10 Surprisingly Beautiful Designs Made Out of Trash

Pauline Kael, the witty, highly opinionated New Yorker film critic who A.O. Scott, Roger Ebert, and Elvis Mitchell all cite as an influence once said that “trash has given us an appetite for art.” Ironically, trash has also given us some incredibly interesting, beautiful furniture. From London lighting designer Stuart Haygarth’s incredible lamps made out of discarded ceramic cat figurines and chandeliers made from plastic odds and ends found washed up on the beach to up-cycled chairs upholstered with crewel art rescued from a dumpster, click through to check out some of the most inventive designs made out trash. … Read More

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The Most Beautiful Wellness Retreats in the World

A New Year is upon us and now that the holidays are over, it’s back to business as usual (supposedly) all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Recovering from combative cousins, tedious travel, and the countless cocktails that got you through it all is admittedly hard when you’re readjusting to the daily grind. Enter the wellness retreat. If you feel like you’re needing a vacation from your vacation, then set some time aside to join us in one of our favorite virtual pleasures: restorative research in the form of globe-trotting to rejuvenating retreats. From the world’s largest natural mineral spa in Turkey to Pritzker Prize laureate Norman Foster’s luxe and lavish spa in Switzerland, click through to check out the most beautiful healthy havens in the world. … Read More

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Endangered Buildings We Hope Make It Through 2013

What’s better than eerie-but-beautiful photographs of decaying buildings? Saving said glorious works from destruction. A few months ago, we spotted a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece (built for Wright’s son) fighting for its life just outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Then, about a week ago, CNN reported that an anonymous buyer had saved the spectacular spiral home. We couldn’t help but wonder, what other endangered buildings are out there in need of a savior? From Richard Neutra’s Gettysburg Cyclorama to Burkina Faso’s stunning (but, sadly) eroding earth architecture, click through to check out some of the most spectacular endangered buildings around the world. If you feel as inspired to take action as we did, join the World Monuments Fund online community to track the progress of restoration efforts and contribute to your favorites. … Read More

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The 20 Most Extraordinary Hotel Rooms in the World

[Editor's note: In celebration of the holidays, we're counting down the top 12 Flavorwire features of 2012. This post, at #5, was originally published February 29.] As much as we love virtual globetrotting, we live for real world travel adventures. If you’re like us and spend weeks obsessively planning every last detail of your trip to ensure that your not-often-enough vacation is maximized to the hilt, consider this our gift to you. We’ve scoured every inch of the great world wide web to create a guide to designed sleeping experiences that are anything but ordinary.

The English writer G.K. Chesterton, notably George Bernard Shaw’s frenemy, said “there are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.” From the surrealist creation of our favorite discreet Belgian fashion designer to pillows made of chocolate and ice to a toon shaded room by a German comic book artist that will make you feel like you stepped into the world of Jessica Rabbit, click through to see what strange and wonderful places await the next time you’re trying to maximize your unconscious dreamstate. We want to try them all, but let us know in the comments which one you’re dying to stay in! … Read More

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The Most Imaginative Design of 2012

With the New Year almost upon us, we thought we’d take the time to fit in one last curated look in the rear view mirror. As legendary renaissance man and International Best Dressed Hall of Famer Cecil Beaton once said, “be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” We’ve taken a look at some of the best designs from the past year that do anything but play it safe. From clothing to dress up outdated chairs, a couch you can draw on to a wearable pillow that lets you nap anywhere, including imaginative architecture and fashion, click through to check out our favorite inspiring, avant-garde design from 2012. … Read More

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An Exclusive Interview With DIY Space Travel Doc Producer Xavier Aaronson

DIY space travel might seem an unbelievably far cry from the rubber-stamped holiday cards, quickie door swags, and twig push-pins you finally tackled, but as a fascinating new documentary explains, it’s not (really). Art writer, producer and museum babe watcher extraordinaire, Xavier Aaronson, hopped across the pond to spend time with the founders of Copenhagen Suborbitals, a semi-new, but surprisingly unknown open source, non-profit organization that is changing the intergalactic game as we know it.

We sat down with Xavier to talk about his time in the chilly Danish capital and to hear firsthand why homemade space travel isn’t actually that daunting. Click through to learn about the fascinating future of this inspiring approach to micro space crafts, along with Aaronson’s space travel essentials and hot tips for where to eat, party, and play in Copenhagen. … Read More

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The Most Beautiful Buildings in New York That No Longer Exist

In one of the most “meta” film openings to ever grace the silver screen — written and directed as only New York City’s greatest auteur, Woody Allen, could — Isaac, a comedy writer (played by Allen) struggles to pen the first few lines of his next masterpiece. Set to the nostalgic swells of “Rhapsody in Blue,” we hear his musings over a stunning black-and-white montage of 1970s New York. The writer written by a writer and played by a writer ponders the perfect introduction: “To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.” The Jazz Age is, of course, long gone, as is Allen’s Manhattan, but their spirit lives on in the tangled, complex web that is the electric essence of the greatest city on Earth.

Join us as we take a trip down memory lane to recall what those earlier (better?) days looked like. From a building symbolically battling for greatness on Newspaper Row to the first (and second) incarnation of Madison Square Garden, click through to check out The Big Apple’s beautiful, lost buildings. Dear readers, what do you think? Should we have preserved these beauties, or is progress inevitable? Is the city today the most magnificent it’s ever been? … Read More

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Stunning Photographs of Vintage Parisian Architecture

The big-screen adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables opens in theaters tomorrow, and we couldn’t be more excited. Considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, the five-volume, 365-chapter tale is as much a meditation on the complex moral and social struggles of humanity as it is a historical study of France and the architecture and urban design of Paris. The tome was first published in 1862, just before the beginning of the beguiling Belle Époque, or beautiful era, France’s golden age of affluence and artistic creativity that occurred before the turmoil of the First World War. From the architectural wonders built for the same World’s Fair that gave us the Eiffel Tower to the most famous, elaborate Art Nouveau restaurant, click through to be reminded of the design epoch that gave us one of the world’s most whimsical and romantic cities. … Read More

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The Most Spectacular Buildings That Were Never Built

From Frank Lloyd Wright’s daring design for a resort high atop the Hollywood Hills to Antonio Gaudi’s grand, unrealized hotel in Manhattan, click through to check out some of the world’s most spectacular buildings that never made it off the drawing board.… Read More

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The Top 10 Design Books of 2012

What do we love more than lists here at Flavorwire? Lists about books, that’s what. In keeping with one of our favorite time honored traditions — the end-of-year requisite roundups — we thought we’d take a look at some of the most noteworthy design books released in the past twelve months. Often relegated to the coffee table category, the design tome is a hallowed genre that’s more pictures than prose, but affords what we think is still the best form of inspiration in the world: the impeccably printed page.

From Phaidon’s comprehensive book-in-a-box featuring 500 plus graphic designs to Taschen’s enchanting retrospective of fairy tale tree houses for grownups, click through to check out our favorite design titles of 2012. … Read More

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