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Concrete has accelerated the way we build. Faster and cheaper, our blue and green planet is getting greyer by the minute. The grey slabs are supposed to protect us from nature. From heat, from rain, but in reality they are not as effective as we would like. Concrete buildings are prone to have inadequate temperature control. They need to be air-conditioned (another environmental disaster) to create a living space that we feel comfortable in. Also, our all-concrete environment can exacerbate natural disasters when urban and suburban roads cannot absorb rain and cause flooding. In cities, the heat-island effect is amplified by concrete's absorption of heat.⁠ ⁠ Not to mention the impact of the concrete industry on our climate during the construction process. Taking all stages of production into account, concrete is said to be responsible for 4-8% of global CO2 emissions. Only coal, oil and gas are materials that are a greater source of greenhouse gases. And at the same time, a lot of water is needed. Another basic resource for life that is becoming increasingly scarce. And if you haven't heard about the sand shortage that leads to sand mafias and causes the mining of entire beaches, throwing whole biotopes out of balance, you should look into it.⁠ ⁠ The disadvantages of concrete are so numerous that we can't even mention them all in one post. And since sand is incredibly important component for concrete but increasingly hard to come by, concrete’s biggest pro-argument - and the only argument that really seems to count in a capitalist society - that it is cheap, is also likely to vanish. So where do we go from here? How can we build in a CO2-neutral way in the future? What do we build with when resources become scarce? That is exactly what this book is about. Buy...

Matter is a constant. It has been there from the beginning and it will remain in the future. ⁠ Derived from the Latin word mater, meaning mother, it refers to the substance of which all things are made. In English, the word can also refer to urgency or importance, something to be taken care of. Aleix Plademunt's photographic project Matter explores matter, which although itself inert, immobile and unable to reproduce, is the basis of all life. This book is about our origins, existence and the Big Bang. And about the organism at the end of which is death - but matter remains.⁠ Buy...

[vc_row][vc_column width='1/5'][/vc_column][vc_column width='3/5'] In light of the recent presidential election in France–whose results further reflect the deepening political polarization throughout Europe and the Western world as a whole–we thought that Rejected: Designs for the European Flag would be a timely choice for this month’s installment of our Surprise Subscription. More
[vc_row][vc_column width='1/5'][/vc_column][vc_column width='3/5'] For a long time, the terms fashion and sustainability seemed contradictory. If anything, sustainably produced garments were clothes - but never fashion. Fortunately, the world has changed since then and there is now a new generation that no longer separates style and responsibility. The Lissome is a brainchild of this generation. More

Is this city being built up or torn down? Is it even the same city? The same streets? ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Transformation processes are the focus of Georg Aerni’s new photographs. The Swiss photographer and artist shows plastic greenhouses that have annexed whole swathes of land for agricultural mass production, residential houses that have been built overnight on the city outskirts without construction machines and literally noiselessly. He points his lens at olive trees that have grown over centuries into figures full of character, at creepers that conquer leftover spaces between high-rises and motorways, and at mighty rock faces that are being gnawed by erosion.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ With the merging of art and documentation that is typical of Aerni’s work, Georg Aerni—Silent Transition makes the signs of change the object of a contemplative observation and at the same time asks challenging questions: about our handling of natural resources, about the social backgrounds to cities growing out of control, about the regenerative force of nature. ⁠⁠ Buy...

In architecture, the ground is usually used only as a passive foundation. This book explores the possibilities of buildings that merge with the ground, the earth and the landscape.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The evolution of architecture is also an evolution away from nature. The 1960s was the key moment when buildings were at their most clinical. Since then, more and more architects are trying to reconnect with nature. They work with the landscape and the special features of the site. But of course, this is not an invention of the modern age, it is what architecture has been for millennia. And so this book embarks on a journey around the world and through the history of architecture in search of examples of buildings and building methods that are not only in harmony with the landscape, but also make use of its special characteristics. In this way, these buildings are almost an extension of the earth's crust. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ One of the many fantastic examples are the churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia (seen in the first picture), which are not built upwards but downwards, literally carved out of the ground. You could call them a kind of negative architecture. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Many of these historical examples were previously undocumented, so this book also serves as a kind of archive with first architectural drawings of these buildings, categorising them and making connections between methods and aesthetics.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Buy...

Plates like paintings, teapots in primitive style and sculptures with abstract forms and bold colours that defy any purpose or function - the ceramic works of Shun Kadohashi seem to combine prehistoric forms with abstract modernist painting. His works are the first to be featured in the Unearth book series, which explores the practice and processes of artists working with ceramics.⁠⁠ Buy...

Photographer Fien Muller and sculptor Hannes Van Severen only made their debut as a design duo in 2011. But already their first collection of furniture met with a great response. It was the simple materials and an incredible sense for shapes and colour combinations that made them stand out and still do today.⁠ ⁠ Over the last decade they created an influential body of work – elementary forms shape functional sculptures that grow into vibrant spaces. With both Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen being artists, it’s- natural that their collections sit somewhere between design and art. This book unveils the origins, the complexity, and the references embedded in the DNA of Muller Van Severen’s work.⁠   Buy...

MJKVDL 2021 presents the first published overview of the experimental work of architect-turned-clothing designer Mark Jan Krayenhoff van de Leur.  After a 30 year career as an architect, Mark began experimenting with clothing design after he and his husband, the artist AA Bronson, relocated from New York to Berlin in 2013. His designs emerge from labour-intensive and formally unique processes, responding to problems or provocations raised by traditional approaches to garment construction and tailoring, and subverting established norms of production. Rather than a fashion collection, Mark’s clothes exist outside of capitalist cycles of seasonal production and consumption; each garment is unique and no multiples are made or sold.⁠ Designed in the layout of a fashion lookbook, the publication, however, shows in a very intimate way the garments that are imbued with autobiographical narratives. The very personal is underlined by the photographs, most of which were taken at home in the Berlin flat Mark shares with his husband.⁠⠀ Buy...

For a long time, sustainable products had the reputation of being unsexy, aesthetically somewhere between a tie-dyed T-shirt and a haystack. But these times are fortunately over. Sustainability, longevity and circularity are not only in demand as properties, but also their visibility within the material.⁠ At ECAL students of product design, established materials specialists, manufacturers and researchers came together with the aim of exploring and defining the aesthetic potential of a new generation of sustainable materials. The result of this research-through-design project is a series of fourteen case studies involving the development of materials made from textile waste, recycled paper, rubber granulate or vegetable fibers such as algae, rice husks, hemp, flax and wood. The resulting new materials can be shaped, pressed, woven or welded and offer future designers a range of practical tools and applied knowledge about the methods of analyzing and processing seminal materials, utilizing their advantageous qualities and developing functional, yet aesthetically intriguing objects.⁠ Buy...