Looking back on 2013, from boundary-pushing ideas from both established and up-and-coming artists and designers to new series like Off Piste and Scene, By All, it's been a big year. What's remained consistent, however, is our loyal audience that spans all over the world—and they do know best. Here are the stories from the past year that were the most read—an eclectic mix of topics that shows how diverse our readers and their interests are.
In a year of major headlines in wearable technology, Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Google Glass weren't the only major players. Recon's Jet can run both native and user-created apps, stream video and wirelessly connect to the internet and smartphones, and even integrate with Facebook. Essentially, it's as powerful—if not more so—than your iPhone, and definitely more multifunctional than your current pair of sunglasses.
Future Mapping Company
The art of mapmaking is not dead: East London-based niche cartographer Marcus Kirby fuses data with design in fresh representations of cities, using lithographic printing on high-quality, silk-coated paper. His New York City map—which features detailed color-coded routes (and banned areas) for cyclists—was released this past May, coincidentally the same month that Mayor Bloomberg's citywide bike-share program launched.
We're familiar with assembling flat-packed pieces of IKEA furniture—but wooden bikes? That could only have been masterminded by Dutch design agency Bleijh. All pieces of the Sandwichbike arrive on your doorstep in a single flat-packaged box, giving you the opportunity to learn about the anatomy and mechanics of building a bicycle that's also ecologically conscious.
3D DIY Sex Toys
From creating functioning speakers to deadly weapons, 3D printing technology has the potential to influence numerous aspects of daily lives—including sex. "The most personalized gift ever" this holiday season could be a replica of your penis or your vagina, safely printed in the privacy of your home.
Cool Hunting Videos Presents: Aether SF
Built out of three stacked shipping containers is web-based outfitter Aether's first brick-and-mortar retail location, which features a custom-built rotating rack (inspired by those in hotels and casinos) that maximizes space. The unique retail space located in San Francisco conveys Aether's clean and classic aesthetic, and they're only growing in recognition and popularity: They've already opened an NYC location since.
Cauliflower Rice Recipe
We reached out to our friend Nikki Bennett, executive chef of NYC's raw vegan restaurant Pure Food and Wine, to soothe our cravings for unhealthy processed grains like white rice. Cauliflower rice, it turns out, is a tasty gluten-free alternative that's very easy to make.
Ressence Type 3 Watch
"The basic idea of Ressence is to 'dematerialize' the watch as a product." Ressence released their Type 3 Watch this year, which lacked the traditional hands and crown usually found on a timepiece. Instead, the face is filled with refractive liquid and rotates, making for a unique horological user experience.
Lego Architecture Studio
Released in August, the Lego Architecture Studio toolkit is comprised of over 1,200 white and translucent pieces and, most importantly, no instruction manual—to encourage you to build anything your heart desires. Instead, the kit includes a 250-page book of Lego experiments conceived by the leading contemporary architecture firms like SOM, REX and Sou Fujimoto to get your architectural juices flowing.
Test Drive: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250
The new 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan offers style and performance with a taste of Benz luxury and engineering at a base price of $29,000, in their efforts to become more accessible to a younger audience. Check out our test drive between Marseille and St Tropez in Southern France, through the twisting, narrow roads of the Provençal hills.
Good Night Lamp
It's (ironically) quite easy to feel distant and detached even among the numerous social media channels available on the internet, but Good Night Lamp harnesses the network's capabilities and use it to feel closer to a loved one who is thousands of miles away. Pressing down on the chimney turns the light on and off in both your lamp and its far-away twin, creating a tangible reminder of the other's presence.