Design Dish: Performance architecture & design solutions for the 99%

Alex Schweder’s “Performance” Architecture: Architect Alex Schweder is credited with the invention of “performance architecture,” which broadly refers to small, occupied spaces that challenge our preconceived notions of shelter. Many of Schweder’s works are built within existing spaces, appealing to my childhood obsession with forts. Among my favorites are the inflatable plastic creations, including “sac of rooms all day long,” which looks like a big, warped playhouse.

Design with the Other 99%: Cities: Now on view at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, “Design with the Other 99%” showcases the most promising design and technological innovations coming out of the world’s cities and over-crowded slums.

A Portable Volcanic Heater: This elegant little invention from designers Jeremy Murier and Daniel Martinez is a fully recyclable heating system fashioned from volcanic rock. By laying the device over an open flame, the user is able to store its energy and carry the unit as a kind of transportable heating device. Just be careful not to step on it and grill your foot (a la Michael Scott’s George Forman Grill incident).

Zaha Hadid’s “Water Droplet” Bathroom: Maybe a bathroom doesn’t seem like the most glamorous site for architectural innovation, but frankly, I wish more designers would devote their energy to making the whole bathroom-using experience a little more interesting (we all gotta go, ya know?). Happily, Zaha Hadid recently unveiled her work for bathroom design company ROCA, for which she created an elaborate, spaceship-like restroom inspired by “the power of water.”

Exhibition Design for the Canadian Museum of Civilization: People always discuss the content of art and design exhibits, but credit is rarely given to the people designing the exhibition spaces themselves. For a new show at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Japanese design firm, Nendo, divided an enormous space into units by suspending elegant white roofs.