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What We're Clicking On – August 23rd, 2018

In our weekly news filter ‘What We’re Clicking On’, we share our thoughts on the most interesting articles relating to the future of cities, buildings and interiors.

This week, the Guardian published an extensive piece on how air-conditioning has changed buildings, and the ways they are used as well as the locations and shapes of cities. According to the piece, the most significant effect of air-conditioning is in the social spaces it creates: cities. In Houston, as in most southern US cities, it is possible, indeed habitual, to spend whole days and weeks in controlled weather. “The result is a form of sensory deprivation that almost everyone now accepts without question, in which the active interplay of body and atmosphere becomes homogenised and passive.”

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New urinals in Paris has received worldwide media attention last week. Among others Time magazine, Dezeen and CNBC reported on the open-air urinals by design studio Faltazi. The intelligent ‘uritrottoirs’ – a combination of the French words for urinal and pavement – are designed to get rid of the strong smell of urine in heavily trafficked areas. The city points to the urinals as an ecological solution, since they require no water and can be composted. Furthermore, this new urban fixture is easily transportable, installed, and used.

“However, they caused uproar after being installed on historic spots without privacy shields for any man using it.”

Check out the design of the urinals on


Quartz pays attention to an exciting new project of MIT Media Lab researchers: a desk that adapts to the mood of the user by adjusting lighting, changing images on a screen and playing different sound through a set of speakers. The project, called “Mediated Atmosphere,” is based on psychological studies about the way space impacts productivity. The prototype collects over 30 biological signals including heart rate, facial-expressions, and posture. The researchers are working on the customization of the desk to the workflow specific users and believe the desk can work in open plan offices without interference as well.

This Youtube video shows how the desk works.

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