over the course of the year, designboom has highlighted many projects in the fields of architecture, art, design and technology, presented via the format of moving image. from a cinematic journey through chinese production, we then discover a valveless trumpet made entirely out of concrete, and eventually we enjoy beethoven and mozart being played in front of rescued elephants. get ready for designboom’s TOP 10 videos of 2021.
richard john seymour premiered his directorial debut with ‘consumed’, a short film that follows the laborious processes behind everyday products. the cinematic journey takes viewers to china, where a worker narrates his story to the rhythm of industrial machinery. from coal mines and polluted waters in inner mongolia, to container ships at qingdao port, the director gives a sober look at the impact of contemporary consumer society.
in the scenic spot of shanghai, china, nong studio transformed ‘the blackstone apartment’, also known as the most luxurious apartment complex in shanghai, to a speakeasy bar called ‘the blackstone exchange’. the bar takes its design language from the traces of shanghai in the 1930s with an integration of the western culture while stubbornly maintaining national traditions.
together with the seoul biennale of architecture and urbanism (SBAU) 2021, cinematographer nils clauss, and filmmaker and videographer neil dowling, have created the documentary ‘crossroads: life in the resilient city’. the film looks at the urban experience of five individuals, exploring how they appropriate the rapidly changing environments of new york, seoul, mumbai, paris and nairobi. blurring the lines between reality and imagination, the documentary presents architecture and urban landscape as both the backdrop and the protagonist of these narratives.
henry hanson created a fully functional valveless trumpet made entirely of a single concrete block. in an attempt to reinterpret the well-known wind instrument, the designer removed its traditional brass casing to unveil the basic essence of a trumpet, and house it in an unexpected material and shape.
according to a report by UNICEF and the world health organization, 1 in 3 people globally still do not have access to safe drinking water. to help tackle this issue and the diarrhoeal deaths attributed to unsafe water, olivier de gruijter of studio forthemany and business developer eise van maanen created JERRY, a self-cleaning water filter made specifically to fit onto jerry cans. the small, low-cost device hopes to provide safe drinking water to those who need it most.
the slootmotor by dutch engineer gijs schalkx is a motorcycle powered by local, sustainable, and environmentally cooling sources. this vehicle truly delivers an alternative and, unlike others, does not rely on high technology, incomprehensible devices, and resources from all over the world.
at the 2021 venice architecture biennale, the thai pavilion explored what architecture can learn from the relationship between elephants and the kuy people — an ethnic group in thailand’s tha tum district. ‘changes have affected their villages of people and elephants over the centuries,’ the curatorial team, led by apiradee kasemsook, shares with designboom. ‘what never changes with time, however, is the inseparable bond between the two.’ the pavilion’s exhibitor is boonserm premthada, the architect responsible for designing ‘elephant world’ — a government funded initiative that includes a museum, a flexible events and recreation space, and an observation tower. the complex provides a source of stable income for the kuy people as well as the region’s elephants.
a mesmerizing riot of sights and sounds pervaded the san francisco museum of modern art (SFMOMA) with an exhibition of more than 200 works by visionary experimental artist nam june paik. born in seoul during the japanese occupation of korea, paik lived and worked in japan, germany and the united states, reflecting a global connectedness that transcended cultural borders. prior to experimenting with performance and technology in the 1960s, he studied music theory and trained as a musician. his multidisciplinary practice developed across a huge range of media — from music to performance and technology — in groundbreaking ways. paik has become synonymous with the electronic image through an output of manipulated TV sets, live performances, global television broadcasts, single-channel videos and video installations.
‘ordinance of the subconscious treatment’ designed by duyi han is an artbnb apartment in jiangnan, china, transformed holiday accommodation into a live-in art experience. monochromatic hospital-like tones and furniture pieces embroidered with molecular geometries complete the interior, generating an eccentric environment. through this unique aesthetic, the project sought to explore the topic of mental health and contemporary ‘chinese-ness’.
in thailand, british musician and artist paul barton plays classical music to rescue elephants. with a luscious green backdrop, and a river that adds to the composition, the pianist performs passages by beethoven, schumann and grieg. in the videos, barton is seen with mongkol, a bull elephant rescued from captivity that enjoys the tune as she sways her tusk.