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Things we love: Fantastic Cities

Like Play-Doh and jungle gyms, colouring books have always seemed reserved for children. Well, until recently.

The adult colouring book craze has hit Australia with colouring books aimed at grown-ups outselling cookbooks on Amazon. These books have shown to be a stress reliever for adults with colouring becoming the perfect digital detox.

Being in the construction industry we especially love Fantastic Cities – a colouring book inspired by cities across the globe. The book is full of incredibly detailed and unique architectural illustrations, including drawings featuring parts of London, New York, Rio and Amsterdam to colour.

We’ll definitely be getting our hands on one of these for the Modscape office – we’re all children at heart.

Conservation-friendly swirl faucet

Water may be a liquid, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be manipulated.

Simin Qiu, a design student at London’s Royal College of Art, has created a faucet which takes the idea of a sink sprayer and makes it more beautiful.

This conservation-friendly faucet swirls the water into captivating geometric patterns as soon as you turn on the tap. Called Swirl, the design uses two rotors to weave the water into a mesmerizing and intricate, cross-hatched design. Holes cut into the nozzle of the faucet create three different water effects.

In addition to the beautiful patterns the faucet produces, the design uses up to 15 percent less water than traditional faucets.

This design is still currently still in concept stage, but we can’t wait to be able to incorporate this energy-saving product into our modular homes.

Rethink the Modular

Rethink the Modular

Modules, modules, everywhere. All around the room. That’s what occurred at USM’s Rethink the Modular exhibition in Milan last month.

The Swiss furniture brand put on its exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of their signature Haller modular furniture system.

USM collaborated with university students in design, art, fashion and architecture to explore the concept of modularity, resulting in a number of interesting prototypes and installations.

The results ranged from abstract representations of modularity to more realistic proposals for modular building systems.

“The exhibition is all about giving a new perspective on modularity,” co-curator Burkhard Meltzer said. “We wanted to open up the discussion in the future what modularity might mean in the next years.”

“The interesting thing about modularity is there is always this tension between the interest in structures and rules and the interest in having as much freedom as possible. We wanted to show the whole range of this discussion between the two poles.”

France to shout green from the rooftops

Solar Panels and Green Roof

France is renowned for its haute couture and cutting-edge fashion thanks to the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix.

Recently the country’s progressive nature on the catwalk transferred to rooftops as it rolled out new environmental legislation.

As of April this year, all new buildings in commercial zones across the country must now either be partially covered in solar panels or plants.

We’d love to see the same trend catch on for the vast sea of under-utilised rooftops in Australia.

A positive green step forward was recently made by the City of Nedlands in Perth. In a first for Australia, the council voted to make on-site clean power generation compulsory on all new homes and some commercial buildings.

Mayor Max Hipkins was quoted as saying: “Sustainability is now core business for all levels of government – a necessity, not an option. National governments are often slow to take up new ideas, so cities – and mayors – need to show leadership in sustainability and response to climate change.”

We couldn’t agree more and take our green hats off to him for the initiative. The beauty of Modscape prefabricated homes is that they are all custom built, so we can tailor the design to suit your specific environmental goals and your council’s individual requirements. Our modular homes can easily be, and often are, equipped with solar panels. They can also accommodate a green roof.

If you are thinking of greening up your existing roof, the Clean Energy Council has some handy information on solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Melbourne Water also has a good fact sheet on green roofs.

Australian Pavilion will make a splash

The Pool

One of Australia’s great cultural symbols will be explored in the Australian Exhibition at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

The Pool by architecture practice Aileen Sage and urban strategist Michelle Tabet will use light, mirror, sound and smell to create an immersive, highly sensorial experience that will transport visitors poolside. A series of Australia’s most remarkable pools will also be featured. Be they natural or manmade, inland or coastal, temporary or permanent, the creative directors will survey these archetypal pools which have become symbols of Australian culture.

The installation will be the first architecture exhibition to be held in the Denton Corker Marshall-designed pavilion recently built in Venice. Designed by Melbourne-based practice, the pavilion replaces Philip Cox’s 1988 structure and blurs the lines between architecture and sculptural object. Balancing out over the canal, the dark box is penetrated by operable panels that can be opened or closed depending on the exhibitions within. The new pavilion, which opens in May 2015, will attract attention not only for its design but for the fact that it is the first pavilion to be built in Venice in the 21st century.

St Kilda East

Modular Homes Melbourne

Sleek internal and external finishes marries aesthetics and functionality in this beautiful 2-storey modular home in St Kilda East. Designed using six modules over two levels, this St Kilda home maximises on space in a simple and understated layout. The clients approached Modscape with a brief that would see their dilapidated weatherboard house demolished and replaced with a contemporary, spacious home centred around the heads of the household – their two teenage daughters.

The daughters had input into the spatial configuration and were involved in all of the design decisions from the very beginning. The ground floor includes a master bedroom + ensuite, guest bedroom and laundry along with a spacious kitchen and dining area which opens onto an external deck module. Upstairs the two daughters each have their own space and share a large walk-in wardrobe, bathroom and second living area.

The cement sheet cladding embodies the sleek and minimal aesthetic requested by the clients. Form is dictated not only by the functionality of the internal spaces but of the surrounding streetscape. The street is lined with houses of differing scales, both old and new. The home turns its back on the chaos of the school located opposite and orientates itself to the north, optimising the sun. The street facing elevation is broken by a cut-out in the façade which houses a private balcony. A steel slatted carport was also prefabricated by Modscape.

Modular in Milan

Modular in Milan

A favourite event on Modscape’s design calendar is the Milan Furniture Fair – Salone del Mobile di Milano.

Held from the 14-19 April 2015, the event describes itself as the “the litmus test for the most advanced design trends” and, taking a look back at what has come out of previous years, it is a fitting description.

An alternative to the well established firms exhibiting at Salone del Mobile is Salone Satellite – a showcase that brings together the most promising young designers from all over the world to exhibit and exchange creativity and ideas.

This year, 700 young designers from 18 international schools were selected by a prestigious committee to take part in the exhibition, and one of our favourite designs from the many brilliant creations on display was the Dharma Project by Alessandra Meacci.

The Dharma Project was created with the aim of bringing nature back into the home through natural shapes. The designer used the same basic hexagonal module to create different design solutions, leaving the creativity up to the owner.

Modscape’s own prefabricated modular home designs work on a similar principle. Using our modules, we work with our clients to customise a design that reflects their individual requirements. And it’s our combination of design technology and experience that allows us to produce flexible living spaces that are both beautiful and functional – much like the Dharma Project.

Congratulations to all of the young designers who took part in this year’s stunning display. A special congrats must also go to Australian designer, Viktor Legin, whose ‘Balance’ pendant light won third place in the Salone Satellite Awards. The beautiful timber LED light is both a functional and decorative objective, being able to be positioned at the desired angle by a sliding weight. It looks amazing in Milan and we think it would just as striking in a Melbourne modular home!

Modules inform design. Modules inform homes

Inform Design Inform Home

One of the beauties of a Modscape home is that it is built and installed in just 12 weeks.

How can we achieve this?

Well we definitely aren’t working around the clock (although sometimes we do!). The efficient construction cycle is thanks to our winning combination of modularisation and prefabrication.

These two work hand in hand to create a degree of automation that simply cannot be achieved on-site. By building in our factory, the risk of weather and site delays is eliminated, allowing for a fixed timeline for design, construction and delivery.

So exactly what is a module?

A module is a fully welded structural steel frame that uses structurally insulated panels to create a highly insulated cell.

And does building with modules mean you are stuck with a certain design?

Not at all. When it comes to design, modules can inform homes and can also be used to create almost any configuration of spaces. All of our modules are customised to suit each design, and the majority of our homes use a combination of module sizes – placing them side-by-side or end-to-end.

The benefits of modules don’t stop there. Our homes are fabricated to completion prior to leaving our factory – not only minimising the amount of work required on site, but also enabling us to oversee and achieve a consistent level of quality.

Design and finish options are limitless, but every design is the result of a genuine collaboration with each client that centres around their specific project requirements, site and budget. Openness and collaboration with our clients ensure their interests are at the heart of everything we design.

Design led but totally flexible in outcome, the Modscape modular method offers the very best in contemporary prefab homes and building solutions.

Project Modscape

MODSCAPE_FACTORY

Each month we feature one of our recently completed projects. This month however, we’ve decided to feature where those projects are designed and constructed – our Modscape factory and office.

We operate from a facility in Brooklyn which includes an impressive factory that was once an operational foundry.

Factory Modular Homes MODSCAPE_FACTORY MODSCAPE_FACTORY in MELBOURNE

The factory is where all of the Modscape modules are constructed, and its environment ensures a rigorous level of quality control is achieved.

MODSCAPE_FACTORYMODSCAPE PREBUILT HOME FACTORYMODSCAPE FACTORYMODSCAPE MODULAR HOMES FACTORY

Doing all of the construction indoors also means that the risk of weather and site delays is eliminated and that projects, both residential and commercial, are delivered within their agreed timescales.

MODSCAPE_FACTORY

Attached to the factory is the home of the Modscape team and this is where the project design happens.  The team combine their extensive experience in the design, development and construction industries to create our modular masterpieces, overseeing projects from design right through to installation.

Our Display Suite is also here, so next time you are in the neighbourhood let us know and we can give you a tour.

Things we love: Solar panels go couture

Solar Shirt - Wearable Solar

Photo credit: Liselotte Fleur

How many times has your phone died while you’re out and about? Annoying right? Well that may be now a thing of the past thanks to the Solar Shirt designed by Pauline van Dongen in collaboration with Holst Centre.

The Solar Shirt is the latest design in the Wearable Solar collection where sun-powered garments seek to seamlessly integrate technology and fashion.

Solar power is an “intelligent and cautious way” to use the plant’s resources, van Dongen says. “We’re becoming more and more depending on connectivity. Therefore a smart garment, augmented with solar cells that can harvest energy, is an ideal solution when we find ourselves in an off-grid situation.”

The stretchable – not to mention washable – Solar Shirt incorporates 120 flexible solar cells, enough to restore a typical smartphone’s charge by 50% after an hour’s exposure in the full sun. But smartphones aren’t the only things the Solar Shirt can keep running. The garments can also charge MP3 players, cameras, GPS units and any other USB-compatible portable device. Plus, any excess electricity can be stored in the shirt’s battery pack for later use.

Not only will you look slick, but you’ll never again have to experience the annoyance of a dead phone. We love it.

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