Archive for the 'Aircraft' Category

Realizing Epic Film Environments: Miniatures


At the dawn of film in 1898, miniatures proved a vital special effects tool in recreating the sinking of the Battleship Maine during the Spanish-American War.

The following article offers a look at film miniature history from Metropolis to Titanic and its future in the CG age. Also featured, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, From the Earth to the Moon, Independence Day, Star Trek and Tora! Tora! Tora!. [Ed. Note: The proceeding article was originally written in 1998].

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Ozone Maker


The graceful grandeur of zeppelins are a sight to behold. That they’ve vanished from our skies for almost half a century has only added to their mystique.

Zeppelins have since made a burgeoning comeback, fueled further by inventive designs for the next generation of airships. The Tino Schaedler and Michael Brown designed StratoCruiser, previously featured here is one example. Another is the Aeroscraft ML866, covered last week by dezeen. A far cry from the cigar shape of Graf Zeppelin’s airships that came off the line in Friedrichshafen during and preceeding World War I.

Recent articles on curbing global warming note the potential of carbon dioxide scrubbers, though estimates indicate practical large scale implementation is still a decade away. This reminded me of a curious zeppelin-esque design that caught my attention several years ago in the Taschen book, Green Architecture. The Ozone-maker, designed by architect Jeffrey Miles.

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Commercial Space Travel



Scaled Composites and aerospace designer Burt Rutan’s successful suborbital flights of SpaceShipOne in 2004, paved the way for commercial space travel. The following year Scaled Composites and Richard Branson’s Virgin Group created The SpaceShip company, which will initially manufacture five SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicles for Virgin Galactic.

A prototype of SpaceShipTwo, VSS Enterprise, is slated to be unveiled later this year and features an interior designed by firm Seymour Powell. As in SpaceShipOne, circular windows, a total of fifteen, are scattered across the cabin including the floor and ceiling. The high-G’s exerted onto passengers during the climb and reentry have been reduced by ergonomic seats that automatically recline and shift.

Earlier this month Foster + Partners revealed their winning design for the world’s first private spaceport, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority Building, created in collaboration with engineering design services firm URS, SMPC Architects, PHA Consult, Balis and Company and Exploration-Synthesis Partners. This spaceport will be the launching pad for Virgin Galactic and SpaceShipTwo.

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Strato Cruiser


Tino Schaedler, co-writer of Towards a Cineplastic Architecture, published in the latest MARK Magazine and made available in its entirety at earlier this month, has updated his website with a new project for NAU, Strato Cruiser.

An Art Director for Digital Sets, Tino has worked on films including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, V for Vendetta, Catwoman and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Strato Cruiser is his latest collaboration with fellow Studio Digital Analog co-founder, Michael Brown.

Since the ’90’s rigid airships have begun to make a comeback as scenic transport and surveying aircraft with future potential as cargo carriers. The Strato Cruiser is an intriguing new zeppelin design, bearing resemblance to a whale with angled facets and an ingenious “doughnut concept” that replaces the traditional gondola.

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787 Dreamliner Interior


On Sunday Boeing premiered its newest commercial jet in thirteen years, the 787 Dreamliner. It’s “the world’s first mostly composite commercial airplane, will use 20 percent less fuel per passenger than similarly sized airplanes, produce fewer carbon emissions, and will have quieter takeoffs and landings.” Yet what really stands out is the interior design, a collaboration between Boeing and veteran design firm Teague.

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Last Chance to see Colani Exhibition


One of the world’s foremost industrial designers, the incomparable Luigi Colani, has a featured exhibition at the Design Museum in London. Luigi Colani: Transforming Nature will end its run on June 17 and it’s a great opportunity to see large scale prototypes of his inspired vehicles in person. An early proponent of bio-design, the Professor’s vast body of work includes the 1989 Colani Ferrari Testa d’Oro (above). In 1991 it attained the world speed record in its class, (vehicle with catalytic converters) achieving 351km/h.

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