen to us when it’s gone?”

Edward Burtynsky: SOCAR Oil Fields #10 Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006

The massive-scale, detailed photographs seem to answer that question with their eerily futuristic appearance. There are no human faces in these vast landscapes of excess, staying true to Burtynsky’s style. Here the light reflects on the cyclical process of oil production and distribution: the mechanics, waste, urban sprawl and motorways involved.

Edward Burtynsky: Nanpu Bridge Interchange Shanghai, China, 2004

Oil continues to change and control our world, and there appears to be no antidote to our oil addiction.

So before you run out of fuel, check out the exhibit, on display until December 13th.

-Otiena Ellwand

Edward Burtynsky: Oil Refineries #22 St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1999

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Surface View and Haynes Manual

Image from mocoloco.com

Image from mocoloco.com

Boring walls, be gone. Leave it to Surface View to come up with the freshest, most innovative ideas to spice up your home or office space. This time they just might have outdone themselves: the print company has done a series of images drawn from the classic automative manual, Haynes Manual. Featuring iconic car designs like the VW Camper and the Ford Capri, you can use the prints for blinds, tiles, and wall coverings. This head-turning art is something between art-deco and engineering blueprints.

For those of you who are into DIY projects, not only does Visual Space offer a variety of Haynes Manual images for you to choose from, but you can even specify the pantone reference, allowing you to further customize your space.

-Cora Nijhawan

Image from mocoloco.com

Image from mocoloco.com

Image from mocoloco.com

Image from mocoloco.com

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