Clever Ads Feature Classic Artists Photographing Their Self Portrait

Advertising agency Leo Burnett Switzerland created a tongue-in-cheek campaign that’ll appeal to both selfie and fine art lovers. Three posters feature the iconic artists Vincent Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, and Albrecht Dürer snapping their picture using the Samsung NX Mini camera – the tagline for the campaign is For Self-Portraits. Not Selfies. In each image, the subject holds the NX Mini as the viewfinder reveals a mirrored portrait.

The Samsung camera boasts interchangeable lenses and a fold up screen. This allows for high-quality portraits rather than just simple selfies. According to the campaign, if you didn’t see these artists photographing themselves, you wouldn’t even realize that they took the picture.

Leo Burnett’s beautiful images are the work of photographer Fredrik Ödman. He crafted dreamy and vibrant scenes that include details specific to the artists. Van Gogh’s sunflowers sit in a vase as Dürer’s prints rest on the window sill. And, of course, Kahlo’s leafy plants make an appearance, too.

Above: Vincent Van Gogh

Frida Khalo

Albrecht Dürer


Studio505 creates cultural hub in wujin, china with phoenix valley

studio505 creates cultural hub in wujin, china with phoenix valley

designed by australian-based architecture office studio505, the recently completed ‘phoenix valley’ serves as a cultural hub for the young city of wujin, in china’s jiangsu province.

the youth cinema’s walls are covered in polygonally shaped tiles

the structure is formed around a central courtyard and features a patchwork of grasses on its roof. the 65,000 sqm building unifies a wide array of independently operated programs into one complex.

studio 505 phoenix valley theater designboom
the building volumes are shaped around a central public courtyard

these include four cinemas, a 1000 seat grand theater, a 5-story flexible art gallery, a youth palace (learning center) to educate 4000 students, an occupational experience hall, a sports and dance auditorium, and a selection of retail and food facilities.

studio 505 phoenix valley theater designboom
the roof, as well as a few courtyard walls, are covered in a patchwork of grasses

commissioned based on a winning competition proposal, the architects’ scheme integrates an existing canal into the project’s landscape, which in turn informs the ‘valley’ concept of the structural arrangement.

studio 505 phoenix valley theater designboom
the complex’s main building gradually slopes upward

the primary building takes a U-shape in plan, with a roofline that gradually slopes upward. a smaller volume, containing the ‘gallery’, is located in the site’s center, serving to further enclose the courtyard space.

studio 505 phoenix valley theater designboom
the façades are distinguished by a patterning of various colored panels

building systems technologies play a big role in the overall architectural qualities of ‘phoenix valley’.

studio 505 phoenix valley theater designboom
the walls and ceilings are wrapped in contours of LEDs

beyond the green roof, the structure includes built-in photovoltaics (BIPV) and solar thermal arrays, as well as large LED screens and tubes across many of its façades.

studio 505 phoenix valley theater designboom
the grand theater is capable of hosting both traditional chinese opera and immersive digital performances

project info:

location: wujin, china
completion date: 
wujin district people’s government
: 450 million RMB
local design institute: 
nanjing university design institute
shanghai construction group
interior contractor
: gold mantis
john gollings

Aphex Twin: music exempt from the perils of ageing

Aphex Twin performs at the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2011
Aphex Twin performs at the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2011. Photograph: Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

Despite not releasing an album since 2001, the maverick electro composer remains influential after 25 years of music making

One blimp, some stencil graffiti and a tracklisting only available through the deep web was all it took for news of Aphex Twin’s first album in 13 years, SYRO, to spread across the internet faster than you could say Jynweythek. Fan reaction was feverish – so why, after so long, does Aphex Twin, aka Richard D James, still hold such relevance?

I remember the first time I was introduced to Aphex Twin, aged 14. It was around 2am in my parents’ house and I was up alone watching the TV show 120 Minutes. Come To Daddy came on, with the terrifying video in which Chris Cunningham imposed Richard D James’s face onto little girls’ bodies while James screams “I’ll eat your soul” over distorted drum’n’bass beats and violently abrasive synths.

The following week I bought the EP, expecting more of the same anarchic techno-punk. Instead, I was invited into a place unlike any other I’d visited before, enthralled by the contrasts of light and dark and and bursts of vast individuality displayed across just eight tracks.

James is an individual who creates truly bewildering and dangerous worlds for a listener to live in: Flim andIZ-US, in particular, are two songs that soundtracked some of the most formative moments of my teenage years.

In a world of leaked mp3s and desperate blurbs, the fascinating thing about SYRO is that nobody has any real idea what it’s going to sound like. “Mystery” is an overused and undercooked facet of contemporary music, with most modern artists seemingly unsure how to use it, but James possesses the gift of inviting extreme curiosity.

In the handful of interviews that he’s given over his career he’s proved adept at piquing interest in the reader with his wild exaggerations.

For instance, in 1993, he told Simon Reynolds that he’d listened to 6,000 or 7,000 records that year and “knew them all off by heart”. Rumours abound that he drives a tank, or that the “Twin” in his name refers to his stillborn brother. Nobody knows what is or isn’t true.

Crucially, though, it’s the songs that are the most mysterious thing about Aphex Twin – intricately woven electronic tapestries that appear to have absorbed almost every trope from every genre, be it industrial techno, acid house, drum’n’bass, classical or hip-hop. It’s thrilling to wonder what the Cornish auteur might have soaked up from contemporary music over the last decade and a half.

Aphex Twin records move seamlessly through different moods and atmospheres, without ever not sounding like Richard D James. 2001’s 30-track Drukqs at once sounds as relentless as a factory at work and as peaceful as a solo piano recital.

For such undoubtedly outsider music, Aphex Twin is loved by a wide range of people, from teenage slackers to classical music students, from physics professors to techno purists. He may not have released an album since 2001 but it doesn’t matter: Aphex Twin’s music has remained exempt from the perils of ageing, perhaps because it’s always seemed like a glimpse far into the future.

Recycled steel bars form modular café interior by penda

recycled steel bars form modular café interior by penda

in beijing, architecture and design studio penda has completed the interior of a local café using recycled steel bars to serve as modular dividers.

penda home cafes beijing china designboom

commissioned by property developers hongkun, the scheme introduces an area of greenery within the city’s heavily polluted atmosphere

penda home cafes beijing china designboom

intended to serve as a precedent that will encourage other chinese cities to implement similarly green proposals.

penda home cafes beijing china designboom

the primary design feature is the repetition of upcycled steel bars, painted black and constructed as a grid.

penda home cafes beijing china designboom

this modular system allows the café to be readily reconfigured.

penda home cafes beijing china designboom

the latticed structure allows a variety of different elements to be inserted, with plant boxes, books, and lights occupying the design.

penda home cafes beijing china designboom

many of the scheme’s wooden pots are filled with air purifying and easy-to-grow vegetation such as spider plants, sword fern and marble queen.

penda home cafes beijing china designboom

over time, the plantation will grow across the structural framework, covering the steel with a natural green blanket.

penda home cafes beijing china designboom

penda home cafes beijing china designboom

Leif maginnis spins artstrobe with pulsating ultraviolet light

leif maginnis spins artstrobe with pulsating ultraviolet light

the ‘artstrobe’ by leif maginnis uses pulsating ultraviolet light and fluorescent-colored polyhedrons to create a mesmerizing display of whirling patterns. the kinetic artwork adopts a stroboscopic instrument to control its movement – a result of experimenting with two-dimensional cut-outs on a flat spinning disk and exploring the combination of geometry, lighting and mechanics together. the construction of the TIG-welded piece is formed by joining several steel polyhedron shapes into one object.

an infinity mirror box is mounted onto the spinning faces with a variable speed motor positioned below to adjust the levels. the faces of the structure are covered with different fluorescent colors that, when placed under the ultraviolet light, reveal complex patterns. people can directly interact with the ‘artstrobe’ by turning several knobs at its base to create their own, customized designs. leif-maginnis-artstrobe-light-designboom01the spinning ‘rhombicosidodecahedron’ creates a kintetic light display of moving patternsthe piece captured whirling in fast motion on its basea girl turns a knob at the base of the structure to change the light patternspeople interacting with the ‘artstrobe’ at an eventthe ‘rhombic triacontahedron’ inside the infinity mirror in daylight – its shape consists of 30 sidesthe three main shapes that form the ‘rhombicosidodecahedron’, with a total of 62 sidesthe beginning of the assembly processthe shaft through the middle supports it while it spinsTIG welding the piece togetherthe steel frame of the artstrobecoloring the faces of the rhombicosidodecahedron

Atelier bow wow: beach house, japan

atelier bow wow: beach house, japan

japanese firm atelier bow wow has recently completed the beach house in chiba, japan. the project consists of two distinct parts: a vertical wood box presenting itself at street side and a horizontal glass and reinforced concrete element towards the interior of the site.the timber-clad steel frame mass creates a more ‘traditional’ presence along the street, containing the private bedrooms and main entry. just behind, a small staircase leads to a large open wooden space housing the living room and social areas, supported on an angular concrete plinth on stilts. the rooftop contains a garden and an additional exterior space in which to socialize and enjoy the outdoors. a horizontal layer of large square windows fills the interior with light and extends views to the outside, while an overhanging canopy helps shade from direct sunlight.street side elevationentrysocial functions on a concrete base with a rooftop gardensocial areawood mass staircase

Superpedestrian debuts wheel that turns bikes into electric-hybrids


Assaf Biderman, founder of Cambridge-based startup Superpedestrian, discovered that in order to increase bicycle ridership, he had to literally reinvent the wheel.

With help from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s SENSEable CIty Lab, Biderman designed a wheel that snaps onto the back wheel of almost any bike — road, mountain or cruiser — to transform it into a more powerful, electric-hybrid bicycle.

The technology, dubbed the Copenhagen Wheel, will retail online at superpedestrian.comfor $699 starting Tuesday.

“It makes it possible to bike almost anywhere, and you don’t really have to think twice,” Biderman said in an interview.

With the Copenhagen Wheel, there will be fewer barriers to bicycling; hills will disappear and distances will shrink, he said.

“It’s also something fun and beautiful,” he said. “It connects you with the street and the city in a new way.”

The Copenhagen Wheel features regenerative braking and advanced control systems, and cyclists ride the electric-hybrid bike like they would a normal bike.

The technology learns about the rider and recognizes topography and how hard the rider pedals to determine how much support the rider needs, according to the company. The wheel also comes with a rechargeable battery and can reach speeds up to 20 miles per hour.

The first 1,000 Copenhagen Wheels will be made at the SENSEable City Lab in Cambridge and will sell for $699. After that, the price will increase to $799 and Biderman will look for a more permanent manufacturing facility, he said.

More than 20,000 people registered for pre-sale information on, Biderman said. About 12,000 of those people registered during the past six weeks, he said.

Riders who purchase the Copenhagen Wheel will also get access to Superpedestrian’s free mobile app, which monitors physical performance.

Superpedestrian was founded in late 2012 and is backed by $2.1 million in funding from investors including Spark Capital of Boston and David Karp, CEO of New York-based Tumblr.

The company has 14 full- and part-time employees at its Cambridge office and expects to grow to between 20 and 30 by the end of 2014.