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Archive for China

Futuristic Chinese Bus to solve traffic jams. via [huffpost]

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China Plans Huge Buses That Can DRIVE OVER Cars (PHOTOS)

China has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases and biggest energy consumer.But the country is also thinking in big and bold ways when it comes to how it will reduce pollution and a new plan to build a “straddling bus” is among the most space-age schemes yet.

According to China Hush, the 6-meter-wide 3D Express Coach will be powered by a combination of electricity and solar energy, and will be able to travel up to 60 kilometers per hour carrying some 1200 to 1400 passengers.

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IN PHOTOS: See more pictures of the futuristic bus here.



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The World’s Top 10 Most Peculiar Restaurants via [delish]

The Weirdest Restaurants in the World

Ever eat in Alcatraz? Dine on Mars? Then it’s about time you get a taste of some of the wackiest, weirdest, out-of-this-world restaurants.
For more strange places to eat, check out this video of the the world’s top 10 most peculiar restaurants.

By Kiri Tannenbaum
Hardwired Host

Restaurant: Hajime Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand

Culinary Concept: Robot run. Owner Lapassarad Thanaphant (pictured) has high hopes for her robot-run restaurant. Thanaphant invested nearly $1 million to purchase four dancing (yes, they also dance!) robots who serve diners Japanese delicacies.

photo credit: REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang
Eating with Sharks

Restaurant: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Rangali Island, Maldives

Culinary Concept: Fish-eye view. Ever dine on octopus and oysters surrounded by octopus and oysters? Well, you can do just that at the luxurious Ithaa restaurant beneath the Indian Ocean. Ithaa, meaning “pearl,” sits between three and six feet below sea level (depending on the tides) and weighs over 200 tons, so the chef won’t drift out to sea. On the menu: crustaceans and wild game.

photo credit: © 2009 Hilton Worldwide Proprietary
New Meaning for Noodle Bowl

Restaurant: Modern Toilet, Taipei, Taiwan

Culinary Concept: Bathroom themed. If you’re into poop jokes (and can get over the gross-out factor), then you will find this toilet-themed restaurant plenty entertaining. Guests slurp up Asian noodles from commode-shaped bowls while sitting on their very own can. Keep the seat down.

On the Rocks

Restaurant: Laino Snow Village Ice Restaurant, Ylläsjärvi, Finland

Culinary Concept: Ikea meets igloo. Just north of the Arctic Circle the winters are cold enough to sustain Snow Village’s Ice Restaurant for the season. Inside the 200-square-meter all-natural ice structure, diners sit on solid-ice chairs at solid-ice tables while savoring local fare like cream of Lappish potato soup with cold smoked salmon, tender reindeer, and game meatballs served with — what else? — vodka-lingonberry jelly.

photo credit: Courtesy of Snow Village
Floating in Air

Restaurant: Dinner in the Sky, worldwide

Culinary Concept: Suspended supper. Dinner in the Sky brings new meaning to alfresco dining. If you have $40,000 to spare, you and 21 of your closest friends can lavishly dangle 150 feet above any city (or golf course) while conspicuously consuming beef and foie gras mille-feuille (savory layered puff pastry) and sipping Dom Pérignon.

photo credit: © JJ De Neyer / Triptyque
Foodie Forest

Restaurant: Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand

Culinary Concept: Treehouse treats. Using resources from inside the Yellow Pages, Pacific Environments architects constructed this pod-shaped eatery accessed by an 180-foot “treetop” walkway. There, 18 diners savored a multicourse menu that included pan-fried lamb loins with baby beetroot and mandarin salad with caramelized garlic. (Unfortunately, the restaurant was just a temporary project and has since closed.)

photo credit: Lucy Gauntlett
Wine for Whiners

Restaurant: Le Refuge des Fondus, Paris, France

Culinary Concept: Bottle service. As rumor has it, this favorite tourist attraction in the Montmartre neighborhood first began offering patrons wine in baby bottles as a way to avoid the French tax on wine served in proper glasses. While sucking down the grape juice, winos can fill their bellies with toothsome cheese or beef fondues.

photo credit: redking/flickr
Life on Mars

Restaurant: Mars 2112, Times Square, New York City

Culinary Concept: Earthling eats. NASA predicted by 2112 we’d be making commercial flights to Mars. Why wait for the airfare wars when you can pay a visit right in New York’s Times Square? Upon arrival, friendly Martians guide hungry earthlings into the hot, dry, red planet, where they can dine on the Martian Seafood Platter — exotic ocean shellfish, squid, shrimp, mussels with a spicy seafood sauce.

photo credit: Courtesy of Mars 2112
Beverages Behind Bars

Restaurant: Alcatraz E.R., Tokyo, Japan

Culinary Concept: In(ti)mate atmosphere. If you were ever curious (and who isn’t?) about life in a medical prison, Tokyo’s Alcatraz E.R. will serve that sentence. Diners are handcuffed upon arrival and taken to their “cells,” where they can choose from a list of bizarre elixirs served in blood-transfusion apparatus by hospital orderlies.

photo credit: Annette Pedrosian
Dining in the Dark

Restaurant: Opaque, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, CA

Culinary Concept: Blind taste-test. At Opaque, patrons are led into the restaurant by visually impaired or blind employees to experience dining in the dark. The absence of light allows the senses to spring into action, enhancing the smell, taste, and texture of favorites like luscious mango panna cotta with coconut crème anglaise.

photo credit: Courtesy of Opaque
The Long and Winding Road
Restaurant: ‘s Baggers, Nuremberg, Germany
Culinary Concept: Roller-coaster service. At this futuristic eatery, the waitstaff is a thing of the past. Guests place their orders via a touch-screen computer at each table. When the food — which, according to the restaurant, is based primarily on local, organic ingredients and cooked with minimal fat — is ready, it zips to the table along a twisting track from the kitchen above.
photo credit: Courtesy of ‘s Baggers
Ancient Japanese Underworld

Restaurant: Ninja New York, New York, NY

Culinary Concept: Japanese warrior fare. Forget Ninja Turtles. This Japanese venue with a labyrinth-like interior was modeled after an ancient Ninja castle. After your waiter impresses you with his gravity-defying acrobatics, dine on the Katana, a $50 prime steak marinated in teriyaki sauce, and finish the ninja-filled night with the smoking piña colada-assorted diced fruits with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream sinking in a mysterious pineapple coconut pond. Don’t forget your sword.

photo credit: Courtesy of Ninja New York
Food Flight

Restaurant: The Airplane Restaurant, Colorado Springs, CO

Culinary Concept: Mile-high meals. Onboard this grounded 1953 Boeing KC-97 tanker, diners feast on atypical airline food like the Reuben von Crashed — tender corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing served on fresh marble rye bread.

photo credit: Courtesy of The Airplane Restaurant



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OpuluxeLtd.com Luxury Lifestyle Special Report: Platinum Brands via [Forbes]

Beyond The Balance Sheet: Platinum Brands

Christina Settimi and Kurt Badenhausen

The most valuable luxury brands will shine in a recovery.

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In Pictures: Platinum Brands

To some, BMW seemed a bit out of touch with hard times when it rolled out an exuberant ad campaign called “Joy” this year. Turns out, the ad campaign is in tune with the opportunities BMW and other luxury brand makers anticipate as the recession fades.

Last year was the worst year ever for global luxury goods, with worldwide sales falling 8%. But in a look at the world’s most valuable luxury brands, Forbes identifies 10 that are poised to thrive in better economic times. These brands, including BMW and Louis Vuitton, share some qualities that help keep them strong even when wealthy consumers are curtailing spending.

The companies behind these brands emphasize their products’ quality, longevity and pleasure-giving features through marketing efforts that make it likely these brands will continue to do well, especially if luxury sales around the world grow by 4% to $210 billion this year, as predicted by Bain & Co., the Boston-based consulting firm.

Feng Li/Getty Images

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No. 10: Porsche

Parent Company: Porsche
Brand Value: $4.8 billion
Brand Sales: $8.7 billion

Statia Photography/Getty Images for Cartier

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No. 9: Cartier

Parent Company: Richemont
Brand Value: $5.4 billion
Brand Sales: $3.3 billion

Currently with 32 boutiques in 18 cities across China, Cartier CEO Bernard Foras has said he aims to make China its No. 1 market in three years with at least 55 boutiques.

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

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No. 8: Rolex

Parent Company: Rolex
Brand Value: $5.5 billion
Brand Sales: $3.4 billion

Rolex is the most profitable brand in watches. Sales are expected to be up 15% this year, fueled by sales in emerging markets led by China according to analyst Jon Cox of Kepler Capital Markets.

PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images

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No. 7: Chanel

Parent Company: Chanel
Brand Value: $5.6 billion
Brand Sales: $3.3 billion

Coco Chanel’s mantra: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same” is still the guiding force behind her brand. But what is equally important to Chanel’s appeal is its creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, one of the most recognizable men in fashion with his silver ponytail, dark sunglasses and black suit.

LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images

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No. 6: Hermes

Parent Company: Hermes
Brand Value: $5.7 billion
Brand Sales: $2.5 billion

The infamous waiting list for the Birkin bag, which retails between $6,000 and $100,000, is history for the 173-year old company. The company now aims to grow by expanding its customer base. It opened its first men’s only store in New York in February with a made-to-measure program aimed at providing custom apparel.

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

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No. 5: Coach

Parent Company: Coach
Brand Value: $7.4 billion
Brand Sales: $3.2 billion

Coach’s strategy to cut prices last year–a move that resulted in it offering more than half of its products for under $300–paid off. Sales volume jumped and profits surged. The company is now focusing on middle-price-range products, and expanding its new pricing strategy in Europe.

CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images

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No. 4: Gucci

Parent Company: PPR
Brand Value: $8.2 billion
Brand Sales: $3.0 billion

With a new CEO at the helm last year, Gucci unveiled a brand strategy that included cutting production and multiple variations of the same style. It launched a new ad campaign promoting the brand’s heritage that featured Guccio Gucci describing his dream as an artist in Florence in 1921.

AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach

No. 3: Mercedes-Benz

Parent Company: Daimler AG
Brand Value: $18.8 billion
Brand Sales: $63.2 billion

While many automakers advertise price cuts, Mercedes emphasizes its company’s heritage: Its cars are the result of 100 years of German engineering. It is currently vying with BMW to be the biggest luxury auto brand in China and says it plans on outselling its German nemesis by 2011 with a number of cars designed exclusively for Chinese consumers.

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

No. 2: Louis Vuitton

Parent Company: LVMH
Brand Value: $19.0 billion
Brand Sales: $6.3 billion

In its 156 years, Louis Vuitton has held steadfast to a policy of zero discounting–a practice it says enriches the value of the brand. To remind its customers what they are paying for, the new brand campaign features artisans hand-finishing goods at a workshop table.

AP Photo/Grace Kassab

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No. 1: BMW

Parent Company: BMW
Brand Value: $19.9 billion
Brand Sales: $56.6 billion

BMW is gaining market share in China, the largest auto market in the world, by designing custom cars to meet the demands of Chinese consumers and tailoring its advertising to align with Chinese culture.

Few brands can sell luxury as a necessity and get away with it like Porsche. A recent ad for the new Porsche 911 reads: “…You strain to think of something else that has stayed this true to its ideals for 46 years. You come to the realization that, in the age of the superfluous and superficial, the unrooted and the unserious, the 911 is necessary. Very necessary. The Porsche 911. There is no substitute.”

Forbes’ Beyond the Balance Sheet department looks at the numbers behind the numbers–or ways of analyzing companies that are different from the usual metrics, such as book value and earnings. To identify the Platinum Brands among luxury goods, we looked at more than 30 leading brands in autos, retail, fashion and accessories to determine the world’s most valuable. We leaned on Jeffrey Parkhurst, managing director of business strategy at WPP ( WPPGY news people )-owned media agency Mindshare, to help value these brands.

The first step was to determine earnings before interest and taxes for each brand. Forbes averaged those earnings over the past three years and subtracted from earnings a charge of 8% of the brand’s capital employed, figuring a generic brand should be able to earn at least 8% on the capital employed.

Forbes applied the maximum corporate tax rate to that net earnings figure. Next, it allocated a percentage of those earnings to the brand based on the role that brands play in that industry. Brands are crucial when it comes to apparel and perfumes, but not so much, say, with airlines. Pricing and location are more important for them. To this net brand earning number, we applied the average price-to-earnings multiple over the past three years to arrive at the final brand value. For privately held outfits we applied an earnings multiple for a comparable company.

Beyond The Balance Sheet: Platinum Brands

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In Pictures
Featured

The companies that came out on top on our list of most valuable luxury brands fared reasonably well last year, one that was disastrous for many companies. Sales of Louis Vuitton, the marquee label of parent company LVMH, rose more than 10% in 2009 to $6.3 billion, despite the recession. Brand sales, which represent 75% of the fashion and leather goods segment of the company, had double-digit growth in the first quarter as well.

What helps set some of these brands apart? The makers of the world’s top luxury brands don’t apologize for the sky-high price tags attached to their products. LVMH’s Louis Vuitton, for one, has never discounted a single item, citing customer loyalty and product value as its reasons. That makes sense: Why would a customer pay full price for an item if they knew that in three months it might be had for 25% less?

Even when the top luxury companies introduce less expensive offerings, they often don’t advertise the price. When Mercedes-Benz introduced its C-Class, its most affordable sedan, it emphasized that it is a product of 100 years of German engineering, a key brand message. And most of the most valuable brands kept advertising during the recession: Louis Vuitton, for one, rolled out a celebrity-flecked campaign. In one print ad, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov stands on a platform barefoot while photographer Annie Leibovitz watches him from the floor.

The makers of the world’s most valuable luxury brands know that a good portion of their future sales will come from emerging markets, especially China, where sales in the luxury goods market expected to increase 15% there this year, says Bain.

“With Asia being the growth market for luxury players, brands will tailor their product offerings to meet the needs of more diverse customer segments,” says Claudia D’Arpizio, Milan-based partner at Bain.

Research by Ritika Sinha



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Woman in China Buys the Most Expensive Dog in The World

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Tibetan Mastiff becomes world’s priciest dog: Chinese woman pays $600,000

Mastiff

A woman from Northern China has just taken delivery of what has reportedly become the most expensive dog in the world for which she paid 4 million yuan, or about $600,000. …

The millionairess has reportedly been searching for the perfect dog for years. This dog, which she spotted in Yushu made the grade. “Gold has a price,” she said, “But this Tibetan mastiff doesn’t.”

Upon its arrival in Xi’an airport, the 18-month-old Tibetan mastiff,Yangtze River Number Two was greeted by dog lovers waving welcome banners. According to reports, the dog’s owner, identified only as Mrs. Wang, arranged for a motorcade of 30 black Mercedes-Benz cars led by two sports utility vehicles to transport the canine to its new home in style. The dog’s welcome crowd was so large and lavish, that passersby gathered round thinking a human celebrity was in their midst.

In China, this ancient breed goes by nicknames such as “Miraculous Beast”, “Number One Dog” and “Antique Dog.” Buddha and Genghis Khan kept them as companions. Marco Polo wrote of seeing them in the Orient. They are fabled to play a huge part in maintaining ecological balance (both spiritually and physically) in their native habitat, the Tibetan Plateau, where sadly, they are now quite rare. They are reputed to be one of the oldest breeds still in existence and archaeological evidence suggests they served as guard dogs in China as early as 1000 B.C..

With fewer than 160 pure bred descendants of the original Tibetan mastiffs currently in existence, these dogs are certainly rare. …

Chinese dog-watchers are certainly a new phenomenon in a land where keeping dogs as pets was banned under the reign of Mao Zedong who described dog owners as time-wasters. Large dogs are still outlawed in Beijing where it is illegal to register a dog larger than 35 cms (13 inches). Dog ownership in general is reserved for the wealthier population in cities like Beijing, where the annual license fee can run as high as 1,000 yuan or ($150) – an astronomical sum for the city’s blue collar workers (textile workers’ salaries averaged averaged less than 20,000 yuan or $5,689 in 2008).


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The List of the Top 10 Most Unusual Hotels Worldwide. via [Quality Junkyard]

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Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

1. Capsule Hotel, Netherlands: a hotel made out of a survival pod

Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

Your own survival pod! Escape pod hotel in a city centre dock location. Moored in The Hague, your room is a bright orange survival pod which once saw service on an oil rig platform. Originally built in 1972 they are 4.25 metres in diameter and unaltered apart from the addition of a lock on the outside and an ‘emergency’ chemical toilet inside. While not everyone’s luxury choice, each pod provides cosy protection from the elements for up to three occupants.

First created for accommodation as an art project in 2004, owner Denis Oudendijk has 8 different models ready for use and is currently working on additional locations in central Amsterdam and Nantes, France.

2. Everland, Paris: a hotel which parks in unusual places with amazing views

Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

Everland is a hotel with only one room including a bathroom, a king-size bed and a lounge. What makes it so different is that – because it is also an art installation – this hotel travels! The Everland has been ‘parked’ in the most unsual places, like the roof-deck of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Leipzig, Germany, or the roof of Palais de Tokyo (with a spectacular view on the Eiffel Tower) in Paris.

Considering how unique a night in this hotel is, the price is not so : you can get the only room and the unique view for 333 Euros during the week, 444 Euros during the weekends.

3. Hôtel de Glace, Canada – an ice hotel opened only during winter

Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

Made entirely of ice and snow, this unique one-story structure has been rebuilt each year since 2000. The 9th season of the Ice Hotel lasted from January 4th through March 29th 2009. The Ice Hotel has become an unparalleled and world-famous winter experience. It takes 5 weeks, 500 tons of ice, and 15,000 tons of snow to craft the Ice Hotel with its ceilings as high as 18 feet, walls covered with original artwork and furniture carved from ice blocks.

4. Waterworld Hotel, China – an amazing aquatic themed hotel

Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

Atkin’s Architecture Group won first prize for an international design competition with this stunning entry. Set in a spectacular water filled quarry in Songjiang, China, the 400 bed resort hotel is uniquely constructed within the natural elements of the quarry. Underwater public areas and guest rooms add to the uniqueness, but the resort also boasts cafes, restaurants and sporting facilities.

5. Sala Silvergruva, Sweden: a single room hotel inside a silver mine

Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

Picture this… A single suite, 155m underground in historic Sala Silvermine, one of the world’s best preserved mine settings. (During its heyday, production amounted to more than 3 tons of silver a year and a total of more than 400 tons of silver and about 40,000 tons of lead were extracted – completely by hand!) If you wake up in the middle of the night and have to use the bathroom, make sure you turn right or else you’ll end up exploring dark winding galleries, vast caverns and magic lakes.

6. Das Park Hotel, Austria: a hotel where rooms are made of concrete pipes

Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

A hotel with rooms made of giant concrete sewage pipes might sound a little odd, but this artistic creation can be recreated to provide cheap lodging anywhere. These 9,5 tonne concrete sections are a standard item in near all concrete factories and the oden floors, a really comfortable double bed, minibar and room service through to 1am. For night owls, the reception is open 24hrs. With the amazing view below there is little else needed, except if you’re staying in bed past 10am, when pajamas would be a wise thing to wear, as although you can look out – tourists can look in

7. The De Vrouwe van Stavoren Hotel, Netherlands: a hotel made from recycled wine barrels

Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

The De Vrouwe van Stavoren Hotel in the Netherlands salvaged four wine casks from Switzerland and converted them into rooms. Formerly filled with 14,500 liters of Beaujolais wine from the French chateau, each now holds a modest two-person room with standard amenities and even an attached bathroom and a sitting room.

The one thing that might bother you, if you’re not a wine enthusiast, is the smell of wine that the barrels still maintain. All in all the Barrel Hotel, in Stavoren, northern Netherlands, makes for a very pleasurable experience. General rates for a cask room are from 74-119 Euros a night with discounts of up to 75% off depending on season. If you go in the wintertime, a wine cask room can be as low as 18 Euros a night, cheaper than most hostels.

8. Giraffe Manor, Kenya: a hotel where you dine with a friendly giraffe

Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

This small and exclusive hotel — surrounded by 140 acres of indigenous forest just outside Nairobi — is famous for its resident herd of giraffe. It’s the only place in the world where you can enjoy the experience of feeding and photographing the giraffe over the breakfast table, at the front door or while you dine, and the giraffes poke their heads through the window.

As well as the giraffe, the property is also home to many species of birds, large families of warthogs and the elusive Bush Buck.

9. Hotel Im Wasserturm, Germany: a hotel inside a water tower

Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

Rising high above Cologne, this international luxury hotel was once the largest water tower in 19th century Europe. In 1990, French designer Andrée Putman transformed it into an elegant 78-room hotel.

Classified as a heritage site, the timeless modern design still manages to preserve the water-tower architecture and a sense of refuge and protection.

10. Jumbo Hostel (Stockholm): World’s First Aircraft Inn

Top 10 Craziest Hotels in the World

Stockholm is the house of this wacky hotel, the first aircraft inn. An abandoned Boeing 747 jumbo jet has been saved from being trashed metal to become a 25-room hotel sited in Stockholm-Arlanda airport. Each room is bare 65 square ft big and furnished with bunk beds, overhead luggage storage and flat-screen TVs. There is a reception area and a cafe with toilets and showers at the rear of the aircraft, which means that you will have to share! The upper deck is a conference room and the best of all, the cockpit, is where the wedding suite is housed. Not a very comfy hotel I would think, but staying there just to get a feel of it might be cool.

ART+COMMERCE= INTERNATIONAL CURRENCY ORGAMI

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DOLLAR BILL ORGAMI:

Most people just spend their money. Others turn it into
art…

Origami Dollar Bills

Origami Money Shirt With Tie

Dollar Bill Dresses by you.

Dollar Dude

abraham lincoln united states five dollar bill moneygami.jpg

Origami Rhino

Origami Rooster

Hang Glider

Creative Dollar Bill Origami 2

Creative Dollar Bill Origami 3

Creative Dollar Bill Origami 4

Creative Dollar Bill Origami 5

Creative Dollar Bill Origami 6

Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Relational Aesthetics

Rirkrit Tiravanija is a Buenos Aires-born Thai contemporary artist
known for exploring the social role of the artist using relational
aesthetics. He is most famous for installation art pieces where he
cookes meals for gallery-goers, reads to them, or plays music for them.
Rirkrit’s treatment of money, above, is a perfect example of this
examination of human beings in their social context rather than in a private space.

While the core concept is incredibly simple, the results are nothing
short of amazing. Each of the pieces is formed by folding currency
from a different country in such a way that the resulting miniature
emphases the face of the leader on the note. Not only that, but each of
the faces is given a unique hat or garb, representing the culture of the
currencies’ country of origin.

In a concept similar to the one shown above, this set incorporates
the cultural heritage of each country into the note buy cutting it out
in the shape of one of the countries’ popular skylines. Often with faces
projected onto the skylines, the final pieces are beautiful works of
art, immediately identifiable by the precise cutting of the skylines.

Money Sculptures by Justine Smith

Justine Smith’s work is noted for here exploration of our
relationships with, and responses to money, in political, moral, and
social settings. On the one hand we have guns and grenades, representing
the money used to fund wars and cause bloodshed around the
world, and on the other, are intricate and beautiful flowers
representing everything just and sacred.


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