AquaDom: A breathtaking ride


What does a sustainable city of the future look like? How are our current cities developing and how do we give an identity to new habitats? An answer to this could be that a city should have plenty to offer.

More often cool initiatives are showing up in cities, which might achieve this. This to make a city livable and/or escape crowded places.

People are looking for new spaces for their activities. Although flights are becoming cheaper, we do not have to travel far for more rest and/or see imposing things. We can find things closer to home. A good example is the ‘AquaDom’.

What is it?

The AquaDom is a giant cylindrical acrylic glass aquarium of 25 meters high (82-foot) with a diameter of over 12 meters, built on a 9 meters tall concrete foundation. It’s filled with nearly 1 million liters of seawater and contains about 1500 fish of 97 different species. The aquarium weighs over 2,000 tons. The AquaDom is the largest acrylic glass cylinder in the world with these impressive measurements.

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The enormous and beautiful aquarium has a built-in transparent elevator that takes you on a spectacular underwater experience. Here you’ll learn about the tropical fish inhabitants and the architecture of the AquaDom.

radisson-blu-hotel-aquarium-scuba-diving-berlin-1Besides, guests have the opportunity to watch the AquaDom being cleaned and the fish feed by a pair of full-time scuba divers. 8 kilogram of food is being served each day.

The AquaDom can be found at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin, Germany. Furthermore, the hotel contains offices, a restaurant and the aquarium Sea Life Center.

If you’re interested, you can sleep with the fish for 180 Euro per night. The hotel has 427 suites with fantastic sights of the tropical underwater world. Of course, if you feel a little sea sick, there are also rooms looking out to the city of Berlin.

Why is it cool?

At first sight, the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin may look like just another luxury hotel, but appearances are deceptive. Once you enter the heart of the hotel, you will be blown away by the gigantic AquaDom. People will not expect an enormous aquarium like this when entering a hotel. I think this this is what makes this signal so extraordinary and attractive. Myself, I have never heard of the Aquadom before and it seems already impressive to me.

Besides, I think it is attractive for guests to experience the tropical underwater world by taking the transparent elevator. It makes a city more livable, because you can escape the crowd and will enjoy the feeling like you are just somewhere else.

But why is this a good signal? Individualization and digitalization have had a tremendous impact on our society. With the rush of today and the ever-competitive world, where we are constantly connected to the internet and getting a lot of information to us per day, signals like the Aquadom may fill up the emptiness and give us a little peace.

Also globalization has had an impact on the signals that can be found today that will determine our future. As said in the beginning, we do not have to travel far to experience something spectacular or something we can find in another country. The society is trying to make it possible for us to bring things closer to home.

Unfortunately, the guests can’t go for a dive in the Aquadom. Wouldn’t it be great if you can dive in an enormous aquarium like the AquaDom in the future?

With signals like this, a city surely offers enough to citizens and gets more identity. People don’t have to look far for their activities in the future. New places will emerge where you can find unique things.

Companies and organizations will do everything to offer citizens enough and make a city more livable, sustainable and peaceful.


Turn to The Future: A 360-Degree Rotating Apartment Building


Urbanization has become a big trend in the world. Many cities are bursting out or are about to. Instead of access to good education or medical care, the biggest class conflict for coming generations will be who has the best view.

Turn+To+THe+Future-1Turn+To+THe+Future-2Buildings will become higher and more people who live in the lower floors of buildings will get their view blocked.

In the future, people with very high incomes will own the top floors and people with middle to lower income will only have an imperfect view from their living spaces.

A durable solution for this problem could be the ‘Turn to The Future’.

What is it?

27ef868543abf9c4e16439c1aeb8f0bdTurn to The Future is a spiral rotating building concept of the future developed by industrial designer Shin Kuo at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University that should provide citizens sustainability. Besides, it literally gives new perspective to the urban architecture in the future and gives a chance to connect with the environment.

How does it work? The Turn to The Future includes a system that allows each unit to rotate on a spiral track at predetermined times. Due to this, all the apartments in the building are equivalent.




Because of the design, each resident can share a 360-degree view of the city from their building. This makes them enjoy the high quality of their living spaces.

Kuo plans to realize this building by applying 3D printing to build the units, featuring a combination of aluminum, steel, smart glass and solar panels. But he also utilizes lighter materials into the framework such as carbon fiber, bendable concrete and artificial bone.

Why is it cool?

For now, the concept of Kuo is no more than an idea. But wouldn’t it be amazing to see and use a rotating tower like this?

I think this idea would be fantastic, because the Turn to The Future gives people a chance to enjoy the high quality of living spaces and share the equal view of their city and landscape.

Furthermore, this concept will change the way that citizens interact with their environment. Turn to The Future will foster new awareness of the ground, sky, light, gravity and shadow and offers a new lifestyle. It’s an innovative project that will change the definition of the history of building.

Also, the idea of the Turn to The Future contains a fair system and responds to the need for more equality and sharing, rather than more or better. Particularly the individualization has promoted this.

Finally, people like to get astonished. That’s why this signal suits well to the Experience Economy.

In the future, signals like the Turn to The Future make the desire to live together in a new and better way come true.



The streets like a big playground: A cluster of different playful signals

Quebec-3In a world where cities grow of population, people meet the most in the urban place. Because of the population growth, places on the street generally are becoming more anonymous, impersonal and more functional.

Mankind is questioning about the everyday life, analyzing the circumstances and want to find a playful solution to improve the awareness of life. People want to reinvent the urban place by bringing back fun and personality. Together we invent the urban place more towards a play society.

Signals as ‘ActiWait (StreetPong)’, ‘Dreamy Playground’, ‘Waterfall Swing’ and ‘Rainworks’, connect well with this. These trends are closing well with the trends Collaboration, Experience Economy and Gamification. 

What is it?


Firstly, I want to talk about the ActiWait (StreetPong). This is a concept by Sandro Engel and Amelie Künzler of URBAN INVENTION.


                              (Sandro Engel & Amelie Künzler)

This is a pedestrian light (touch screen) that lets you play with a wireless connection against someone on the other side of the road. A video showing this idea traveled around the world surprising millions of people, because it offers pedestrians the possibility to convert boring waiting times into positive experiences. Perhaps it also creates more safety.

The ActiWait creates urban interaction and design and art are interwoven in public spaces. After two years of development, the prototype was installed and tested at a traffic light for the very first time. It was a great success for URBAN INVENTION and now they’re working on a product that is internationally marketable. Besides they hope to change the image of cities all over the world.

Quebec-2The second signal is the Dreamy Playground designed by studio Les Astronautes. The designers turned a dark, narrow alley into a dreamy playground in Quebec City. The only thing the designers used are pink and orange colored swimming pool noodles on both walls of the alleyway. The place gets a whole new identity and experience.

According to the designers, the combination of anonymity and narrowness of this specific place inspired them to come up with this idea.


The intervention was part of Quebec’s public art festival Les Passages Insolites, which aims to reshape our thinking of neighborhoods by questioning our relation with public space.

In challenging visuals that also create an interaction with users, the known surrounding becomes new and adventurous.

Eröffnung Höhenrausch 2014 - Bewegte Räume

Thirdly, the Waterfall Swing is an amazing signal. It’s an interactive art piece and a collaborative project between Mike O’Toole, Andrew Ratcliff, Ian Charnas and Andrew Witte. The Waterfall Swing is built by Dash 7 Design. The swing creates a water plane falling in the path of its riders. The swing is the first in a series that play with interaction in rides and installations.

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Riders pass through the openings of the swing’s waterfall. The swing is created by precise monitoring the path of the riders via axel-housed encoders, creating the thrill of narrow escaping obstacles.

For now, the Waterfall Swing has traveled the world with installations across the United States and in The Netherlands.

Finally, I would like to talk about the Rainworks that are made in Seattle by Peregrine Church (right), who is often helped by co-conspirators Xack Fischer (middle) and Forest Tresidder (left).


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Church makes rain-activated positive messages, games and art on the streets, by spraying a water-repellant coating onto sidewalks through a stencil. The art only appears when it gets wet (the regular concrete turns darker while the concrete he sprayed the coating on stays dry), and it’s hidden when dry. This kind of street art is meant to brighten your day, even when it’s gray and rainy.

Why is it cool?

Some of the signals are a good example of the redesign of places. Companies and organizations are increasingly creating special activities at special places, where you do not initially expect to encounter this. Indeed, it’s a clever use of the land/space and it creates spontaneous interactions. This is why it inspires me, but I think probably also other citizens, organizations and companies. Besides I especially like the idea of Rainworks, because this would work well in the Netherlands with all the rain we have over here.

You can see the needs for Collaboration, Gamification and the Experience Economy, because of the growing anonymity, impersonality and modern technology. Individualization and the advent of the Internet have accelerated this. In the future these needs will only increase, because lots of people are looking for new places for their activities, fun and personality in the urban place.

By creating concepts and ideas like this, a city has a lot to offer to citizens. Citizens will get happier and the city is becoming more livable and durable.

People have fun and laugh more, but they also move more with some of these signals. This is good for the emotional-, physical- and social wellbeing.

Be smart and use or create something fun on the streets and you will feel happy!







The End of Sitting: A future workspace?


Science says sitting is terrible for your health and you can early die if you sit too long (nrcQ, 2015). But most of the surroundings we use are designed for sitting down. ‘The End of Sitting’ is a perfect solution to perhaps solve this. Besides this, it suits well with the comfortable and flexible architecture for modern urban nomads, which embraces a 24/7/365 lifestyle, creating their own opportunities and places to work, live and play (Science of the Time).

What is it?

The End of Sitting is an experimental work landscape, which explores to work standing up and switch from different postures during the day. It’s a project of studio RAAAF (Rietveld Architecture- Art- Affordances) and visual artist Barbara Visser. Further more it’s developed in collaboration with Looiergracht 60 (Soraya Notoadikusumo and Nadine Mills), a new space for art and science in Amsterdam.

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They wanted to create a physical notion for the future workspace, where the chair and desk are no longer unquestionable starting points. Here you can find an intersection between art, architecture, science and office design.

It’s called the End of Sitting, because in this surrounding you work leaning, standing, hanging or lying. It just depends of what you feel comfortable with.


RAAAF-Rietveld-Architecture-Art-Affordances-The-End-of-Sitting-000972imageThe End of Sitting can’t be seen or tried anymore. Perhaps you can look if the movie ‘The End of Sitting 1:1 – Een projectie’ is still available, which the Akademie van Kunsten (KNAW), Looiersgracht 60, RAAAF en Barbara Visser have presented on the 23th of March 2015.

Below you can see two videos. The first one is an animation that shows the outstanding landscape of affordances. The second one is about the research for the project, which shows the evolution of the modern office.

Why is it cool?

The End of Sitting is an example of a cool signal, because it creates a first step towards a future where standing work is the new norm and the chance of a longer living. With this concept you can create an ideal design and flexible workspace scenarios for the non-sitter, where different natural human body postures and movements can be adopted. The End of Sitting is handled with a clever use of space. Besides it can be cozy, provide more contact and cooperation between people (of course this depends if you want to talk with other people or not). Finally, the innovative forms of mobility from the concept fits well with the urban nomad lifestyle.

So firstly, it will inspire the modern urban nomads. Secondly, it will also inspire normal people, who at the the first thought think the concept seems a little bit strange. Later on they’ll find out that it’s more fun and healthy to work like this than in a normal workspace with a table and chair.

What if standing while working becomes the new norm?

If concepts/initiatives like this can be created by organizations/companies in the future, people would not only be healthier but also happier. Absence by illness will reduce and employees’ productivity will increase.

Work will not be the same and less boring in the future. Experimental living and working will be interwoven with our lifestyles. We will all be growing more to the trend urban nomads. Individualization has and will have a major impact on this.