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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Prisoner art, prosthetic Lego legs, intuitive boarding passes and more in our weekly look at the web

by CH Editors in Link About It on 28 September 2013

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1. Rick Owens Step Team

In a drastic departure from what you would expect during Paris Fashion Week, designer Rick Owens replaced traditional runway models with a team of "plus-size" step dancers. From challenging the norms of classic aesthetics to demonstrating the flexibility of the collection, the approach was a wild success—the audience cheered along. Artistic, engaging and a reflection of his provocative style, the Rick Owens SS14 show was as forward-thinking as his eponymous label.

2. Rostarr Mural in the Making

DC-native Romon Kimin Yang—known better as the street artist Rostarr—just finished painting his latest mural at the Williamsburg newsroom of Bedford + Bowery (the NY Mag and NYU Journalism School collaborative news outlet). Though he didn't plan on moving to Brooklyn to become an artist, his newfound knack for, and creative spin on, the ancient art of calligraphy has made his work—and his process—something of a treasure. Each wall is wholly unique, impromptu and distinctively Rostarr.

3. Muscle Car Mash-Up

Detroit's newest muscle car, the Equus Bass 770, sure looks familiar in that "Haven't we met before?" sense. That's because its sleekly robust design emulates the Dodge Challenger... and a Camaro... and a Mustang. From every angle, the references are evident—and that's what was intended. A "best-of" muscle car mash-up with a 640 horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged aluminum V8 engine, the Equus Bass is as Herculean as it is handsome.

4. Into the Box

What happens when you combine large-scale robotics, live projection mapping and software engineering? A flat, blank canvas that transforms into a three-dimensional portal, uniting the physical world with the virtual world—in real time. Filmed using only a camera, with no post-production CGI added, this video from SF-based design and engineering studio Bot & Dolly shows a glimpse of what may be the future of films, performances, architecture and more.

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5. DIY Kettle

These days when a home appliance ceases to work it's simply replaced. To show this needn't be the case, artist Jesse Howard—in collaboration with Intrastructures designer Thomas Lommée—created a water-boiling machine from nothing more than common household components and OpenStructures design principles.

6. Solitary Request

The Tamms Correctional Center in Illinois was a super-maximum security facility designed to place prisoners in complete isolation. Living in a 7'x12' room for 23 hours a day for an unknown number of years with very little human contact is certain to have a permanent impact on the mental, emotional and physical health of inmates. In protest against such inhumane conditions, a project called "Photo Requests from Solitary" asked solitary confinement prisoners what they most wanted to see, real or imagined. Their requests include images of themselves superimposed on different landscapes, their old neighborhoods, a horse rearing and imaginative collages. Thankfully, Tamms finally closed in January 2013, but protests shouldn't end just yet—similar facilities still exist in New York and California.

7. From Cargo to Caviar: Dragoon Yacht

When Italian architect Sergio Supino set out to build a dream yacht, he didn't start from scratch. Instead Supino took a typical Indonesian phinisi boat—one used to carry cargo between islands—and kept the boat's foundation and high bow lines while transforming it into an ultra-luxe, eco-friendly party yacht. Complete with a teak exterior, the yacht boasts an essential deck for soaking up the South Pacific's rays, a DJ booth and a jacuzzi on the bow. One look at this yacht and you'll be dreaming of the life aquatic.

8. Boarding Pass 2.0

Flying can be a stressful experience and the cryptic slips of paper we know as boarding passes offer no alleviation of the anxiety. The airline industry in the US has something of a nefarious reputation when it comes to customer service, and there's always room for improvement. Evernote designer Adam Glynn-Finnegan took it upon himself to give the boarding pass a user-centric redesign. Glynn-Finnegan takes into account two major aspects of user experience in his redesign: Chronological order of information and that the pass has multiple users (passenger, security agent, airline). The information is laid out in three easy-to-read rows. As airlines focus their attention on apps, they have failed to put that same emphasis on printed boarding passes and as Glynn-Finnegan points out, "The paper pass will always outlive your phone battery."

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9. Lego Legs

Christina Stephens has very literally taken Legos a few steps further than their intended purpose. Stephens, an amputee who lost her leg just a year ago, was jokingly challenged to build a prothetic limb using Legos and, with piles of the childhood's favorite blocks on hand, she did just that. But be warned: She proclaims "don't try this at home" maxim since finsing it's only guaranteed to remain intact for for a step or two. The upshot of steadfast optimism, watch the Lego leg come together on Core77.

10. The Vignellis Hit The Big Screen

Life and design go hand-in-hand; from the typography on logos and labels, to the very glasses we drink from. Directors Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra document the lives of two of the most influential designers of the last century, Lella and Massimo Vignelli, in their upcoming film "Design Is One." The Vignellis played a major role in bringing the slick Italian modernism of the '50s and '60s to the masses in America. Designing everything from the New York City subway signage, to iconic graphics for the likes of Ford and Bloomingdale's, as well a wide range of cutting-edge furnishings. The film showcases both the couple's work and the personalities behind it, which combined have given them a long and fruitful collaborative relationship.

11. Look Ma, No Fingers!

48 hours. That's how long it took a group of hackers to bypass the new iPhone 5S' fingerprint sensor and security software, called Touch ID, after the device was released to the general public. The embarrassing feat didn't require any knowledge of coding, either. Starbug, a member of Europe's largest hacker association Chaos Computer Club, gained entry simply by taking a photo of a fingerprint and creating a copy using latex or wood glue. The most obvious solution worked, which makes one think that biometric security might be more of a novelty than an effective measure. This news, however, is sure to subdue the urban myth that thieves would start chopping off fingers to break into the new iPhone.

12. Crystalized

Artist Yasuaki Onishi, known for his weightless installations and ethereal style, approached his latest work, "Vertical Emptiness," with a subtle, thoughtfully formulated twist. Onishi crystallized a cluster of delicate hanging tree branches using globs of dripping hot glue. With stunning simplicity, Onishi's floor-to-ceiling effect is so undeniably magical, we wish we could walk through it ourselves. Get the details on the gallery and check out a video of his process on Colossal.

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13. P.INK Day 2013

Pinterest page Personal Ink Project (P.INK) provides tattoo inspiration and information for breast cancer survivors. In addition to the shared stories, P.INK is hosting a crowd-funding project to raise money which will eventually pay for 10 tattoos that cover scars or serve as a nipple replacement, to be done at Brooklyn's Saved Tattoo.

14. The Goodhood Illustrations

Shoreditch's The Goodhood Store tapped American illustrator Jennifer Williams to introduce the men behind the brands that this beloved London shop peddles each season. The designer sketches—or rather; sketches of designers—show the personal styles of the creative minds behind labels like Norse Projects, Indigofera and Universal Works, among others.

15. LeftoverSwap

For those of you who love eating off other people's plates behold: There's an app for that. Like Tinder for food, LeftoverSwap is a new app with a lot of matchmaking potential—which may or may not include leftovers, dating and/or food poisoning—as it opens a chat between you and a food proprietor to orchestrate a trade.

16. Derek Blasberg for Paperless Post

Continuing with their printed card series, Paperless Post has launched a new stationary line, this time collaborating with Harper’s Bazaar editor and man-about-town Derek Blasberg. A believer in written correspondence, Blasberg brings wit, brutal honesty and charm to all 30 selections. From event invitations touting only "Yes, There Will Be An Open Bar," to an "I'd Hit That!" birthday party announcement, they're sharply humorous but etiquette-attuned. If you're not into handwriting, you can also just send them through e-mail via Paperless Post.

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