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Bolivian Man Builds Transformers-Themed Houses for the Rich

Santos Churata has been a fan of the Transformers universe since early childhood. Now a licensed home builder in the Bolivian city of El Alto, the 34-year-old uses his passion for autobots and decepticons as inspiration for the design of eye-catching houses for the rich.

The city of El Alto, located at 4,070 meters above sea level, has become well-known for a unique architectural style called “chola architecture”. Sometimes described as psychedelic baroque, it incorporates symbols of native Andean culture, Chinese design elements and all the colors of the rainbow. For the new wealthy indigenous Bolivians, who have made millions in recent years, these modern-day palaces are a reflection of both their social status and their proud Aymara heritage. In 2015, there were over 170 unique chola houses in El Alto, enough for the city to set up a tourist route for the most impressive ones.

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14-Year-Old Boy Designs His Own Prosthetic Hand for Just $100

Unable to find a prosthetic hand that fit him him properly, Leonardo Viscarra, a 14-year-old boy from Bolivia, decided to build one himself, using 3D-printing technology.

Leonardo was born with an undeveloped left hand. As a fetus in his mother’s womb, the boy’s right hand was caught in the placenta and unable to develop properly. He was diagnosed with amniotic band syndrome at birth, and could never use his left hand for basic tasks like picking up or grabbing objects. However, an incident during his childhood sparked an interest in assembling and building things, which ultimately helped him achieve his goal of one day gaining almost full use of his undeveloped hand.

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Architect Turns Old Cement Factory into Awe-Inspiring Work/Living Space

Covered by climbing plants and surrounded by a garden of eucalyptus, palms, olive trees and cypresses, this old cement factory on the outskirts of Barcelona looks like an abandoned industrial complex reclaimed by nature. In reality, it’s a bustling work/living space designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill.

Bofill discovered the closed down World War I cement factory in 1973, and was immediately drawn to it. He and his team bought the entire complex consisting of over 30 silos, subterranean galleries and huge machine rooms and convert it into the head of office of Taller de Arquitectura. They spent two years demolishing dilapidated structures and remodeling those worth converting. When the dust settled, only eight silos remained, which became offices, a models laboratory, archives, a library, a projections room, a gigantic exhibition space known as “The Cathedral” and a residential space for Bofill.

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This Normal-Looking House Is Actually A Modern Hobbit Hole in Disguise

You might not be able to tell by the photo below, but this seemingly average two-storey colonial brick house, in Clinton Maryland, is actually a giant Hobbit hole dug into a small dirt mound. It just happens to have a cleverly-designed facade.

Popularly known as the “coolest house in Maryland”, this unusual dwelling was built in 2006, by Formworks Buildings Inc., a company that has been designing eco-friendly earth-sheltered homes for the past 30 years. The 3,300-square-foot property features three bedrooms, including a main-level master suite, two large bathrooms, and an attached garage outback. The brick facade does a good job of concealing the fact that this is in fact an underground house, or, more specifically, dug into a small mound.

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Designer Creates Human Ivory Jewelry Out of Her Own Teeth

In a time when ivory poaching has gotten so bad that it threatens to wipe out several animal species, a young Dutch designer is creating “egalitarian jewelry” made of our very own ivory – teeth.

Lucie Majerus first got the idea for her “human ivory” collection after having her wisdom teeth removed. She kept them and soon realized they would make great material for a statement jewelry collection. “Why wouldn’t we value our own material instead of the precious material from other species?” she rhetorically asks. “In opposition to materialistic values, “Human Ivory” acts metaphorically for having our own value in ourselves. A suggestion to cherish our own “Material” instead of other species’ teeth and reconsider conventional preciousness. What if we mine our own ivory and turn it into pearls?”

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This Levitating Indoor Cloud Is the Coolest Bluetooth Speaker Ever

American designer Richard Clarkson has recently teamed up with Crealev, a company specializing in levitation technology, to create ‘Making Weather’ – a Bluetooth speaker disguised as a realistic-looking levitating cloud.

This wonder of design and technology is a continuation of Clarkson’s 2014 ‘Smart Cloud’ project. Originally unveiled as a hanging lamp, his indoor cloud has recently evolved into a levitating unit, thanks to innovative technology developed by Dutch startup Crealev. With the help of powerful magnets embedded into an oval base and the cloud, Making Weather floats 1-2 inches off the ground. The designer claims that the cloud has “full rotational movement” and even bobs slightly up and down to create a “realistic atmospheric experience”.

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Tiny Device Claims to Heat Your Room for 10 Cents a Day

Egloo is a clever little terracotta heater that harnesses the power of tealights to heat spaces up to 20 square feet for as little as 10 cents a day, without using any electricity.

Developed by Marco Zagaria, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, Egloo is both cheap to use and eco-friendly. Made up of two small terracotta domes and a metal tray, the device takes advantage of the natural heating ability of these materials, drawing heat from just four tealights placed inside it and releasing it in your living space. As the candles burn inside, the distinct dome shape of the innovative heater allows it to gradually heat up and radiate the heat, while the small hole on top keeps combustion going and and also releases some of the heat, allowing it to spread throughout the room.

“Egloo is conceived for contrasting continuous waste of electricity used for warming domestic rooms, offering, as an option, a candle-powered way that provides a cheaper and more ecological energy,” the product’s website states. “It takes advantage of features of terracotta that stores the heat and slowly and gradually releases it by radiation, even after it blows out.”

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Inspiring Norwegian Family Lives in a Sustainable Glass Dome in the Arctic Circle

Inspired by a vision to create a sustainable and healthy home and way of life for their family, Benjamin and Ingrid Marie Hertefølger have built a unique all-natural house completely covered by a glass dome, on a plot of land on Norway’s Sandhorney island, in the Arctic Circle.

The Hertefølgers knew they wanted to live in an eco-home made of only natural materials – cob (a mixture of sand, clay and straw), wood and glass – but also that it had to withstand the harsh weather conditions of the Arctic Circle. Aware of the robust properties of geodesic domes, they contacted Solardome Industries about a bespoke dome to cover their new house. It had to withstand the heavy snowfalls common to Northern Norway, maintain a uniform temperature throughout the year, reduce ultraviolet radiation, minimise maintenance and act as a greenhouse for the family’s organic vegetable and fruit garden.

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Company Recycles Coffee Grounds into Durable Coffee Cups

German company Kaffeeform combines dried coffee grounds and biopolymer to create stylish-looking coffee cups and saucers that are not only durable and dishwasher-safe, but even smell a bit like coffee.

For every cup of coffee you brew, about two tablespoons of grounds wind up in the trash. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but just think about the millions of coffees consumed around the world every single day, and you’ll start to see the problem. Sure, some of those coffee grounds are recycled as fertilizer or beauty products like face masks, but most of it ends up at landfills. It was while contemplating this issue that German designer product designer Julian Lechner came up with a radical new and sustainable way of recycling coffee grounds – turning them into tableware.

Lechner first came up with the idea of using coffee grounds to create eco-friendly crockery while attending university in the Italian city of Bolzano. “We were always drinking coffee at university,” he remembers. “Before classes, after classes, meeting friends, hanging out at espresso bars—all the time. And that’s how I started to wonder, What happens to all that coffee? It was all just getting thrown away.” He began consulting with his professors about ways of using coffee grounds to create a solid material, but it took him years to actually come up with a viable solution.

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Coffee-Making Alarm Clock Aims to Make Waking Up Less of a Drag

Getting up early in the morning to the annoying sound of an alarm clock is one of those painful experiences many of us have to go through every single day, but perhaps throwing in the smell of freshly brewed coffee might improve things a bit. That’s what the makers of The Bariseur alarm clock are counting on, anyway.

The Bariseur is an automatic coffee maker and tea brewer that also doubles as an alarm clock that wakes you up to the sound of bubbling hot water and the smell of fresh coffee or loose leaf tea. Inventor Joshua Renouf says his ingenious creation “encourages a ritual in order to establish a routine before going to sleep, signalling to the body and mind that it is time to unwind and relax. The fresh coffee or tea is used as a natural aromatic relaxant throughout the night then stimulates the user in the morning once brewed.”

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Dutch Designer Grows Eco-Friendly Dress from Mushroom Root in One Week

While most fashion designers prefer to sew their creations, 41-year-old Aniela Hoitink has chosen to ‘grow’ hers in petri dishes. The Amsterdam-based textile designer recently created a 100 percent biodegradable dress – good for the environment and your skin – using nothing but discs of mushroom root.

By sticking the discs together, Aniela created a surprisingly good-looking dress that seems to fit the female figure perfectly. She needed 350 discs to make a single dress, so she spent a week-and-a-half growing them in petri dishes before they were ready to be used. Because the dress requires no cutting or sewing, there is no leftover material that needs to be discarded. The material doesn’t require hemming either, so it can be cut to suit the wearer’s requirements of length or shape. And more discs can be added to create sleeves or length. The dress can be composted when it is no longer needed, so it doesn’t actually end up in landfills.

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World’s Tackiest Apartment Where Everything Is Golden Goes Up for Sale in Russia

An apartment that recently went on sale in Magadan city, in northeastern Russia’s Magadan Oblast region, has caught the attention of more than a few prospective buyers. Located on the second floor of a rather ordinary-looking four story building, the apartment is entirely decked up in gold. Well, not real gold, but shiny golden tint designed to give nearly every surface of the interior, including the walls, furnishings, and even bathroom fittings an expensive look!

According to real estate agent Roman Vikhlyantsev, the current owners are well traveled businessmen with a taste for the fine arts. He explained that the design and layout of the home was made according to their vision of the perfect apartment. “The owners are intellectuals,” he said. “They travel the world and bring exotic decorative items back to their home, which is now reflected in this property.”

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“Useless Yet Essential” $12,000 Swiss Watch Doesn’t Even Tell Time

It might look like a wristwatch at first glance, but the outrageously expensive ‘Playground Labyrinth’ doesn’t actually tell the time. Made by Swiss luxury watchmaker Hautlence, the watch doesn’t have a dial, numbers, or hands. Instead, it comes with a maze game for the wearer to play. The game apparently serves as a metaphor for ‘taking your time’ to enjoy the finer aspects of life.

Described as a ‘useless yet entirely essential object’, the ‘Playground Labyrinth’ watch is priced at a whopping 12,000 Swiss francs ($12,300) apiece. It is available in two models – 01 (rose gold) and 02 (white gold) – as a part of a limited edition collection. The strap is made of satin-finished Louisiana alligator leather, while the 18k gold maze is equipped with an extra-hard sapphire crystal ‘crown’ to stop the tiny platinum ball from escaping.

“It is a flashback to childhood where we allowed ourselves time to let our imaginations run wild and cut ourselves off from the rest of the world,” the company’s website says.

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Bicycle Washing Machine Will Clean Your Clothes While You Exercise

Laundry workouts might soon be the new fitness trend, thanks to a new invention by a group of students at China’s Dalian National University. They’ve created a washer that’s powered by a stationary bike, and they’re calling in ‘b.w.m’ (short for Bike Washing Machine).

“Riding a bike is a popular exercise, washing laundry is something that you might do on a daily basis or at least once a week, so why not combine them into a single useful equipment/appliance,” the makers wrote on Tuvie, a blog dedicated to tech innovations.

The clothes fit into a large drum positioned at the bottom of the stationary exercise bike “When you ride this bike, the pedaling motion causes the drum of the washing machine to rotate, at the same time, the superfluous electricity is generated which can be used to power the display screen or stored for future use.”

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Floral Designer Creates Living Jewelry That Grows While You Wear It

Designer Susan McLeary is taking the jewelry world by storm with her incredibly stunning accessories made from living plants. She uses real succulents hand-picked from her family-owned greenhouse to craft intricate headpieces, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and other pieces of  bio-jewelry that literally grow on you.

Each piece from McLeary’s ‘Passionflower’ collection can be worn for two to four weeks before the plants begin to grow off their metal base. When this happens, wearers can simply remove the succulents from their metal base and re-pot them to keep in their homes. The brass jewelry bases can still be worn on their own. If the pieces are worn for special occasions like weddings, the potted succulents become all the more significant.

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