1. The Principals’ Sound Journeys
Using field recordings documented by Chris Watson (the guy behind all of David Attenborough’s intoxicating wildlife documentaries), Brooklyn-based design studio The Principals recently created an interactive journey that guides visitors through the sounds of the natural world. Participants walk through three distinct aural zones—forest, canyon and sea—as sound elements like winds gusting across Norwegian islands or seals singing in Antarctica play with one’s sense of space. “Is the sea defined by its waves, or the sound they make as they crash into the shore?” they ask, in an effort to give deeper context to remote sounds in our climate-shifting world.
2. Long-Lost Leonardo da Vinci Sketch Discovered
Turning up at a Paris auction house, a small sketch (measuring seven by five inches) stood out to a curator, Thaddée Prate, who took a closer look. Indeed, the double-sided illustration proved to date back to 1482 and was the work of Leonardo da Vinci. While one side depicts Saint Sebastian, “the image is not a straightforward religious depiction: the martyr’s twisted pose and defined, tense muscles exemplify Leonardo’s skilled portrayal of and fascination with human anatomy; the figure even appears to have at least three legs—one of which seems to reveal a femur-like bone.” Valued at around $16 million, the illustration hasn’t been put up for sale just yet. Read more (and find out what’s on the other side of the sketch) at Hyperallergic.
3. Apple Music’s “808” Documentary
Available to watch now on Apple Music (or 16 December on iTunes), the “808” documentary—directed by Alex Noyer—is an ode to the Roland TR-808 drum machine. Featuring conversations with Rick Rubin, Arthur Baker, Pharrell Williams, Questlove, the Beastie Boys, Phil Collins and more, the film explores what made (and makes) the piece of equipment so significant. Not just a little musical gadget, the TR-808 was a revolution. See the trailer online now.
4. Fitness Centers and Coffee Shops on Airbus Planes
A new proposal from aircraft maker Airbus’ innovation arm, A3, envisions a modular interior system that would let airlines switch out what’s inside the plane for different types of flights. Known as Transpose, the concept would allow for sleeper beds to be swapped with everything from cafes to fitness centers, or standard seating, depending on the duration of flight. As airlines have been paring down offerings, in some cases to an extreme extent, it’s a refreshing and hopeful idea—though not entirely likely in the near future.
5. The Most Impressive Installations of 2016
Oftentimes art needs to be seen in person to have the desired gravitas, but even in pictures, these incredible installations are mind-blowing. From Yayoi Kusama covering Philip Johnson’s iconic glass house with red polka-dots, to pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi performing on a floating installation in the middle of the arctic ocean, and the gorgeous rainbow creation by Ugo Rondinone, these are sights to behold. See all of them at designboom.
6. Mozart Outsold Drake This Year
A casual 225 years after his death, Mozart is 2016’s top artist in CD sales—outselling favorites like Beyonce and Drake. This is all thanks to a box-set released in October which sold a whopping 1.25 million in just five weeks. But there’s a little catch: each set contains 200 discs, and Billboard counts the sale of every individual CD, so in reality it was around 6,000 people who made Mozart the best-seller. Read more on Quartz.
7. This Galaxy Puzzle is Infinite, Like the Universe
Thanks to some mathematical brains, this Infinite Galaxy Puzzle has no end. Or rather, it has endless possibilities and solutions since it can be assembled in any direction and in any shape—meaning it can be put together over and over again with all different outcomes. Based on the Klein Bottle, “an impossible 3D shape where the inside and outside are mathematically indistinguishable,” this 133-piece, laser-cut puzzle is one mind-bending game. Read more at n-e-r-v-o-u-s.
8. Watch Yule Log 2016
For the fourth year in a row, artist Daniel Savage has launched his Yule Log 2.0 website compete with 50 variations of the traditional Yule Log video. Ranging from sweet and cheery to entirely unexpected, the collection of miniature animated artworks once again offers a very modern destination for seasonal spirit. This year, Savage received over one thousand applications. Together with Michelle Higa Fox, Justin Cone, and Jorge R. Canedo as a jury, the crop was whittled down to 50. Once again, Wondersauce constructed the website. More than just a platform for the artwork, the site is also raising money for the Bronx’s Camp Interactive, where children can learn about coding.