Trend Watch, July 2016

Floating Piers

The FLoating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy 2014-16 | Photo: Wolfgang Volz | © 2016 Christo

More than one million people are reported to have walked on water at Lake Iseo in northern Italy, courtesy of two miles of fabric walkways called the Floating Piers.

The project was conceived by Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude in 1970. Realised almost 50 years later, it cost around $22 million, funded by Christo himself.

From June 18 to July 3 in 2016, the lake was reimagined with 100,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric, carried by a modular dock system of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes floating on the water.

Wired describes its construction here, and Christo’s story, notes and drawings here.

Image Credit: The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy 2014-16 | Photo: Wolfgang Volz | © 2016 Christo

Secrets of bent trees


The Daily Mail reports that bent trees all over the United States have baffled experts for decades.

Researcher Dennis Downes says they were cultivated by Native American tribes to mark hidden trails in the forest, though most of the tribes have long since moved on.

Downes has taken up the work of geologist Raymond E. Janssen who documented trail marker trees in the 1930s and 40s, and travelled to 13 states in his search.

Establishing the origins of the trees, says Downes, is important for protecting them from clearing in the future. Read the full story with the Atlas Obscura.

For pictures of more strange curved bent trees in western Poland, visit here.

Boom to clean the ocean


A 100 metre-long prototype barrier has been launched 20 kilometres out to sea from The Hague to collect rubbish on the sea’s surface.

If found to be successful, the Guardian reports the structure could be deployed at a larger scale in the ‘great Pacific garbage patch’.

The snake-like barrier is made out of vulcanised rubber and harnesses sea currents to passively funnel floating rubbish, even tiny particles, into a cone.

A cable sub-system will anchor the structure at depths of up to 4,500 metres, keeping it in place so it can trap the rubbish for periodic collection by boats.

If all goes well, full-scale deployment of a 100km-long version is planned for the ‘great Pacific garbage patch’ between California and Hawaii in 2020.

The largely crowd-funded project was founded by 21-year-old Boyan Slat in the Netherlands. It was developed with dredging and marine contractor, Royal Boskalis Westminster and the prototype co-funded by the Dutch government.

Inside the Eames house

Eames house-tw

Naomi Stead from the University of Queensland visits the house of Charles and Ray Eames, a place she has studied and dreamed of for years but never before seen.

There are rules to visiting the house: you cannot go inside but you may peer through the many windows and open doors. You may take photographs, but not for publishing.

Stead says, “Completed in 1949, [the house] appears totally contemporary now – completely in tune with how we now live, or would like to live; a remarkable achievement for a nearly 70-year-old house.

“As you walk up the long driveway, you feel a strange sense of dissociation and suppressed hilarity, as though you had entered into the pages of one of your books, or been sucked into the screen of one of your own lectures.”

Read about her experience on Architecture & Design.


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