Category Archives: Design

Dead Space was to games what Alien was to movies

Now available free on PC, Dead Space came closer than any other game to replicating the look, feel and atmosphere of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller

This week, Electronic Arts has made one of the most interesting and atmospheric narrative games of the 2000s available for free to users of its Origin gaming service. Released in 2008 and created by Californian studio Visceral Games, Dead Space remains a heady, often terrifying thrill ride and if you’ve never played it before, it’s worth taking this chance – especially if you’re a fan of the Alien movies.

Although there have been numerous attempts to bring Alien directly to video games – most successfully, Creative Assembly’s incredibly tense Alien: Isolation – it’s Dead Space that has got closest to replicating the look, feel and atmosphere of Ridley Scott’s original film.

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Source: gadt

The £3bn rebirth of King's Cross: dictator chic and pie-in-the-sky penthouses

Google HQ, boutique shops in old coal sheds, gasholders offering wedge-shaped flats at sky-high prices … as the vast project comes together after 18 years, our critic gives his verdict

The words “industrial luxury” are emblazoned on a window as you approach the cluster of majestic iron gasholders standing on the edge of the canal in King’s Cross. Built in the 1860s near St Pancras station, and dismantled in the 1990s when the station was expanded, the cast iron frames have now been reborn as the skeletal enclosures for three cylinders of luxury apartments – with prices beginning at £810,000 for a studio flat and rising, like the former gas tanks, into the many millions for a penthouse.

Industry and luxury are the two magic ingredients that have driven the £3bn redevelopment of King’s Cross in north London, tapping into the collective nostalgia for big brick sheds and the lure of a bit of bronze trim. Across 27 hectares of former railway lands, developer Argent has been piecing together a masterplan since 2000, employing 35 different architects to transform a gritty world of rails and warehouses into a polished vision of postindustrial regeneration. It is one of the biggest such projects in Europe and, despite the crass marketing slogans, it’s shaping up to be one of the best planned.

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Source: gad

'Already iconic': David Adjaye's black history museum wins design of the year

The British architect and four practices triumph for their bold addition to the Washington DC Mall, inspired by African sculpture and chronicling slave history. Is it a worthy winner?

Standing proudly on the Mall in Washington DC, looking like a shimmering bronze pagoda, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has been named design of the year 2017. It is only the second time in the award’s 10-year history that a building has taken the title, following on from Zaha Hadid’s 2014 win for the Heydar Aliev centre in Azerbaijan – a decision that sparked protest over allegations of forced evictions and human rights abuses.

This year’s winner – the work of four practices though often credited to Britain’s Sir David Adjaye, as he was the creative force behind its genesis – stands as a gleaming temple of abuses of a different kind. The museum’s emotionally charged basement charts the horrific treatment suffered by African Americans over the centuries, with leg irons, whipping posts and slave auction blocks graphically spotlit, as visitors are taken through the history of the struggle for racial equality, rising to the sunnier upper levels of funk, soul, hip-hop and contemporary art.

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Source: gad

Fashion fit to eat – in pictures

Fresh watermelon skirts, parsley earrings, and dresses made from toast: using her background in fashion design, San Francisco-based artist Gretchen Röehrs, 28, creates stylish looks out of everyday foods. The project began when she taunted some snowed-in friends on the US east coast with colourful images of Californian fruit and vegetables. Using Japanese brush pens, she draws around each object to summon up vibrant, lively creations. “I find that women reflect the curves and lines in nature,” she says. “Fashion is all about emphasising those lines, so organic shapes make for the perfect faux outfits.” However, not all foods can be turned into high fashion. “French fries, despite being so delicious, just don’t photograph very well.”

Edible Ensembles: A Fashion Feast for the Eyes (Rizzoli, £18.95) is published on 13 February

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Source: gad

How we made the Swatch

‘At one point, their hands turned backwards. Then they stopped working after five days’

My first dream wasn’t to make a watch. It was to have an injection moulding machine. It was 1980 and I was working as a watchmaking engineer at the Swiss company ETA. That machine represented the very latest technology. The only thing was it cost 500,000 Swiss francs.

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Source: gad

AT&T building: the threat to New York’s ‘tablet of stone’

Philip Johnson’s 80s AT&T skyscraper on Madison Avenue is a Manhattan landmark. Now plans are afoot to turn it into a glass-fronted shopping arcade…

Philip Johnson, the most influential American architect for much of the 20th century, was a terrible man and a mostly terrible architect. If his most obvious crime was his warm embrace of Nazism in the 1930s, he was also manipulative, self-dealing and cynical. His buildings are paltry in their detail, strangely draining architectural form into a spiritless cipher of itself – “thin-lipped”, as the British critic Reyner Banham put it – often plain clumsy, tone-deaf to the poetries of materials and light, their sense of scale awkward. His buildings are derivative, albeit in such a brilliantly timed way that they appear to lead the movements they in fact follow.

His greatest genius and significance was as a cultural politician, broker and string-puller, a man who, with the help of his inherited wealth and network of connections, could launch or end styles and make or break careers. As the architectural historian Charles Jencks once said, some time before Johnson’s death aged 98 in 2005, he “is a good whatever-he-is. Philip has ruined a lot of movements. He goes in and asset-strips.” He did much to create the hollow phenomenon of the starchitect, the man (it’s usually a man) whose work, once he has been declared a great architect, must self-evidently also be considered great.

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Source: gad