OCD Organizers: Set of 7 Modular Desktop Office Products

Keeping things neat and tidy on your home or work desk can be tough, in part because most objects are made independently – different shapes and sizes from different manufacturers.

This series of square-edged tools (titled Buro – the German word for office) from Lexon makes a conventional organizer obsolete, letting you stack or array items in desk-top towers or drawer-slotted rows. Everything lines up in terms of length and height, from traditional tape dispensers, hole punchers, magnifiers, calculators and calenders to the more contemporary external hard drive most modern offices require.

Block-printed labels alongside the edge (as well as an beautiful range of colors and hues) let you easily pick out what you need for a particular task. This may be more than some of us need, but for those who spend all day sitting at a desk, it is nice to feel like everything around you is ready and waiting for, not distracting from, the work at hand.

This is not Lexon’s first foray into matching series and systems of items, though. They have an anodised aluminum-themed series of professional tools, a cute collection of monochromatic colored radios and a diverse bunch of bamboo-based products as well, all commissioned from various industrial designers. Still, while these are all aesthetically related by materials and aesthetic, there is something compelling about the physical interconnections of the Buro office set.


Organic Villa Expansion Transforms South African Cottage

A traditional villa of modest huts forms the core of this home, making the curved addition a beautifully contrasting extension, reaching out into the adjacent forest environs.

Elmo Swart Architects started with a simple gesture – a single arcing steel-framed plane that wraps up the outside of the building, clad partly in permeable bamboo where it forms a lofted outdoor deck.

Local materials inform and soften the stark modern shapes, from packed-earth walls and natural-wood finishes to furniture and furnishings from the old home moved into the new sections.

Inside, the expanded floor plan includes a pair of new studies, a bedroom and a multipurpose entertainment, art gallery and gathering space.

Outside, it hangs over the edge of an partly-underground driveway terminus, cantilevered to both conceal and protect cars parked outdoors below its floors.


Surf & Turf: Wave-Shaped Home Lofted in FEMA Flood Zone

Florida beaches can be beautiful … but floods are far from fun (and all too frequent). This house, however, seems to welcome (or challenge) oncoming waves with a huge sweeping arc of its own.

This impressive mid-sized vacation-and-guest residence is situated on a thin barrier island, straddling a forested strip of Casey Key turf sandwiched in surf on both sides.

Designed by Totems Inc to mimic canoe and ship hulls, glue-laminated pine beams bring wooden warmth to the inside (and reference surrounding oaks) while allowing curves that would be impossible with traditional lumber.

Sometimes the best home property insurance for a flood lies in the architecture rather than a contract. Lofting the main living quarters a story above the ground provides built-in management, as damage is much harder to clean up in occupied interior zones (and mold is a serious issue).

The simple main-floor plan consists of a single bedroom, bathroom, living area and kitchenette – a cozy bedroom is lofted above. Below, steel pilings sunk directly into the ground prevent root-system damage and provide support if the lower level is flooded.


Futuristic Rooftop Living Room in a Compact Prefab Capsule

Self-contained, portable and prefabricated, this Living Roof idea encapsulates an ideal of mobile and modular urban expansion the only way most cities can still go: up.

Each unit can rotate into various functional configurations and can also exist off the grid; they rely on a highly-insulated exterior shells, a series of solar panels and mini-turbines on either end (that both generate power and pump rainwater to waiting collectors).

Falling somewhere between a UFO and a giant alien football, there is no doubt these portable rooftop pods make a strong visual statement- their additive nature is otherworldly but strangely beautiful.

“Used as an alternative to hotel rooms or as a temporary residence for multi-city dwellers, the Living Roof project exists as individual suites spread throughout the city. Inside, rather than dispersing activities horizontally, a functional ring vertically combines sleep, lounge and work areas.”

“Guests can choose their desired mode and the ring rotates the appropriate module downwards. Luxury, style and ecology are effortlessly provided in the Living Roof. A new urban retreat, a refuge to recover, plan excursions into the city, or simply stare into the stars.”

In numeric order (per the above diagrams) the space(s) include such features as a “seating element, writing desk element, infoscreen/televisionexterior skin with photovoltaic cells, motorized sun shade louvers, wind turbine, generator and battery packs, wardrobe, entry hatch, shower area, water collection and filtration tanks, cooktop, sink [and] toilet compartment.” Project by adNAU.


Crystal Castles: 15 Glittering Glass Buildings

They shimmer in the sunlight, require no artificial lighting during the day and blur the lines between indoors and out, welcoming the landscape into lobbies and living rooms. These 13 buildings make stunning and often unusual use of large amounts of glass, whether choosing it as a facade material around a more conventional building, capitalizing on its dreamy diaphanous effects or using it to visually expand a space (sometimes at the expense of privacy).

Basque Health Department Headquarters, Spain

(images via: archdaily)

The Basque Health Department Headquarters building in Bilbao was in need of an energy-efficient update, but rather than tearing down the whole building and starting anew, Coll-Barreau Architects gave the existing building a faceted glass facade that not only insulates the building, brightens it up and enables ventilation, but also makes a dramatic street-side statement. The unusual shape of the facade was partially the result of strict city zoning rules.

Kanagawa Institute of Technology Glass Building, Japan

(images via: archdaily)

The lines between indoors and out are blurred in the crystalline Kanagawa Institute of Technology studio and workspace, designed by Junya Ishigami and Associates. With floor-to-ceiling glass, the building is totally transparent, giving students an incredibly bright space in which to work during the day, and turning it into a veritable art installation at night. Inside, supportive columns are arranged to subtly define ‘zones’ of the building without walling them in and cutting them off from the rest of the space and all of that natural light.

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

(images via: archicentral)

Conceived as a perfect cube with half of it buried beneath the surface of the earth, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum is a dreamy vision in modern stained glass, gleaming in shades of red, blue and yellow. Housing a museum and offices as well as the national broadcasting archives, the interior design is a conceptual translation of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” with blood-red corridors and an atrium that architects Willem Jan Neutelings and Michiel Reidijk call their “inferno”. The colored glass panels that seem abstract from afar are actually famous images from Dutch television.

Parc du Futuroscope, France

(images via: wikimedia commons)

Vienne, France glitters with a series of brilliant glass buildings that together form Parc du Futuroscope, a theme park based on multimedia, cinematographic futuroscope and audio-visual techniques. The faceted cinema is harsh and jagged, calling to mind crystal shards, while L’Omnimax is a sphere encased within a glass box. A third structure, L’Imax 3D, is covered in mirrored glass tiles.

Selgas Cano Architecture Office, Spain

(images via: archdaily)

Most of us work in uninspiring office spaces that seem to have been designed with blandness and disconnection from nature in mind. We can only dream of gazing up at the treetops like the lucky workers who spend their days in the Madrid offices of Spanish architecture practice Selgas Cano. The tube-shaped office is sunken into the ground and features one long wall of windows, giving occupants the feel of being completely immersed in the woods.

Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe, Illinois

(images via: archdaily)

Now considered a classic example of use of glass in clean modern residential architecture, the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe is a pavilion with all-glass walls that tie the residents to their peaceful woodland surroundings. The trees surrounding the home, which is located on a secluded 10-acre site just outside of Chicago, provide some semblance of privacy. The home is raised to be as light as possible on the land. Said van der Rohe of his design, “Nature, too, shall live its own life. We must beware not to disrupt it with the color of our houses and interior fittings. Yet we should attempt to bring nature, houses, and human beings together into a higher unity.”

Glass Cube House by Santambrogiomilano

(images via: design buzz)

Could you live in a glass cube such as this, where even the walls and stairs are transparent? Designed more for aesthetics than practicality, the Glass Home by Carlo Santambrogio and Ennio Arosio was built to showcase the pair’s ‘Simplicity’ line of furniture. While it’s difficult to imagine living life quite this – transparently – the building itself, viewed as an art object, is quite beautiful to behold.

Bloch Building, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Missouri

(images via: stevenholl.com)

Steven Holl’s stunning addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City consists of five interconnected frosted glass boxes that occupy the sculpture park of the much more conventional existing museum. At night they become like paper lanterns in the grass, luminous and seemingly ephemeral. The ‘Bloch Building’ brings the museum, built in 1933, firmly into the 21st century, not only with its unusual exterior but with the visually engaging yet appropriately blank white gallery space inside.

La Estancia Glass Chapel, Mexico

(images via: archdaily)

When a young architect from Bunker Arqutectura wanted to get married at La Estancia Gardens in Mexico, the site owner thought that having the architect design a new chapel for the grounds was an utterly romantic idea. Less romantic were the seemingly endless arguments that followed over the design of the structure; the owner wanted it enclosed and air conditioned, the architect envisioned it open to the elements. The owner preferred a traditional look, the architect desired a modern aesthetic. What resulted is a compromise. To prevent an unwanted greenhouse effect, Bunker used U-profiled glass panes that fit together as a single membrane, allowing ventilation.

Feria Valencia Convention and Exhibition Center, Spain

(images via: salva del saz)

Resembling an oblong glass bubble from above, the Feria Valencia Convention and Exhibition Center reflects into a perfect sphere when viewed from the opposite side of the shallow pond that leads up to its entrance. In fact, the stunning glass structure is only the building’s roof. Most of the four-story convention center is underground.

ItHouse by Taalman Koch, California

(images via: inhabitat)

This gorgeous prefab house is located in a serene desert setting outside of Joshua Tree National Park in a planned community called Three Junipers. The itHouse, by Taalman Koch Architects, is primarily constructed of glass panels that fit into aluminum frames. Powered solely by photovoltaic and solar thermal energy, the house is off-grid and has a relatively small footprint at 1600 square feet.

X House by Arquitectura X, Quito, Ecuador

(images via: archdaily)

Designing their home without a site in mind, Adrian Moreno Nunez and Maria Samaniego Ponce focused on a design that would fit pretty much anywhere: “an open ended box, whose spatial limits would be the eastern and western ranges of the Andes.” They chose glass because it provides an unlimited sense of space and, in their year-round temperate climate, would not pose any problems with greenhouse effect or lack of sufficient insulation.

Langen Foundation by Tadao Ando, Germany

(images via: wikimedia commons)

Located in Neuss, Germany at the Raketenstation Hombroich, a former NATO base, the Langen Foundation is a museum storing the collection of Oriental Art and Modern Art. Visitors enter this Tadao Ando-designed complex through a cutout in a curving concrete wall, their eyes immediately drawn to the building’s distinctive glass envelope. This envelope not only provides covered corridors around the concrete core, but also reflects on the shallow man-made pond upon which it is partially set.


Inspiring Spires: A Celebration Of The Kuwait Towers

Kuwait officially achieved independence 50 years ago today, so please join us in celebrating the country’s most famous architectural monuments, the Kuwait Towers. Designed by Swedish architects and built by a Yugoslav construction firm in the 1970s, this trio of soaring spires spearheads the tiny, wealthy Persian Gulf nation’s march into a second half-century of oil-based prosperity.

Liquid Gold

(image via: Fasi_Cooldude)

The Kuwait Towers (Burjan al-Kuwait) are located in downtown Kuwait City, just off the seaward side of Arabian Gulf Street. They occupy a promontory shaped like the curled haft of a traditional dagger that juts into Kuwait Bay.

(images via: Icukuwait, Arabic Pictures and Hussain Shah)

There are no other highrise buildings in the general area of the Kuwait Towers, which contributes to their easy visibility and popularity with photographers. Since the Kuwait Towers officially opened in March of 1979, they have come to symbolize the wealth and prosperity that has boosted this formerly sleepy backwater into the world’s eleventh richest country per capita.

(images via: Graham Neff Photos, Kuwait Towers and Abhisculpture)

The reference to “liquid gold”? It obviously refers to Kuwait’s immense oil wealth: although it ranks just 157th by size, the country boasts the world’s fifth largest oil reserves. It can also refer to water, a precious commodity in this hot, dry, desert country. Though they may not look like water towers, storing water is actually the primary function of the Kuwait Towers: two large spherical tanks on the towers hold a combined 4,500 cubic meters (158,915 cu ft) of water.

Tanks a Lot

(image via: Spirit Whisper)

The idea of building the Kuwait Towers dates back to 1962, less than a year after Kuwait achieved its independence from Great Britain. The design by Swedish architects Sune Lindström and Malene Björn of Vatten-Byggnadsbyzan (VBB) received official approval in 1971 and when it finally came time to put shovels to earth (or sand, in this case), Belgrade-based contractor Union-Inzenjering was called in with most of the structural work performed in 1975 and 1976.

(images via: Psycho Milt, Indica-In-Q8 and Spirit Whisper)

The Kuwait Towers pleasingly express a combination of modern architectural themes and traditional Islamic design, with comparisons being made to slender minarets and the blue-tiled mosques of Bukhara and Samarkand.

(image via: Gary Brown)

In the case of the Kuwait Towers, however, instead of ceramic tiles the spherical exteriors of the water tanks are covered by 55,000 circular plates of Chinese steel tinted in eight different colors. The concrete portions of the towers are painted white and are tipped with aluminum for protection from lightning. In 1980, the Kuwait Towers were awarded the coveted Aga Khan prize for Islamic architecture.

(images via: DiaTribe and Kuwait Government Online)

All three towers are mainly made of reinforced concrete but that’s where a little individuality sets in. Let’s crunch some numbers: the main tower is the tallest of the trio, standing 187 meters (613.5 ft) in height. A large water tank is built into the main tower’s lower portion and just above it, at the 82 meter (269 ft) mark, you’ll find the Ofok Restaurant and two other eateries.

(images via: Kuwait Diary and Kuwait Government Online)

Higher up on the main tower at the 123 meter (403.55 ft) level, a second, smaller “Viewing Sphere” rotates once every half hour giving visitors on the observation deck a magnificent 360 degree view of Kuwait City and its environs including the nearby AquaPark.

(images via: Travel-Images, JourneyMart, Teach Anywhere) and CreativeSam)

The 145.8 meter (478.35 ft) high second tower serves purely as a water tower with a capacity of one million gallons. The third, or “small” tower, standing 113 meters (370.75 ft) high, contains electrical equipment and a bank of lights that illuminate the other two towers at night.

Saddam It So Much!

(image via: Jun See)

The First Gulf War began on August 2nd, 1990, when Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded Kuwait on the pretext of seizing back his country’s “lost 19th province.” It wasn’t until mid-January of 1991 that American-led coalition forces began air bombardments against the Iraqi Army and following a 100-hour ground campaign that began on February 25th, Kuwait regained its sovereignty. Seven months of Iraqi occupation, however, had left an ugly mark on Kuwait.

(images via: ImageState and Heritage Images)

The sabotaging of hundreds of Kuwaiti oil wells as part of a “scorched earth” policy is well documented, but Saddam’s troops were also responsible for other actions intended to erase all reminders of an independent Kuwait. One of these actions concerned the Kuwait Towers. Besides causing damage to the towers’ exteriors with gunfire and shrapnel, Iraqi soldiers intentionally destroyed the towers’ electrical utilities and vandalized interior facilities. One supposes it could have been worse.

(images via: CIMorelli)

Lest we be accused of overly demonizing the Iraqi’s, let the record show that Coalition forces made their own mark, as it were, on the Kuwait Towers.

(images via: Darcos and HD TravelPictures)

Throughout the balance of 1991 and well into 1992, damage sustained to the Kuwait Towers (estimated to be 70 percent) was repaired and essential technical and comfort facilities were restored to their original condition. Repairing the damage cost an estimated KD 2 million. It was an inspirational occasion for proud Kuwaiti citizens when, on December 26th of 1992, the Kuwait Towers were officially re-opened to the public by Finance Minister and Planning Minister Nasser Al-Roudhan.

Towers Of Power

(images via: Salah El-Deen Times and Kuwaits Blog)

Although the 50th anniversary of Kuwait’s independence occurs on June 19th, 2011, the country has denoted February 25th as Kuwait’s National Day and February 26th as Liberation Day. Can we expect the sky above Kuwait City’s waterfront to be lit up with fireworks once again on June 19th? If so, you can also count on the Kuwait Towers taking center stage in the celebrations, as over the past 30-odd years they’ve emerged as the most famous visual symbol of the nation.

Here’s a spectacular video of some of the fantastic fireworks displays and light shows taken on February 25thh, with the Kuwait Towers stealing the limelight:

National Day of Kuwait 2011 (Al-Nasheed Al-Watani), via BuzaidGT

(images via: David Henderson, Pamatid Sandness and Lonely Planet)

2011 was an extra special year for Kuwait as it was deemed “50-20-5”: the 50th year of Independence, the 20th year since Liberation after the Gulf War, and the 5th year of Ascension of the current Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

(images via: Cajie)

Thanks to Cajie (Cajetan Barretto) for both capturing the strikingly sublime beauty of this year’s celebrations and posting them online for all of us to enjoy and appreciate!

(image via: Coloribus)

Though a host of new and soon-to-open skyscrapers will eclipse the Kuwait Towers in height, the waterfront trio won’t give up their symbolic resonance as easily. When in 50 years celebrations begin in honor of Kuwait’s centennial, it’s certain that the iconic Kuwait Towers will not only still be standing, but will stand tallest in the hearts and minds of Kuwait’s people.