This month #asloves ‘Symbiotic Architecture’ the AI-generated architectural project of architect and computational designer Manas Bhatia. 
The project began as an AI-based investigation into the interactions we have all had with nature, such as appreciating a tree's shade on a hot day, reading a newspaper in a courtyard under a tree, or simply hanging out in a park to take in the changing hues of the leaves. Building on these observations, came the idea of a "utopian future" in which buildings are not machines made of steel or concrete is presented. Instead, the structure is alive and has the ability to grow and breathe. Imagine a Hyperion tree (a coast redwood in California that is considered the world's tallest known living tree) that has been hollowed out, with apartments facing inward and natural light flooding in to create an enchanting bio-atrium. Using AI tools like Midjourney helped conceptualize some of the answers to questions like "Can structures grow?" "Can the envelope in which we live breathe as creatures do?" ” Manias Bhatia, on his Instagram
The results are remarkable, with some of the most forward-thinking architectural forms we’ve seen so far! A beautiful concept, beautifully executed.

Images: courtesy Lego

Botanical Bricks

We have loved Lego’s Botanical collection since they launched it last year with the first flower bouquets. We couldn’t be happier to see them expanding and including more plants, with the addition of succulents and an orchid.   All of the Lego botanical pieces are intended for adults not children, and make perfect gifts for those of us that are not so green fingered!
Comprising 771 pieces and 608 pieces respectively, the new plants can be assembled to suit our own desires: the succulents can be presented together or separated and the orchids can be posed in a variety of ways by rotating the stems, blooms, roots, and leaves of the model to achieve the look you prefer. They can also be personalized by rebuilding the stems to create new combinations of flower arrangements.
Inspired by real plants and flowers, #asloves all of the Lego botanical collection pieces that are destined to become future design classics!

Images: courtesy Lego

Outside of the Box

We always champion unexpected uses of materials and out-of-the-box thinking. This month #asloves the concept shoes created by British fashion designer Craig Green, as part of his ongoing collaboration with Adidas Originals.    For the first concept shoe, Green re-imagined the classic Adidas Stan Smith. He wanted to create a shoe that had the feel of the Stan Smith whilst disguising its unmistakable looks. His solution was remarkable! He made a cast of the classic Stan Smith shoe on the interior, and the exterior became a bulbous form, leaving only the perforated stripes as a visual memory of the iconic design.
So, actually, you don't ever really see the original shoe or all of the details associated with it, but your foot experiences them. We left the three stripe perforations on the external of the cast, which not only maintained that key detail, but was functional, as it allowed the foot to breathe.” Green, Interviewed by Sam Cole for High Snobiety    For the second concept shoe, Green researched diving equipment and uniforms. He reimagined a vintage divers shoe in natural and black latex, complete with pump, foot treads and Adidas logo. These shoes were produced in a latex dip-moulding factory, that specializes in the production of medical and diving suits. 
These concept shoes will not be available for commercial sales, but Green has also developed several commercial Adidas Originals that reimagined the classic Stan Smith.

Quote courtesy High Snobiety

Images: Dan Tobin Smith for Adidias

A New Lightweight Material Stronger Than Steel

Plastics are often demonized, which is counterproductive to their potential. Though single-use plastics are certainly not environmentally friendly, we should not knock the environmental benefits of plastics that are used in appropriate long-term applications. As a material, plastic is marvellous: it is light, strong and easily moldable. Without plastics, we would not have been able to make the advances we have made in medicine, aviation, automobiles or electronics. And, unlike glass or steel, plastic takes very little energy to produce.   This month #asloves the new polymer development - 2DPA-1 - that was revealed by researchers at MIT:   Using a novel polymerization process, MIT chemical engineers have created a new material that is stronger than steel and as light as plastic, and can be easily manufactured in large quantities. The new material is a two-dimensional polymer that self-assembles into sheets, unlike all other polymers, which form one-dimensional, spaghetti-like chains. Until now, scientists had believed it was impossible to induce polymers to form 2D sheets.MIT News Office, February 2, 2022
The potential for this new material is huge, it could revolutionize the automobile, aviation, technology and construction industries - it has proven to be two times stronger than steel under load tests, with just one-sixth of the material bulk.   Their new polymerization process allows them to generate a two-dimensional sheet called a polyaramide. For the monomer building blocks, they use a compound called melamine, which contains a ring of carbon and nitrogen atoms. Under the right conditions, these monomers grow in two dimensions, forming disks. These disks stack on top of each other, held together by hydrogen bonds between the layers, which make the structure very stable and strong.
Another key feature of 2DPA-1 is that it is impermeable to gases. While other polymers are made from coiled chains with gaps that allow gases to seep through, the new material is made from monomers that lock together like LEGOs, and molecules cannot get between them.   This could allow us to create ultrathin coatings that can completely prevent water or gases from getting through… This kind of barrier coating could be used to protect metal in cars and other vehicles, or steel structures. We don’t usually think of plastics as being something that you could use to support a building, but with this material, you can enable new things. It has very unusual properties and we’re very excited about that.Michael Strano, MIT professor of chemical engineering   Though 2DPA-1 is still in the research stage, it gives hope as better more hardy plastic, means less inefficient plastic - Bravo!   Visit the MIT news site to learn more: https://news.mit.edu/2022/polymer-lightweight-material-2d-0202

Quotes courtesy MIT

Image credit: Christine Daniloff, MIT

Knitting with Glass

This month #asloves the 'Soft Silica' project by Sarah Roseman, a recent graduate from Design Academy Eindhoven, whose materiality lies somewhere in-between textile and glasswork ...
Her process involves heating glass fibres until they are in a soft enough state to knit and weave, before creating complex patterns and shapes, experimenting with various knitting techniques.   The material is brought to life and appears to be frozen in time, capturing the way glass melts in a static object through with the tactility of a textile. The project currently consists of glass tapestries and sculptural vessels as well as an extensive and ever growing archive of samples. It is a continuing glass research that evolves and develops with each iteration, to find future possibilities and applications for this exciting new material. Sarah Roseman, on her website   We couldn’t agree more! The final results are magical, strange and above all innovative.

Photos: all images © Sarah Roseman

Jade Facade

This month #asloves the facade of Bulgari Shanghai conceived by MVRDV Architects, using recycled beer and champagne bottles, creating a new Jade-like material that frames the store.   For this, MVRDV's third Bulgari store in their ongoing collaboration, they continue exploring the possibilities of sustainable recycled materials in luxury. Taking Art Deco and China's most precious stone, Jade, as their inspirations, they imagined a stunning facade panelled in a custom sintered green translucent recycled glass material:   “Our collaboration with Bulgari has yielded some fascinating material experiments. It’s a passion we share with them, albeit in different design disciplines. The Shanghai store encapsulates the value of these experiments: given the right treatment and detailing, leftover champagne and beer bottles, which would otherwise be thrown away, become a jewel for the city.” MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs
Here at American Supply we love the visual transformation, and MVRDV's sensitive use of recycled sustainable materials.   "The project demonstrates the potential of sustainable recycled materials, even in luxury contexts, and takes one step towards MVRDV and Bulgari’s goal of store designs that are built using 100% circular economy materials. Meanwhile the backlight is engineered to minimise the façade’s energy footprint, using less than half the energy of a typical comparable installation." MVRDV website

Photos: all images © Bulgari, © Xia Zhi

All images are taken from the MVRDV website

E-Waste Innovation

This month #asloves the Common Sands Project glass tiles conceived by Snøhetta and Studio Plastique, manufactured by Fornace Brioni, recycling the glass from microwaves, ovens, and post-consumer electronic goods.
Due to the imperfections developed during use, and the inherent differences in primary applications, post-consumer electronic glass is very rarely recycled as it cannot be transparent. Common Sands Project pushes this to the forefront to develop a terrazzo-like surface that celebrates these imperfections, producing a mottled semi-translucent material in tile format. The tiles can be used in architecture and interior design applications, and their unique proposal will mine an ever-increasing primary source:   “Glass has material properties excellent for recycling, but EU directives on effectively processing glass from electronic waste (E-waste) do not currently exist. Sand is a finite resource, and as the volume of E-waste is increasing rapidly worldwide, we need strategies and solutions.” Snøhetta   The project is still in the ongoing prototype stages, but they have already developed two sizes for the tiles, and have the possibility of large scale production with their manufacturing partner Fornace Brioni, pending classification. 

Photo credit: all images courtesy of snøhetta

The Memory
of Waste

This month #asloves 'Link' the latest recycling project by WE+ that deals with the problem of commercial building waste in Japan. Their research was born from a real problem - commercial buildings in Japan have an extremely short lifespan of only 5 to 10 years...
Using discarded building materials that come exclusively from the demolition of commercial buildings (including wood, brick, and metals), WE+ first crush the various elements into pellets before separating them into rough and fine grains. The rough grains will later become the surface patterns and the finer grains pigments, once the material is solidified.   These grains are then mixed, molded, compacted, and assembled into a new hybrid material that is used to create furniture objects and wall elements imbibed with the memories of their previous commercial applications. With beautiful surface textures, material ingenuity, and a timeless industrial aesthetic, ‘Link’ is one of our favourite creative eco-projects of the month!  
WE+ is a contemporary design studio, based in Tokyo, that gives form to new perspectives and values through unique production methods and means of expression, developed on the basis of research and experimentation.

Photo Credit: Images by masayuki hayashi (excluding process images) courtesy we+