Monthly Archives: October 2013

  • Banksy’s New York art show

    Posted on 31st October 2013 by Andy.

    Banksy NY

    In New York October has been all about Banksy. The mysterious street artist from Bristol staged a month-long residency in the city entitled ‘Better Out than In’, which has seen him reveal a new work every day of the month. But to say his art has been met with a mixed response would be an understatement. Despite being condemned by Mayor Bloomberg and reportedly targeted by the NYPD it is actually aggrieved graffiti artists and property owners that have been Banksy’s biggest headaches. The result has seen many examples of his work, valued at around £20,000 each, be defaced, cleaned off or removed for sale within hours of them being revealed.

    On the plus side many of the artworks have also drawn big crowds to areas of the city not often associated with the typical tourist trail and significantly raised the artist’s profile in the US. Among many examples of street art his stand out New York work have been installation pieces. These included an abattoir truck circling the Meat Packing District containing stuffed toy animals and a Grim Reaper wildly riding a dodgem car to the tune of Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’. But perhaps the biggest surprise of his residency came earlier in the month when Banksy set up a stall selling genuine, signed canvases of his work for $60 each. Throughout the day only five people actually bought pictures, including one man who bought four pictures to help decorate his new apartment. For just $240 he managed to walk away with over $80,000 worth of art. Find out more about Banksy’s New York residency here:

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with art, banksy, New York

  • One button to rule them all

    Posted on 26th October 2013 by Andy.


    Having remote controlled blinds is a great way to shut out the hectic outside world just with the flip of a switch. But with so many electronic devices in our lives that offer so many distractions and interruptions it can be almost impossible to completely disconnect. Emails and phone calls can still intrude while you try and relax or need to focus on a particular job. It's this very modern problem that a new Kickstarter project from CanFocus is trying to address. The MyFocus button is simply a single button that puts all your electronic distractions on hold instantly. Buying you time to yourself or to finish that big project. So all your emails, phone calls, text messages and instant messages are put on hold, only to be released when you press the button again. As an added bonus the button switches from a placid green to an angry red colour so that your co-workers and friends know not to disturb you. Plus there's an app for iPhone and Android to go with it.

    Although it's still in its prototype phase the people behind the project are optimistic that they'll be able to go into production soon. Head over to their Kickstarter page to find out more.

    This Post was posted in Home Office and was tagged with CanFocus, kickstarter, MyFocus, project

  • Finally, a smart smoke detector

    Posted on 24th October 2013 by Andy.


    It seems strange to think that very little has been done to move the design of household smoke alarms along from their original form while other household technology has evolved. The Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm from Nest sets about changing that by updating the usual features and building in extra functionality to create a smarter alarm. The creation of iPod designer Tony Fadell, the Protect does away with the annoying false alarms to which conventional fire alarms are prone. It can alert you via text message, app or internet, about potential and low-level threats, offering a spoken warning first before going into a full blown alarm mode.

    It boasts a battery life of up to seven years, can work in conjunction with other Protects to isolate where a threat is in your home and also acts as a night light when it detects motion in a darkened room. It is designed to give the home owner greater confidence in their fire alarm, reducing the number of instances of it 'crying wolf'. So next time you burn the toast you won't wake the neighbours. The Protect from Nest is now available for £109. Find out more at

    This Post was posted in Smart Home and was tagged with alarm, home, nest, protect, smoke

  • Conran has designs on the future of 3D

    Posted on 22nd October 2013 by Andy.

    Beagle-Holo Forget about your brand new 3D TV, that’s yesterday’s news. A new 3D experience is on its way and it’s straight out of science fiction movies. Designer Terence Conran has teamed up with innovation company Beagle to develop a holographic device called the Holo. It promises to turn everyday objects and people into holographic images that can be viewed in 360 degrees. Intended as a sales or presentation tool it also allows you to interact with the image through simple hand gestures - effectively letting you turn an object round to view it from other angles. The diamond-shaped device uses Samsung hardware to produce a phenomenon known as Pepper’s Ghost. It is a 400-year-old theatre illusion that is used to make people appear and disappear on stage, and was recently used to ‘resurrect’ the rapper Tupac Shakur at a concert. It is commercially available now, but don’t expect one in your living room just yet as Beagle are targeting high-end brands, conferences and exhibitions. Find out more:

    This Post was posted in Technology and was tagged with 3d, beagle, device, holo, holographic

  • Let your blinds shine

    Posted on 17th October 2013 by Chris.


    The type of fabric that you choose for your blinds can make a real difference to the look of a room. When you go for shiny or metallic materials not only do they affect the way that natural and electric light can behave in your home, but they can also create a very dynamic colour palette. For instance, when your electric blinds open and close a lot of sumptuous, velvety fabrics will shine and shimmer chameleon-like as they fold or turn. So luxurious red Roman blinds might appear to have light red and pink tones or dark green blinds can shimmer with a flash of mint. In this way even the simplest of colour choices can appear more dynamic. Alternatively, you can go for subtler effects when you choose a roller blind. A wide range of the fabrics we stock also have metallic or shiny details. So even a light coloured blind can have some detail that catches the light and brightens a corner of a room. A lot of the fabrics available for our vertical and roller blinds also have a sheen or threads of metallic fabric running through them to create texture and dynamic qualities in the light. But it’s our range of venetian blinds that really catch the light. They come in a number of shades, including metallics, and also have a gleaming finish that really shines. This makes them ideal for modern, clean spaces and particularly kitchens and bathrooms. When you add that to our remote control options, which allow for small incremental adjustments and a variety of settings, not only are you controlling the light coming into the room but also how the light hits the blind itself. To make the most of these fabrics you should consider how the lighting in your room is positioned and how it reflects of the blind.

    This Post was posted in Colour & Design and was tagged with blinds, fabrics, light, metallic

  • Raise a glass to the robot bartender

    Posted on 16th October 2013 by Andy.

    Monsieur Robot Bartender

    So you get home from a hard day at work, flop down into the sofa and push the button to lower your remote control powered blinds. But how do you relax and unwind? Well, could there be a better way than with your very own robot bartender? The Monsieur is an AI robot bartender specialising in cocktails that comes in both business and personal models. The larger model for bars, hotels and ‘Mad Men’ style offices is capable of mixing 300 different cocktails and can dispense up to 150 drinks before needing a top up. Which is certain to bring any house party to life. It can even learn your preferred tipples, make recommendations or surprise you with something new.

    There’s also an app that will monitor your alcohol consumption and warn you when it thinks your blood alcohol level is too high. And when you’re out and about the app will tell you what drinks the nearest Monsieur is serving. It will let you place your order without having to queue. While it’s not the first robot bartender in the world the Monsieur gets the concept right. However, it has still to hit its Kickstarter target before going into full production, which means you can get to the front of the line for one if you’re quick. That’s if the reported price tag of $1,499 doesn’t leave you shaken or stirred. Find out more here:

    This Post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with app, automated, monsieur, robot

  • The end is in sight for Gaudi’s vision

    Posted on 15th October 2013 by Andy.

    It has dominated the Barcelona skyline for over a century but is still a building site, but the Sagrada Familia remains one of the world’s most iconic buildings. It was started in 1882 before renowned architect Antonio Gaudi took over a year later and began infusing it with his trademark Gothic and Art Nouveau stylings. By the time he died in 1926 the building was still less than a quarter complete. Many architects have subsequently worked on the project and to say it has gone over budget and past its deadline is an understatement. Today the work is almost exclusively funded by ticket sales and private donations but the end is finally in sight. As this recent video reveals, although a sizeable chunk of the church has yet to be built, the current architects are confident that Gaudi’s grand vision will finally be revealed in 2026.

    This Post was posted in Architects and was tagged with Antonio Gaudi, architects, building

  • The house in need of a facelift

    Posted on 14th October 2013 by Andy.


    Following on from the Gravity Free Dalston House post we recently featured that let people seem to defy gravity, artist Alex Chinneck has created a house that has been beaten by gravity. The artwork, entitled ‘From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes’ is a three-storey house in Margate whose entire front seems to be slipping off. Chinneck adapted a derelict building in the seaside town by taking the front off it and building a new one so that you can now see into the rooms. We think it’s a great way of improving a neighbourhood while the house waits to be redeveloped next year – turning an eyesore into a real talking point for the town.

    This Post was posted in Home & Garden and was tagged with alex chinneck, building, house

  • Is it time to join Samsung’s multimedia Galaxy?

    Posted on 11th October 2013 by Andy.


    This month Samsung begins its assault on your living room as it rolls out its new multimedia centre around the world. The HomeSync is an HD set-top box that uses an adapted version of the Android operating system to host and stream multimedia content to multiple devices. It has a massive 1TB hard drive and can support up to eight user accounts, which allow media to be shared between multiple devices. Owners of Samsung Galaxy devices get the added bonus of an app that can turn your phone or tablet into a wireless keyboard or remote control. Moving the phone handset around will even let you use it as a wireless trackpad and you can use HomeSync to display your phone’s screen on your HDTV. Find out more:

    This Post was posted in Home Cinema and was tagged with homesync, multimedia, samsung, wireless

  • Reading between the parallel lines – Venetian and Vertical blinds

    Posted on 8th October 2013 by Andy.

    Venetian Blinds

    When choosing what kind of remote control blinds you want in your home, there are a few things to consider. For instance, do you need them to be more practical than aesthetic? Do you want a single swathe of fabric that co-ordinates with your other furnishings and softens the décor around your windows? If that’s the case Roman blinds or Roller blinds would be ideal. But if you want a blind that keeps the light and prying eyes out when they’re closed, but are compact and unobtrusive when they’re open, then you’ll prefer vertical or venetian blinds. But what is the impact on the look and feel of a room when you opt for these blinds? Parallel lines are known to be slimming but when it comes to home décor they don’t necessary suit every situation. By their nature they create a stripe effect along one wall and the multiple straight edges will contrast with the rest of your room if you have traditional or soft or curved furnishings. So here are a few tips to consider when choosing electric vertical or venetian blinds: Wooden blinds come in a number of different finishes, which make them ideal for co-ordinating with other wood or natural look furnishings. Straight lines and geometric shapes suit a modern interior. These are often minimalist so keep your colour palette simple and don’t make the space too cluttered. Strong horizontal lines can make a small room seem larger, so if your window is on the shorter wall bold venetian blinds can help create a sense of space. Similarly, vertical blinds can create a sense of a room being taller. As both vertical blinds and venetian blinds can be very compact when they are open you may want to have them in a bold or contrasting colour to the rest of your room’s décor. This would allow you to change the mood and look of a room dramatically whenever you close the blinds. If you want to make the lines of the blinds a feature in your décor keep the designs on the panels simple – ideally just a single colour. If you want to break up the hard edges of the blinds choose an intricate or organic looking design. This will soften the hard edges and make them less obvious when the blinds are closed.

    This Post was posted in Venetian Blinds and was tagged with blinds, room, venetian, vertical

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