Courtesy Ikea

IKEA and Lego have joined forces to combine playing and cleaning up. Available Oct. 1, BYGGLEK product line will include one set of 3 small storage boxes, two sets of bigger boxes, and one set of Lego bricks (although any Lego bricks are compatible with the line). The containers are lined and topped with Lego studs, allowing Lego constructions inside and outside the box, as well as the stacked boxes to snap into each other. The companies wanted to reframe tidying and organizing as an extension of play, further encouraging creative thinking in children. "Where adults often see mess, children see a stimulating creative environment, and BYGGLEK will help bridge the gap between these two views to ensure more creative play in homes around the world," said IKEA Sweden designer Andreas Fredriksson, in a company press release. [IKEA]

Courtesy Gensler

Aiming to help users generate accurate design and programming predictions, Gensler has released Graph by Gensler. The digital tool draws data from the world's increasingly digitized society, harnessing computer-aided facility management systems, building management systems, integrated workplace management systems, occupant surveys, and more databases to help users "integrate qualitative data about the human spatial experience (such as interviews, Experience Index, and NPS scores) with quantitative data about observed human behavior (from building sensors, Wi-Fi location tracking, badging, or other sources), and with spatial analytics on the design, layout, or configuration of a space," according to a release from the firm. With these results, Graph uses three analytic tools—ScenarioGraph for spatial scenario planning, ExperienceGraph to map human sentiment, and LiveGraph for movement and interaction modeling—to help clients develop effective and useful strategies for their spaces. "Ultimately, data alone is insufficient to drive outcomes in the built environment," the release states. "Too much data can be stifling. By integrating multiple forms of data with a tool expressly developed to frame design choices, we can enter a new era of evidence-based design." [Gensler]

Courtesy SmithGroup

SmithGroup has released its design for Society's Cage, an "experiential installation highlighting the historic forces of racialized state violence," according to a press release from the firm. Planned for construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28, the concept was developed by a team of mostly Black designers at the firm. The design comprises a 15-foot cube surrounded by an "apron of steel" that features educational materials. Suspending from the pavilion's steel ceiling, 484 1-inch-diameter rusted, steel pipes of differing lengths represent historical totals of lynchings, mass incarceration, police terrorism and capital punishment of Black Americans, and the sobering 25% chance that a Black American will be imprisoned sometime in their life. A soundtrack in the pavilion will loop four songs, each 8 minutes and 46 seconds long to recognize how long George Floyd was deprived of air by the Minneapolis police. [SmithGroup]

From its own reporting in Richmond, Va., and at a study on the connection between redlining practices and urban heat in cities across the U.S., The New York Times has published the interactive feature "How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering." Alongside clean graphics and imagery that spell out the disproportionate heat impact that formerly redlined districts face—areas that still house more communities of color—NYT examines the enduring consequences and health impacts for residents. [NYT]

Autodesk has been featured frequently in the media lately, perhaps for reasons unexpected. First, 17 leading AEC firms signed an open letter voicing concern for the increasing cost of Revit given its lack of development over time. Then, a similar, much older letter penned by 12 architectural firms and developers based in Australia and New Zealand surfaced, highlighting just how long the dissatisfaction has bubbled. While the company has promised change and assured firms that it is listening, ARCHITECT columnist Daniel Davis examines what does and does not matter for the entire profession. [ARCHITECT]

ECOncrete, Courtesy The Biomimicry Institute

The Missoula, Mont.–based Biomimicry Institute and the Atlanta–based Ray C. Anderson Foundation have named Tel Aviv, Israel–based concrete manufacturer Econcrete Tech and Berkeley, Calif.–based coating startup Cypris Materials as the winner and runner-up of their 2020 Ray of Hope Prize, respectively. [ARCHITECT]

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