Design Dish: See-thru airplanes, Archtober and Mexico's inverted skyscraper
From the coolest new products to dramatic feats of engineering, here’s what has us excited in the design world this week.
The Boeing Dreamliner: Airplanes have looked more or less the same since the 1960s, but this week Airbus revealed plans for a super slick new generation of planes with a transparent “skeleton” structures, allowing for unobstructed views of the surrounding sky. Think of it as the flying version of those glass-bottom submarines at Disneyworld. The planes won’t roll out until 2050, which means I’ll have to stay all excited about this until I’m in a nursing home.
Water Calligraphy Tricycle: I really wish I had the kind of unbound, random imagination that would yield things like Nicholas Hanna’s nifty calligraphy-writing tricycle, which uses a water jet printer and a laptop mounted to the handlebars to spray Chinese characters all over the street. It could definitely be cool for elaborate marriage proposals or other text-based activities like, I dunno, street scrabble, if that’s a thing. The only bummer is that it uses water, so those lovely words don’t last very long. The new alternative to sky writing?
Welcome to Archtober: New Yorkers were so enthralled by last year’s October Architecture Week that the event was extended and the month officially renamed “Archtober.” Special lectures and events will take place throughout the month, including a MoMA talk entitled “The Magic of Plywood,” which hopefully features a small, animated termite as the hero (people who didn’t grow up with “The Magic Voyage” probably won’t get this reference. Netflix it).
The Inverted Skyscraper: Who cares about “up” when you can dig down? That seems to have been the thinking behind the “Earthscraper,” a 65-story inverted pyramid being proposed for Mexico City’s Zocalo Square. The center of the structure is left open, allowing for natural light and air-flow, with office and retail areas along the walls. The whole thing is covered with a giant glass ceiling (or floor, depending on how you look at it) so as not to interfere with the parades and festivals that are traditionally held in the square.