Friday, 24 February 2017

ARCOMadrid 2017

This year's edition of ARCOMadrid's contemporary art fair, has somehow brought an increased supply of wilderness photography, while it has cut down on socially engaged artworks. One would think the opposite might have happened considering the chaotic state of current affairs, but perhaps trying to get us closer to the experience of nature isn't such an inadequate response to today's issues, especially since nature can allegedly calm anxiety. However, and despite the benefits of nature, if art loses its bonds to social issues and therefore its capacity to move us on that, who or what would? 

Friday, 12 August 2016

Syntropic Agriculture: the regenerative food-growing method that could reverse climate change and end hunger

Photo by Natureza Fotos

"There is no such thing as a poor soil," stretches Ernst Götsch, a farmer and researcher who for the past 30 years has turned degraded land in Brazil into highly productive agroforests (trees and crops) using no chemical inputs, heavy machinery or irrigation. 

Since Götsch hardly publishes papers, I have traveled to Brazil to learn first hand how he manages to create net positive ecosystems, that produce food, while restoring soils and trapping outstanding amounts of carbon. As it happens, his method is nature-inspired, intuitive and easy to understand; it carries almost no cost and works in all ecosystems. If we were to leave it to nature to fix climate change and food security, this is how she would do it. 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Best of Milan Design Week 2016

The Milan Design Week, the world's most extraordinary design event, has seen its 2016 edition shining much brighter than previous ones thanks to great additions from the art and architecture scene. If the 1,100 design events scheduled across town and the 2,400 exhibitors at the Salone del Mobile weren't enough, there are now some thrilling art spaces, beautiful exhibitions and iconic buildings to visit. 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Addis Ababa: Ambitious Housing Programme to Half Slum Areas by 2020

Ethiopia is urbanizing at the phenomenal annual rate of 4.3%. Cities like Addis are seeing this trend in the shape of large, multi-storey condominium developments primarily for the low- and middle-income sector. Last February I visited Yeka Abado, a new development east of Addis where 18,000 homes are nearing completion. The 200 hectare site is part of the city’s ambitious Housing Development Programme that includes ten similar sites all under construction. 

via Send a City - Read full article here

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

ARCOMadrid 2015

My visit to ARCO, Madrid's contemporary art fair, happens at a time when I am designing 2,000 dollar homes and just returned from a brainstorming session on it in Africa. In this context, it feels rather difficult to appreciate any dispensable object that carries the same price tag as hundred homes. This said, art isn't that inessential. It has an extraordinary effect on the soul and the artworks at this year's edition did certainly meet the purpose. Here is a selection of my favourites. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Colours of Panama

The first thing you learn in Panama is that water is the country's main resource and that a cloudy sky is an essential and non-negotiable part of it. In spite of this, or possibly because of it, everything under that grey sky seems to be wonderfully tinted. Buildings being no exception. The colour palettes are endless (primary, colonial, pastel...) and the quirky colour combinations, something you can't help loving.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Spanish Colonial Town: Planning Flexibility in Spite of the Grid

In a span of two centuries America saw the foundation of the largest number of cities ever established in such a short period of timeFrom the six European countries involved in the American venture - namely Portugal, Spain, France, England, Denmark and Holland - only Spain felt the importance of trading from organized communities and created a set of planning guidelines to consider when building the new towns. The guidelines did not only provide an action plan to establish new towns but also a plan to grow them sustainably through the years.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Teresa Margollés: Testing Building's Memories

This Property Won't Be Demolished by Teresa Margollés
What do you do when 115,000 homes are left behind? Mexican artist Teresa Margollés explores the phenomenon of Ciudad Juárez, the border city that saw 220,000 residents displaced by violence in 2010.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

ARCOMadrid 2014

Oasis at El País

The 33rd edition of ARCO, Madrid's contemporary art fair, offers in 2014 an experience worked around its visitors. There is an oasis for charging phones, a food court arranged as a German Biergarten with live DJ sessions, an open TV set and a radio station. What used to happen behind closed doors, plays now finally in the open. Lovely art as well. Here is a selection...

Monday, 17 February 2014

10 Great Things About Rocinha, Rio's Notorious Favela

There is something special about Rocinha, the dense informal neighbourhood in Rio's South Zone. Newcomers keep arriving and long term residents don't move out despite the infrastructure shortcomings and the security issues of the place. Its convenient location and cheaper rents could explain the phenomenon but there are surely more reasons to add. Personally, I find Rocinha deeply moving and after a closer look, I came out with a few reasons why...