Awesome Joan of Arc Armor Made of Bicycle Tubes and Paper Mache

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Did you ever find yourself wondering what Joan of Arc would have worn if she lived in modern times and rode a bicycle instead of a steed? Well, Grace Duval obviously did and she came up with an awe-inspiring upper-body armor made entirely of paper mache and bicycle inner tubes. Judging by how cool and detailed this thing looks, it’s clear the artist put a lot of work into this project, but the end result is simply incredible. I’ve see a lot of things made from tires, from crisis shoes to intricate sculptures, but this rubbery armor has to be the coolest thing yet. My hat’s off to Grace!

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The Beautiful Steampunk Cell Phones of Ivan Mavrovic

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Croatian artist Ivan Mavrovic turns modern technology into steampunk gadgets that still retain their functionality.

In a world where everyone seems interested only in getting their hands on the latest futuristic designs when it comes to gadgets, some, like Ivan Mavrovic, prefer to look back in history, to the time of the Victorian era, when brass, copper and wood were the main ingredients that made things cool. But interlacing modern tech with steampunk design isn’t easy, especially if you want to maintain functionality, but Croatian steampunk enthusiast Ivan Mavrovic does a fantastic job. Not only do his retro-cell phones look incredibly cool, but they also work as well as normal modern-day phones. They may not be as feature-full as today’s smartphones, but his sturdy converted Nokia phones work perfectly and make gorgeous accessories.

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Design Student Creates Fashionable Dress from Condoms

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Apparently, women can now wear condoms too! Thanks to a Vietnamese student, Nguyen Minh Tuan, who created a dress entirely made of condoms.  He made the dress for his graduation project at Van Lang University in Ho Chi Minh City. The dress is called “Breaking the Condom Taboo” and contains 700 condoms.

Tuan says he created the dress with a purpose – to raise awareness of the use of condoms among the Vietnamese people. According to Tuan, the attitude of the Vietnamese towards sex and safe sex practices needs changing. So he decided to make the dress a part of World AIDS Day on the 1st of December. He hopes that the dress will encourage people to use condoms and protect their loved ones against STDs. The dress itself is quite pretty, and has been getting compliments from designers and models worldwide. In fact, unless the dress is looked at up-close, it’s hard to tell that it has been made from condoms. The dress is being described as quite versatile, designed to suit different body types.

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Japanese Jeweler Creates Solid Gold Christmas Tree Worth $2 Million

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For those of you who love Christmas but can’t stand falling needles and cheap plastic, Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka has created the ultimate Christmas tree –  made of pure gold and worth a whopping $2 million.

After making a 24-karat gold horse for Japan’s newborn prince, and creating another tree worth $850,000, Ginza Tanaka decided to step it up even more and came up with a solid gold Christmas tree for this holiday season. Measuring 2.4 meters high and weighing around 12 kilograms, the luxurious tree is decorated with golden plates and around 60 heart-shaped ornaments, and covered with ribbon. It’s the most expensive thing Ginza Tanaka has ever made, but while I do appreciate the craftsmanship and the effort that went into it, I’m not sure gold is right for such an important symbol. After all, what kind of presents are you supposed to put under such a tree, anyway?

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Japanese Student Creates Leg Hair Font

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A student from Japan’s Tama Art University came with the idea for a leg hair font, after his teachers asked him and his colleagues to create new typefaces without the help of computers.

Creating original letters without the use of digital design seems almost impossible in this day and age, and 20-year-old Mayuko Kanazawa started scratching her head for ideas the minute she heard about the challenge. She remembered seeing all kinds of letters, words and designs shaved into people’s heads, so she knew she wanted to work with hair, but she came up with the ultimate crazy idea only after a friend complained about a pain in her leg. Somehow she found the inspiration she needed in her friend’s leg hair, and the rest is history…

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Chinese Pharmaceutical Factory Looks More Like the Palace of Versailles

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This is what you’d expect to see in the lavish Palace of Versailles built by Louis the XIVth, but it’s actually the inside of a pharmaceutical company in Harbin, northeast China.

Citizens of Harbin were outraged to see what the state-controlled Harbin Pharmaceutical Group spent their funding on rather than solving more pressing issues, like the factory’s sewage problems, but representatives of the company said the recently emerged photos are part of a smear campaign. They claim the photos show the museum, which takes up three floors in the same building as the factory, where the company showcases local art. Now I’m not an expert on Chinese art, but those gold-tinted walls and lavish chandeliers look pretty European, and some of those rooms look an awful lot like conference halls…In fact, photos of the museum on the company’s website showed white-painted walls, brown wooden floors and none of the opulence in the photos.

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Artist Turns Dull Buildings into Fairytale Settings

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Ukrainian artist Daria Marchenko and her team were commissioned by a night-time delivery company to turn their dull-delivery points into something truly special, and the results are just fantastic.

Night Express, a courier service operating in the Ukraine, decided to remind their clients about their favorite fairytales, cartoons and childhood dreams, by turning delivery points in various Ukrainian cities into mind-blowing optical illusions. The fact that Night Express operates at night, when people dream, was the inspiration behind this amazing project carried out by Daria Marchenko and her team of gifted artists.

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Designer Creates Modern Persian Rugs Using Google Earth

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Using images from Google Earth, German designer David Hanauer was able to give a contemporary twist to the ancient craft of Persian carpet making.

Hanauer first began working on his “Worldwide Carpets” project in 2008, after finding himself fascinated with Las Vegas’ uniform, top-down suburban planning. After he got the idea of using aerials images of the city as prints for a modern Persian carpet, he needed to find the best aerial views, and what better alternative than the free-to-use Google Earth? And since our eyes are used to a horizontal view, rather than seeing things from above, at first most people assume it’s just an abstract pattern, instead of a Las Vegas building block.

Persian rugs are arranged around a central point and are always symmetrical, so after David Hanauer finds the right sections from the 3D satellite maps, all he has to do is mirror the images in four directions, which automatically gives the carpets a Persian look. But instead of being hand-knotted, like the original carpets, these contemporary interior design accessories are printed on polyester using colorfast dyes.

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Tokyo’s Baby Café – Where the Cool Japanese Kids Hang-Out

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Tokyo – probably the only city in the world where toddlers have their own hang-out spot, where no childless adults are allowed.

Japan may have one of the lowest birth rates in the world, but that apparently only means the few babies that are born here are given everything – even their own exlclusive café. Located in the Omotesando neighborhood of Tokyo, the Nendo-designed Baby Café is the perfect place for children under seven to chill out, and play in a safe environment, while their parents socialize over a cup of coffee. No more having to listen to mommy telling them to “sit up straight”, “don’t play with your food”, “don’t run through the restaurant”, at the Baby Café kids can do as they like. But there are monitors all over the place so parents can keep their eyes on children while giving them the illusion they’re free to do as they please.

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New York Steampunk Apartment Can Be Yours for $1,750,000

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One of the coolest homes in new York City, film-maker Jeremy Noritz’s steampunk-themed apartment is now for sale for the “modest” price of $1,750,000.

It sounds like a lot of money, I know, but keep in mind this is the Big Apple and we’re not talking about your average apartment. Featuring a beautiful steampunk interior complete with submarine-style front door and colorful zeppelins flying down from the ceiling, this truly is a geek’s dream home. Noritz, and American film-maker, bought the open-space loft in 2006, for $1,3 million, and even though it was in good condition, it was just too conservative and compartmentalized for his taste. Inspired by steampunk design and photos of zeppelins, he set out to turn his pad into a unique experience for visitors and himself.

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Woman Converts Old Caboose into Comfy Home

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When she bought a 1909 Soo Line caboose in 1975, Marcia Webber never thought she’d end up living in it full time, but she’s now happy to call this collector’s piece home.

Marcia and her husband bought the old caboose from the Turnerville Station, in Whippany, New Jersey, after responding to an ad in the Wall Street Journal that said “wooden cabooses for sale”. At first, the couple used it as a vacation home, but after a going through a divorce and losing her job, Marcia had to move into the caboose permanently. Electricity had been installed a few years back, but with no indoor plumbing and heating, going through the first winter was a pretty rough experience.

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Rie Hosokai – Japan’s Balloon Dress Designer

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Japanese balloon artist Rie Hosokai uses latex balloons to create unique dresses that can only be worn 24 hours before they deflate and change color in hot weather.

The latex balloons are inflated and hand-woven in different directions both vertically and horizontally, creating a texture similar to fabric. The amount of air that goes into each balloon is pretty hard to estimate when adjusting the size and volume of the dress, but the 35-year-old artist has been working with balloons for 10 years so she has everything pretty much figured out. She started  her career as a florist, before switching to balloon art and opening her very own studio, Daisy Balloon, where she creates all kinds of inflatable artworks.

Although her “fabric” is very inexpensive (just ¢0.09 cents a balloon), the dresses Rie Hosokai makes sell for thousands of dollars. They last only 24 hours before starting to seriously deflate, must be kept away from sharp objects and change color at high temperatures, yet these designer balloon dresses cost between ¥150,000 and ¥300,000 ($1,930 – $3,860). She has even sold a full set of balloon-made wedding dress, headpiece and bouquet for ¥1 million ($13,000).

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German Designer Uses Wood as Textile Material

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Elisa Strozyk, a young designer from Germany, is able to turn blocks of wood into delicate paper-like material. So far she has created wooden rugs, bed covers, table cloths and is working on a line of wooden clothes.

Most people are familiar with the feeling of walking on wooden floors, touching tree bark or wooden furniture, but young Elisa Strozyk wanted to take this hard material and turn into something completely new – wooden fabric. She spent months working on her original idea, experimenting with different types of wood, until she settled on wood veneer. The slices of wood she uses are about 0.6 mm thick and very flexible, an essential property for her wooden textiles. But not all types of wood can be used to make wood fabric; oak, for example, is too brittle, so she prefers to use cherry and maple.

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Indian Optometrist Creates Gold Plated, Diamond Encrusted Contact Lenses

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Inspired by the jewels in his wife’s teeth, Chandrashekhar Chawan, an optometrist at India’s Shekhar Eye Research Center has created gold plated, diamond encrusted contact lenses that will bring that special twinkle in your eyes.

If you’re looking for the most extravagant trend in eyewear, look no further than the over-the-top contact lenses of Chandrashekhar Chawan. His wife had diamonds planted on her teeth recently and that made the optometrist realize people love jewelry everywhere and anywhere, so he decided to develop a series of diamond encrusted, gold plated contact lenses. He uses Boston Scleral lenses to hold the jewelry in such a way that it doesn’t touch the cornea, thus making the fashion accessory “very safe”.

Chawan says his invention got mixed responses; some people thought it was scary, but most of them loved it, and the optometrist believes this will be the next big thing in Bollywood. He admits his jewel-studded lenses are an accessory, not a necessity, but thinks they’re a must-have for people who want to attract attention. “We always talk eye to eye,” he told TODAY.com, “and if your eyes are sparkling with diamonds, no one can look away; their eyes will be glued to you and  your personality.”

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Paris Museum Displays Skateboarders’ Dream House

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The PAS House, a skateboarding living environment concept thought up by French pro skater Pierre Andre Senizergues and designer Gil Le Bon Delapointe, has finally been brought to life at the La Gaite Museum, in Paris.

Pierre Andre Senizergues has been in love with his skateboard ever since he first discovered it, as a teenager, and has pretty much built his life around the board. He’s ridden it to five world skateboarding championships and built a successful skateboarding shoe line called etnies, so you can see why he felt a little reluctant to part with it every time he went inside his house. But then one day, he had this crazy idea: “I began imagining a city of the future where skateboards are used as the primary form of transportation and recreation — in and out of your home.” the skater told the Toronto Star. “A utopia city for skateboarders would mean that a skateable path, like a ribbon connecting everything together, links each building in an unending ability to keep in motion on your board.”

So, in the early 2000’s, Senizergues partnered with etnies designer and fellow skateboarding fanatic Gil Le Bon Delapointe to create a perfectly skateable house on Senizergues’ Malibu property. They came up with a few great ideas, and even managed to build a miniature model of this skateboarder’s dream house, but after 10 years and some run-ins with the Coastal Commission, it was still in the project phase. But, La Gaite Museum, in Paris, somehow learned about their original housing idea and presented them with the opportunity of building a prototype for their skate-culture exhibition, running this summer.

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