Autonomous driving is not what Google thinks it is.

When you choose to debut a full concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show, rather than the looming international auto show a few days later, it’s gotta be a piece of forward-looking, high-tech wizardry. The Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion is that and more. The car represents Mercedes’ vision of a fully autonomous rolling lounge that envelops four passengers in technology and comfort.

Instead of getting weighed down in superfluous details, Mercedes zeroes in on the real highlight of the concept, the lounge-style cabin. The swiveling front seats can face forward as in a normal car, but given the lack of any human driving responsibilities, they can also swing around to face the rear passengers, creating a roomy interior space that promises to make passengers of even the Maybach S600 feel a bit cramped in comparison. The seats automatically swivel 30 degrees outward when the doors open, making it easier to get in and out.

Passengers of the futuristic car can take advantage of their new face-to-face orientation to converse amongst themselves, but who opts for real-life conversation when they can lose themselves in a world of cat videos and emoticons? The “digital arena” of the F 015 keeps occupants connected by way of six high-resolution displays integrated into the instrument and side panels. The displays can be operated via touch, gesture control and eye tracking.

 

Art Basel Miami: the premiere beach party of the international art world.

267 galleries from 31 countries, along with 73,000 international visitors attended the 2014 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach. Since its debut in 1970, Art Basel has become the Modern and contemporary artworld’s premier platform for bringing together artists and their patrons in a way that is both engaging and personal.. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, films are displayed in the main exhibition hall, while ambitious artworks and performances become part of the landscape.

Modern and contemporary art of the highest quality, from classic forms to pieces by the most cutting edge experimentalists, are on display in a multi-sector format, making Art Basel a prized venue for both the artists and those who appreciate their work. With annual art shows sited on three continents – Europe, North America, and Asia – it is the only art show with such global reach.

 

The Genesis Project: a visionary drama in photography

Epic, awe-inspiring, moving and important: Sebastião Salgado’s photographs are revered by public and critics the world over. An economics PhD, he only took up photography in his 30s, but the discipline became an obsession. His years-long projects have captured the human side of a global story and also tell a deeply personal story that nearly killed him. His latest work, “Genesis,” comprises breathtaking images that document the world’s forgotten people and places and is the result of an epic eight-year expedition to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have so far escaped the imprint of modern society.

On over 30 trips – traveled on foot, by light aircraft, seagoing vessels, canoes, and even balloons, through extreme heat and cold and in sometimes dangerous conditions – Salgado created a collection of images showing us nature, animals, and indigenous peoples in such shocking and intense beauty it takes our breath away. In GENESIS, one discovers the animal species and volcanoes of the Galápagos; the penguins, sea lions, cormorants, and whales of the South Atlantic; Brazilian alligators and jaguars; and African lions, leopards, and elephants. Through Salgado’s lens, we travel over icebergs in the Antarctic, the volcanoes of Central Africa, the ravines of the Grand Canyon, and the glaciers of Alaska. We encounter the Stone Age Korowai people of West Papua, nomadic Dinka cattle farmers in Sudan, Nenets and their reindeer herds in the Arctic Circle, as well as the Mentawai jungle communities on islands west of Sumatra.

 

 

The city is an ever changing canvas; street art is meant to be ephemeral.

Worn away by the bustle of cities, eroded by rain or painted over by real estate developers, graffiti has evolved into art—making some famous such as the elusive English street artist, Banksy. However, the internet has brought the once maligned art form to a higher level of recognition and respect by preserving it. Google Street Art Project does just that.

What some call vandalism, others call street art. Where some see criminals, others see outlaw poets, heroes of free speech taking their work directly to the people, bypassing galleries and auction houses, and democratizing the relationship between art and the public. That outlaw freedom jumped time and space last week when the Google Street Art Project announced it was doubling its worldwide database by adding 5000 new images.

Launched in June 2014, the street art database features roughly 260 virtual exhibits from 34 countries where you can browse art or hear guided tours. More than 50 organizations partnered on the project, southern California contributors being Wende Museum in Culver City, Pasadena Museum of California Art and the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles.

 

Dream cars: an exhibition of visionary automobile designs.

“We dream of cars that will float and fly, or run on energy from a laser beam, or travel close to the ground without wheels. Such research may border on the fantastic, but so did the idea of a carriage going about the country without a horse.”  —The Ford Book of Styling, 1963

The automobile has evolved from curiosity to daily necessity. Its form has advanced from the horseless carriages of the early twentieth century to the sleek, highly functional objects we know today. The experimental, concept, or “dream car,” as it became known in the early 1950s, has long been a dynamic tool allowing designers to showcase and demonstrate forward-thinking automotive design ideas. Concept cars were not objects the public typically could purchase, but rather the testing ground for innovations that might find expression in automobiles produced decades later. This exhibition explores the innovative designs that sparked ideas of future possibility and progress. It examines the dream car through five themes: individual makers, the impact of styling, visionary designers, the design process, and the influence of automobile fairs.

Chosen from hundreds of concept cars produced between 1932 and the present day, the visions for these automobiles are exciting to behold. Like most concept cars, those on display were never intended for production. Imagine an egg-shaped electric car, an exterior surface made of flexible fabric, or a jet fighter rolling down the highway – all of these were among the ideas dreamed up by designers and are featured in these galleries. The “dream” represented by these cars was that of future possibilities and pushing the limits of imagination and design.

 

Can design help 35 million displaced people in 126 countries?

Every day, all over the world, ordinary people must flee their homes for fear of death or persecution. Many leave without notice, taking only what they can carry. Many will never return. They cross oceans and minefields, they risk their lives and their futures. When they cross international borders they are called refugees.

The Refugee Project is an interactive map of refugee migrations around the world in each year since 1975. UN data is complemented by original histories of the major refugee crises of the last four decades, situated in their individual contexts.

Exhibited during the 2nd Istanbul Design Biennal, brooklyn-based designer Ekene Ijeoma presented “The Refugee Project,” a narrative-time map of refugee migrations since 1975. The responsive interface was developed with UN data to visualize refugee volumes over time, adding historical content to help explain some of the largest refugee movements of the last four decades. The project questions the role of design, its relationship to society, and its ability to be an active agent for change.