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Remember when children's furniture meant "all the loose bits of furniture that didn't quite fit into the themes of other rooms, and/or anything that fit through the door frame of a kid's bedroom without scratching the doorframe, and a bunk bed from the darkest corner of your basement? If this brings back stressful memories for you, Adensen Furniture is here to help you break the cycle. Your own children never have to know the terrible injustice of stubbing their toe every morning on the ill-fitting bureau behemoth that belonged to a distant set of great grandparents. From this kid-minded design company comes the Smart Kid series of convertible furniture that changes with your kid as they grow from peanut to person. You can tell them it's like Transformers with real life applications, and then regale them of tales of the terrible rusty bunk beds from "back in the day".

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On the island of Koh Kood on the gulf of Thailand, this dreamy bamboo structure is a "children's activity and learning center" and part of the Six Senses Soneva Kiri eco-resport, designed by Dutch firm 24H Architecture. Right away, even the name "Koh Kood" draws up memories of childhood heroine and adventurer Pippi Longstocking, whose home base was Villa Villekula.

The spacious oasis is built from locally sourced and labored bamboo, and the structure is meant to instill young minds not only with art, music, and culture, but a deep appreciation for what it means to give and take from one's environment. The sloping roof and artful manipulation of the bamboo offer protection from the elements without isolation. Nearby, there are even satellite structures that give children the opportunity to pick their own vegetables and cook their own meals under the supervision of a dedicated chef.

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Junk Food may have taken some hits when people figured out it was, well, very bad for you. Out came the local, the organic, the preservative-free and out went the days of the carefree 90's when everyone was happy, fat and high on salt. But junk food scientists are here and they're on some sort of mission. This will be the year of the ketchup revolution, with new gadgets such as Ketchup Presser and Liquiglide being announced. Anyone else for french fries?

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SpiderDress

Anouk Wipprecht is a Dutch designer for whom the concept of fashion as function doesn't mean utilitarian button downs, or a reversible jacket you can wear in lots of settings. Rather, the dress designer combines textiles and technology, to create what we might call cyborg couture, including this creepy crawly Robotic Spider Dress which dances around the wearer's face and protects them if someone approaches too quickly. It's a little reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but you better believe no one else will want to invade your personal space. See more of Anouk's made–to–wear machines below. 

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From Jackson Clements Burrows Architects, the Trojan House takes inspiration from the famous war story of the Trojan horse, and perhaps the Tardis? As they say, "it's bigger on the inside." The design cleverly works around residential development restrictions and allows the lucky family to maximize their yard space. And, like the fabled Trojan horse, the house's seamless skin allows for lots of privacy and mystery about what goes on indoors.

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The sled dogs of the Arctic are remarkable creatures. They are crucial in helping the local populations work and travel, and reports state they have been the snow-man's best friend and coworker since 2000 B.C. Their strong, hardworking and loyal demeanor has earned them the utmost respect, far more than that Pomeranian with the pink jacket that I always see in Park Slope. The people of Svalbad in Norway have built their loving animals elevated doghouses on stilts to protect them from the cold and wet ground. The little shelters allow the pups access to a dry and relatively warm home even after intense snowfall, allowing them a good night's sleep before the next day's adventures.

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Time is a pretty precious resources, especially when we're talking about space. In space, 30 seconds without a spacesuit will wreak havoc on your body, and I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty sure you'd eventually blow up? No one is completely sure, because NASA's not about to test out that theory. So it's pretty important that astronauts are able to get into their space suits as quickly as humanly possible. Enter the Z-1 space suit, NASA's newest extraterrestrial ensemble, which allows astronauts instantly to slide into the suit, and enter into another planet.

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The necessity of solitude in order to artists to unleash their inner thoughts is well documented throughout history: Virginia Woolf famously wrote, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Franz Kafka, ever the dramatist, once wrote, "I need solitude for my writing; not 'like a hermit' - that wouldn't be enough - but like a dead man."

Well, perhaps we don't all need to be dead to get our creative juices flowing, but how about a beautifully isolated oceanside studio? On Fogo Island in Canada, the Saunders Architecture firm, in collaboration with the local Shorefast Foundation and Fogo Island Arts, has designed a series of six artists' studios, each aimed at inspiring its resident artists, and preserving this tiny island's traditions through arts and culture.

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Thursday, 03 January 2013 18:24

The New Land Yacht by Airstream

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I'm not sure when it came to pass, but it's a truth as old as time: You haven't really made it until you own a boat. Noah's ark made him the most influential man on Earth, and some years later, The Lonely Island solidified the fact with their digital short, "I'm on A Boat." You're just not at the top of the food chain until you've transformed from human to amphibian. Them's the rules.

This fact hasn't been lost on Airstream, the country's oldest maker of recreational trailer vehicles. As a part homage to the amphibious life, and part show-and-tell just because they can, Airstream has unveiled their newest concept trailer, the Land Yacht. The exterior harkens back to Airstream's classic "silver bullet" design, but the inside looks like a luxury yacht, complete with boat-deck flooring and a galley.

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There's only so many applications we can put on our phones before we come to terms with how useless they are. Sure, "angry birds" may bring you stress relief, "bomb panic" provide commuter fun and if you're in danger, I suppose you could "tweet" for an ambulance. But my subway (m)app always freezes and I'll never figure out how to use the measurement tool app. No matter how technologically useful these little sidekicks are, there is just nothing that compares to the old-school functionality of the swiss army knife. The "ReadyCase" is going to change all that.

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