Category: Blogging

Gucci Appoints Its First CEO Of Metaverse To Head Its Virtual Ventures

Image via Gucci

If it hasn’t been made clear by now, Gucci is determined about expanding into the metaverse. Not only has the luxury house launched Vault, an experimental online space that even sells non-fungible tokens, but it’s also created a permanent virtual gathering space called Gucci Town, as well as dipped its toe in gaming.

 

Guess what? Things are only going to get more serious. Gucci has just named Robert Triefus as the new CEO of Gucci Vault and Metaverse Ventures, replacing Nicolas Oudinot’s role as Gucci Vault CEO.

Triefus’ appointment, which will take effect on November 1, opens up a new leadership role dedicated to creating Web3 experiences. He will be tasked to define and expand Gucci’s metaverse and gaming strategies, in addition to heading the Vault experimental digital space, Business of Fashion and Vogue Business report.

 

Executive changes at @Gucci, which has a new “Metaverse Ventures” unit 👀: @Sufeirt (Robert Triefus) is now CEO of Gucci Vault and Metaverse Ventures, and @MicaelBarilaro is now Vice President of Metaverse Ventures https://t.co/jGnoja84Qf

— Maghan McDowell (@maghanmcd) September 29, 2022

Triefus will remain as Gucci’s senior vice president and senior executive vice president for corporate and brand strategy. As the new CEO of Gucci Vault and Metaverse Ventures, he will report directly to Gucci’s president and CEO Marco Bizzarri.

 


Images via Gucci

Triefus joined the company in 2008 as its worldwide marketing and communications director, before becoming EVP chief marketing officer in 2012 and EVP brand and customer engagement in 2018.

Joining him in leading Gucci’s metaverse projects is business gaming and collectibles director Micael Barilaro, who will helm the role of Metaverse Ventures vice president.

Triefus’ predecessor Nicolas Oudinot will leave the company at the end of October to pursue new endeavors elsewhere.

“Triefus’s experience and expertise will help shape Gucci’s strategy in these strategic areas that he helped build,” notes Gucci in a press release.

 

 

[via Business of Fashion and Vogue Business, images via various sources]   

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420589/Gucci-Appoints-Its-First-CEO-Of-Metaverse-To-Head-Its-Virtual-Ventures/

Google Shutters Stadia Video Game Service To Cut Costs, Fully Refunding Everyone

Photo 164691720 © ColleenMichaels | Dreamstime.com

Google has cried game over for Stadia, the cloud video gaming service launched in 2019 that the company had been so eager to keep afloat as an answer to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

The offering, which includes a compatible game controller, will officially shut down on January 18, 2023, according to an announcement by Google. 

Until then, users will still be able to access the Google Stadia game library and play its streamable titles.

 

Refunds will be processed for all Stadia hardware transactions made via the Google Store, as well as all game and add-on content purchases from the Stadia store, says Phil Harrison, Vice President and General Manager of Stadia.

Regretfully, Google Stadia “hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected,” notes Harrison. “So we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service.”

This certainly wasn’t the way Google had expected things to go. According to TechRadar, as recently as July 29, the platform even promised frustrated players that Stadia was “not shutting down.”

 

“Rest assured we’re always working on bringing more great games to the platform,” Google Stadia said then.

As much as it tried, though, Google could not reach the same level of success met by video game giants—even when it desperately dangled carrots on sticks like free console kits and subscriptions.

 

With a slowing growth across the board and financial hurdles ahead, Google is finally pulling the plug on Stadia after three years of trying. CEO Sundar Pichai hopes that with the Stadia shutdown, alongside the killing of other projects, efficiency can be up 20%, CNBC reports. For context, Alphabet’s stock price has dipped 34% this year.

Other painful decisions include layoffs, the cancelation of the next generation of Pixelbook laptops, and slashed funding for the Area 120 incubator.

All this will give Google more leeway to focus on its more successful products and services.

But that doesn’t mean Google Stadia has been a lost cause. The company reflects that the things it has learned from building the video game streaming service will be applicable for furthering “other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play, and our Augmented Reality (AR) efforts,” writes Harrison.

 

Most refunds for Stadia will be finalized by mid-January, says Google. The tech heavyweight will also disclose more details about how to get your money back over the coming weeks. In the meantime, it has opened a section in its support center to outline Stadia’s final steps.

 

Players should still be able to use the wired controller for non-Stadia PC games.

 

 

[via TechRadar, CNBC, Google, cover photo 164691720 © ColleenMichaels | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420581/Google-Shutters-Stadia-Video-Game-Service-To-Cut-Costs-Fully-Refunding-Everyone/

Samsung Creatively Turns Galaxy Z Flip4 Phones Into Bus Stop Benches

Image via Samsung

 

Can your iPhone do this? Samsung is leaving the design community in awe with an installation that imagines a flipping unexpected function for the Galaxy Z Flip4.

The phonemaker has taken over bus shelters in Belgium with foldable seats shaped like the new flexible device. True to the model’s design, the benches can be flipped open to be used.

As the pseudo-screens will be sat on, it’s perhaps a testament to all the rough use that the phone can endure—a far cry from when the Galaxy Fold first arrived.

 

Samsung did a pretty cool Galaxy Flip bus ad (still never getting one) pic.twitter.com/Fsdg6iJLMh

— Trung Phan (@TrungTPhan) September 27, 2022

And since water resistance is one of the Galaxy Z Flip4’s key strengths, a little rain wouldn’t hurt these outdoor displays either!

 

 

 

[via Trend Hunter and Famous Campaigns, images via various sources]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420588/Samsung-Creatively-Turns-Galaxy-Z-Flip4-Phones-Into-Bus-Stop-Benches/

Starburst Is Giving Out Biometric Safes To Keep Your Candy All To Yourself



Video screenshot via Starburst

 

Starburst wants you to put your needs above anything else with a biometric safe that keeps your candied treasures literally under lock and key. 
 
The brand is encouraging a little selfish tendency by selling the first-ever unshareable bag of Starburst. The All Pink ‘Un-Share’ Pack removes the traditional plastic packaging and swaps it out for a strongbox that can only be opened with the holder’s fingerprint.

 



Image via Starburst / PR Newswire

 

Access to the candy vault, created by MyCube Safe, can only be unlocked on Starburst’s website, where you will, ironically, share what you love most about the snack. 

According to parent company Mars, the candy is taking a “me-first” approach to its practices by encouraging Starburst fans to look inward and do what makes them happy. Maybe, just maybe, hiding sweets from our eagle-eyed family members or housemates may just be the self-care we all need. 

 

And when you’re all done with treating yourself, the company also recommends filling up the sweet treasure chest with other keepsakes and things you hold dear to you.

Nevertheless, if you don’t win one of the safes, you can still head down to retail stores nationwide to pick up a bag of All Pink Starbursts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[via Delish and PR Newswire, cover image via Starburst / PR Newswire]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420586/Starburst-Is-Giving-Out-Biometric-Safes-To-Keep-Your-Candy-All-To-Yourself/

Google Maps Can Now ‘Vibe Check’ New Neighborhoods For You Before You Visit Them



Image via Google

 

Have you ever been to an unfamiliar part of a city and immediately felt like the ambiance were inexplicably off? Well, Google can now do a ‘vibe check’ for you, so you won’t ever have to endure being in a place that rubs you the wrong way. 
 
Its ‘Neighborhood Vibe’ feature can scan areas unfamiliar to you and share what the area feels like. It will also recommend spots that are off the beaten path. 
 
The announcement on the company’s blog states that the model uses artificial intelligence and crowdsourced local knowledge—such as photos and reviews—from fellow Google Maps users to create a fuller understanding of the area. 

 



Image via Google

In an example of Paris, the company shows that travelers can get a sense of whether a neighborhood is more artsy or culinary-inclined. From there, those planning trips or days out in new cities will be better informed of what their experience might be like.
 
Separately, Google has also added aerial views to over 250 landmarks. In addition, its Live View has also been upgraded to incorporate overlays of directions on top of the world around you. 
 
The vibe checker aims to help users plan their adventures, now that travel restrictions are easing. Though, it is worth noting that—while it would be helpful to discover things only locals would know—when it comes to reviews, most people will only give their input if they have had an exceedingly positive experience or a terrible one.
 
Still, it might be better than jumping into a new place, eyes shut. 
 
 
 
[via Gizmodo and PC Mag, images via Google]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420587/Google-Maps-Can-Now-Vibe-Check-New-Neighborhoods-For-You-Before-You-Visit-Them/

Denmark Debuts Muted World Cup Kit To Quietly Protest Qatar’s Human Rights Pains

 



Image via Hummel

 

We are now on the cusp of the World Cup season, and with the championship looming overhead, soccer clubs around the world are releasing their jersey designs

 
One team, in particular, is using its kit to voice its stand on the human rights issues in Qatar, which is hosting the games. The Danish Football Association (DFA) and sports brand Hummel have created a series of shirts that are more subdued than usual. As they say, the silence is deafening.

 

The toned-down shirts come in red for home matches, white for away games, and a black version, as well. All logos on the gear, including the Hummel chevrons and branding, are monochrome to reduce visibility. While other teams will proudly state their club’s name and sponsors’ names, Denmark has chosen to remain invisible at the games. 
 



Image via Hummel

According to Dezeen, Hummel has said that despite its love for the sport, it doesn’t condone the human rights problems that have arisen in the country and wishes not to be seen during the matches held in Qatar. 
 
Since Qatar won the bid to host this year’s game in 2010, The Guardian has reported that around 6,000 migrant workers have died during the construction of the stadiums.

 

However, FIFA said the number was incorrect, and only 37 had passed away. 

 



Image via Hummel

Regardless, Denmark is choosing to honor those who have died with its black jersey, which it will wear during one of its games. 
 
According to ESPN, the Qatari government responded by saying that the protest trivializes its efforts to ensure a safe environment for its workers. 
 
Denmark eventually joined a convoy of other countries who have engaged in talks with the government to oversee how the rights of the people are being handled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[via Dezeen and ESPN, images via Hummel]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420584/Denmark-Debuts-Muted-World-Cup-Kit-To-Quietly-Protest-Qatar-s-Human-Rights-Pains/

Australia To Shut Down Its Most-Polluting Coal Plant Far Earlier In Climate Win



Image ID 46213273 © via Kerry Hill | Dreamstime.com

 

In a victory for environmentalists, Australia has announced its plans to shutter its dirtiest power plant more than a decade in advance of its scheduled closure.

According to AGL Energy, the plant’s owner and the nation’s largest polluter, the Loy Yang A power station—which is said to be responsible for over 3% of the country’s total emissions—will close its doors in 2035, instead of 2048. 

The BBC reported that from 2019 to 2020 alone, Loy Yang A emitted 16.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, a huge portion of the total 513.4 million tonnes incurred by the entire continent’s population. 

Additionally, as per ABC News, the company says it plans to close down its Bayswater and NSW Hunter Valley coal plants sometime between 2030 and 2033. 

Calling the decision “a major step forward in Australia’s decarbonization journey,” AGL Interim Chief Executive Damien Nicks tells the stock exchange the earlier closure will see up to 200 million tonnes of emissions reduced. 

Climate change activists, such as Greenpeace Australia Pacific, have welcomed the news, with the latter saying the change will “make a real difference to the climate.” 

 

 

 

[via BBC and ABC News, cover image via Kerry Hill | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420582/Australia-To-Shut-Down-Its-Most-Polluting-Coal-Plant-Far-Earlier-In-Climate-Win/

Dogs Can Smell When You’re Feeling Stressed, Heartwarming Study Shows



Image ID 229859384 © via Dmitry Marchenko | Dreamstime.com

 

There’s no shortage of examples as to why the old adage “dogs are a man’s best friend” rings true.

 

From being great cuddle buddies to accompanying you on walks and being the best fetch partners, here’s one more to add to the list: being able to smell when you’re stressed. 

According to a recent study, our furry friends can sniff out the difference in human odors when someone’s feeling calm or stressed out. So the next time you come back from a long, arduous day at work and Fido offers you a paw—it probably knows. 

CNN points out that earlier research had already proven that canines may be able to detect feelings of happiness and fear through smell, though the latest study only focuses on human subjects’ stress levels, therefore eliminating other scents for greater accuracy. 

How does one get a dog to smell stress? To get this experiment started, researchers collected a control set of breath and sweat samples from 36 participants, before subjecting them to the challenging math task of counting backward from 9,000 in units of 17. 

 

Once the subjects completed the task, another round of bodily samples was collected, along with heart rate and blood pressure measurements.

As per NBC News, the pooches were trained to identify samples from persons who were stressed, honing their abilities by practicing on three choices in the form of an unused piece of gauze, a sample from an unstressed person, and another sample after the same person felt stressed. 

Impressively, the dogs displayed a 90% to 96.88% accuracy at determining stress samples, performing even better than the researchers had anticipated. 

However, we’ll probably never know if our pets equate the distinct smell with the actual idea of stress, or if it’s just a different scent they pick up without meaning. 

Of course, the next time you’re close to tearing your hair out, it’s better to believe your fluffy companion can sense your frustration through its nose, and wants to offer you comfort. 

 

 

 

[via CNN and NBC News, cover image via Dmitry Marchenko | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420580/Dogs-Can-Smell-When-You-re-Feeling-Stressed-Heartwarming-Study-Shows/

YEEZY Teases Futuristic Sunglasses That’ll Be Priced At Only $20

Image via YEEZY

 

Streetwear and luxury are two words that have found their way to each other in recent years. Kanye West, whose coveted YEEZY label contributes to this perception, has been vocal about wanting to buck the trend. It was way back in 2020 that he shared his vision to price the YEEZY Foam Runners at only US$20.

While that didn’t happen, West’s $20/$20 vision seemingly remains clear. In a recent interview with Forbes, where he opened up on his future after breaking up with Gap, the YEEZY boss promised that everything at his upcoming YEEZY Supply stores will be purchasable at US$20.

The first of this lineup appears to be a pair of space-age, wraparound sunglasses called ‘YZYSHDZ’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A post shared by YZY (@yzy)

Originally planned for the supposed 10-year YEEZY Gap collection, the shades will soon be available via YEEZY Supply. Esquire UK reports that the eyewear has already been seen on the mugs of names like famous sunglass-wearer Anna Wintour, rapper Lil Uzi Vert, and Kim Kardashian.

 

 

 

 

 

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Explaining how he’ll keep costs low in the long term, West told Forbes that everything will be manufactured near the country it is launching in. Items sold in the US, for example, will be made in the US; and products available in China will be produced in China.

As for how you can get your hands on the US$20 YZYSHDZ, at least for now, there’ll be no dumpster-diving. The only step you can take is to join the waitlist with your email address on YEEZY.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[via Uncrate and Esquire UK, images via various sources]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420585/YEEZY-Teases-Futuristic-Sunglasses-That-ll-Be-Priced-At-Only-20/

Heinz Relaunches ‘Tomato Blood’ To Convert Vampires & Others To Vegetarianism

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Image via Heinz

 

Considering today’s diets, not all vampires would have a thirst for human blood. Some are after cruelty-free options instead, like Heinz’s ‘Tomato Blood’.
 

Coming back this year again for Halloween is Heinz’s seasonally-themed condiment, which replaces the ‘Ketchup’ label with ‘Blood’, summoning any daring witch or ghoul who wants to add a little wickedness to their kitchen cabinets. 
 
This year, to celebrate its return, the company has enlisted a ‘vampire’ to promote the sinister sauce. And don’t worry, he’s not villainous—rather, he’s a vegetarian vampire on the hunt for tangy ketchup.
 
Stepping into the role of the monster is popular TikTok content creator E.J Marcus, who has transformed into a 280-year-old vampire influencer named Toby, a blood activist seeking to save the souls of innocent humans. In a spot for the campaign, Toby is seen issuing a PSA to consider switching to Tomato Blood as “humans are people too.” 
 
Heinz is taking a spin on some of today’s affairs by spoofing the growing movement of switching from eating meat to incorporating a more plant-based diet. 
 
Last year, Tomato Blood made its first appearance doubling as an alternative to fake blood for costumes, and it even came with a kit for people to dress up during the spooky season. Other brand campaigns include embracing its messy nature and selling pre-stained clothes
 
The commercial spot will air across all of the brand’s social media platforms. In addition, Tomato Blood will be available nationwide starting in October.

 

 
 
 
[via Marketing Drive and Heinz, cover image via Heinz]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420583/Heinz-Relaunches-Tomato-Blood-To-Convert-Vampires-Others-To-Vegetarianism/

Kaleidoscopic Rooftop Offers A Head-Turning View Of The Streets Of Paris



Image via Jérémie Léon / Studio Other Spaces

 

Situated at the top two floors of the Préfecture de Paris on Boulevard Morland is a special, artistic installation that’s sure to upend your world view—literally. 

As part of the Morland Mixité Capitale Project, the permanent artwork—aptly dubbed The Seeing City—starts off with a mirrored ceiling on the 15th story of the building before turning into a kaleidoscope that appears to fade into the sky on its rooftop. 

Created by Studio Other Spaces, the “immersive optical apparatus” offers visitors a different view of the City of Love, quite literally turning spaces and passersby down below on their heads. 

In the first part of the exhibit, the reflective ceiling extends from the building’s exterior into its interior, blurring the lines between what’s indoors or outdoors, seemingly dematerializing the surroundings. 

 



Image via Jérémie Léon / Studio Other Spaces

 

With the Seine and the streets of Paris floating above your head as an “inverted city in motion,” the view is a dynamic one, constantly changing with the outdoor light and weather conditions overhead. 

Upon moving up to the 16th story, visitors will be greeted by rows of kaleidoscope boxes lining the glass façade, each of which comprises four glass mirror panels. 

These panels are reflective at the top while transparent at the bottom, embedded with a custom pattern that transitions between the two surfaces. 

This gives an overall effect of blending the panoramic view of the city with the kaleidoscopic sky, extended by the mirrors present. 

You’ll see both fragments of the building’s interiors and exteriors, which are then reconfigured into a seemingly infinite number of patterns, and continues out to the surrounding streets. 

 



Image via Jérémie Léon / Studio Other Spaces

 

“Viewed from the city below, the work disappears into the sky when the weather is calm, and stands out in stark contrast when the reflection differs from the surrounding sky, as at sunrise and sunset,” the creative firm explains. The resulting aesthetic “subtly [amplifies] the atmosphere and its surroundings,” it continues.

 

The company says the purpose of the immersive work is to interpret the existing building in a whole new way, rather than replace the original structure altogether. 

“The intention is to connect people to the everyday context that they inhabit in a way that is surprising and dynamic, whether they are floating above or looking up from the boulevard.” 

 



Image via Jérémie Léon / Studio Other Spaces

 

 

 

[via New Atlas and Studio Other Spaces, images via Jérémie Léon / Studio Other Spaces]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420578/Kaleidoscopic-Rooftop-Offers-A-Head-Turning-View-Of-The-Streets-Of-Paris/

Adidas Unleashes Inclusive Swim Cap Promising To Protect All Hair Types



Image via Adidas

 

Adidas is opening up the world of swimming to every hair type with a new line of swim caps that aims to make the sport more accessible. 
 
The range, designed with London startup Soul Cap, will feature headgear that accommodates people with long or voluminous hair types. A new swim cap marks the first of this joint effort.

 



Image via Adidas

The protective wear is made of 100% silicone to ensure a good fit and prevent snagging. Importantly, it is also built with extra room to keep the wearer’s head comfortable, while sealing out water so tresses won’t come into contact with chlorine and risk damage. 
 
Currently, the cap only comes in one color, sage green, and can be found in R-XXL for adults and R-L for children. 

 



Image via Adidas

Soul Cap began in 2017 and was started after its founders, Michael Chapman and Toks Ahmad, attended an adult swimming class only to find that everyone there was using the same-size swim caps even if they all had different hair types. 
 
Swimming has often had a barrier that prevents people from different walks of life from jumping in, whether it is inadequate protection for one’s head or a lack of inclusive swimwear.

 



Image via Adidas

 

Incidentally, this new line comes after Adidas has broadened its scope of swimsuits to include a broader range for different body types and beliefs. 
 
The headgear is now available on Adidas’ site and will retail for US$18.90.

 

 

 

[via FashionUnited and Hypebae, images via Adidas]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420579/Adidas-Unleashes-Inclusive-Swim-Cap-Promising-To-Protect-All-Hair-Types/

Mastercard Makes History With Soccer Match Played In Zero Gravity

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Image via Mastercard

 

Putting together an Avengers-like team of soccer heroes from Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America, Mastercard has just set the Guinness World Record for a first-of-its-kind game that took place in zero-gravity conditions 20,230 feet in the air. 

 

The company wanted to get fans geared up for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar by taking the sport where it has never gone before and engaged the ‘Highest Altitude Game of Football (Soccer) on a Parabolic Flight’.

Two four-player teams were pit against each other on August 20, 2022, with soccer legend Luis Figo—winner of the 2000 Ballon d’Or—part of the battle to win a place on the historic flight. 

An official adjudicator certified that the star had successfully dribbled the ball across the football field set within an aircraft, with Figo remarking thar the experience of playing the game at such an altitude gave him the same sense of the “electric atmosphere” the sport sparks across cultures and nationalities. 

“Football is not just a game—as the world’s most popular sport, it is a celebration of the human spirit, igniting passion and pride for millions everyday. This is a historic moment for Mastercard as we take the world’s love for the sport to extraordinary new heights,” quipped Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Mastercard. 

 

Watch the incredible zero-gravity match take place below. 

 

 

 

 

 

[via LBB Online and Mastercard, cover image via Mastercard]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420577/Mastercard-Makes-History-With-Soccer-Match-Played-In-Zero-Gravity/

First Fully Immersive Marine Center Will Have Walls That Mimic Coral Reefs



Image via Foster + Partners

 

Foster + Partners, the architectural firm behind the stadium for the finals of the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, has unveiled another project in the Middle East. This time, the company is working on the world’s first fully-immersive experiential marine life center, aptly situated along Saudi Arabia’s coast of the Red Sea. 

Located in the Triple Bay Marina at luxury tourist destination AMAALA, the institute promises to allow visitors “a glimpse into the wonders of the environment” and highlight the ongoing challenges faced when conserving our natural habitats. 

Upon arrival, visitors will be greeted by colorful tanks at the entrance of the marine center, guiding them towards the central exhibit—a canopy that spans across all four of the buildings “clusters” that gives you a peek at the open sky. 

Throughout the center, the exhibitions are seamlessly integrated with the building’s architecture, embodying the journey of traversing through the Red Sea, from its shallow mangroves and sandy beaches to the deep coral reef as visitors make their way down into the ocean. 

“Integrated exhibition displays take visitors on a journey through the Red Sea, as they travel down the building towards the immersive deep reef ‘big reveal’,” said Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners. 

“At the heart of the space a large, suspended semi-spherical tank—a real first-of-its-kind—contains local marine wildlife within a stunning coral exhibit,” he added.

 



Image via Foster + Partners

 

According to The Siasat Daily, the exhibit will feature one of the largest manmade coral reefs in the world, measuring 131 feet in length by 32 feet in depth. 

Within its three floors—one above ground, below ground, and under water—the center will not only be home to experiential exhibits, but will offer researcher-led educational tours of the laboratories, and an underwater tour of the Red Sea in submersible vehicles. 

Much of the design has been based on the central inspiration of coral reefs, with the screen covering the building’s windows and skylights inspired by the intricate pattern corals naturally form. 

The firm chose to integrate GRC panels, considered to be extremely robust in a marine environment, so as to replicate patterns of the coral reef in both the shape of the modules and texture of the walls.

Sustainability-wise, over 40% of the site boasts native plants, and an innovative system that collects runoff water to reuse, while preventing erosion and pollution in the area. 

 

Plus, all the lighting in the institute uses an eco-friendly framework that protects the nocturnal environment from unnecessary light pollution. 

Work has already begun on the site, which is scheduled to welcome its first visitors in 2024.

 

 

 

[via The Siasat Daily and Foster + Partners, images via Foster + Partners]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420575/First-Fully-Immersive-Marine-Center-Will-Have-Walls-That-Mimic-Coral-Reefs/

Meta Flaunts Freakish ‘Make-A-Video’ AI Tool That Creates Moving Art From Text



Images via Meta

 

AI art is taking the creative world by storm, whether you like it or not.

 

Meta is now furthering its reach in the sphere of artificial intelligence with Make-A-Video, a DALL-E-like tool that creates artistic videos from scratch from text prompts.
 

With Make-A-Videoall you would need to do is put in a few simple words or a short description of your vision and wait for it to be churned out. 

 

 “A teddy bear painting a portrait.” Image via Meta

To showcase the ability of its new model, Meta created a few test videos and GIFs of various scenarios, including a teddy bear painting a picture with a real hand attached to it, an astronaut floating in space, unicorns racing down a beach, and a ballerina on top of a skyscraper.

 

“A golden retriever eating ice cream on a beautiful tropical beach at sunset, high resolution.” Image via Meta

 

The scenes have a surrealist quality that makes you feel like you are watching a dream, as the movements and colors are slightly off-kilter. 

 

“A blue unicorn flying over a mystical land.” Image via Meta
 
The videos were developed with deep learning from synthesizers such as GPT-3 and LAION-5B. However, according to Meta, the AI machine will only be able to produce short, albeit high-quality, scenes. 
 
While turning sentences into moving images is pretty cool, the new generator will also be able to animate still images. Just upload a picture of your choice and watch it spring to life. One example shown is a painting of a ship caught in a storm out at sea. The system then animated the waves, and soon, the boat bounced through the ocean. 

 

Image via Meta

 

But before you rush off to try your hand at creating your scenes, Meta has not officially released Make-A-Video yet. As of right now, it has just been announced that the model is still in the works.

 

However, there is a dedicated website for the Make-A-Video tool, where you can see other instances of its prowess and read a research paper on the whole thing. 
 
There’s no denying how far digitally-generated art has come from DALL-E 2 to the first movie made entirely out of AI and now a system that might potentially allow everybody to create moving dreamscape scenes with the push of a button. 

 

“A confused grizzly bear in calculus class.” Image via Meta

 

“A ballerina performs a beautiful and difficult dance on the roof of a very tall skyscraper; the city is lit up and glowing behind her.” Image via Meta

 

 

 
 
[via PetaPixel and Meta, images via Meta]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420576/Meta-Flaunts-Freakish-Make-A-Video-AI-Tool-That-Creates-Moving-Art-From-Text/

Mercedes-Benz Designs Ultramodern Car That Can Only Exist In Virtual Reality

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Image via Mercedes-Benz

 

Some ideas stay better as ideas, and that’s precisely Mercedes-Benz’s approach to creating its latest car
 
Well, calling it a creation may be a stretch as it is just a conceptualization that the company intends to keep only in the digital world. 
 
The futuristic model—which doesn’t even have a name, that’s how exploratory it is—was designed with Riot Games and showcased at the League of Legends World Championship. And as the automaker never intended to bring it to life, it had free reign over what it would look like. 

 
The result is a surrealistic hypercar with what looks like a translucent blue body so that you can see the vehicle’s inner workings. Perhaps its most eye-catching feature is its wheels, which seem to be a part of its body. 

 

#MercedesBenz presents another highlight at the 2022 League of Legends World Championship:
The all-virtual show car co created with Riot Games blurs the boundaries between reality and the virtual space.
But that’s just the beginning! Learn more: https://t.co/6Sgb58ZD1h pic.twitter.com/tFKCzHxEBO

— Mercedes-Benz Press (@MB_Press) September 28, 2022

According to Mercedes-Benz’s chief design officer, Gorden Wagener, conceiving an automobile in virtual reality opens up a world of possibilities. Basically, anything was a go with the team behind the vehicle. “When designing an extraordinary and virtual show car, two worlds merge—real automotive design and animated design,” he says as the concept displays the limitless creativity that can take place in virtual reality. 

 



Image via Mercedes-Benz

The only way to experience the model right now is by watching Lil Nas X’s music video for Star Walkin’, produced for the League of Legends World Championship. It is also expected that an infotainment experience based on the game will reach the Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan and SUV in early November. 

 

 
 
 
[via Robb Report and Motor1, images via Mercedes-Benz

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420573/Mercedes-Benz-Designs-Ultramodern-Car-That-Can-Only-Exist-In-Virtual-Reality/

Tesla Cybertruck Will Be ‘Waterproof Enough’ To Work As A Boat When Necessary



Image via Tesla

 

While the Tesla Cybertruck was first announced all the way back in 2019, it has yet to grace the roads, though the latest update from the company signals that production could finally start next year. 

Meant to be an electric vehicle that merges the performance of a sports car with the functionality of a pick-up truck, it now appears this do-it-all vehicle could double (or triple) up as something else—a boat. 

“Cybertruck will be waterproof enough to serve briefly as a boat, so it can cross rivers, lakes, and even seas that aren’t too choppy,” Musk explained in a tweet

“Needs to be able to get from Starbase to South Padre Island, which requires crossing the channel,” he added. 

 

But as one skeptic puts it:

 

if you drive your car off a cliff it serves briefly as a plane https://t.co/59OXGmIQGJ

— blaine capatch (@blainecapatch) September 29, 2022

Jokes aside, according to Electrek, the buoyant factor means the Cybertruck will be tasked with traversing the water for an estimated 1,100 feet, if it travels along the shortest route to the island. 

As ZDNet notes, there’s been a long history of innovators looking to create vehicles that function as boats, harking back as early as the 1960s.

 

However, most attempts have been unsuccessful, which is why we don’t often see such contraceptions on our daily commute. 

This makes Tesla’s announcement a significant one, though not everyone’s convinced the company will be able to pull it off. 

Many have pointed back to when Musk tried to demonstrate the strength of the Cybertruck’s window by throwing a metal ball at it, which ended up shattering it instead of being resisted. 

The Tesla CEO is poised to share more details on when buyers can expect to receive their highly-anticipated vehicles in the near future.

 

Needs be able to get from Starbase to South Padre Island, which requires crossing the channel

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 29, 2022

 

 

 

[via Electrek and ZDNet, cover image via Tesla]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420572/Tesla-Cybertruck-Will-Be-Waterproof-Enough-To-Work-As-A-Boat-When-Necessary/

Bruce Willis Sells Rights To Have ‘Digital Twin’ Deepfaked Into Future Projects



Image ID 23220219 © via Laurence Agron | Dreamstime.com

 

Last year, Hollywood star Bruce Willis made headlines when he became the first A-lister to license his deepfake image rights for advertisements. More specifically, the actor was seen to “star” in Russian commercials, speaking the language perfectly—except he doesn’t. 

Using advanced “face generation technology,” over 34 thousand units of actor were analyzed, creating a near-identical deepfake image that allowed him to appear in the comedic spot and speak the language. 

Now, Willis appears to be taking a step further into the metaverse, with The Telegraph reporting the actor officially sold the rights of his “digital twin” to Deepcake, a US-based firm specializing in deepfakes. 

Previously, the actor had only allowed his face to be “digitally transplanted onto another performer” in the commercial, whereas going forward, the company will be able to use his likeness to be “hired” for onscreen productions. 

“I liked the precision of my character. It’s a great opportunity for me to go back in time. The neural network was trained on content of Die Hard and Fifth Element, so my character is similar to the images of that time,” Willis explains on the website. 

“With the advent of the modern technology, I could communicate, work, and participate in filming, even being on another continent. It’s a brand new and interesting experience for me,” he adds. 

As Collider points out, the use of deepfakes in Hollywood isn’t new, with the technology already having been utilized in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and The Mandalorian

Of course, there’s the discussion of ethics when it comes to the use of artificial intelligence. 

Rachel Tobac, CEO of SocialProof Security, previously cautioned that the technology could “impact public trust, provide cover and plausible deniability for criminals/abusers caught on video or audio, and will be (and are) used to manipulate, humiliate, and hurt people.” 

On the flip side, it could be used to bring stars from past eras back to life on screen; just as Willis is using it to continue his acting career even after being diagnosed with aphasia—a disorder that causes a person to have difficulty speaking or reading. 

No matter where you stand on the matter, it’s likely the sheer convenience of deepfakes will see it become a mainstay feature of Hollywood in the near future. Will more actors follow suit in contracting out their digital twins? We’ll have to wait and see. 

 

 

 

[via Collider and The Telegraph, cover image via Laurence Agron | Dreamstime.com]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420571/Bruce-Willis-Sells-Rights-To-Have-Digital-Twin-Deepfaked-Into-Future-Projects/

Citroën Introduces Fresh Brand Identity That Harks Back To 100-Year-Old Logo

Image via Stellantis

 

To speed into the future, Citroën went back to its roots to remember where it all started. The result is a new logo that’s a near-carbon copy of the very first branding the company adopted when it launched in 1919.

The French automaker has made 10 major overhauls to its brand identity in its 103 years. Although distinct from one another, each version brings Citroën’s first-of-a-kind ‘herringbone’ gear systems to center stage with iconic double chevrons (officially known as “deux chevrons”).

 



Image via Stellantis

 

As you can see, the latest iteration goes full circle, reviving the vertical oval frame of the original. To accommodate modern displays, however, the chevrons are now more pronounced, with the loop softened. Citroën has additionally polished its typography to match the lightweight wordmark.

The “new but familiar” look denotes the soul-searching Citroën undertook to get in touch with, and renew, its earlier objectives. “As we look to clarify our future focus, it was logical for us to close the loop by coming back graphically to André Citroën’s first logo which represented the genuine promise of affordable and innovative mobility for all,” explains the company’s Global Brand Designer Alexandre Revert in a press release.

 



Image via Stellantis

 

Notably, the old-but-new emblem also borrows from non-automotive industries that have friendlier images. Elements from beauty and apparel branding, among others, lend warmth and intimacy for an aesthetic that’s “easy on the eyes when experienced in different settings.”

The new color palette retains the classic white and cold gray to serve as “a basis of serenity and easiness” but introduces two additional hues. There’s ‘Monte Carlo Blue’, a legacy tone seen on signature cars like the 2CV and DS; and an energetic ‘Infra-Red’ to bring dynamic contrast in print, physical, and digital applications.

“Our new identity is an elegant symbol of progress as we move our customers physically in daring, forward-looking vehicles that challenge traditional industry rules, and emotionally by ensuring their entire experience—particularly going electric—is more affordable, comfortable and enjoyable whatever their wants and needs,” describes CEO Vincent Cobée.

 



Image via Stellantis

 

The revamped Citroën logo will make its first appearance on a concept family vehicle set to debut in end-September, and official cars with the new symbol will begin rolling out from mid-2023. Accompanying the makeover is the new tagline, “Nothing Moves Us Like Citroën.”

 

 

[via Carscoops and Top Gear, images via Stellantis]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420574/Citro-n-Introduces-Fresh-Brand-Identity-That-Harks-Back-To-100-Year-Old-Logo/

CIA Backs Tech By Startup That Wants To De-Extinct Woolly Mammoth

Image via Colossal

You may have heard that scientists are hoping to revive woolly mammoths and even Tasmanian tigers. The company with this ambition is Dallas-based Colossal, which is wholly focused on “disruptive conservation and preservation” to “de-extinct” long-lost animals.

 

A concept such as this, although controversial, would most definitely garner interest, and Colossal’s list of investors features some, well, pretty colossal names. Among them, as spotted by The Intercept, is In-Q-Tel, a not-for-profit venture capital firm founded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to support startups with powerful implications for national security.

 

Accordingly, In-Q-Tel isn’t so concerned about bringing woolly mammoths back as it is drawn by the promise of Colossal’s technology. Besides spy technology and weapons, CIA is setting its sights on empowering biotechnology services, including DNA sequencing. Colossal is just one of several startups equipped with this prowess that In-Q-Tel is funding.

Colossal plans to revive extinct creatures with CRISPR gene editing, often described as a pair of “genetic scissors” to snip off unwanted areas of DNA and replacing them with desirable genes. The woolly mammoths of the future would actually be hybrids grown from modified skin cells of Asian elephants, whereas the thylacine (or Tasmanian tiger) would return with the help of cells extracted from museum samples and century-old genomes.

 

“Why the interest in a company like Colossal, which was founded with a mission to ‘de-extinct’ the wooly mammoth and other species? Strategically, it’s less about the mammoths and more about the capability,” In-Q-Tel explains in a new blog post.

Colossal’s co-founder Ben Lamm tells the publication that the flourishing world of biotechnology is a “critical” catalyst in steering the direction of humanity.

 

And “understanding the code, and learning to read it (DNA sequencing), write it (DNA synthesis) and edit it (using tools like CRISPR)” could solve some of the most pressing global issues, like food security, environmental resuscitation, and equitable healthcare, explains In-Q-Tel.

At the same time, grasping this technology will push the US into a position where it can innovatively tackle problems like climate change and disease, as well as finally set standards for ethical gray areas in biotechnology.

In time, biotechnologists could even unlock capabilities like “programming the physical properties of wood to improve building materials,” “enhancing crop species to tolerate increasingly severe climatic changes,” and “curing human diseases such as sickle-cell anemia, beta thalassemia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and many kinds of cancer.”

“Perhaps more importantly, leadership in biotechnology will allow the US to help set the ethical, as well as the technological, standards for the use of this technology,” says In-Q-Tel. “How we employ the potentially staggering power of biotechnology to shape the planet and humanity itself will matter as much as our ability to do so.”

 

 

 

[via The Intercept and In-Q-Tel, cover image via Colossal]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420570/CIA-Backs-Tech-By-Startup-That-Wants-To-De-Extinct-Woolly-Mammoth/

Studio Ghibli-Inspired Cookbook Brings Mouthwatering Movie Dishes To Your Table

Image via Studio Ghibli / IMDb

The way to a person’s heart is often through their belly. Studio Ghibli hits the spot pretty well; if it hasn’t enamored fans with its hand-drawn animation and mythical plotlines, then it’s certainly allured them with dishes. Food is one of the most magical elements in its films, and there’s even a nod to it at the soon-to-open Ghibli Park in Aichi prefecture.

For those wishing to cook up these dreamy meals into reality, there’s a new book of recipes for that. Written by Minh-Tri Vo and translated by Lisa Molle-Troyer, the Studio Ghibli Cookbook: Unofficial Recipes Inspired by Spirited Away, Ponyo, and More! shows you how to conjure up 20 culinary delights from the movies—Calcifer’s flame not needed.

 



Image via Amazon

 

Some specials from the cookbook include the bento boxes in My Neighbor Totoro, the herring and pumpkin pie from Kiki’s Delivery Service, the red bean bun in Spirited Away, the nut cake in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and the seafood salad from the more obscure When Marnie Was Here.

 



Image via Amazon

 

Image via Barnes & Noble

 

According to the author, the recipes can be attempted by fans of “all skill levels.”

 



Image via Amazon

 

Priced at US$29.99, the Studio Ghibli Cookbook will ship from October 25, 2022, and preorders are open now.

Incidentally, this isn’t the only Studio Ghibli cookbook to soon reach shelves. According to SoraNews24, an official Japanese My Neighbor Totoro cookbook will be released this October 4 so children can learn how to make bento lunch boxes just like the ones enjoyed by Satsuki and Mei.

 

Image via PR Times

Not to mention, there’s another Unofficial Studio Ghibli Cookbook that was just published this year.

It must be something in the water—yummy, brothy ramen noodles, perhaps?

 

 

[via Dazed and Nylon, images via various sources]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420569/Studio-Ghibli-Inspired-Cookbook-Brings-Mouthwatering-Movie-Dishes-To-Your-Table/

Amazon Announces ‘Kindle Scribe’ With Stylus For Bookworms With Big Visions

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Image via Amazon

 

Amazon is putting pen to paper with the latest addition to its Kindle family, the Kindle Scribe.

 

This new version might be one of the most significant updates to the e-reader, as it includes a stylus for the eager reader on the go.

 

 

The stylus is meant to feel like an actual pen and is advertised for journaling, annotating text and documents, and note-taking. For convenience, the accessory snaps magnetically to the e-reader.

 

And since the Kindle has no battery, the pen doesn’t need to be charged, either.

 

The Kindle Scribe is also knocking out the previous Oasis version off the podium for being the largest in the collection, as the Scribe measures 10.2 inches and has a 300 pixels per inch display. The larger screen makes for a more comfortable experience when drawing and writing.

 



Image via Amazon

 

Basic and premium options for the pen will be available, with the latter offering a customizable button and an eraser on its top.

 

The device was announced at the September Amazon Launch Event, when it was also made known that the e-reader can share documents with your phone and computer. From 2023, it will also be able to receive files from Microsoft Word.

 

The Scribe will be sold from US$339.99 in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB options, and will include a Kindle Bundle package. Preorders have begun and the device will be shipped out later this year. 

 

 

 

[via Bloomberg and Tech Radar, images via Amazon]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420557/Amazon-Announces-Kindle-Scribe-With-Stylus-For-Bookworms-With-Big-Visions/

Ship That Warned The Titanic Of Iceberg Has Been Spotted In The Irish Sea

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Image via Bangor University 

 

The tale of the Titanic’s demise has been one that has echoed over generations. On the night of April 14, 1912, the infamous ship met its match and collided with an iceberg en route to New York. 
 
Over the years, it was revealed that the cruise ship had received multiple messages from nearby craft warning it of an iceberg on its course. One of those vessels, the SS Mesaba, has now been found in the Irish Sea after it was torpedoed by a German submarine. 
 
In a cruel twist of fate, the Mesaba, a cargo liner, sank in 1918—six years after it tried in vain to warn the historic ship. 

 



Image via Bangor University

The Titanic itself was fitted with newly developed telegraph systems, and while multiple other ships had cautioned it about icebergs in its path in the morning, the calls were largely ignored until it was too late. 
 
The Mesaba was found by researchers at Bangor University via a multibeam sonar technology. This method employs physical sensors in a transducer array to emit acoustic signals that scan the sea. The results will produce a colorful 2D and 3D render of the ocean’s floor. 

 

 
The team had first thought that only 101 other sunken ships resided in the same area, but after the initial scans, it seemed like the number was closer to 300.
 
The ships were then identified by their geographic position, archival descriptions, and dimensions. Innes McCartney, who wrote the book Echoes of the Deep, notes that this technique could change marine archaeology. He touts the usefulness of this method as that of aerial photography for landscape archaeology. 
 
 
 
[via Ars Technica and Bangor University, images via Bangor Unviersity]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420568/Ship-That-Warned-The-Titanic-Of-Iceberg-Has-Been-Spotted-In-The-Irish-Sea/

David Bowie’s Handwritten Lyrics For ‘Starman’ Skyrocket Above Expected Price

 



Images via Photobra|Adam Bielawski / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) and Omega Auctions

Handwritten lyrics that David Bowie had drafted when producing the hit song Starman have officially sold at auction for five times the price they were estimated to sell for. 
 
The lyrics sheet was written in blue marker on a grid-lined piece of paper outlining the singer’s amendments, corrections, and additions. The song was featured on the Ziggy Stardust album, which was, incidentally, the album that solidified Bowie as a rock icon. 

 



Image via Omega Auctions

The lyrics, displayed at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London as part of its David Bowie collection, were handed over to Omega Auctions for sale.

 

The item was initially estimated to fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of US$43,000, but instead, it raked in US$311,400. 

 



Image via Omega Auctions

Olivier Varenne, director of acquisitions, alliances, and collections, won the bid for the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania, Australia. The page is set to go on display in the museum’s library.
 
 
 
[via ITV and ABC News Australia, images via various sources]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420566/David-Bowie-s-Handwritten-Lyrics-For-Starman-Skyrocket-Above-Expected-Price/

NASA Releases First Images From Satellite Crashing Into A Meteor

 



Image via ASI/NASA

 

If you’ve been keeping up with space news in the last week, you would know that NASA has intentionally launched a satellite into space to crash against an asteroid. The purpose of the mission was to test out planet defense tactics and to see if we can protect ourselves from future incoming meteors. 
 
The mission prove successful as DART (Double Asteroid Reaction Test) hit the target meteor Dimorphos, part of a comet system with Didymos, and knocked it off its course. In doing so, DART was able to capture up-close images of the moonlet before the collision. And with that comes post-impact photos showing the damage the satellite has caused. 

 



Image via ASI/NASA

DART released the Light Italian Cubesat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube) just before it hurled into the comet to take pictures of the event. 
 
The LICIACube had been orbiting the Didymos and Dimorphos when it captured shots of the crash site. Two cameras fitted onto the spacecraft in the images caught bright debris flashes. Once the images were captured, it took about five hours for them to be sent back to Earth, which was seven million miles away from the asteroid system. LICIACube also documented footage of the Dimorphos from the opposite side of the wreckage. 

 

Ecco le prime immagini scattate da #LICIACube dell’impatto di #DARTmission su #Dimorphos.
Adesso iniziano settimane e mesi di grande lavoro per gli scienziati e i tecnici coinvolti in questa prima missione di difesa planetaria, quindi restate collegati! pic.twitter.com/P59Ol89WEB

— LICIACube (@LICIACube) September 27, 2022

Over the next few days, more images will supposedly be released as LICIACube slowly makes its way back to Earth.
 
Now that the mission has proven successful, it’s time for astronomers on Earth to get to work. The crash and the aftermath are being studied by over three dozen telescopes, with almost one on each continent. Scientists are now trying to determine if the collision has successfully pushed Dimorphos off course. 
 
 
 
[via Interesting Engineering and Space.com, images via ASI/NASA]

http://www.designtaxi.com/news/420565/NASA-Releases-First-Images-From-Satellite-Crashing-Into-A-Meteor/