Design Wire January/February 2022

In an effort to make air travel more accessible, the industrial design studio PRIESTMANGOODE has unveiled the AIR 4 ALL, an airplane seating system that enables powered wheelchair users to remain in their own wheelchair during their flight. Designed in a consortium with aircraft safety company SWS CERTIFICATION and campaign group FLYING DISABLED, the Air 4 All works similarly to the Isofix/LATCH systems for child safety seats in passenger cars, allowing commercial airlines to better accommodate the disabled community without reducing seat count—the airplane seat either folds up to make space for a wheelchair or it functions as a regular seat. Designed to be compatible with a wide range of airline seats and powered wheelchair types, both the airline seats and wheelchairs will still need to be equipped with the patented installation and attachment system. Wheelchair manufacturer SUNRISE MEDICAL is at work creating new, fit-to-fly powered wheelchairs as well as retrofitting old models.

With a nod to the beauty of the natural world, sustainable lighting brand GRAYPANTS is continuing its legacy of incorporating biomimicry into design with the PEBBLES COLLECTION, a series of asymmetrical lamps and pendants that emulate ocean-smoothed rocks found along the Seattle seashore. An extension of the SCRAPLIGHTS line, the Pebbles collection is sustainably produced from laser-cut, postconsumer corrugated cardboard. Each lamp is inscribed with the name of the beach and the geographic coordinates of the stone it was modeled after, and all models are available in natural, white, and blonde finishes.

Designed with the intention of making the average airplane passenger’s experience more streamlined and enjoyable, PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT broke ground on the $1.4 billion TERMINAL MODERNIZATION PROJECT in October, the first new airport terminal to be built in America since the start of the pandemic. With completion set for 2025, the 700,000-square-foot terminal will showcase next-generation technology and sustainability efforts such as rainwater harvesting, power from the airport’s microgrid of 10,000 solar panels and five natural gas generators, and AI-enabled technologies from CARNEGIE MELLON. Other features will include shorter walking distances from curb to plane, more efficient baggage delivery, clean air technology, outdoor terraces, art displays, and an abundance of greenery throughout.

Two iconic brands are collaborating on a somewhat unexpected but no less hype-worthy product: the REEBOK X EAMES OFFICE CLUB C shoe collection celebrates the life and work of groundbreaking twentieth-century designers Charles and Ray Eames. The initial drop reimagines Reebok’s popular 1985 tennis shoe in all-white and all-black with “Eames” where the sports-wear’s logo usually appears; an insole featuring a geometric print referencing the colors on the famous Eames House, also known as Case Study House No. 8, in Los Angeles; and a shoebox modeled after the same. The second collection—the RAY EAMES SIGNATURE PACK—will feature a reproduction of Ray’s 1939 painting Composition, along with the iconic Eames dot-pattern textile print from 1947.

Named a national winner at the 2021 JAMES DYSON AWARDS, the OTO CHAIR was designed to give individuals with autism more autonomy while alleviating potential overload experienced from light, noise, and physical contact. Created by graduate designer ALEXIA AUDRAIN, who studied at L’ÉCOLE DE DESIGN NANTES ATLANTIQUE, the chair has cushioned walls and a footrest that inflate to emulate the cocooning sensation of a hug. While this type of deep-pressure therapy typically requires another person’s help, a remote control enables the user of the chair to fine-tune pressure levels. Envisioned to look like a design piece rather than a medical device, the Oto chair is housed in an attractive beechwood shell and is meant to make public and private spaces more inclusive of people with autism.

Construction on a new outdoor recreation center in Orono is tentatively set to begin in summer of 2022, providing access to a network of trails and conservation lands from Bangor to Old Town. Located on the property of former fishing bait business Taylor Bait Farm, which was purchased in 2018 by the ORONO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, the CARIBOU BOG TRAIL CENTER will renovate structures used by the bait operation to create a main building with cubbies and bathrooms as well as a smaller gear shed for tuning bikes and skis. Jointly run by the Orono Economic Development Corporation, the ORONO LAND TRUST, and the PENOBSCOT VALLEY SKI CLUB, the center will be open for hiking and biking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter.

PRINCE CHARLES’s private estate has unveiled plans for a new “landscape-led” town in Faversham, Kent, some 48 miles from London. Created in collaboration with architect BEN PENTREATH and located on land owned by the DUCHY OF CORNWALL, a private estate founded in 1337 to fund projects associated with the Prince of Wales, SOUTH EAST FAVERSHAM aims to be a mixed-income community with 2,500 homes, tree-lined streets, a central green, and a local primary school as well as shops and other amenities located within walkable distances to encourage sustainable living. This is not the first time Prince Charles has built an experimental town. The Prince of Wales has long been a believer in New Urbanism, a movement that focuses on human-scale urban design. Work is scheduled to begin on the town’s cricket ground and football pitches in 2023, with the rest of the development beginning in 2024 or 2025, subject to planning approval.

A 25-year-old restoration project may finally receive the necessary piece of funding to push it over the finish line. THE ABYSSINIAN MEETING HOUSE, a church built in 1828 in Portland’s East End solely by the city’s Black community, could receive $1.7 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to finish restoration. The finished building will include interior spaces for community events, exhibitions, and educational programming. The nation’s third-oldest meetinghouse constructed by a Black congregation, the Abyssinian is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as a northern hub of the Underground Railroad and the anti-slavery movement. City officials sold the property to the restoration committee in 1998 for $250. For the first 20 years, JOHN JAMES was the chief architect on the restoration, and his plans, reports, surveys and drawings are now being used by project manager ERIC DUBE and architect JOHN TURKS.

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