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    Editors Picks: 10 Things Not to Miss in the Virtual Art World This Week – artnet News - March 26, 2020 by admin
    How to flatten the curve on energy costs during the Covid-19 lockdown – One Step Off The Grid - March 26, 2020 by admin

    Source: iStock

    With Australian states looking likely to bypass federal government guidelines and head straight to a stage 3 Coronavirus lockdown just in time for the colder months, now is a very good time to start thinking about energy efficiency in the home.

    Not only will you have the time to think deeply about this Very Important Subject, but cutting your energy consumption and being smart about how you use electricity in the home remains one of the best ways to reduce your power bills, at a time when every penny counts.

    It wont be easy. There will be bored kids to wrangle (Allegedly, all I ever say in my household is shut the door!), constantly inhabited homes to heat (or cool, depending on which state youre in) and all those energy-sucking digital devices working overtime.

    But it can be done. And to help make the task easier, we have asked the experts for their top energy saving tips.

    Dont take our word for it. As Luke Menzel, the CEO of Australias Energy Efficiency Council says, a few sensible energy efficiency measures can save households a bucketload over winter.

    For most homes in colder regions of Australia, heating is by far the biggest slice of the household energy bill pie, he told One Step. And minimising the need for heating all starts with good insulation.


    Most houses are not well enough insulated for the cold, Menzel notes, which means heaters have to work harder to keep them warm.

    Tim Forcey, who was formerly an energy advisor at Melbourne Energy Institute of the University of Melbourne, agrees.

    Forcey, who also co-administrates the Facebook group My Efficient Electric Home, ranked checking insulation at number one in his list of top energy saving tips, which he has kindly shared with us on One Step.

    Check your attic insulation (if safe to do so!), Forcey says. And if its not up to scratch, it might be time to engage a qualified and certified professional to bring it up to scratch.

    Retro-installation of floor insulation is also a possibility, if your house has leaky old floor boards and easy access to under the house. But again, we recommend using a professional to install any sort of insulation in your home.

    Draught proof

    Good old-fashioned draught-proofing is one of the most cost-effective ways to save energy and feel more comfortable without cranking up the thermostat, says Menzel.

    And Forcey also puts this high on his list.

    Access some draught-proofing supplies and DIY do what you can that is one idea, he wrote in a FB post earlier this week.

    Sure, plenty of more serious stuff is going on I know. But perhaps some of us are looking for a diversion away from Facebook and, as someone said, never let a crisis go to waste.

    In the name of good OH&S, One Step doesnt recommend taking on any complex draugt-proofin DIY projects if you arent experienced in these matters, but there are plenty of helpful and easy-to-do tips in the thread under Forceys March 22 post, which could give you a good start.

    Rug up

    Were not talking about putting on a beanie, scarf and polar fleece, although that too is recommended as an obvious way to stay warm inside the home. What were talking about here is rugging up your home.

    Another reason people turn up their thermostats unnecessarily is because their house has lots of cold surfaces, Menzel says.

    In fact, the temperature of the surfaces around you can affect your comfort as much as the air temperatures. So, its a good idea to use heavy curtains, install secondary glazing, use rugs on cold floors, and arrange your favourite armchair so its not right next to a cold window.

    Making sure your curtains are open during the day can help warm up the house and all the surfaces around you can help warm up the house and all the surfaces, he adds just make sure you close them again at night.

    Switch on the air-con!

    In autumn, as people think about turning on a gas or electric-resistive heater, use the air con instead! says Forcey.

    As he explained in this Conversation article, spending a bit more on a dual-purpose cooling-and-heating device is clearly worth it, with University of Melbourne Energy Institute and Alternative Technology Association, studies showing that using a reverse-cycle air conditioner instead of gas can reduce winter heating costs by up to $A658 a year in a large Melbourne home, or up to $A1,733 per year in a large Canberra home.

    Modern air cons can also do a better job than gas heaters of filtering your air and we could all use some good air right now, Forcey said in comments this week to One Step.

    But dont forget to clean the filters, he adds. I have visited the homes of even CSIRO scientists and they had no idea there was a (very dirty!) filter in that thing.

    Get your temperature settings right

    Turning the thermostat too high can also be a huge energy and financial drain, Menzel says.

    Each degree higher on the thermostat can add 10 per cent to your heating bill. The most efficient thermostat setting is 18 degrees Celsius, but most people find 20 degrees a lot more comfortable setting that can still save plenty of energy and money.

    Think space heating

    If you dont need to heat your whole house, then zoning (either with ducted heating systems or just closing doors) can also save a lot of energy, says Menzel.

    If you do have ducted heating, its a good idea to check the duct work is leak-free and well insulated. This can sometimes be done with thermal imaging cameras, to save crawling around in dark spaces.

    Heat yourself and not (just) your home

    For those who are home alone, as Dave Southgate explained in this 2017 One Step Off The Grid article, its possible to stay warm inside a house using only ultra-low energy personal heating devices drawing less than 100W, even when room air temperatures are low.

    You can also read his detailed report on the subject here. A hot water bottle and a rug on the lap wouldnt t hurt either!

    There are a number of ways you can do this. Forcey recommends starting with an appliance audit, to get a clear picture of how much energy each of your electrical appliances use. This thread on the MEEH Facebook page has some good tips and examples.

    But there are also some obvious contenders that could be replaced with confidence and without an audit, such as:

    Outdated and inefficient lighting

    Halogen downlights can be a huge energy waster in the winter as well, says Menzel. Aside from their high energy consumption, these lights need to be kept far away from insulation as a fire safety precaution. So, there is always an uninsulated patch of ceiling surrounding halogen downlights, providing an easy escape route for heat through the ceiling.

    To add to that, they run hot. The heat rising from each downlight can also create a chimney effect and suck warm air out of your house, creating draughts, Menzel says. Draughts make you feel cooler, as they strip heat from you constantly prompting you to turn the thermostat up even higher.

    The beer fridge

    An old, inefficient beer fridge chugging away in the garage all winter long might be racking up avoidable energy bills, says Menzel. Dont panic though, were not asking you to get rid of it altogether.

    Turning it off in the cooler months or replacing it with a newer, more efficient model could help save a fair sum of money. That old, inefficient fridge in the garage costs about $300 per year assuming a 15-year-old medium-sized fridge.

    Any ageing appliances

    Minimum energy standards have meant that appliances have become more and more energy efficient over recent years, says Menzel.

    A typical reverse cycle heating/cooling system today is around 30-40 per cent more efficient than one from 15 years ago. This also goes for fridges. So, it can actually pay to replace your old appliances with new, high-star rated models, as the energy cost savings will repay the investment and then some.

    The use of plug-in electric resistive heaters should also be avoided. Even oil column heaters arent efficient unless you sit very close! If you are buying a new appliance, look for ones with higher star ratings they may cost a little extra, but the savings will usually be worth it.

    Consumers should note that for some products, the star scale rating that measures an appliances energy efficiency has changed over time to accommodate newer higher performing models.

    So, if you have an older appliance at home with a 3-star label stars, dont be too complacent as this might only rate 2 stars by todays standards and may not even allowed to be sold under current minimum standard rules, Menzel says.

    The number below the stars is a calculation of how much electricity the appliance will use each year under typical operating conditions.

    Multiply this number by your electricity tariff to getannual running costs. Note that tariffs can differ significantly between providers as well as different times of the day, so choosing when to use your product can help save you money.

    The pool pump

    The EEC advises homes with pools to reduce the pump timer duration by up to half in winter as a way to make substantial energy savings.But make sure you check with your local pool or spa specialist to ensure you are still meeting all health requirements, says Menzel.

    Like washing hands and other measures of basic hygiene and disease prevention that are coming into their own in the current health crisis, good energy efficiency is something we should all be practising, all the time, and not just in a Covid-29 winter.

    And there are plenty more things we could be doing, and advocating for, to embed the efficient use of energy into future everyday life.

    The longer-term issue is the quality of Australias building stock, says Menzel.

    While new homes in Australia have an average energy efficiency rating of 6.1 stars, our existing homes are mostly rubbish, with an average rating of only 1.7 stars.

    Whether its from a cost or a carbon perspective, we need to get on with the job of retrofitting Australias housing stock.

    Ideally, this would be one of the first priorities once we emerge from the immediate crisis, to drive economic activity and make our homes more comfortable and cheaper to run.

    See the article here:
    How to flatten the curve on energy costs during the Covid-19 lockdown - One Step Off The Grid

    Art, Light, And Nature Inspire New Home For Yale Child Study Center – Facility Executive Magazine - March 5, 2020 by admin

    Featuring original, architecturally integrated artwork, a recently-completed renovation project brings all of Yale Child Study Centers (YCSC) operations and staff together under one roof, in a setting that supports outpatient treatment and research related to childrens behavioral health.

    Now occupying a 55,000-square-foot former telephone company building at 350 George Street in New Haven, CT, YCSC functions as the Department of Child Psychiatry for both Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale School of Medicine. Intensive-outpatient services are located on the first floor, patient care and family support services are located on the second floor, and administrative and research offices are on the third. The new facility consolidates all of YCSCs operations under one roof for the first time since it began serving children and their families in 1911.

    YCSC research and services had been spread out over multiple New Haven locations, including Yale School of Medicine, said Svigals + Partners associate principal Lynn Brotman, NCIDQ, IIDA, who led the project. Adapting 350 George has produced a single facility to serve as a home for both treatment and study. Not only is this more user-friendly for patients and their families, it creates a supportive research and work environment that fosters collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas.

    Svigals + Partners faced multiple challenges in delivering a healthcare facility capable of supporting YCSCs mission and range of services, particularly given the building was originally designed to support use by a telephone company. Miles of cables had to be removed, and the structure limited the architects options for where to raise ceiling heights. The buildings walls also severely limited the number and locations of windows that could be added to the faade.

    Our strategy was to take advantage of any opportunity to make the building more human-centered, said Brotman. We allowed the existing architecture of 350 George to inform the programming and design solutions by locating the second floor waiting room and main street corridor in the spaces where the ceiling could be raised, and placing circulation in areas where the new window openings introduce natural daylight.

    Because the new home for YCSC needed to be a suitable environment for staff, caregivers, and children of varying ages and behavioral needs, the design team incorporated themes, patterns, integrated artwork and wayfinding elements inspired by nature. Applying a core Svigals + Partners philosophy that informs the firms work in healthcare as well as workplace, institutional and residential projects, this biophilic approach similar to those shown in studies to produce positive behavioral changes is designed to instill a sense of calm and comfort.

    For example, the stair leading up from the double-height lobby to the main waiting area features a colorful overhead sculptural installation curated by consultant Nancy Samotis of Art for Healing Environments, LLC, depicting a shimmering school of fish. For children and families arriving at 350 George the sculpture introduces the nature theme that continues throughout, while also encouraging use of the stairs instead of the elevator.

    The waiting room features a palette of colors and finishes that subtly evoke the natural world, including a ceiling installation of white curvilinear acoustic panels hung below a blue ceiling to suggest the sky and a single overt gesture: a full-height tree sculpture composed of brown and green wood veneer and laminate that hides a structural column. Combined with natural wood-finished reading nooks and donated books, the waiting room was designed to relax, reduce stress, and welcome all into the healing environment.

    The nature themes continue into the hallways, with wayfinding elements such as names for exam and treatment rooms like Forest A-227, and ornamental light-boxes in the hallways that reinforce the themes. Smaller family waiting rooms in treatment wings also feature thematic finishes, built-in banquettes, whimsical pouf seating, and patio furniture to emphasize the connection to the outdoors.

    Check out all the latest facility management news and productsrelated to Facility Interiors.

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    Art, Light, And Nature Inspire New Home For Yale Child Study Center - Facility Executive Magazine

    Singapore to Target Air Conditioners That Make the World Hotter – Financial Post - March 5, 2020 by admin

    (Bloomberg) Singapore is chasing a new tagline: It now wants to be a City in Nature.

    To do that, its planting 1 million trees over the next 10 years double the current pace as it prepares for a world that is getting hotter. To cool itself, the city-state is not only seeking shade from trees, but also cutting emission of hydrofluorocarbons by restricting the supply of refrigerators, air-conditioners and commercial water-cooled chillers that use the chemical from 2022.

    Some forms of HFCs trap a much larger amount of heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said in Parliament Wednesday.

    The newly announced plans come as Singapore readies a warchest of at least S$100 billion ($72 billion) to counter global warming and protect its coastlines against higher sea levels. The city-state has already been warming twice as quickly as the world average over the past six decades, according to the government weather service, and just notched its hottest decade on record.

    Planting trees aside, it will also add 200 hectares of nature parks by 2030, two and a half times the size of the Botanic Gardens that has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said in Parliament Wednesday.

    Over that same period, its also implementing species recovery plans for 70 more native and plant species, restore 30 hectares of forest, marine and coastal habitats and improve habitats in at least 50% of Singapores gardens, parks and streetscapes. We want to transform Singapore into a City in Nature to provide Singaporeans with a better quality of life, while co-existing with flora and fauna on this island, said Desmond Lee, the second minister for national development.

    Read More: Singapore Prepares for a Far Hotter World Than Experts Predicted

    With climate change seen as an existential threat, this is just Singapores latest attempt to counter what could become a crisis. It imposed a carbon tax and just days ago, it pledged to halve the amount of greenhouse gases it emits from an expected peak in 2030 within the following two decades.

    The Southeast Asian nation expects the emissions ceiling to be 65 million tons of carbon dioxide around 2030. The plan is to cut that to 33 million tons by 2050. It has also set up a Coastal and Flood Protection Fund and plans to phase out vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2040.

    Reducing emission of hydrofluorocarbons which could leak during installation, maintenance and disposal is a step toward that direction. As it moves to restrict products with that chemical, the government will provide grants for companies making an early switch to more climate-friendly commercial water-cooled chillers, Masagos said.

    Halving its emissions may be an ambitious target given Singapore lacks alternative energy sources but, according to the minister, the city-state will continue to raise our ambitions.

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    Singapore to Target Air Conditioners That Make the World Hotter - Financial Post

    123 architects applies arched silver faade to photography studio in beijing – Designboom - March 5, 2020 by admin

    in northeastern beijing, nearby the citys thriving 798 art zone, 123 architects has converted an old factory into a contemporary photography studio. the project, titled masquerade, respects the existing building fabric, while adding contemporary materials and architectural details in contrast to the original industrial feel of the factory.

    the main faade

    all images jin weiqi

    the new program converted the first floor into a large double-height photography studio. on this level, there is also a welcoming entrance lobby and reception, and a bathroom and dining room. the second floor of the old factory has been transformed by 123 architects into a social activity and meeting space for VIPs, which includes a special VIP room and VIP bathroom.

    first floor entrance lobby

    the overall aesthetic of the renovation is described by the architect as rendering a surrealistic atmosphere. the design layers new elements within the backdrop of the industrial building, allowing visitors to see the past and present interlaced liked fingers. the interior has been envisioned to appear as an art gallery, one which stimulates the senses and invites people to explore the space and interact with one another.

    first floor entrance lobby

    the new faade makes reference to the existing structural framework with the use of brickwork, which speaks to the buildings former life as a factory. the organic surface curves away from the original elevation, creating space for a balcony at second floor level, and the arched elements forming a dialogue with the domed windows. the new faade is finished with silver paint, allowing the characteristics of the brick to be visible. in this way, the polished exterior already creates visual interest at street front, offering individuals visual cues of what they can expect on the interior.

    first floor reception

    the walls of the entrance lobby are vaulted, forming a domed space whose curved framework contrasts the existing industrial ceiling which is exposed above. their fluted surfaces reference the architectural details of classical columns. a bespoke star-shaped pendant light hangs from the centre of the lobby, anchoring the space. it provides a soft light that gently illuminates the interior, welcoming visitors into its warm, bright interior.

    first floor photo studio

    the reception area is a white room that complements the orange entrance lobby. it features a more restrained design composed of right angles and functions as a lounge. the photo studio is a more conventional design a white double-height space that visually and spatially connects with the balcony of the workspace on the second floor through arched cut-outs. curtains are used to divide the room offering functional flexibility that allows it to be used in tandem with the entrance lobby if required.

    first floor bathroom

    the dining area has been conceived to evoke the feeling of an exhibition space. lighting and mirrors are housed within classic picture frames, which are arranged along the walls, similar to an art gallery. a makeup room with a shower is located next door featuring classical details.

    first floor dining

    the entire second floor is dedicated to VIPs, with the primary program being that of a circular-shaped lounge. the walls are covered in a luxurious fabric that has been cut into bold graphic shapes. custom sofas that span the length of the room offer ample amounts of seating, while the eye is drawn upwards to an installation of convex traffic mirrors on the ceiling that form the focal point of the room.

    second floor VIP floor

    the second-floor VIP makeup room features lighting that dots the walls, like a constellation of stars. a built-in dressing table displays a scalloped edge that is reminiscent of a cloud formation, with the lighting fixture resembling a floating star, overall expressing an intergalactic minimalism.

    second floor VIP room

    next to the makeup room is a long, narrow, over-sized bathroom. the color and reflective qualities of silver serve as the inspiration for the room, with an installation of mirror balls above adding another dimension to the space. the silvery hue also relates to the new arched faade, effectively unifying the interior and exterior architectural expression.

    second floor VIP bathroom

    detail of the faade


    project info:

    project name: masquerade

    location: beijing, china

    architect: 123 architects

    year: 2019

    built area: 5167 ft2 (480 m2) / 2 floors

    principal: kazushi miyamoto

    project team: cao xiyangzi (project architect), aisha

    contractor: beijing zhenbangyuanjing decoration engineering co., ltd

    photography: jin weiqi

    designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readershere.

    edited by: lynne myers | designboom

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    123 architects applies arched silver faade to photography studio in beijing - Designboom

    Roger Bargainers Creative Arts: Everything we do tells a story – St Pete Catalyst - March 5, 2020 by admin

    Inside the cavernous back room of Creative Arts Unlimited, an otherwise nondescript Pinellas Park warehouse with a 25-foot ceiling, creative director Roger Barganier is leading a walking tour of jigsaw puzzle pieces cut, lathed and polished wood, all shapes and sizes, stacked up neatly down each side of the corridor. Some are as tall as the building itself.

    Here, Barganier indicates, are segments-in-progress of what will soon be some of the bay areas most visited hotspots: The J.C. Newman Cigar Factory in Ybor City (among other things, theyre building a customized, walk-in humidor), the new exhibit for Winter the dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, sconces, doorways, an art deco bar and faade pieces for St. Petes re-imagined State Theatre, fully articulated sections of the interior of Teaki, one of the new restaurants going up at the St. Pete Pier.

    If you can dream it, Barganier likes to say, his company can make it. Creative Arts work is in museums, libraries, hospitals, retail and restaurants, theme parks and corporate centers all over the world. Its a full-service firm design, build and installation of public spaces. Conceptual spatial design.

    The company has 25 full-time employees, from designers art school graduate-types, hunched over computers and drafting tables in the upstairs offices to the skilled fabricators, woodworkers and finishers on the workshop floor.

    We have a great collection of cabinet builders and woodworkers here, because they dont want to build boxes and normal things, Barganier says gleefully. Theyre only here because they get to make weird stuff every day. Thats the draw.

    Every project starts with Barganier, a 59-year old native of Mobile, Alabama, trained as an illustrator at the Ringling School of Design in Sarasota.

    Spatial design, or experiential design, as its known in the business, is all about telling a story, he says.

    When youre a book illustrator, your read the script, use your imagination, make your image. We do the same thing. The environment is our book.

    So everything we do thats a visual tells a story it may be a sculpture, it may be woodworking, or a painting or something else and its not just graphics, its motion design, its digital maps, its holograms. The best thing that you can do is get this seamless environment thats all about your vision, and all about that story.

    And for 20-plus years, some of the most compelling three-dimensional spatial storytelling has come out of this boxy green building three blocks west of U.S. 19.

    We have a setup here where we can create all those pieces for that story, says Barganier. Weve got a very wide range of skills, so within that were not just one flavor. We can put many flavors into that space, telling that story.

    Before the Grand Staircase crafted for the Titanic Museum in Tennessee, before the holographic shipboard pirates at the Tampa Bay History Center, before the countless number of nature center exhibits, themed restaurants and hospital education centers, there was Maas Brothers.

    After his 1985 graduation from Ringling, Barganier whod been a professional artist even before he went to the creative college was snapped up by the Florida department store chain (more than 40 stores statewide) to create its visual merchandising. Thats when they did fun sales promotions, he recalls. Id do Valentines Day, Halloween and Christmas, and have all kind of manufacturing and collateral done.

    Dreaming up and fabricating themed environments wasnt exactly what he had in mind when he first took up the brush and the pencil, but Barganier found that he liked the work. Nobody that I know in the art field starts out wanting to do what they wind up doing, he explains. Thats not how it works. With retail, once you got in the door and you saw it, then you saw all the potential for it.

    I liked to sell things, I liked the drama and theatrics of a retail setting, I liked the corporate-ness of it. I have never not worked on major national accounts, from the time I was 22 years old.

    In the 1980s and early 90s, he stresses, it was a different world. This was all pre-internet. They had big, glamourous department stores every city had its retail palace. And when I talk to my 22-year-olds here (at Creative Arts), they have no clue what any of that was. If you dont have it, you dont miss it.

    When his employers (strongly) suggested he leave his home in St. Petersburg to be closer to their South Florida headquarters, Bargainer married with a child on the way balked.

    Instead, he became art director for the St. Pete-based Creative Foam Designs, with whom hed often contracted for custom shapes and pieces. Creative design, he explains, was no longer the domain of department stores and theme restaurants. Museums, theme parks, corporate designers, even retailers went to each others trade shows and exchanged ideas. The lines between design types were blurring and merging.

    He designed and built the retail stores adjacent to Walt Disney World rides, then did some work at the parks resorts. Universal Studios sought him out next, for movie launch events. And this led to work in New York, California and elsewhere.

    I had learned, over seven years, to apply what I know to the country that was department stores. And that went into theme parks, then into museums, and it spread out after that.

    In 1993, Creative Foam Designs became Creative Arts Unlimited. Barganier is creative director and president (he says his business partner, Chuck Stanmore, is the left brain of the operation).

    As an artist, Bargainer says, the starting point for any job Creative Arts is hired to do remains the same: Its just like going back to the illustrator thing: What tells the story best? Thats why you choose what you choose. Weve got a very wide palette.

    So when the client comes in, you listen, and theyll tell you everything you need to know. Even though they dont know they know it. When they describe who their audience is, who the visitor is, all that determines what it looks like.

    Kevin Chadwick bought St. Petersburgs historic-but-crumbling State Theatre in 2018, and immediately set out to locate a designer who could bring what he envisioned a stylish, art deco theater to fruition.

    We were doing our research and found this company, Creative Arts, Chadwick recalls. Had no idea that they were right here in Pinellas Park. We were looking at some projects they had done in New York, and Washington, D.C. I said Thats the quality of work Im looking for lets look them up and see where we can find them.

    Chadwick was stunned, he explains, to discover that Creative Arts was literally in his own back yard. He reached out to Roger Bargainer.

    He may be one of the most creative guys Ive ever met, Chadwick says. He walked through it and immediately started visualizing what it could look like. I told him I really wanted to do an authentic art deco theater that will stand the test of time. And he graciously said Im in. I get it, lets do it.

    Bargainer, too, is enthused about the State Theatre project, which could no promises be ready for a late-spring unveiling.

    It was never like an opulent, old art deco theater, ever, he says. I think this is going to be more in the realm of the niceness of the Tampa Theatre, but for St. Petersburg.

    In a section of the big warehouse, he points to a palette of ornate wooden sconces, cut and polished into shapes that suggest an old-time, Hollywood-style nightclub. They have yet to be stained, painted or embellished in any way.

    Theres a lot of nice stained dark wood art deco-type shapes in the new State Theatre, he explains. Their accent pieces, like the bar and the sconces, are very much in the traditional, classic art deco motif but not overpowering. Not as ornate as Tampa. But you dont need that. Its a lot cleaner.

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    Roger Bargainers Creative Arts: Everything we do tells a story - St Pete Catalyst

    Artist Ana Vizcarra explores a sense of being from a personal perspective and scientific observations – LancasterOnline - March 5, 2020 by admin

    The artist Ana Vizcarra Rankin is sitting under a blanket of stars. From her vantage point, she can see both Orion and the Southern Cross. Polaris shines from its position in Ursa Minor and in the distance, there are the twinkling lights of Mexico City.

    The Philadelphia-based artist, who was born in Uruguay, can almost hear the constant fireworks exploding in the night sky from the festival celebrating the Lady of Guadalupe from her spot on a floor pillow in the upper-level of the gallery at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.

    The blanket of stars above her is her piece Untitled Starmap (Mexico), which is part of Holding Space, an interactive installation, a mediation room with star art and pillows. Holding Space is part of Rankins Butterfly Effect exhibit, which runs at PCA&D through April 12.

    By inviting people to gaze into the night sky of Mexico, she is playing with perspective. The viewer is in two places at once. Rankin is in Mexico in her mind and in Lancaster in her body. Rankin envisions the Holding Space as a place for students and visitors to let their thoughts drift.

    Im a big advocate of just sitting around in the dark, Rankin says. Its super nice to sit outside and relax and not be staring at a screen. Enjoy the darkness, enjoy the silence.

    The blanket of stars that hangs overheard on the gallerys ceiling represents the approximate location of the night sky from a trip Rankin and her husband took to Mexico. She made the work by sketching the night sky with her naked eye while in Mexico and using various star gazing apps to check her positions. Rankins work takes on vast subjects like the universe or the planet and makes them personal.

    For instance, the night sky above her reminds her what she was looking at during her trip to Mexico. Constellations and single stars have long been used as a navigation tool. As an artist, Rankin uses the night skies to navigate her position in the world, as well as her memories and emotions.

    Butterfly Effect features art based on star maps, world maps, changes in ocean temperatures, the amount of planes in a sky in a given location on a given moment in time and paintings of different nebulas. Theres plenty of room to think, explore and engender curiosity.

    The Butterfly Effect is from chaos theory, Rankin says. Its this idea that a seemingly infinitesimal and inconsequential occurrence can affect its surroundings in ways that are extraordinary and supermassive. The guy that coined the term used as an example that a butterfly flapping its wings in the U.S. could cause a typhoon in the Pacific Ocean.

    Rankin admits shes taken liberties with some of the scientific material, but shes allowed, she says. Shes an artist, not a scientist, and artists are allowed to be biased, she says.

    One of her pieces, Warm Acid Bath, shows the change in ocean temperatures due to acidification.

    These heat maps are all rainbow-colored, and I am particularly partial to the idea of the rainbow as a symbol of diversity and inclusiveness, Rankin says. Im using this imagery that is hopeful and positive even to indicate a lot of the things that are going wrong, because I think its not too late. I think we can dig ourselves out of this. Weve just got to plant more trees.

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    She may be speaking as an artist and not a scientist, but shes about as close to a scientist as an artist can get. Her father is a professor of animal sciences and her mother a professor of literature.

    Dinner conversations were like freewheeling lectures for Rankin and her family. There was often dry ice in the freezer. Rankin and her siblings would go to her fathers lab and gaze into the microscope at the tiny worlds on the slides. Her mothers influence drew her into making art about mythology.

    I have always been an artist from when I could speak, Rankin says. Theres a little Super 8 film of me going Yo quiero ser una artista! My hands on hips saying I want to be an artist!

    Rankin moved with her family from Uruguay to Oklahoma when she was 11. Later, she moved to Philadelphia and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from Temple University and her Master of Fine Arts from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

    Her work in Butterfly Effect offers a chance to view our world through a different perspective. For example, her piece El Sur is an inverted world map.

    You think about your position on the planet and if youre always on the bottom and suddenly it gets flipped, it changes the way you think of yourself and where you are with respect to the rest of the world, Rankin says. I mean, you have to think of the world in some way, and it makes sense to homogenize things to a certain degree, but I think theres a danger to this idea that everything has to be so standardized.

    The standardization of things is something Rankin is obviously fond of playing with.

    I think one of the biggest disservices we do to ourselves is this idea of standardization up to a point where you dont even know the questions you are not asking, Rankin says. The more you are bombarded by the same image over and over again, the less you even consider that an alternative is possible. So, as an agent of chaos, I can be like Hey, but what if, this were quote-unquote upside down. And its not even upside down. Theres no upside down in space.

    Here she pauses.

    Thats what I love about making this kind of art, Rankin says. Every day is like an existential conundrum.

    What: Butterfly Effect.

    Where: Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, 204 N Prince St.

    When: Through April 12. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.

    Cost: Free.

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    Artist Ana Vizcarra explores a sense of being from a personal perspective and scientific observations - LancasterOnline

    Combining business and pleasure at The Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai – - March 5, 2020 by admin

    The five-star hotel is close enough for those all-important business meetings, but feels a satisfying world away when it's time to unwind

    Apparently you should never mix business with pleasure however, a truly exceptional five-star hotel does exactly that.

    The Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai is located at the edge of Dubais Downtown district and it does both rather well. Located just moments beyond the low-rise Arabian architecture of the areas exclusive Old Town neighbourhood, the hotel, which opened its doors just over two years ago, is close enough for access to those all-important meetings, with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) just a short taxi journey away.

    And yet its setting, on the edge of the Dubai Water Canal, where joggers and cyclists breeze by without a single care in the world, appears a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

    There is an air of calm as soon as you pass through the revolving doors, where you are greeted by an art installation of Dubais impressive skyline; a hand-blown chandelier lends the space an impressive majesty.

    Locally inspired art features throughout reception and into the elevators, with natural wood finishes and Arabesque patterns offering a touch of style that references the local culture and artistic heritage.

    The hotel is large enough to feel a sense of privacy, but intimate at the same time to experience the personal touch from staff. It boasts 166 king rooms and 65 suites including 32 corner suites, 15 deluxe, 13 executive suites, four VP suites and one presidential suite. The deluxe suite is huge at 65 square metres and the floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning views. A striking feature is Picassos camel sketch above the bed, re-interpreted into a 3D iron rod sculpture, it brings a sense of personality and avoids the anonymity that often pervades even five-star hotel rooms.

    For those looking to burn off some energy there is the option to use the hotel bicycles and join the cyclists around the canal, or visit the gym on the third floor, which boasts a selection of Technogym equipment, weights and striking images of Burj Khalifa.

    Indulgence beckons at the Six Senses Spa which is located on level five and features six treatment suites that are each dedicated to a different sense skilled therapists will knead and massage away the last of your business traveller fatigue, instilling a sense of profound contentment and relaxation.

    And in terms of food, there is more than enough to satisfy your appetite.

    Enjoy the sunset view with live entertainment and shisha at Bhar, with flavours from Chef Mohanad Al Shamali and sample his trademark Black Cod Syadieh, as well as other creations such as Crispy Soft-Shell Crab Saj with garlic mayo and harissa and duck fat chips. Basta! the brainchild of celebrity chef David Myers, combines the feel of a Roman trattoria, Florentine steakhouse and Neapolitan pizzeria into one restaurant. The new brunch is another highlight.

    The Renaissance is also home to Chef Masaharu Morimotos first UAE outpost of his famed-eponymous restaurant.

    And then theres the signature restaurant, award-winning Bleu Blanc. A creation of Myers, it combines French chic with the warmth of a farmhouse and is considered something of a gastronomic destination by the citys food cognoscenti.

    While its location on the edge of Business Bay leads one to conclude it is a business hotel, the truth is the property is much more. It ticks all the boxes in that respect, but also offers free shuttle services to Dubai Mall, Kite Beach and La Mer and it is just a five-minute walk to Downtown, the citys de facto entertainment and lifestyle centre.

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    How To Install Suspended Ceiling Tiles Easily - February 12, 2020 by admin

    If your latest renovation project includes a new ceiling, don't panic at the thought of overhead drywall work. In the right situation, a suspended ceiling offers some real advantages over the permanent variety. First, ducts, pipes and cables hidden above a dropped ceiling remain accessible for repair or modification. And second, suspended ceilings are better sound barriers than drywall ceilings.

    For the do-it-yourselfer, though, the real bonus is easy installation that requires only simple household tools. Comprised of a metal grid that supports lightweight panels, a suspended ceiling is well within the capabilities of most homeowners. If you're worried about the institutional look, drop-in ceiling panels have become more attractive in recent years, with a wide range of designs to choose from.

    While suspended ceilings are not for everyone, or for every situation, they make a lot of sense in basements and in first-floor rooms with bathrooms overhead. If a leak appears in the overhead plumbing, a suspended ceiling can mean the difference between a costly, time-consuming repair job and a minor inconvenience.

    All you need for a suspended ceiling is sufficient head clearance. Requirements vary, but most codes stipulate a minimum 7 1/2-ft. ceiling height in new construction. Some codes, however, will accommodate a lower ceiling height if it's part of a renovation project, so it pays to ask. You'll need roughly 4 in. of space between the old and new ceilings to tilt the panels in place, and an additional 2 in. if you intend to install drop-in, full-panel fluorescent ceiling lights.

    We installed our suspended ceiling in a wood-frame drywalled room, though concrete or concrete-block basement walls wouldn't have changed the installation much. In this case, simply use masonry screws instead of nails to secure the perimeter molding that supports the ceiling at its edges.

    Choosing a system

    The installation steps vary from one manufacturer to the next, but not significantly. We chose an Armstrong Tegular Ceiling (Armstrong World Industries Inc., P.O. Box 173058, Denver, CO 90217). Tegular ceiling panels have a recessed flange that allows them to protrude below the grid roughly 1/4 in. While these panels are more attractive, they do require careful trimming when a smaller panel is needed.

    Once you've chosen a ceiling package, give some thought to the grid layout. While home centers and retailers will be happy to work up a parts list, based on a scaled drawing of your space, you should have a general sense of how the components go together before getting started.

    Typical systems have an L-shaped perimeter bracket, or molding, to support the suspended ceiling at the walls. From this molding, long stringers, called main runners, are installed every 4 ft. and run the length of the room. The ends of the main runners rest on the perimeter moldings and everything in between is suspended with wires secured to the joists above. Cross tees are installed across these runners at intervals of 24 in. This grid is all that's needed to support 2 x 4-ft. ceiling panels. With 2 x 2-ft. panels, an additional set of connectors divides each 2 x 4-ft. area.

    The first step is to determine the maximum height of the new suspended ceiling. If you don't plan to install a drop-in fluorescent fixture, measure down about 4 in. from the existing ceiling joists and mark the wall. The 4-in. space is just enough to angle the tiles into place. (If you do plan to install a drop-in fixture, place the mark 6 in. from the joists.) At this mark, draw a line around three sides of the room using a 4-ft. level.

    Measure down from the joists at several locations around the room to ensure that you'll have enough space above the panel grid at all points across the existing ceiling. If your ceiling joists don't lie on a level plane, make sure to measure down 4 in. from the lowest point on the lowest joist. When the three perimeter lines are level and at the correct height, connect them with a chalkline on the remaining wall.

    With the perimeter established, locate the wall studs and nail the perimeter molding in place so that the top of the molding aligns with the perimeter lines. Use 6d nails and avoid scuffing the painted surface of the molding. Cut the molding to fit with tin snips. For long walls, butt the ends of two pieces of molding.

    When you come to an inside corner, install the first length of molding tight against the corner and butt the second length against the first.

    For outside corners, a mitered joint is more attractive. Using your tin snips, cut both moldings at a 45 degree angle and secure them in place with 6d nails.

    With the perimeter molding in place, install the main runners perpendicular to the joists and 4 ft. apart. The trick here is to lay out the panel grid so that the ceiling appears balanced from side to side. Most rooms will accommodate a number of full-size panels plus an edge gap that will require partial panels.

    Measure across the room parallel to the joists and divide by the panel length to get the number of full panels that will fit in the space. To determine the perimeter gap at each wall, subtract the sum of the panel lengths from the room dimension. If the gap is only 1 or 2 in. short of a full panel, you may be able to start against one side wall and continue across to the opposite wall with full-size panels. If the gap is anything less, it's best to divide it in two, placing half on each side. If the gap is 18 in. wide, for example, it will look better if both sides of the room have a 9-in.-wide row of partial panels. In this case, start your first main runner 9 in. from the wall, continue across the room with full panels, and end with a main runner 9 in. from the opposing wall.

    A similar calculation should be made in the opposite direction. Here, intersecting members, called cross tees, are positioned in slots on each main runner. If you need to trim a few inches from the lead ends of the main runners to accommodate a row of partial panels, be sure to trim the same amount from each runner so that the cross tees will be parallel to the wall and the panel openings are square.

    To install the main runners, measure out from the starting wall the determined gap distance and snap a chalkline across joists. Then, measure 4 ft. from this line and snap a second line. Repeat this procedure in 4-ft. increments until you reach the far wall.

    To support the main runners, screw small eyebolts into every third joist along the chalklines. Then, fasten lengths of 16-gauge wire to each eyebolt. Twist the wire at least three times around itself at the top. Then, stretch string tightly across the room between perimeter moldings, about every 8 ft., so that the string is aligned with the bottoms of the molding. Use this string to level each main runner as you hang it from its wires.

    Set the lead end of the runner on the perimeter molding and lower it until it touches the first string. Sight across the runner to determine where to bend the first wire support. Bend the wire, feed it through the nearest hole in the runner, bend it up and twist it at least three times.

    Continue hanging the runners in this fashion until each is supported every 4 ft. If your room is longer than the runners, join them end to end, using the slots and tabs built into the ends of each.

    Place an additional wire support near each of these joints. Trim the excess from the last length of runner with tin snips.

    With the runners in place, tie them together with the cross tees spaced 2 ft. apart. The cross tees have a hook on each end that fits into a slot in the runners.

    If the system you've chosen has 2 x 4-ft. panels, install the panels in the center of the grid now to help square the assembly. If your system has 2 x 2-ft. panels, install the 2-ft. connectors before moving on. These connectors parallel the runners and fit slots in the cross tees. With the 2-ft. connectors in place, install enough of the center panels to square the grid.

    With the grid more or less square, cut and install pieces to connect the grid with the perimeter molding. Again, the factory ends hook into the runner and cross-tee slots while the cut ends rest on top of the perimeter molding.

    If you plan to install a full-panel, drop-in fluorescent light fixture, you'll need to provide some protection for the wiring that extends between the the electrical box connected to a ceiling joist and the fixture. Codes will require that these wires be encased in flexible metal conduit.

    Starting with the fixture, mount a 90degree conduit/box connector in one of the channel knockouts in the fixture. Then, feed three 14-gauge insulated wires (black, white and green) through a length of flexible conduit and into the channel box. Fasten the conduit in place by tightening the connector's set screw. Join these lead wires to the fixture's leads as you would normally, connecting like-colored wires.

    Set the fixture in the grid in place of one of the panels, and connect the remaining end of the conduit to a blank, junction-box cover plate. Break the knockout from the plate and join it to the conduit with a standard box connector. Finish by making the wiring connections and fastening the plate to the box.

    Heating ducts will also require special attention. In most cases, the job requires bringing the ductwork down to a level just above the top of the panel, cutting an opening in the panel and inserting a diffuser.

    If your duct ends in a rectangular boot, make sure the boot has side tabs that will allow you to screw through the diffuser and panel and into tabs in the duct boot. This may require a bit of custom sheetmetal work on your part, but it won't need to be fancy.

    If your ductwork ends in a downward facing elbow, or if you've had to bring your own duct to the room, you might opt for a round diffuser with adjustable output. These plastic or metal diffusers are sold at most home centers. Again, the trick is in bringing the duct to the panel.

    To determine the best position, lay a level or a straightedge across the grid. Then, extend the duct down to a point just above the panel. You'll also need to frame a structural support across the joist space containing the duct so that it doesn't settle under its own weight.

    With the duct ready, measure carefully from two sides of the grid and position the diffuser on the panel accordingly. Trace around the diffuser with a pencil and cut along this line to make the opening.

    Finally, install the panel, push the diffuser into the duct and screw it to the duct by working through an adjacent opening in the grid.

    When it comes to cutting panels to fill the smaller perimeter openings, always cut with the finished side of the panel facing up and always use a sharp utility knife. Avoid using power equipment--you'll create far too much cellulose dust and the job won't get done any faster.

    Begin by measuring the grid opening and adding about 3/8 in. for the new flange. Slice through the panel completely, using several passes if needed.

    To create a new tegular flange, lay the flange of a complete panel over the cut piece and scribe the new flange line.

    Cut along this line, but only to half the panel's depth.

    Then, lay the knife on its side and slice into the panel from its edge, at the same height as the factory flange. This will remove just enough material to produce a custom flange. Install the cut panel so the new, unpainted flange faces the wall.

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    How To Install Suspended Ceiling Tiles Easily

    Sony Launches IP-based Ceiling Beamforming Microphone with Speech Reinforcement and Clear Audio Recording – Yahoo Finance - February 12, 2020 by admin

    The MAS-A100 Delivers Hands-free and Hassle-free Lectures and Presentations with Acoustic Feedback Prevention

    SAN DIEGO, Feb. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Sony Electronics Inc. today announced the U.S. launch of its new beamforming1 microphone, MAS-A100, providing enterprises an advanced audio solution to enable flexible and creative "hands-free" lectures and presentations.

    Designed for a range of meeting, lecture and presentation environments, the ceiling-mount microphone offers advanced clear audio for both speech reinforcement and recording with a unique combination of beamforming technology and Intelligent Feedback Reducer function. The microphone has a dual-channel output for simultaneous recording that captures the speaker and student's/participants' voices.Together with the support for Dante2 and Power Over Ethernet (PoE) for easy installation, the MAS-A100will significantly improve the audio experience in education and corporate organizations.

    Hands-free presentation with speech reinforcement The MAS-A100 achieves hands-free speech reinforcement without requiring hand-held or body-worn microphones and subsequent batteries or device management. This is enabled by a unique combination of beamforming technology and an original feature called Intelligent Feedback Reducer, which canextract speech soundwhile suppressing unwanted feedback with Sony high-performance digital signal processing. After capturing voice, the microphone's Automatic Gain Control function automatically adjusts the output volume to be consistent regardless of the presenter's location, making lectures and presentations easier to hear.

    Wide-area recording with clear low-noise sound qualityThe beamforming microphone has dual-channel output that enables simultaneous speech reinforcement and recording. It covers a wide range and can record not only the speaker's voice, but also the students and participants. The microphone also has auto-noise reduction capabilities to minimize background sound from air conditioners and projectors, which makes it ideal for lecture capture and meeting recording.

    Simple installation and management The microphone can be easily integrated into existing A/V setups and used with a wide range of products thanks to support of Dante, the digital audio-over-IP networking standard. The model also supports PoE, enabling installation and power management with a single network cable. The MAS-A100's unique Automatic Calibration function automatically optimizes the parameters of the audio processing for speech reinforcement by generating and capturing the test signal during the installation process. Sony's free-of-charge Microphone Array System Manager software (MASM-1) can help centralize configuration and management of multiple microphones in various rooms via an IP connection.

    "Lectures, speeches, and corporate meetings can contain priceless wisdom. Yet, recording them has too often been mired by unintuitive, ineffective recording technology," said Theresa Alesso, Pro division president, Sony Electronics. "At Sony, we work in close cooperation with our customers and partners to address the real-life challenges they face every day. With the MAS-A100, we're offering our customers a powerful yet cost-effective solution that completely transforms the style of lecture and presentation. With its advanced speech reinforcement and clear audio recording features, we're setting a new benchmark for what organizations can expect from microphones."

    Story continues

    Derek Rabuck, IT Consultant and Project Manager at Rice University, is eager to test the new technology: "I heard the impressive Sony Beamforming Microphone prototype at InfoComm 2019, and I'm looking forward to hearing the final product. The hands-free, location-free features make it very appealing."

    The beamforming microphone is expected to be available in spring 2020.

    Recap of key features:

    About Sony Electronics' Imaging Products and Solutions - AmericasSony Electronics' Imaging Productions and Solutions - Americas group develops and manufactures video and audio technologies and solutions for a range of professional applications. These include broadcast television and motion picture production, live event production, corporate presentations, meeting rooms, ENG/EFP, digital cinematography, and more. Sony professional technologies are used in market segments including media solutions, imaging solutions, education, corporate A/V, visual simulation and entertainment, theater, healthcare, and sports. Visitpro.sonyfor more information.

    About Sony Electronics Inc.Sony Electronics is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America and an affiliate of Sony Corporation (Japan), one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world, with a portfolio that encompasses electronics, music, motion pictures, mobile, gaming, robotics and financial services. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Sony Electronics is a leader in electronics for the consumer and professional markets. Operations include research and development, engineering, sales, marketing, distribution and customer service. Sony Electronics creates products that innovate and inspire generations, such as the award-winning Alpha Interchangeable Lens Cameras and revolutionary high-resolution audio products. Sony is also a leading manufacturer of end-to-end solutions from 4K professional broadcast and A/V equipment to industry leading 4K and 8K Ultra HD TVs. Visit for more information.

    1: Beamforming is a signal processing technique used in sensor arrays for directional signal transmission or reception.2: Dante is trademark of Audinate Pty Ltd.

    Sony logo (PRNewsFoto/Sony Electronics)

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    Sony Launches IP-based Ceiling Beamforming Microphone with Speech Reinforcement and Clear Audio Recording - Yahoo Finance

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