Photographer Thomas Herbrich Took 100,000 Smoke Plume Photos Looking for Unexpected Shapes

Photographer Thomas Herbrich Took 100,000 Smoke Plume Photos Looking for Unexpected Shapes smoke

Photographer Thomas Herbrich Took 100,000 Smoke Plume Photos Looking for Unexpected Shapes smoke

Photographer Thomas Herbrich Took 100,000 Smoke Plume Photos Looking for Unexpected Shapes smoke

Photographer Thomas Herbrich Took 100,000 Smoke Plume Photos Looking for Unexpected Shapes smoke

Over the last three months photographer Thomas Herbrich snapped some 100,000 individual photographs of smoke, looking for unexpected anamalies and fortuitous coincidences where familiar shapes emerged.

Photographer Thomas Herbrich Took 100,000 Smoke Plume Photos Looking for Unexpected Shapes smoke


It’s fascinating to see how the brain tries to create order out of chaos, just like looking up at the clouds, suddenly familiar patterns seem to stand out: faces, hands, or scrolls of paper.

Photographer Thomas Herbrich Took 100,000 Smoke Plume Photos Looking for Unexpected Shapes smoke


After carefully sifting through each image Herbrich selected 20 final shots for this series, aptly titled, Smoke.

Photographer Thomas Herbrich Took 100,000 Smoke Plume Photos Looking for Unexpected Shapes smoke


These are a few of our favorites, but you can see the rest here.

Photographer Thomas Herbrich Took 100,000 Smoke Plume Photos Looking for Unexpected Shapes smoke


IKEA + ubi bene install climbable vertical apartment in france

IKEA + ubi bene install climbable vertical apartment in france

in celebration of the opening of its clermont-ferrand store in france, IKEA has collaborated with local communication agency ubi bene to install a climbable wall made of dozens of the swedish brand’s furniture products.

ubi bene IKEA climbing apartment wall clermont-ferrand france

the mock-apartment is set onto the vertical surface, with beds, bookshelves, tables and chairs serving as mounts on which to scale.

ubi bene IKEA climbing apartment wall clermont-ferrand france

the vibrantly colored plane is patterned with prints, carpets, towels and textiles, all possible purchases at the mega-store. as participants climb their way to the top, sofas and swinging chairs allow a space for a short rest.

the vibrantly colored plane is patterned with prints, carpets, towels and textiles


The healing effects of total silence

A week without noise in Ibiza proves a meditation revelation for Florence Waters. I remember the first time a friend confessed he was going on a silent meditation retreat: no talking, Wi-Fi, books, phones or pens for what sounded like a very long week.

Though a little curious, I was embarrassed enough to change the subject immediately. Perhaps this is how people felt in the Nineties when someone disclosed they were having therapy. But when I saw him afterwards he was clearly moved by the experience; “I can’t really explain, you’ve just got to do it,” he ventured. “I don’t have time,” I said. “Anyway it’s not really my thing.”

A year later I discovered that another friend – a sarcastic lawyer and the least likely yogi on earth – was also a closet meditator. He was going through a difficult time but seemed not only to be coping exceptionally well, he was happier than I’d ever seen him. When I asked if he’d met a girl, he told me that meditation had changed his life. Then he sent me the website address for the Art of Meditation, an organisation started by the increasingly in-demand teacher Guy Burgs.

Now recognised as one of the country’s leading experts in meditation, Burgs quit his fashion business in the Nineties and spent 10 years studying meditation in Bali, Burma and India. He returned to Britain convinced that people could benefit from the transformative side to meditation, something still relatively little known here.

“There’s a powerful healing process that happens to all of us when we start to commit to reorganising our mind and bring it back to a coherent state through meditation,” he says.

Among devotees of Burgs’s method is the psychotherapist Adrianna Irvine. “Working with Burgs completely rewrites the rule books as far as therapy is concerned,” she says. “It allows one to reach beyond the conscious mind to effect healing… While the effect is faster than anything that I have witnessed it is no quick fix and still requires hard-won character refinement to allow one to access such profoundly healing states.”

Still sceptical but increasingly curious, I found myself flying to Ibiza for a silent retreat with Burgs. I had tried meditation classes before, so I thought I had a vague idea. I didn’t.

The week was nothing like I’d imagined. We didn’t listen to dolphin choirs, visualise rose buds opening, swallow imaginary white light or anything of the sort. In fact, Burgs teaches a skill requiring intelligence and creativity.

As he says, “Just as you can kick a football clumsily, you can meditate upon the breath in a clumsy way. Or you can learn to do it with real skill and find out what your mind has to offer.”

Guy Burgs is one of the country’s leading experts in meditation

The courses consist of classes and meditation sessions, which take place in a large hall where each pupil is seated on cushions, chairs or stools. The classes were a revelation, like sitting down to a TED talk twice a day – a compelling mixture of psychology, science, philosophy, spiritual teachings and even stand-up comedy.

We were allowed to break our silence for questions during these, and there were also regular exercise sessions to split up the day. Eating in silence felt awkward to start with but it became blissful; you really notice how excellent the food tastes when you don’t have to think about what you’re going to say next.

As we learnt to meditate, it helped to have a taskmaster like Burgs watching our attempts. “Don’t just sit there having a nice little think,” he’s fond of saying. A week on his silent retreat begins with him making every effort to help your mind settle. Within days you become amazingly uninterested in petty concerns that you were fixating on during day one.

The mind of an iPhone junkie is not easily stilled, but when it is you begin to become aware of the bigger themes controlling your life – memories, insecurities, the need to be seen, and other drives that you might allow, albeit subconsciously, to control your life.

“Imagine a reflection of the moon in a lake that’s heavily disturbed, full of ripples and waves. If you didn’t know it was the reflection of the moon it would look nothing like the moon,” Burgs says. “If we try to understand reality through a mind that is constantly disturbed, we continue to get a distorted sense of what is actually going on, which is why just trying to work it out in our heads doesn’t always work.”

Once uncomfortable feelings and memories begin to surface, Burgs teaches tools needed to release them. Many say they are able to cry for the first time in years. Five days into our retreat Burgs drew a diagram on his whiteboard to explain what was going on in our minds.

“If you’re feeling awful, that means you’re doing something right.” One woman raised her hand and said, “I’m so glad that you explained that. I felt terrible yesterday — I can’t remember feeling so bad.”

“It works like a detox,” explained Burgs. “As soon as you stop bombarding the body with new stuff, it’s able to start clearing out the accumulated toxins. The mind works the same way. One of the reasons we seek stimulation is because we don’t want to be with how we feel. We come on retreat to do this so your poor wife or husband doesn’t have to be around while you throw your toys out of the pram!”

By the week’s end I felt I hadn’t been lighter since Christmas morning, aged six. I was startlingly aware of everything going on around me.

Some people have returned to Burgs’s signature “healing meditation” retreat twice a year since he began 15 years ago, and waiting lists for his retreats are growing year-on-year. Are we experiencing a reaction to the pressures of digital life?

“Over the last 10 years I have seen a big change in people,” Burgs told me when we broke our silence. “When I started teaching even just 15 years ago the pace of life was much simpler. I was teaching people how to develop a more tranquil, sensitive mind. Today I have to focus more on mental robustness and stability. We’re more stimulated than we’ve ever been.

“Either we reduce this stimulation and rediscover the sense of inner peace we may have lost, or we develop new levels of mental stability and robustness. Meditation can teach both.”

Those who go on retreat are often apparently healthy, happy individuals. Others may be facing mental or health problems, getting over a bad break-up or a bout of insomnia.

As somebody who has tried numerous therapies over the years, including psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, I’d recommend meditation before any of them in terms of bringing about profound, deep-rooted changes.

Last year I’d have balked at this, but saying “I don’t have time to meditate” was nonsense. As Burgs says, “How have we become so well educated about physical health and failed to recognise that mental health is the real governor of the quality of our lives?”

For more information visit If you are curious, try Burgs’s 12-minute guided meditation designed to help anyone set up, regardless of whether they are total beginners or already practising

Top tips for meditation

Develop concentration and mindfulness equally. Many people are starting to learn about mindfulness, but most do not learn to concentrate deeply, and it is our inability to concentrate that is the main cause for restlessness, impatience and frustration.

Have the same approach to meditation you would have to physical fitness. It won’t come just by turning up at the gym and hanging out. Results come from effort put in over time.

The idea that we don’t have time to meditate is an illusion. Take the time and it will pay dividends as you find yourself completing tasks more quickly and effectively as you become less easily distracted.

Meditation can return results in both the way we apply ourselves and the reward we get from our experiences. An organised mind can hugely improve effectiveness, as greater levels of mental energy mean we do not tire easily, but it will also mean our capacity to appreciate pleasurable experiences when they come is also enhanced.

Meditation is far more than a coping tool for modern life and its stresses. It also has the capacity to get us beyond the point of merely coping, to the point where we are really flourishing in life as we get in touch over time with our true potential.

Tiny Humans Lost In The Majesty Of Nature Vol. I


Location: British Columbia, Canada | Image credits: Lizzy Gadd

Location: Mansfield, Victoria, Australia | Image credits: Alex Wise

Location: Arches National Park, Utah, USA | Image credits: Marsel Van Oosten

Image credits: Michael Nichols

Image credits: Kai Yang

Location: Iceland | Image credits: Iurie Belegurschi

Location: Abiqua Falls, Oregon, USA | Image credits: Joshua Meador

Image credits: Przemyslaw Kruk

Location: Iceland | Image credits: Max Rive

Location: Dolomiti Valley, Italy | Image credits: Dmitriy Vorobey

Image credits: Reinhard Gaemlich

Location: Iceland | Image credits: Wim Denijs

Location: Belarus | Image credits: Ivan Letochin

Location: Badlands in Death Valley National Park, California, USA | Image credits: Troy Montemayor

400 Foot High Hammock Offers Thrills

Suspended Hammock

On Thanksgiving 2014, several thrill-seekers from around the world gathered in the incredible desert landscape of Moab, Utah. Their aim was to enjoy the elevated views and seek exciting ways to get big doses of adrenaline.

To achieve this, they suspended a giant hammock in the middle of a 400 foot high canyon. They called it the Mothership Space Net Penthouse.

Suspended Hammock 1

The hammock was hand-knitted from 14,000 feet of colorful cordage. It took three days to complete. The hammock had five legs which varied in length, some up to 80 meters (262 feet) long.

Suspended Hammock 2

Two main groups of BASE jumpers and highliners assembled there to experience different thrills high up in the air. Highliners endeavored to walk across the legs of the hammock while base jumpers leaped from a human-sized hole in the middle of the net.

The 8 Most Colorful Chinatowns In The World

Most Colorful Chinatowns


Singapore’s Chinatown, once home to the first Chinese settlers in what’s now a heavily Westernized city-state, is one of its few distinctly Asian neighborhoods.

Most Colorful Chinatowns Flickr/William ChoThe Grand Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore.

The enclave was home to the area’s earliest Chinese settlers. Several of its institutions, such as the Heritage Centre, Food Street, and Night Market, preserve the culture of its original inhabitants, while some areas of the district are designated national heritage sites.

Many historic buildings remain as relics of the past, as well as to complement the otherwise modern landscape.


Melbourne boasts the oldest Chinatown in the world, established during Victoria’s Gold Rush in 1854.

Most Colorful Chinatowns Flickr/Román EminMelbourne has the oldest Chinatown in the world.

Catch the world’s longest Chinese dragon– the Millennium Dai Loong Dragon tops 100 meters — in action as it is brought to life by 200 people during the Chinese New Year parade.

Kuala Lumpur

The capital of Malaysia was actually founded by Chinese tin prospectors in the 1850s, who played a pivotal role in the city’s transformation from a jungle settlement to a center for the tin mining industry. The Chinese remain the city’s dominant ethnic group and control a large proportion of the country’s commerce.

Most Colorful Chinatowns Flickr/Román Emin

Chinatown, known locally as Petaling Street or Jalan Petaling, is famous for its food stalls and night market, where shoppers can load up on fresh produce and counterfeit DVDs, watches and purses (don’t forget to haggle).

Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Arriving in Georgetown, Penang, off the west coast of Malaysia after a long journey from Thailand, you may almost think that you accidentally traveled all the way to China. The city’s Chinatown is one of the largest and best preserved in the world, with everyday sights and sounds reminiscent of a small city in China.

Most Colorful Chinatowns Flickr/Francis BijlThe Kuan Yin Teng Temple in Georgetown.

Most residents are descended from Chinese immigrants who arrived in Penang during the colonial era and made their fortunes as traders and shopkeepers. Many of their original shops are still intact today.


In the most ethnically diverse city in the world, residents have their pick of seven Chinatowns. The city’s main Chinatown was formed in the late 1960s, when many businesses in the original Chinatown were forced to move.

Most Colorful Chinatowns Flickr/Anton BielousovToronto has seven Chinatowns.

Since the 1980s, the Greater Toronto Area’s Chinese community has migrated to the suburbs of Scarborough, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, Markham, and North York, where shopping centers are reminiscent of Hong Kong’s malls and street stalls.

New York

New York’s first Chinese residents began arriving in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the late 19th century to escape discriminatory measures on the West Coast. In the 1980s, the neighborhood eclipsed San Francisco’s as the largest Chinatown outside Asia.

Most Colorful Chinatowns Flickr/Bob JagendorfA dragon dance at the New York Chinese New Year..

But don’t overlook the city’s other Chinese enclaves – in Elmhurst and Flushing in Queens, and along Avenue U and 8th Avenue in Brooklyn. In fact, Flushing’s Chinatown has now surpassed Manhattan’s in size.


There’s a reason this city has been nicknamed “Hongcouver.” In the years leading up to Hong Kong’s 1997 handover to China, waves of wealthy immigrants flooded the city. The mayor, Sam Sullivan, even speaks Cantonese.

Most Colorful Chinatowns Flickr/BichologoA Chinese garden in Vancouver.

Most Colorful Chinatowns

The 8 Best Portable Record Players Around

sound burger_cover

Vinyl holds sway in terms of sound quality, no matter what format you care to throw up in comparison. There has always been a major drawback when considering vinyl as a playback of your favourite music, though. One that vinyl itself never quite managed to solve. It’s size and the nature of its playback system.

Vinyl has always been a sensitive beast. The turntable needle might be exerting tremendous forces upon the groove of a vinyl disc but, if that turntable is resting on a suspended floor of wooden planks, for example, one wrong step will risk a needle jump. Vinyl playback is hardly robust.

Then there’s the size of the ‘software’. The disc spans 12”. Hardly pocket-sized, is it? Not just that, it weighs a bit too. In fact modern day vinyl editions actually brag that each disc weighs in at 180gm each. Add the packaging and then bundle that together with, say, a dozen others, and you start thinking less about analogue reproduction and more about your back.

The very idea of portable vinyl record play is, hence, an absurd one. Or is it? It seems not. For while vinyl playback, while on the move, is too much trouble too contemplate, creating a portable playback system (one that can be moved with relative ease from location to location) does have its adherents.

In fact, throughout the history of the vinyl disc, portable playback has been a subject that has continuously fascinated inventors, designers and manufacturers. To such an extent, we can offer you our Top 8 portable vinyl systems for your delectation. Eight that you can still buy too… although most will require a visit to eBay and a little patience.



The most well known and, arguably, still the most popular record player in the business. Features the amplifier and speaker within the chassis. It sports a carry handle but weighs quite a bit. Many models feature the low cost BSR turntable. Be careful when you buy. Cheapo models, that you might pick up at a car boot, may be caked with grime, solidified grease and noisy capacitors while reconditioned models are expensive.

Hacker Record Player


‘Hacker’ is but one brand, actually. There are, in fact, several manufacturers in the ‘Dansette’ mode of design that look, to all intents and purposes, exactly like other Dansette record players but differ in one important aspect. Open the lid and peer inside. If the label on the bottom right corner of the turntable chassis says ‘Garrard’, then you have a superior design. Be prepared to pay for the privilege, though.


NUMARK PT01 – Price: £95

An obvious competitor to the Vestax, the PT01 is a battery-powered portable record player with a 12V adaptor and USB port. It comes complete with a built-in amp and a mono speaker plus a carry handle and the facility to play 78s. It’s now discontinued but can still be found on the Internet from places like Amazon.

Vestax - handy


Don’t expect audiophile sound but this light and portable deck features a basic amplifier and mono speaker. The whole thing runs on batteries with a reported life span of 65 hours. It also comes with a USB port (and software) to transfer analogue files to a computer. Like the Dansette designs, it can also tackle 78s, if required.

Sound Burger


A most impressive piece of technology. Why, on earth, did Audio Technica stop making them? Why hasn’t it reintroduced the design? Avoid the poorly made Crosley-built imitation, the twin speed, battery or mains-powered Audio Technica design ‘clamps’ your vinyl in its jaws and plays vinyl via a high quality cartridge. Includes ports for two sets of headphones and connections for powered speakers. A brilliant piece of equipment.


SONY PS-Q7 – Price: £250

A surprisingly capable machine, the PS-Q7 is a dinky, direct drive, machine that handles two speeds and features a headphone socket. Failing that, you could hook up a pair of powered speakers. These decks are pretty rare but they do still pop up on eBay now and again.


BANG & OLUFSEN BEOCENTER 7700 – Price: £400

Basically, an old fashioned music centre but one that packs in superb design and drop dead gorgeous looks. It features a record player, 40W amplifier, radio, cassette player plus remote control. It also auto-senses the size of your record and the necessary speed to play it. Second hand models often come with speakers included.


BRAUN PCV 4 – Price: £600

Rather than just a record player, how about buying a piece of art? Early products from famed German company, Braun, especially those products designed by Dieter Rams, are not only desirable but highly sought after by collectors of industrial design. The PCV 4 features a built-in amplifier and speakers. The whole lot combines to form a suitcase of sorts.