Design Finds

From a conceptual museum designed by Swazi experience designer Siphilele Magagula, to a journey through the brilliant, nearly 70-year career of virtuoso Irving Penn, read our list of topical, innovative and inspiring design finds from the week.

Latticed-bamboo bridge by Mimesis Architecture Studio references Jiangsu’s craft traditions

Mimesis Architecture Studio designed this bamboo-lined bridge in China’s Jiangsu Province to celebrate the region’s ancient craft industries. The Wuxi Harbour Bridge takes a slightly curving course across Lake Taihu in Dingshu Town, stretching almost 100 metres across the water to provide a crossing for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge’s steel structure forms a series of triangular frames that are lined with a lattice of carbonised bamboo poles – a charring process that maintains the form and texture of bamboo while guaranteeing durability. Each of these bamboo trellises is designed to be removed and replaced when necessary.

The town sometimes referred to as China’s ‘clay capital’ has a rich cultural heritage due to its abundant bamboo and its distinctive purple-coloured clay, which has produced thriving craft industries.

Google Earth relaunches with architectural tours courtesy of Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry

Since its launch 12 years ago, Google Earth has captivated billions of users around the world. Through virtual exploration, we’ve had front-row seats to the most far-flung corners of our planet. And now, after two years of planning, Google has relaunched the platform with a host of new features, including guided tours of buildings designed by star architects Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.

Among the many exciting elements of the new Google Earth is a section dubbed Voyager, where users can travel — in 2D or 3D — through a curated list of museums around the world, tour buildings designed by famous architects, step inside bars that Ernest Hemingway frequented, and more. Never has couch travelling been so wondrous, and easy.

The Met celebrates revolutionary photographer Irving Penn

A journey through the brilliant, nearly 70-year career of a virtuoso Irving Penn, who created some of art’s greatest portraits and always maintained a deep respect for all his subjects. The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present a major retrospective of the photographs of Irving Penn to mark the centennial of the artist’s birth.

Over the course of his nearly 70-year career, Irving Penn (1917–2009) mastered a pared-down aesthetic of studio photography that is distinguished for its meticulous attention to composition, nuance, detail, and printmaking. Irving Penn: Centennial, opening April 24 2017, will be the most comprehensive exhibition of the American photographer’s work to date and will include both masterpieces and unknown prints from all his major series.

A museum where your emotions are the main attraction

Empathy is what sets the human race apart from other animal species. But, from xenophobia in South Africa to harsher immigration controls in the United States and the United Kingdom, our defining characteristic seems to be in short supply. Swazi-born experience designer Siphilele Magagula used this lack of mutual understanding as a catalyst for her thesis project: a conceptual museum that puts the viewer’s emotions at the centre of the exhibit. ‘I wanted to create a space in which the viewer is part of the experience. It’s not a passive experience that you’d find in a normal museum,’ she says. Siphilele’s conceptual design asks participants to lay their prejudices bare when entering the exhibit; empathise, learn and engage.

A modern escape to Chile’s wine country, with a luxury stay at the Viña Vik Hotel

If you love wine and design, then add the luxurious Viña Vik hotel in Millahue, Chile to your bucket list. Designed by Alexander and Carrie Vik in association with architect Marcelo Daglio, the Viña Vik is an incredible property with 22 unique suites that let you enjoy the finer things in life. The hotel is located beside 12 valleys on 12 000 hectares of unspoilt land. The juxtaposition of the modern exteriors with the 360-degree views of nature is completely picturesque.