TIME Video Games

This Is the Incredible Game President Underwood Is Obsessed With in House of Cards Season 3

It's called Monument Valley and it's pretty great

Francis Underwood, Kevin Spacey’s Machiavellian character on the Netflix series House of Cards, has always allowed himself a few good video games. These have tended toward the violent, first-person-shooter variety. But in Season 3, which became available on the streaming service on Friday, a beautiful, somewhat esoteric indie game for mobile devices becomes a minor plot point.

That game is Monument Valley, created by UsTwo. The title—available here for Android and here for iOS— was ranked one of TIME’s 10 best games of 2014. Here’s a description of the game by its designers, part of which Spacey alludes to in the show:

In Monument Valley you will manipulate impossible architecture and guide a silent princess through a beautiful world. Monument Valley is a surreal exploration through fantastical architecture and impossible geometry. Guide the silent princess Ida through mysterious monuments, uncovering hidden paths, unfolding optical illusions and outsmarting the enigmatic Crow People.

Or as TIME’s reviewer put it: “Monument Valley celebrates non-Euclidean geometry, beautifully bizarre architecture and the art of silent storytelling. Combine royalty with optical trickery, trajectory-fiddling with bonsai pruning, aesthetic contemplation with tactile interaction and you wind up with something like designer ustwo’s delightful, enigmatic puzzler.” Worth checking out, no matter where you are on the road to world domination.

TIME Google

See Google’s Absolutely Stunning New Headquarters Design

Google wants to build a new Mountain View campus with sweeping glass structures

Google has unveiled its ambitious new plans for a sprawling, modern Googleplex. The new facility, being developed by architect Bjarke Ingels, features a series of glass, canopies the size of city blocks, new biking and walking paths and an emphasis on green space. Renowned designer Thomas Heatherwick is also involved in the project. Google hopes to complete the first stage of development by 2020, but the company will first have to win approval from Mountain View’s city council amid growing concern over Google’s control over the development of the community.

TIME Apple

This Is What Apple’s ‘Titan’ Car Could Look Like

One of the company's famed designers has already taken a crack at designing a car

iGiant Apple is reportedly working on a much bigger smart device: a car. After rumors of such a project began making the rounds online earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 13 that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has dedicated several hundred employees to creating an Apple-branded electric vehicle. The project is supposedly codenamed “Titan.”

If that is the case and the company proceeds—Apple is notorious for deeply investigating potential products but, ultimately, not bringing them to market—it will have something going for it beyond its massive cash hoard and broad-based brand loyalty. One of the company’s star designers, Marc Newson, has already had his hand at designing a concept car. Newson joined Apple last year.

Newson’s Ford 021C was a concept car first shown at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show. Produced purely as a styling exercise and not intended for production, it was named after the Pantone orange color. Inside, the vehicle featured seats that swivelled on pedestals and extensive LED lighting (then a novelty). The London Design Museum put the vehicle bask on display a few years ago, dubbing it “a neat illustration of Marc Newson’s approach to design: don’t just tinker with existing typologies, but take a long lateral look at them and imagine how the perfect version would be.”

The Journal suggests Apple’s prototype is a minivan-like vehicle, but the 021C’s design philosophy could be a hint of ideas to come.

 

TIME Innovation

Check Out This Gorgeous Throwback iMac Concept

It's weird and beautiful, but it isn't real

Remember Apple’s original, boxy desktop computers like the Apple II series? What if Apple designed a modern iMac taking design cues from those old machines and fusing them with the slim aluminum unibody of modern day iMacs?

That’s exactly what the designers at Curved Labs had in mind when making this throwback iMac concept. Their design puts a present-day face on the Apple computers of yore, while ripping out a bunch of mass out of the back.

While it’s not a real product, the Curved team says their concept iMac would have all the fixings of a modern desktop, like an 11.6-inch touchscreen, 128GB of solid state storage, an SD card slot, camera and microphone.

TIME On Our Radar

Explore the Relationship Between Photography and Architecture

Closing this week, the exhibition Constructing Worlds sees photography and architecture as strange, beautiful bedfellows

It is perhaps not surprising that Alona Pardo and Elias Redstone, curators of Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age, chose the work of Berenice Abbot as a starting point for their exhibition. Abbot, who made powerful images of the architectural changes that gripped 1930s New York, seemed to not only document what she saw, but to question it, too.

While Abbot herself might disagree (she was an avid documentarian who rejected the idea photography should ever express feelings) there is an inescapable unease to her 1936 shot of Park Avenue towers soaring over a two-story show house, and a hazy peculiarity to her famous image of midtown Manhattan from the Empire State Building. It as is if this city of contrasts, which she closely documented, was changing so quickly that an equivocal attitude was the best one to take. And for Pardo and Redstone, Abbot’s work certainly sets the tone for the rest of the show: Here, photography and architecture are beautifully, inextricably linked. They are so close, in fact, that they can seem to be both life-long loves and the strangest of bedfellows.

Indeed, as artist David Campany notes, the two disciplines may have been joined at the hip since Nicéphore Niépce shot his family home, producing the first ever photo from nature, but there has always been dissent: “Just as the discipline of art history has had intermittent doubts over its use of photography as innocent reproduction,” he notes in the catalog accompanying the exhibition, “so the field of architecture has sustained an important current of reflection about its use of images.”

Closing this week, Constructing Worlds comes well-reviewed from both The Guardian and the LA Times, and brings together 250 works by 18 photographers. We see the colorful, sometimes playful work of Luigi Ghirri, the almost mournful eye of Walker Evans and the alien, painterly quality of Nadav Kander’s images. On show, too, are Lucien Hervé, Julius Shulman, Hélène Binet and Stephen Shore. among others.

Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age is on show at the Barbican, London until Jan. 11, 2015.

Richard Conway is Reporter/Producer for TIME LightBox.

TIME ces 2015

Here Is Mercedes’ Outrageous Vision for the Future of Cars

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2015 International CES
David Becker—Getty Images A Mercedes-Benz F 015 autonomous driving automobile is displayed at the Mercedes-Benz press event at the 2015 International CES on Jan. 5, 2015 in Las Vegas.

It looks a little like the cars from Minority Report

The self-driving car: everyone’s doing it. Google, Audi and BMW are all steering toward autopilot and, on Monday, Mercedes-Benz revealed its futuristic F 015 Luxury in Motion, a concept car designed for the future of transportation.

Passengers can sit face to face as if in a living room, and can control the car’s settings through gestures on high-resolution screens. LED displays on the front and rear of the car serve as signals to other vehicles. The F 015 also talks—in the promotional video, the car says to a pedestrian “Please go ahead.” It looks a little like the self-driving cars from Minority Report—futuristic and sleek, with a large cabin space.

So far the F 015 is just a concept car, so we probably won’t ever see this same model on the road. But it should give us a good sense of the direction automakers want to go.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: December 9

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Foreign policy isn’t public relations. The value of releasing the torture report outweighs the risks.

By Daniel Larison in the American Conservative

2. Innovation in design — not technology — might be the key to disrupting industries.

By Todd Olson in Medium

3. The simple notion of community potlucks is working to rebuild the torn fabric of Ferguson.

By Shereen Marisol Meraji at National Public Radio

4. A new poverty alleviation strategy is built on feedback and direction from the actual beneficiaries — putting people at the center of policy.

By Molly M. Scott in RealClearPolicy

5. Women are uniquely positioned to understand the impact of climate change around the world. They must have a seat at the table to set global policy.

By Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in the Aspen Journal of Ideas

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME beauty

There May Be 50 Shades of Red but Only Marsala is the Color of the Year

“Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal.”

A marsala shade of red will be the in color next year across fashion, makeup and interior design.

So says the design consultancy firm Pantone, which picked Marsala as the Color of the Year.

“Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness,” Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a statement. “This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.”

Pantone, which is owned by X-Rite, the maker of color-matching products, has named a Color of the Year since 2000. Last year it was radiant orchid, and the year before it was emerald.

TIME Innovation

These Carpets Map Out Different Countries’ Aerial Landscapes

USA, Bahamas and Netherlands—as seen from the sky

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Have you ever marveled at how flat, two-dimensional and generally neat landscapes look when you’re peering out the window of a plane at 30,000 feet? Florian Pulcher certainly has. Ever since he was little, he has been drawn to the segmentation of land and how neat and pleasing it is to view from above.

Based in Beijing, the Austrian architect always tries to secure himself a window seat on planes and even avoids flying at night so as to gaze down at as many landscapes as possible.

Motivated by this passion he has now created Landcarpet, a collection of rugs inspired by aerial shots of distant fields, hills, waterways and cities. Pulcher uses online mapping services to source his images, and has developed quite an eye for distinguishing aerial details.

“Some countries are very easily recognizable through their methods of farming and that has always intrigued me. Furthermore, as an architect and master planner, I constantly get to see and look through site surveys, aerial images and city plans which have further sharpened my eye for distinguishable patterns and different layers.”

The limited-edition handmade carpets are available for purchase here.

(via Colossal)

TIME Money

This is What Norway’s Money Will Look Like in 2017

Norges Bank held a nationwide design competition

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Nope, you are not seeing a pixelated image of Norway’s new currency. That is the real deal right there! Last spring, the central bank of Norway, Norges Bank, held a nationwide design competition to replace their look of their currency. Their theme: ‘The Sea.’

Instead of choosing just one winner, they chose two – one design for each side. The front side features a series of artworks from design studio The Metric System, called ‘Norwegian Living Space.’ Beautiful and timeless this front design might be, it doesn’t hold a candle to the attention the back design is getting. The back side features an abstract motif of pixels called ‘Ripple Effects’ by Enzo Finger.

“The obverses from The Metric System are very well suited to the incorporation of necessary security elements. The expression is open, light and typically Nordic,” says Norges Bank. “Using the pixel motifs from Snøhetta Design as the reverse will give the notes both a traditional and a modern expression.”

The bank notes are set to be released in 2017.

(via Visual News)

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