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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Ace Hotel London, Playboy in Marfa, the Lyto camera app and more in our look at the web this week

by CH Editors in Link About It on 22 June 2013

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1. Les Bentley Boys

The rapturous video "Les Bentley Boys" combines vintage footage of notable races with Bentley glamour to showcase France's prestigious Le Mans motor race. The annual 24-hour competition carries a 90-year history, with its course traversing public roads, sometimes forcing drivers into tricky situations in the dead of night. From Bentley's early roots, to their ongoing reputation as unbeatable Brits, the historic tale of Bentley at Le Mans is conveyed with a power reflective of their cars.

2. The Feather Evolution

In TED-Ed's new animated lecture, writer and narrator Carl Zimmer explains the evolution of bird feathers over 50 million years. The delicate strength of feathers correlates directly to the fact that birds are living dinosaurs, Zimmer states. He further notes that feathers progressed from wires to branches and fuzz to plumage, while accidental physics played the most important part. All of this information and more is set to a beautiful animation by artist Armelia Leung.

3. The Ace Hotel London

T Magazine offers a peek at Alex Calderwood's latest project, the Ace Hotel London, slated to open this fall. Known for his expertise in creative restoration, Calderwood is taking over a drab business hotel in Shoreditch and turning it into the city's next hotspot. He also smartly tapped into the neighborhood's early pioneers, like the restauranteurs behind Bistrotheque, to give the hotel an authentic vibe and turn this fifth member of the Ace family into an enticing reflection of the area's history as a maker culture with a vibrant arts scene.

4. Red Bull's Imaginate

Known for pulling out all the stops when it comes to action sports events, Red Bull has set the bar even higher with their new video short, "Imaginate," featuring Scottish mountain bike rider Danny MacAskill. While MacAskill's tricks are enough to blow anyone's mind, the production value and creative direction is nothing short of blockbuster. "Imaginate" is set inside MacAskill's childhood mind, when he used to imagine bike tricks while playing with his toys. All of the ramps and features in the clip were purposely built—with startling accuracy—to look like life-sized toys. Highlights include a massive Twister board, a train station (which, of course, MacAskill jumps off) and a real tank. Don't miss some of the bails and outtakes during the credits.

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5. The Golden Tunnel

This two-minute video, free of any spoken dialogue, is like a music video/documentary hybrid that captures the making of Kevin Ledo's permanent installation for Flyjin, a new Asian restaurant in Montréal that transforms into a bar and nightclub depending on time and mood. Ledo's work channels this nighttime metamorphosis, as he uses paint and gold leaf to create a shimmering tunnel of gold, haunted by owls and phases of the moon. NU & Jo Ke's house-techno rendition of "Who Loves the Sun" by Velvet Underground drives the beat as you watch Ledo's team paint, building a sense of awe and appreciation for the final piece.

6. Special Edition Orange UP Band

Jawbone pushes forward with the UP Band by working with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to inspire healthy habits in a younger age group. For every Special Edition Orange UP Band purchased, Jawbone will donate $20 to the Alliance. This effort will enable the Alliance to reach out to schools and community programs to ensure a generation that's healthier than the last.

7. Desert Bunnies

Marfa, Texas—the art mecca in the middle of the desert—now houses new, temporary sculpture: a 1972 black Dodge Charger lies atop a slanted concrete plinth, accompanied by a 40-foot tall neon Playboy logo. The sign, which lights up at dusk and stays on throughout the night, becomes a beacon on the barren highway. With this piece, Playboy seeks to "emerge from this period of darkness" and resurrect itself as the influential forefront of art, literature and politics that it once was. The brand commissioned contemporary painter Richard Phillips (known for his portraits of women in media) for a two-part series; the second act to "Playboy Marfa" will be revealed by the end of this year.

8. Lyto Camera Mobility

You don't need a Lyto camera, best known for its endless refocusing ability once an image has been captured, to use the new iOS app. Lyto users can upload and share light field photos while on the fly, but real value arises from content availability and their perspective-shifting technology. Lyto is stirring up a community while creating a new destination for photo sharing and viewing, as well as (unique to Lyto) re-envisioning the future of images.

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9. A Day in the Life of Paul Loebach

Brooklyn-based furniture and product designer Paul Loebach was recently candidly interviewed by Core77 for the second installment of their biweekly series, Core77 Questionnaire. Loebach's refreshingly straightforward answers give a glimpse into the designer's everyday mentality and furthermore spark stimulating thoughts on design work and how it fits into our lives.

10. Dolphins Hit the Waves

A pod of around 40 bottlenose dolphins were photographed surfing waves off the east coast of South Africa this week. With few people around, the dolphins had the eight-foot waves all to themselves as they made laps, playing in the surf and swimming back out for more. The stunning images are sure to make anyone want to hit the beach for a little Flipper-inspired surf.

11. TOMS x Jonathan Adler

LA-based shoe and eyewear company TOMS collaborated with designer Jonathan Adler to create three limited edition sunglasses for TOMS' eyewear collection. The unisex, vintage-inspired glasses include a handmade needlepoint case (which can be purchased separately) that highlights Adler's penchant for bold colors and whimsical motifs.

12. Top of the Charts

It's no secret that we're huge fans of visual information here at Cool Hunting. Quartz's best charts of the year (so far) contains a wide range of very interesting, often complex, information that's portrayed in easy-to-read, aesthetically-sound graphics. From David McCandless' remarkable portrayal of the cost of everything in the world to a leaked screenshot of the US National Security Agency's data-collecting software, there is a lot of learn from these charts, with the team at Quartz showing you the best of the best.

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13. The Floating Egg House

British visual artist Stephen Turner, along with a team of designers and craftsmen, recently launched the Exbury Egg, a floating home made from cold-moulded plywood and local timber. Turner's work focuses on the sea and human impact on the environment. He will live in the 9' x 20' structure for the next year, studying the ways in which climate change is impacting our shores. Sparse yet beautiful, the Exbury Egg is a unique architectural and artistic piece that will only get better as it weathers in its natural environment on Britain's south coast.

14. Beta Inkless Pen

The Beta Inkless Pen allows you to write with no ink at all, meaning your pen will never run dry. Its effect is similar to that of a pencil—the metal tip leaves a silvery lead trail on the paper—but the pen's lead never needs sharpening. This eco-friendly writing instrument could actually be the last pen you ever buy.

15. Drop That Top

A refined, flexing muscle of a sports car, Aston Martin's 2014 Vanquish convertible flaunts both performance and good looks. You can drop the three-layered top at speeds up to 30 mph, before accelerating to the vehicle's 183 mph maximum. Carbon fiber body panels cover where it counts, but Aston Martin left out the header between glass and roof so when the top's down your windows are touching nothing but sky. With such a handsome exterior, we probably don't even need to mention the 5.9-liter V12 engine with 565 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque.

16. Street Charge

Citywide WiFi is rendered useless if the phones can't stay charged. After Hurricane Sandy tore through the five boroughs, this battery-life problem became even more glaring; so AT&T, Goal Zero and Pensa Design unveiled Street Charge to fill the void. This summer, the solar-powered USB charging unit will pop up in parks and public destinations around the city to sustainably charge phones of all types.

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