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Big Ideas: The Latest Architecture and News

BIG's Giant Reflective ORB Takes Shape at Burning Man

Bjarke Ingels Group has built an 80-foot-diameter ORB at the 2018 Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada. The ORB was designed as an inflated spherical mirror with a steel mast. A series of photos have captured the ORB from both Burning Man festival goers and BIG partner Kai-Uwe Bergmann. As a landmark in The Playa, the ORB conceptually references mother earth and human expression, designed to leave no trace following its deflation.

ORB. Image © Kai-Uwe BergmannORB. Image © Kai-Uwe BergmannORB. Image Courtesy of BIG IdeasORB. Image Courtesy of BIG Ideas+ 8

Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange Launch Fundraiser for Giant Reflective Orb at Burning Man 2018

Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange have launched an Indiegogo fundraiser for an 80-foot-diameter ORB to be constructed for the 2018 Burning Man festival at Black Rock City, Nevada. Scaled at 1/500,000th of the earth’s surface, the reflective sphere sits “at the axis of art & utility, capturing the entire Black Rock City in an airborne temporal monument that mirrors the Burning Man experience to the Burners as single beings in the midst of an intentional community."

As well as acting as a wayfinder for navigating The Playa, the ORB sits as a tribute to mother earth and human expression, designed to blend with its surroundings during the night, and leave no trace following its deflation.

Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels and Jakob LangeCourtesy of Bjarke Ingels and Jakob LangeCourtesy of Bjarke Ingels and Jakob LangeCourtesy of Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange+ 6

Meet the World’s Smallest and Most Stylish Smartlock by BIG and Friday Labs

BIG has teamed up with Friday Labs to create the Friday Lock, “the world’s smallest smartlock.” Through the Friday app, users can unlock their doors wirelessly, as well as automatically as they leave or approach.

As an access-granted user’s phone approaches the system, the door unlocks automatically. Access can be easily granted, as well as revoked through the app, allowing for temporary users, as well as to remove access if a phone is stolen.

These Are the World's Most Innovative Architecture Firms

This article was originally published by Archipreneur as "5 of the Most Innovative Architecture Firms."

The AEC industry is notoriously slow to adopt new technologies. Cumbersome organizational structures and high financial stakes make it difficult for AEC professionals to experiment. Due to the limited role of architects in the project development process, innovative design solutions and experimentation with new manufacturing techniques are still confined to academic circles and research institutions.

However, some architecture firms are utilizing their high profiles, international success and the influx of talented, young designers to establish in-house research divisions and incubators that support the development of new ideas in the AEC industry. The following five companies are consistent in pushing the envelope and helping architecture adopt some of the latest technologies:

Jakob Lange on Founding BIG Ideas and the Diverse Future of Architectural Practice

Jakob Lange | BIG. Image © Flemming Leitorp
Jakob Lange | BIG. Image © Flemming Leitorp

In an age when companies of all types are seeking diverse and creative ways to achieve their goals, the traditional model of architectural practice appears to be increasingly old-fashioned. Last year, one of the most dramatic changes in the make-up of architectural practice was the foundation of product design firm BIG Ideas, an off-shoot of Bjarke Ingels Group, which is tasked with solving problems that are usually outside the scope of an architect's work. In this interview, originally published by Archipreneur in their "Archipreneur Insights" series as "Making BIG Ideas Happen Through Design With Jakob Lange," the head of BIG Ideas speaks to Tobias Maescher about the foundation of this entrepreneurial company and the value of keeping such close connections between a product design company and its parent architecture firm.

Today’s interview is with Jakob Lange, Partner at BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) and Head of the BIG Ideas project unit, which was established in 2014. With this unit, BIG is broadening the scope of their architectural practice to a wider field. Combining technology and product design, this remarkable incubator creates prototypes, products and new materials within the building industry.

The Friday Smart Lock, an electronic door lock that pairs with a user’s mobile device, is one great example of an innovative product the team at BIG have helped to produce. They have also utilized creative methods for financing their projects, including a recent Kickstarter campaign for the prototype of a steam ring generator at a BIG-designed power plant in Copenhagen.

We think it is fascinating that one of the world’s most innovative and successful architectural offices is moving into other fields of practice—a very archipreneurial move! However, this is just one of many ways that architects can apply their skillsets to future business innovations. Here are Jakob’s thoughts on architecture, design and product development.

AD Interviews: BIG's Jakob Lange / Chicago Architecture Biennial

One of BIG's most high-profile projects under construction, the Amager Bakke waste-to-power plant in Copenhagen, will have quite the party trick up its sleeve. In order to give locals a new understanding of the issue of global warming, for every tonne of CO2 generated by the burning of waste, the plant will emit a super-sized ring of steam into the sky from the chimney perched at the top of its sloping roof. However, when construction on the project started, BIG hit a road block: as Bjarke Ingels explained to FastCo Design, "there were no smoke ring-emitting manufacturers in the yellow pages."

ArchDaily Readers on the Role of Crowdfunding in Architecture

Over time, people have found many different ways to fund the construction of a building. Museums for example have long benefited from the support of deep-pocketed patrons, with The Broad Museum, a permanent public home for the renowned contemporary art collection of philanthropists Edythe and Eli Broad, being the newest example in a long history of such practices. However in our ever-more-connected world - and against a backdrop of reduced government support for creative endeavors - the onus of funding seems to be shifting once again, away from the individual and towards the crowd.

As crowdfunding makes strides in all realms of innovative enterprise, including architecture, we wanted to hear from our readers about what they thought of this new opportunity for a publicly held stake in what has historically been the realm of singular, well-heeled organizations in the form of the state or private capital. Writing about the history and current trajectories of public funding, alongside a more pointed discussion of BIG’s Kickstarter for “the world’s first steam ring generator,” we posed the question: does public funding have a place in architecture, and if so, is there a line that should be drawn?

Read on for some of the best replies.

9 Entrepreneurial Architects Who Developed Innovative Products and Services

Architects love innovation; they are usually on the lookout for the latest innovation in materials and products which they can incorporate into their inevitably innovative designs. And yet, there's one place where they rarely innovate: their own business. This article, originally posted on Archipreneur as "Branching Out: 9 Architects Who Created Innovative Products," explores the world of architects who are innovating in other ways.

For decades the architectural business model has remained unchanged. While other industries have taken cues from the increasingly popular start-up mentality seen in the technology sector, architects have stuck to the outmoded practice of trading time for dollars. In a competitive global economy, this model is highly susceptible to changes in the real estate market and has limited opportunities for growth. These realities have propelled some architecture graduates to consider alternative career paths in which their unique skillset offers them a competitive advantage.

In contrast to the current business model of most architecture firms, we’ve gathered nine examples of architects who have created innovative products and services. These endeavors offer numerous advantages when it comes to growing a business because unlike the consulting model, product creation is highly scalable and has the potential to provide a continuous passive income stream.

The BIG Steam-Ring Kickstarter: Is There a Limit to What Should Be Crowdfunded?

Update: The Kickstarter campaign launched by BIG to fund the development of their steam ring generator reached its goal of $15,000 in less than a week after it was launched. As of today (24th August) the campaign total stands just short of $25,000, with 19 days still to go.

BIG has launched a Kickstarter campaign, aiming to fund the ongoing research and prototyping of the "steam ring generator" designed to crown the firm's Waste-to-Energy power plant in Copenhagen. The campaign was announced on Friday and picked up a lot of steam (pun intended) in the design press - but at ArchDaily we were hesitant to publish news of the campaign because, in short, it led us into a minefield of questions about the role of invention, public engagement, and money in architecture.

Of course, BIG are far from the first to attempt to crowdfund an architectural project. Previous projects however have generally focused on otherwise-unfundable proposals for the public good, barely-sane moonshots or complex investment structures which depending on your viewpoint may or may not even count as crowdfunding. BIG are perhaps the first example of an established architectural firm attempting to crowdfund the design of a project that is already half-built, causing some people - ArchDaily staff included - to ask: "Why wasn't this money included in the project's budget?"