There seems to be no shortage of well-produced Selby-esque workshop videos. Just when I think I’ve seen one that can’t be topped, I find another that knocks me off my feet. The Smell of Oil is from a year ago, but definitely worth sharing. It showcases the work of Shinya Kimura, motorcycle designer and founder of Zero and now Chabott Engineering. While the visuals of this piece are great, they’re brought to an entirely new level by the film’s masterful editing and sound design. Filmed by Danish director Henrick Hansen.
Eco-design meets exclusive ski escape. Similar to the Glass Igloos of Finland, the Whitepod Hotel in Switzerland uses geodesic designed pods to give guests a completely unique mountain side experience. Each pod is uniquely furnished with a modern Alpine aesthetic and comes with a simple wood burning stove. Covered with white canvas in the winter and green in the summer, the resort’s subtle profile blends seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. Guests have access to 3 private lifts which can be operated 24 hours a day upon request and 7 kilometers of exclusive trails. Relaxing isn’t necessarily the first word to come to mind when you think of a ski vacation, but at Whitepod it seems like it might be completely possible.
Last year we had the chance to catch up with Jon Ward of Icon 4×4 and get a tour of his Los Angeles garage. When we asked him if he had any new projects coming down the line all he could say was that there might be something with Ford in the works. He didn’t want to talk about it until things were finalized but we could tell by the excitement in his voice that it was going to be big. Now a few months later, we finally get to see for ourselves. Introducing the new Icon 1968 Ford Bronco.
After receiving the blessing and support of Ford Motor Company, which came in the form of a CAD file and technical assistance, Jon set to work procuring five uncut-fender Ford Broncos from the late 1960′s. From top to bottom the Icon Bronco is completely custom designed. All new components had to be developed for the suspension, steering, axles, and brakes. The engine was replaced with a Ford 5.0 liter V8 from a Mustang GT, giving it 412 horsepower and 390 lb feet of torque. The interior has been completely recrafted as well, using Jon’s boarder line OCD attention to detail. Front grill, dashboard display, and doorhandles are some of the many items that received their own custom touches. The final product is a Ford Bronco like no other. And with only a limited number being built, it looks like there will be no other like it in the future as well.
Our suggestion for Icon’s next revamp? The VW Thing.
The world now has its first commercial spaceport! Last week Sir Richard Branson opened Spaceport America which will serve as Virgin Galactic’s main operational hub. The 11,000 square meter terminal was designed by UK-based architectural firm Foster + Partners and is dug into the landscape to buffer against the extremes of the New Mexico climate. The roof is swept to catch the Westerly winds for ventilation and is lined with solar panels.
As early as 2012 passengers will be able to fly into space with Virgin’s WhiteKnightTwo and experience sub-orbital flight and true zero gravity. Flights are scheduled to depart late next year and Virgin has already sold 400 tickets at $200,000 per seat.
While the idea that space tourism has become a reality is truly a staggering feat, the real accomplishment will come when this technology is used to drastically reduce commercial flights times. Flights from San Francisco to Sydney could soon take 2 hours, London to Sydney could be done in 4 hours. Although these types of transcontinental flights aren’t expected to launch until 2030.
It’s midnight and you’ve just missed your red-eye connecting flight. Instead of scrambling for a price-gouging airport hotel or spending the worst 6 hours of your life trying to sleep in the terminal, you may soon find refuge in one of these newly designed Sleep Boxes. Developed by Russian architect firm Arch Group, the Sleepbox is designed to give travelers a safe, clean, and cheap place to sleep for a few hours. Each box is equipped with power outlets, reading lights and electrically controlled shades. Larger pieces of luggage can be stowed under the bed, while smaller personal effects can be placed in the night stand drawers.
On paper, this seems like a great idea, so long as your mind functions on a level of child-like innocence. Otherwise, if you’re like the rest of us, by this point in the article you’ve already come up with about a half-dozen “alternate” uses for these well-intentioned mini hotel rooms. After all, a windowless box is what made the Ford E series vans so popular. While there is no denying that the Sleep Box has an exceptionally smart design, we’re far more interested in finding out how these units will be operated out in the field. Will there be a concierge? House-cleaning crew? Or just a vending machine style credit card swipe? All we know is that if the state of airport public restrooms are any indication, then it’s imperative no part of the equation rely upon the honor system.
There’s no better way to reach a profound sense of appreciation for something then to take it apart completely. It’s not until you reduce it down to its basic components are you able to fully grasp its underlying complexity. The following pictures display the extraordinary level of design that goes into everyday household items and demonstrates that even the most mundane objects can transcend to a level of art when examined in detail.
[Below photos are from Canadian photographer Todd McLellan's series "Disassembly"]
Smith Corona Typewriter
Launched in October 2009, Mission Workshop has quickly become one of the premier purveyors of urban cycling gear. After riding in the Mission District’s vibrant cycling community, founders Bart Kyzar and Mark Falvai saw a need for more aesthetically refined cycling gear. It seemed to them as if the only functional bags they could find were splashed with obnoxious color schemes and branded with gaudy graphics. So using their 15 years of design and manufacturing experience from their previous company, Chrome, they launched Mission Workshop with the goal of creating a line of aesthetically clean and functionally utilitarian urban riding gear. Gear built to handle a lifetime of abuse and withstand even the most foul weather.
Ever since their initially launch, Mission Workshop has been riding a wave of high demand. Last year they opened their first retail shop in San Francisco, which is part industrial art project and part functional store. Before they started, the building was just a run-down warehouse at the end of a dead-end alley. Long ago it use to house a Kung Fu Dojo, but it wasn’t seeing much use then. The built-out required a total interior demolition and reconstruction, taking them about 6 months to complete. Corrugated metal panels were salvaged from a shipping container in Oakland, the beams made of 18th century white oak, and the Redwood siding were reclaimed from an old barn. Two 50 gallon drums welded together make for center display units. The result is a unique space that is a destination for both urban cyclists and design enthusiasts alike. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, or even if you’re not, it’s definitely worth the trip over.
Address: 40 Rondel Place, San Francisco, CA 94103
Hours: MON-SAT 10:30am-6:30pm / THURS 10:30am-8pm / SUN 12pm-6:30pm
Australian architect and customer motorcycle builder Matt Machine shows what life is like out on “the farm”. Living in the bush of New South Wales with his wife, dog, and cows can be a rather private existence, but he says his secluded environment has had a major influence on his design process, and forces him to be more direct and committed with his decisions. A life-long fan of old Harleys and Nortons, Matt has recently started working with a few European motorcycles, like the Moto Guzzi La Mans shown above, which was a stand out at the Deus V-Twin festival. To see more of Matt’s machines check out his blog Machine Shed.
At last, a restful night’s sleep on an airplane. Step aboard Jumbo Stay Hostel, the Swedish hotel inside a Boeing 747. The jumbo jet was originally built in 1976 for Singapore Airlines and then later served as part of the legendary Pan Am fleet. It was last operated in 2002 by Swedish airline Transjet before a down turn in business caused them to file for bankruptcy. A few years later when local businessman Oscar Diös heard that the decommissioned plane was going to be put up for sale, he jumped at the opportunity to own such an iconic set piece. He had the plane towed to a lot outside of Arlanda airport, where he began a lengthy built out and redesign process.
In 2009 the hotel opened with a variety of room options, including a master berth in the cockpit and a multi bunk family room. The interior aesthetic blends modern design with elements left over from the original aircraft. Downstairs they have a retro lounge and cafe where they serve their own culinary twists on in-flight meals. The hostel was purposely priced so that anyone could afford their first-class accommodations. Your stay might not cost you an arm and a leg, but the plane ticket to Sweden certainly will.