Currently viewing the category: "Art & Design"

« A truly fine meal is enjoyed not once but three times, in anticipation, in consumption, and in remembrance »

Dear followers,

As you might know, I love food, and I love Excel (yes, Excel!), and as such I have a very strong tendency to record, rate and recommend all my favorite restaurants and bars using spreadsheets. (Happy to share them with you, current ‘shareable’ spreadsheets are Paris and London, still working on NY, Dubai and Marrakesh!)

I recently decided that the only missing feature to my little notes was a map, so I could look up what in my favorites or to do list was close by if I was in an area.

Of course, Google having a response to (pretty much) everything, you can create your maps using « My Places » in Google Maps. So here is my Paris Shortlist, in blue are my shortlisted places and in red my to-do list!

Any suggestions please comment on this article and I will gladly add it to my map (even better if you want to go and try it out with me!).


View Ambrouille’s Paris Shortlist in a larger map

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Noooooo leave us alooooone!

« Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20′s and 30′s that value independent thinking, counter-culture » (Urban Dictionnary)


28-year-old photographer Leo Caillard‘s latest project, called “Hipster in Stone”, combines his photography and Photoshoppin’ skills, imagining what it would be like if ancient Greek sculpture were hipsters. The project started when Leo saw at the Louvre some nude statues representing the ideal body figures, and he wondered, “but what were the Greeks wearing when they weren’t posing for sculptors?”

Enjoy some of his pictures and below a video of the making of!

And here’s a look at how the Photoshop editing is done:

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David Fisher Architect (Florence – Italy) is an Italian-Israeli architect based in Florence; he is known for designing the Dynamic Tower, a rotating skyscraper proposed for construction in Dubai (although the basic concept has precedents, especially the 2001 Suite Vollard in Brazil with independently rotating floors).

« Since the dawn of humanity man has seeked to exceed the limits of previous generations. The achievement of new limits in Architecture has been written in history as a reminder to new generations: humanity has to pursue virtue and knowledge. New limits and prospects are now opened: buildings are now able to change their shape and be part of environment. This is the era of Dynamic Architecture »

Here is the video presenting his Dynamic Tower, and some explanation by David Fisher himself about the birth of the idea and the science behind it. I have been delving a little further to know more about Fisher and the tower itself, and stumbled upon a surprisingly witty Wikipedia article questioning Fisher’s credentials and honesty… Not sure what/who to believe but nobody can contest that the video and project are impressive.

Dynamic space – The birth of the idea.

The idea was somehow part of my architectural beliefs following years of research on technology of construction, human and social aspects. « Architecture part of nature » is a concept that I always carried with me: Buildings that adjust to life, to our needs, to our moods. The inspiration, however, arrived at a precise moment in December 2004, when I was watching the view from the Olympic Tower in NYC, on 51st and 5th. I noticed that from a certain spot you could see the East River and the Hudson River, both sides of Manhattan… That is when I thought to myself: « Why don’t we rotate the entire floor? That way, everybody can see both the East River and the Hudson River, as well as Saint Patrick’s Cathedral! ».

That is how I got inspired to create the building that changes its shape continuously.

But it really all started during my childhood, when I used to watch every evening the sun set over the Mediterranean. (I like the guy, who could not like a Mediterranean aficionado?!) The huge red sun would slowly fall into the water, signalling that one day was over and another was about to begin. This aspect of motion and its relation to the dimension of time always intrigued me.

When I grew up and became an architect I understood that an architect should design buildings that adjust to life. They should adapt to our space, our functionalities and our needs that change continuously – and even to our sense of beauty, itself in continuous motion.

These are the first buildings to have a fourth dimension: Time. This is the new philosophy of dynamic buildings, adjusting to sunrise and sunset, to the wind and to the view – thus becoming part of nature. I call these buildings « Designed by Time, Shaped by Life ».


More on Dynamic Architecture, thanks Philou for sharing!

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Currently in the process of re-writing my resume, I find myself struggling with a terrible dilemma: which font? More specifically, which family font?

So, I did what everybody does nowadays and popped the question to my good friend Google, and stumbled upon this very nice infographic by

(And yes, I am still struggling, Times New Roman or Calibri?)

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Etant moi même une inconsidérable fan d’Excel, et l’utilisant non seulement tous les jours mais quasiment toutes les heures, je reconnais que Tatsuo Horiuchi fait ici preuve d’une imagination débordante, sur un logiciel dont je pensais déjà exploiter un bonne majorité des capacités!

Adieu tableaux croisés dynamiques, listes triées, graphiques en batons et VBA, bonjour motifs japonais, fleurs traditionnelles et paysages de rêves!

A 73 ans, cela fait maintenant une décennie que Tatsuo Horiuchi à élu Excel comme outil de création; il s’est ainsi imposé comme artiste numérique « digital artist » et présente ses oeuvres à travers plusieurs expositions.

Vous pouvez aller sur son blog (qui est en japonais, donc on ouvre avec Chrome et on utilise le super plugin permettant de traduire la page en anglais, ce n’est pas trop mal traduit!) ou il y présente ses oeuvres et quelques techniques de réalisations!

Chapeau bas :)

Thanks to T.S.H for sharing! 

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La NASA dévoile des images exceptionnelles de la Terre illuminée la nuit.

Grâce à un nouveau satellite, Suomi NPP, les scientifiques de la NASA ont pu réaliser des images impressionnantes de la Terre vue de l’espace, la nuit. Tout se révèle alors à l’objectif, depuis la lueur vacillante des bateaux jusqu’aux aux étendues lumineuses des mégapoles.

Sublime. Prenez 5 min pour la regarder:

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Vous vous souvenez peut-être du son d’ouverture de Windows 95, ou même le bruit d’une cassette VHS que l’on insère dans un magnétoscope, voire même celui du modem se connectant un internet.

Sachez qu’un musée virtuel des sons en voie de disparitions, ou même disparus a ouvert ses portes sur internet: The Museum of Endangered Sounds.

Créé par Brendan Chilcutt (je mets sa photo en bas de l’article parceque sa tete me fait beaucoup trop rire, et je crois bien qu’on a les meme lunettes!), ce site regroupe une petite panoplie de sons que presque personne n’a entendu depuis des années, mais que les plus âgés connaissent très bien.

Une collection commencée en janvier, disposée avec de petits gifs très simples. Un musée qui ravira tous ceux qui ont grandi dans les années 1990!

Donc a tous ceux qui partagent la nostalgie de bruits qui ont bercé notre enfance, il est temps d’envoyer a Brendan des enregistrements avant qu’il ne soit trop tard (je m’accroche encore désespérément a mes vieilles cassettes VHS du Roi Lion et d’Aladin, meme si on n’a plus de lecteur cassette!).

Allez, pour ceux qui sont so-bilingual, un petit mot de Brendan Chilcutt qui ne pourra que vous convaincre!

« I launched the site in January of 2012 as a way to preserve the sounds made famous by my favorite old technologies and electronics equipment. For instance, the textured rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a 1983 JVC HR-7100 VCR. As you probably know, it’s a wonderfully complex sound, subtle yet unfiltered. But, as streaming playback becomes more common in the US, and as people in developing nations like Canada and the UK get brought up to DVD players, it’s likely that the world will have seen and heard the last of older machines like the HR-7100. And as new products come to market, we stand to lose much more than VCRs.

Imagine a world where we never again hear the symphonic startup of a Windows 95 machine. Imagine generations of children unacquainted with the chattering of angels lodged deep within the recesses of an old cathode ray tube TV. And when the entire world has adopted devices with sleek, silent touch interfaces, where will we turn for the sound of fingers striking QWERTY keypads? Tell me that. And tell me: Who will play my GameBoy when I’m gone?

These questions and more led me to the undertaking that is The Museum Of Endangered Sounds.

My ten-year plan is to complete the data collection phase by the year 2015, and spend the next seven years developing the proper markup language to reinterpret the sounds as a binary composition.

If you don’t understand my passion and the significance of my work, you probably never will. But if you do, then you’ve come to the right place.

And please, please email me if you enjoy the museum or have any questions! I love to hear from people and need to know what gadget sounds I am missing.

Thank you! »

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If only…

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The New York Times published an article presenting 32 innovation that will change our future daily lives.

I loved Maggie Koerth-Baker’s introduction (below), and her regard on innovation « It’s messy, and it’s awesome » and have selected one post in each section (Morning Routine, Commute, Work, Play, Health, Home); however I strongly recommend you read the full article here!

« The electric light was a failure.

Invented by the British chemist Humphry Davy in the early 1800s, it spent nearly 80 years being passed from one initially hopeful researcher to another, like some not-quite-housebroken puppy. In 1879, Thomas Edison finally figured out how to make an incandescent light bulb that people would buy. But that didn’t mean the technology immediately became successful. It took another 40 years, into the 1920s, for electric utilities to become stable, profitable businesses. And even then, success happened only because the utilities created other reasons to consume electricity. They invented the electric toaster and the electric curling iron and found lots of uses for electric motors. They built Coney Island. They installed electric streetcar lines in any place large enough to call itself a town. All of this, these frivolous gadgets and pleasurable diversions, gave us the light bulb.

We tend to rewrite the histories of technological innovation, making myths about a guy who had a great idea that changed the world. In reality, though, innovation isn’t the goal; it’s everything that gets you there. It’s bad financial decisions and blueprints for machines that weren’t built until decades later. It’s the important leaps forward that synthesize lots of ideas, and it’s the belly-up failures that teach us what not to do.

When we ignore how innovation actually works, we make it hard to see what’s happening right in front of us today. If you don’t know that the incandescent light was a failure before it was a success, it’s easy to write off some modern energy innovations — like solar panels — because they haven’t hit the big time fast enough.

Worse, the fairy-tale view of history implies that innovation has an end. It doesn’t. What we want and what we need keeps changing. The incandescent light was a 19th-century failure and a 20th- century success. Now it’s a failure again, edged out by new technologies, like LEDs, that were, themselves, failures for many years.

That’s what this issue is about: all the little failures, trivialities and not-quite-solved mysteries that make the successes possible. This is what innovation looks like. It’s messy, and it’s awesome. »

Morning Routine – Electric Clothes

Physicists at Wake Forest University have developed a fabric that doubles as a spare outlet. When used to line your shirt — or even your pillowcase or office chair — it converts subtle differences in temperature across the span of the clothing (say, from your cuff to your armpit) into electricity.

And because the different parts of your shirt can vary by about 10 degrees, you could power up your MP3 player just by sitting still. According to the fabric’s creator, David Carroll, a cellphone case lined with the material could boost the phone’s battery charge by 10 to 15 percent over eight hours, using the heat absorbed from your pants pocket.
Richard Morgan


Commute – Bikes

1. Anti-theft handlebars
Here’s an old idea whose time has come again. The bearing system that allows the bike to turn can be locked so that a thief can’t steer his stolen bike. The lock is internal, meaning that he’d have to destroy the bike to ride it away.

2. No more greasy chains
An updated shaft drive — which replaces the chain with a rod and internal gear system — would be perfect for urban riders. They’re popular in China right now, but new versions will be lighter and have more sophisticated gearing.
One-piece plastic and carbon-fiber frames


Work: the SpeechJammer

When you aim the SpeechJammer at someone, it records that person’s voice and plays it back to him with a delay of a few hundred milliseconds. This seems to gum up the brain’s cognitive processes — a phenomenon known as delayed auditory feedback — and can painlessly render the person unable to speak.

Kazutaka Kurihara, one of the SpeechJammer’s creators, sees it as a tool to prevent loudmouths from overtaking meetings and public forums, and he’d like to miniaturize his invention so that it can be built into cellphones. “It’s different from conventional weapons such as samurai swords,” Kurihara says. “We hope it will build a more peaceful world.” Catherine Rampell


Play: Terrifiying Playgrounds

Two Norwegian psychologists think that modern playgrounds are for wimps. Instead of short climbing walls, there should be towering monkey bars. Instead of plastic crawl tubes, there should be tall, steep slides. And balance beams. And rope swings.


The rationale is that the more we shield children from potential scrapes and sprained ankles, the more unprepared they’ll be for real risk as adults, and the less aware they’ll be of their surroundings.

Leif Kennair and Ellen Sandseter’s ideas have won the support of playground experts on both sides of the Atlantic; one company, Landscape Structures, offers a 10-foot-high climbing wall that twists like a Möbius strip. Clay Risen



Scientists at Princeton and Tufts are working on a super-thin tooth sensor (a kind of temporary tattoo) that sends an alert when it detects bacteria associated with plaque buildup, cavities or infection. It could also notify your dentist, adding an extra layer of social pressure to make an appointment.

The sensor may have wide-ranging use: the researchers have already used it to identify bacteria in saliva associated with stomach ulcers and cancers. While the sensor won’t last long on the surface of a well-brushed and flossed tooth, Michael McAlpine, the project’s leader, says that the sensors will be inexpensive enough that you can replace them daily. Clay Risen


Home – Food packaging

It’s depressing to think how much food packaging there is in your kitchen right now — all those juice cartons, water bottles and ice-cream containers. But what if you could eat them? “We’ve got to package in the same way nature does,” says a Harvard bio-engineer named David Edwards.

And so he has devised a way to convert foods into shell-like containers and films that he calls Wikicells. Yogurt will be encased in a strawberry pouch, for instance. You could wash and eat the packaging, like the skin of an apple, or you could toss it, like the peel of an orange, since it’s biodegradable. The newly wrapped ice cream and yogurt will be available later this month at the lab store in Paris, with juice and tea coming within the next year or two.

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L’image du jour, bonne semaine à tous!


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Last, but not least! (Yes, this is a blog, so the « last in » is on top of the pile, FIFO stye lol- rings a bell from old accounting courses!)

Most TEDxBrussels 2012 sessions started with a performance from Scala. Absolutely sublime and a great way to get us focused and it the perfect mood for the talks… Some videos below, but do visit their website.

Sublime song from Scala & Kolacny Brother
Listening to it still gives me butterflies… Play the song while reading the rest!

Scala is an all-female choir from the Flemish town of Aarschot in Belgium.
They hit the headlines in 2010 when, with the Kolacny brothers, they featured on the trailer to The Social Network, the massively successful hollywood movie all about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.

For the film they sang a version of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ that resonated around the world as the wired generation discovered the personality behind Facebook and its billions of users.

Long before that however, Scala were enjoying local success winning the award for Belgian Choir of the Year in 2000, releasing their first album, Scala on the Rocks in 2002. The formula of rendering current rock classics in pure choral tones has proved incredibly popular, Scala performs all over the world continually adding to its hard rock repertoire.

Scala and Kolacny Bros – U2 With or Without You


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Top 3 – Andrew Keen

Andrew Keen is a British born entrepreneur and author. His book The Cult of the Amateur sets out his views of user-generated content websites such as YouTube and Wikipedia.

Keen’s view is that by worshipping the amateur individual – bedroom filmmaker or prolific blogger, part time Flickr photographer or war tourist tweeter – we’re losing sight of carefully considered media production techniques that have evolved over decades, along with the intelligent professionals who operate in far flung places to bring us the news.


Keen reckons Wikipedia is the online home of inaccuracy and crowdsourced content can never be as reliable as pre-digital information channels. He argues fluently for media literacy, challenging the mantra of the digital generation, the user is not king.



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This Monday I have been lucky enough to attend the TEDxBrussels 2012 Conference at BOZAR Museum.

I use the term lucky as it was an incredible « concours de circonstances » (just unsuccessfully tried to Google-Translate this term, so if you do not speak French, « tant pis pour vous! ») that led me to have a VIP ticket from Accenture, won on internet by a high school friend from Solvay Business School (Merci Philip!).

An unfortunate turn of events later and over dinner he tells me he cannot go, has to stay at work on Monday, and cannot find anyone interested in his ticket. So there I was, sending a last minute email to my boss on a Sunday afternoon, « could I please please please take my day off tomorrow and assist to the conference »!

« Bref », 8am the next morning, there I am, sitting on the first row of the BOZAR theater, waiting for Steve Wozniak to open the day. Classic. Can’t believe there was a time when I hated Mondays!

So, as TED is all about sharing, I am going to post here my top-5 speeches from TEDxBrussels.

Top 1 – Zoe Laughling

Artist and maker Zoe Laughlin is a co-founder/director of the Institute of Making and the Materials Library project. She holds an MA from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design and obtained a PhD in Materials within the Division of Engineering, King’s College London.


Working at the interface of the science, art, craft and design of materials, her work ranges from formal experiments with matter, to materials consultancy and large-scale public exhibitions and events with partners including Tate Modern, the Hayward Gallery, the V&A and the Wellcome Collection. Her particular areas of interest are currently The Sound of Materials, The Taste of Materials and The Performativity of Matter, with outputs ranging from theatrical demonstration lectures to the making of instruments and features on both radio and television.


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Incredible QR Code Russian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012.

Every surface inside the top floor of the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale is covered in QR codes, which visitors decode using tablet computers to explore ideas for a new Russian city dedicated to science.

Downstairs, visitors can peer through lenses to catch a glimpse of the gated and secretive science towns established under the Soviet Union, intended to provide a contrast with the open and collaborative vision presented upstairs.

The architectural team includes Pierre de Meuron, Rem Koolhaas, Kazuyo Sejima and the Venice Architecture Biennale’s director David Chipperfield, plus the winners of several rounds of competitions to be held as the project progresses.

The exhibition is curated by Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov of SPEECH Tchoban & Kuznetsov, who are masterplanning the Skolkovo project and were part of the team behind The Russia Factory exhibition at the same pavilion two years ago.

The 13th Venice Architecture Biennale opens to the public today and continues until 25 November.

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I say… why not?!

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« The beauty of a sencond », a contest organized by Mont Blanc where candidates were asked to send videos of 1s, expressing their view of beauty…

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