Posts tagged with "London Eye":

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London skyline as battleground: Designers render 3D-printed chess pieces in the shape of iconic architecture

City skylines can seem at times like battlegrounds, with architects vying for superlatives of tallest, grandest, and bizarrest. Skyline Chess, founded by London-based designers Chris Prosser and Ian Flood, reimagines chess pieces as miniature models of the city’s landmark buildings. The ubiquitous terraced house, oft seen in indistinguishable cookie-cutter rows, is recast as the humble pawn, while the iconic Big Ben plays the rook, the London Eye Ferris wheel stands in for the Knight, and the Bishop is supplanted with The Gherkin. Meanwhile, Renzo Piano’s 87-story Shard in Southwark, London, presides as Queen, while the reigning honor of King-dom is bestowed upon the 4.5 inch-tall Canary Wharf, one of the UK’s two main financial centers. “In developing the idea we thought long and hard about suitable alternatives for the chessmen, both in terms of their architecture and symbolic value as well as their value on the chessboard,” the designers wrote on their website. “We believe that as individual objects they are beautiful and when arranged across the board represent something unique.” Lovers of architecture, Prosser and Flood developed their idea over a series of chess matches, modeled the pieces in 3D, and then 3D-printed them in injection-molded acrylic. Each piece is double-weighted and has a felt base. In 2013, the designers launched a campaign on popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter, but won just over $14,000 in pledges of the approximately $39,000 requested to fund their startup. While crowdfunding fell through, seeing as the site operates on an all-or-nothing funding model, Prosser and Flood secured investment elsewhere. In addition to trotting out its first architecture-influenced edition, Skyline Chess creates bespoke chess sets for lovers of the strategic board game, and has its eye on developing sets based on the architectural icons of Rome, New York, Dubai, and Shanghai.
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Marks Barfield Architects building 530-foot-tall observation tower in Brighton, England

The husband-and-wife team behind the London Eye observation wheel plans to one-up themselves with an observation tower in Brighton, UK that's about 100 feet taller. For the seaside town, David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects have created Brighton i360, a 531-foot-tall, futuristic-structure that lifts visitors up high above the English Channel. The project—currently under construction and described as the first "vertical cable car"—is defined by its glass “observation pod” that rises up a main tower and accommodates up to 200 people. “We wanted to create a similar sort of visitor experience with a view that slowly unfolds as you gradually ascend, but with an enhanced more spacious pod enabling guests to walk around to enjoy the 360 degree views,” David Marks said in a statement on his firm's website. That glass pod also serves as a pretty slick party space as it is decked out with a sound and entertainment systems and a bar. At the base of the tower is a one-story glass podium and patio that includes a café, shops, restrooms, and an exhibition space for local artists. Brighton i360 is expected to open in 2016 and attract 7,000,000 visitors a year.   [h/t Gizmag]
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The High Roller: A Party in the Las Vegas Sky

The Las Vegas skyline just got a lot taller. The 550-foot High Roller, set to open this spring, is the world’s highest observation wheel, towering above both the London Eye (443 feet) and the Singapore Flyer (541 feet). A project of Caesars Entertainment, the High Roller is the anchor of the new shopping and nightlife complex known as The LINQ. “As we settled on the idea of a giant wheel, we just began brainstorming: well, what does that really mean?” said Phil Hettema, whose Hettema Group designed the structure. “We looked at the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer and tried to understand those. We really talked about what we liked about those, and also about what we wanted to do differently.” The designers turned their attention to three aspects of the High Roller experience. First, “we really wanted a more all-encompassing experience,” said Hettema, “rather than just loading you onto a vehicle that has no narration.” Visitors to the High Roller begin their trip in the welcome lobby, where media screens and art punctuate the security checks. They then travel to the High Roller lounge on the second floor, where they can buy a drink to enjoy there or on the 30-minute ride. Finally, they climb to the third floor’s 280-degree theater, where they watch Vegas-themed music videos before stepping out onto the loading platform. Second, the Hettema Group wanted to appeal to a younger crowd—not the Baby Boomers targeted by many of Las Vegas’s attractions. “We wanted to help Caesars be on the cutting edge of that, appeal to a more Millennial generation [with] sort of a different tone and mindset,” explained Hettema. Hence the music videos and the mid-queue lounge. Finally, “we really wanted to have a strong design point of view,” said Hettema. The company worked with Arup to design an observation wheel based on spherical rather than oval cabins. Suspended by a single large bearing ring, each 44,000-pound cabin offers a 360-degree view of the city below. “Throughout the process our goal was how can we minimize the structure, slim things down so it became as pure of a circle as possible?” said Hettema Group’s John Kasperowicz. Hettema compares the result to pearls strung around a ring. The wheel’s off-white color serves as a canvas for 2,000 LED lights. That the High Roller went up at all is a bit of a surprise, considering the site. The designers had to work around a storm culvert and an existing monorail line and accommodate FAA regulations. Contrary to intuition, the wheel’s support legs cant in rather than out, to save space on the ground. “As in any design, with each one of those constraints, I hope we’ve been successful at turning them into an aesthetic plus,” said Hettema. For the High Roller’s designers, the experience remains as important as the structure. “For us, it’s not just placing an object in landscape. It does involve thinking about the entire experience,” said Kasperowicz. “We think of ourselves as designers who are storytellers,” agreed Hettema. “Every project we do has a story of some sort.”