A refrigerated space recently opened in NYC, just in time for summer. Called “Minus 5,” it’s an ice bar similar to affiliated locations in Las Vegas and Monte Carlo. The brand-new outpost is housed on the ground floor of the Hilton Midtown hotel, and features intricate ice chandeliers, walls, and cups sculpted by artist Peter Slavin.
It took him two weeks, a team of seven people, and 18,000 pounds of ice to carve the inside of Minus 5. Peter drew inspiration from the City’s landmarks like Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty, but plans to change the bar’s design every three months in order to keep things “fresh” – exactly how New Yorkers like things.
(Peter Slavin at work) Dan Good
- Francisca Ovalle and Ashley Lee
I recently stopped by the new exhibit “The Art of The Brick” at Discovery Times Square. It spotlights the works of world-renowned artist Nathan Sawaya, who uses Lego bricks as his only medium. Growing up, I also loved playing with these plastic toys, but Nathan takes his passion for them to a whole new level.
A few of the brick builder’s more notable, large-scale replicas on display right now include the Mona Lisa, American Gothic, The Scream, the Parthenon, and the Statue of David. Also featured are several of his unique 2D and 3D sculptures – some of them made from more than 80,000 pieces.
My love for Legos as a boy is what drew me to this show, but the size and detail of Nathan’s work are what make me want to go back. I highly recommend this exhibit to anyone who considers themselves a big kid.
Nathan Sawaya is a graduate from NYU Law School, and worked as attorney until becoming a full-time Lego artist in 2004. He’s considered one of the best Lego builders in the world by The Lego Group, and is the only person ever to be recognized as both a Lego Master Builder and a Lego Certified Professional.
For more information about the exhibit visit: www.discoverytsx.com/exhibitions/art-of-the-brick
For more information about the artist visit: www.brickartist.com
– Brian Keeler, Graphic Designer
Architects are integrating more than just eco-friendly designs these days – they’re also building environments that promote exercise. A growing trend since 2000, indoor and outdoor spaces are being strategically built to get people moving. Because evidence proves architecture impacts our wellness, “fit buildings” and “fit cities” are popping up everywhere. Across the country, planners, designers, developers, and health advocates are working together to combat widespread idleness, obesity, and diseases related to both.
Right now, New York’s Center for Architecture is featuring 33 projects in 15 states (and D.C.) that exemplify this new objective for construction. Titled “FitNation,” it’s an exhibit inspired by NYC’s own Active Design Guidelines, which offers design strategies for healthier streets, buildings, and plazas, based on research and best practices. A first-ever show, it demonstrates how added stairs, bike lanes, “parklets,” portable pools, and scrap wood swings can improve the way people work and live.
Stop by before September 7 to see what’s been made possible through active design.
– Francisca Ovalle, Copywriter
I recently had the chance to visit the big island of Hawai’i. Though the beaches, beautiful weather, clean blue water, breathtaking hills, and volcano were all once-in-a-lifetime experiences, I personally enjoyed our stop at a local coffeehouse on the side of a mountain the most.
It was a small wooden shack with an open-air patio looking directly out onto the island stretching below, and the deep, blue Pacific Ocean farther away. As a lover of coffee and coffeehouses in general, I was excited to try the local Kona coffee, but wasn’t expecting the sweeping views when I walked out onto the patio where locals were enjoying their diner-style breakfast.
Sometimes even the simplest construction can elevate you to a new level — I believe one of the first things I said when I stepped outside was “I feel like I’m in heaven!”
- Lecia Bushak, Account Manager
Photo: The New York Times
What’s the latest way to recycle trees? Repurpose them as Apple accessories. That’s what Montana property owner Larry Lipson did when 22,000 of his trees became ravaged by mountain pine beetles (MPB). The bug epidemic affected much of his 37,000 acres, but Larry didn’t respond the same way his neighbors did. Instead of burning the wood or turning it into sawdust and mulch, he followed his entrepreneurial spirit and created Bad Beetle – a line of wood products for Apple computers, tablets and phones.
The gadget accessories target eco-conscious consumers and feature a unique blue stain that develops from a fungus left by the beetle. While naturally beautiful, Bad Beetle products are also intended to raise awareness about MPB infestations.
Larry’s story teaches us how it’s possible – and sometimes profitable – to adapt to environmental crises beyond our control. Since his bug problem began, his number of contaminated trees has been resolved, and his company sales continue to grow.
- Daejin Youn, Graphic Designer, and Francisca Ovalle, Copywriter
3D Printing Conference and Expo, NYC
It’s amazing what can be done with additive manufacturing technology. I REA Approve this 3D-printed building model because it shows how the process will aid architecture and real estate in the near future.
- Mark Thrapp, Graphic Designer
On land, real estate developers have to compete for space, so it makes sense they occasionally turn to unchartered territory like the ocean. Over the last decade, a number of hotels and restaurants around the world have made a splash by locating a few leagues under the sea. Costly to build, they can charge a pretty penny, but promise to provide an exclusive and truly special experience.
Adventurers looking for trips off the beaten path can choose their underwater comfort level from a handful of options. Four different hotels I like are: the cozy chambers of Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida (also a research lab); an underwater room at the floating Utter Inn near Stockholm, Sweden; eight suites at the floating Reefworld off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia; and the luxury, six-star Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort. Granted that last property is a Hilton hotel built on the water, it does feature a fine-dining restaurant below the surface with panoramic views.
If it turns out our efforts to create a colony on the moon fall through, I vote we continue build a city under the sea.
Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Florida
Utter Inn, Sweden
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
- Francisca Ovalle, Copywriter
WordPress is a valuable tool. I learned how to use the content management system a few years ago because it’s an open source (accessible to everyone via a free license) and based on PHP and MySQL – two other open source platforms. Some may argue better options exist, but the ease and simplicity of WordPress allow for a seamless administration handoff from developer to client. Populating the site with content, images and videos can be a timesaving cinch (depending on how sophisticated you tailor the CMS to be), and cost-effective for all parties involved.
WordPress also has several features that can be used differently from their original intent; for example, its ‘Comments’ section can serve as a bulletin board for employees, and the “Posts” and “Pages” menu items can be used for everything from selling products to running a corporation’s CMS.
- Zack Levine, Web Developer
NYC’s Limelight Marketplace – a former church and nightclub.
These days it’s expected for things to take on a second life in a different form – we live in the age of recycling and the decade of hipsters, after all. From retro wardrobes to trash art to antiquing and composting, our society (for the most part) simply likes to transform old into new. Similarly, reconditioning buildings – particularly in NYC – is a practice we’ve made popular. Why? Because we love relics. They emanate history, character and rarity, which is why we’re willing to pay a lot to live in one. Developers have caught on; today they leverage old properties by converting the likes of churches, stables, firehouses and police station radio rooms into modern-day dwellings. They turn distinct spaces into camouflaged homes, unbeknownst to many of their repurposed function. Luckily for us, their opting for interior reconfiguration over tearing down a building preserves the neighborhood’s appearance and personality for later generations to appreciate.
Interior of Limelight Marketplace
A former stable (Photo: New York Magazine)
A former church (Photo: New York Magazine)
A former firehouse (Photo: New York Magazine)
A former police station radio room (Photo: New York Magazine)
- Francisca Ovalle, Copywriter
Buildings in NYC used to be covered with hand-painted ads (just look up and you’ll see their remnants, known as “ghost signs“). A labor-intensive process, these works date back to the 1800s, but disappeared in the 1980s when computer and vinyl printing became the norm. Recently, however, the artistic style of marketing has made a comeback. For instance, last summer 315 Park Avenue South’s wall facing 23rd Street was used to advertise the film “Batman” with a 150-foot-mural. For a look into this type of art, and the people who create them, watch this short documentary “Up There.”
- Barbra Tolentino, Graphic Designer