Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Worker-owned restaurants, the first 3D-printed hotel, a zero-carbon DIY design movement and more

The First 3D-Printed Hotel in the US

On 62 acres in Marfa, Texas, design firm BIG, 3D-printing startup Icon and veteran hotelier Liz Lambert are building the first 3D-printed hotel in the US. Situated alongside Lambert’s “nomadic hotel” and campground (called El Cosmico), the new extension will further transform the site—an innovative desert oasis featuring a sprawling infinity pool, cabanas and mesmerizing views. To build the hotel, Icon will use their signature construction system: a Vulcan printer and LavaCrete, a proprietary concrete mixture that dries in 15 minutes. The method produces homes more efficiently and sustainably than traditional methods while allowing for better curvilinear designs. Learn more about the hotel which is slated for an opening later in 2023 at Interesting Engineering.

Image courtesy of El Cosmico

Scientists Manipulate Quantum Light

For the first time, scientists have manipulated quantum light by identifying and effecting single photons (aka light particles) in an experiment that draws from Albert Einstein’s 1916 theory of stimulated emission. The theory explains how photo emissions are triggered by excited electrons or molecules, creating an energy conversion process. The researchers, from the University of Sydney and the University of Basel, directed a single photon as well as a pair of bonded photons at a quantum dot (an artificially created atom) and measured the direct time delay between the two. “We observed that one photon was delayed by a longer time compared to two photons,” says University of Babel’s Natasha Tomm who helped lead the study. “With this really strong photon-photon interaction, the two photons become entangled in the form of what is called a two-photon bound state.” The breakthrough further informs how light interacts with matter, holding promise for future innovative technology, advancements in quantum computing and applications in medicine. Learn more at Popular Mechanics.

Image courtesy of Cran Cowan/Flickr

Yasmeen Lari’s Zero-Carbon, DIY Design Movement for Climate Refugees

Pakistan’s first woman architect, Yasmeen Lari may have begun her acclaimed career with grand and gilded modernist structures and brutalist homes, but it’s the pioneering architect’s work after her retirement in 2000 that sets her apart. Since 2005, after the fatal Kashmir earthquake hit Pakistan, Lari built what is now the world’s largest zero-carbon DIY design movement for climate refugees. Relying on local materials (like bamboo, clay and lime) and traditional techniques, Lari conceived a low-cost and sustainable way to build climate-resistant homes, community buildings and sanitary facilities for those impacted by climate injustice. “It’s about which method is the most cost-effective, safest, and most ecological, and then to implement it en masse,” says Lari who is currently being honored at her first monograph at Architekturzentrum Wien in Vienna, Austria. Learn more about her brilliant work and how it envisions a future of modern architecture at Metropolis.

Image courtesy of Archive Yasmeen Lari

A Picture of The Sun’s Atmosphere Born from a 90,000-Image Composite

“Fusion of Helios”—Andrew McCarthy and Jason Guenzel’s breathtaking composite of approximately 90,000 images—offers a rare glimpse at the sun’s outermost atmosphere, which is usually concealed by solar glare. To capture the corona, the astrophotographers tapped into NASA’s SOHO data to “geometrically transform Jason’s 2017 eclipse photo to match the features,” McCarthy says in a statement. “The result is a blend of science and art, and my favorite piece of work I’ve been a part of.” Read more (and see more fiery images, complete with wispy spicules) at Colossal.

Image © Andrew McCarthy and Jason Guenzel

Creating New Glass Shapes Using the Art of Origami

The ancient art of origami has influenced contemporary practices from design to engineering to science and space travel. The practice has always been limited to soft, foldable materials like paper or fabric, but Yang Xu (a graduate student who works at Xie’s lab at Zhejiang University) devised a way to apply this technique to glass and other rigid materials. Xu combined silica nanoparticles (an important component of glass) with a multi-substance liquid and cured it under ultraviolet radiation, creating a cross-linked polycaprolactone polymer that acts like paper. After folding and twisting and rounds of heating and cooling, the material holds it shape and cools to a transparent, complex structure. The technique—which can be used in conjunction with 3D printing—can be used to create new exciting designs and sculptures. Learn more at Interesting Engineering.

Image courtesy of Yang Xu

More Restaurants in NYC Are Becoming Worker-Owned

As the food service industry continues to grapple with the pandemic and its consequences, a handful of restaurants and bars in NYC have adopted new structures to make their businesses more equitable. The worker-owned model—in which employees hold stock in the company equally—isn’t a new idea, but more and more business in the city are adopting it, including Astor Wines & Spirits, Banter cafe, Donna, Brooklyn’s Prospect Butcher Co and the forthcoming Sea & Soil Coop. A 2018 Harvard Business Review study found that employee-owned companies were more resilient economically and can boost profits by 14% while creating fairer workplaces and labor conditions. This has been particularly evident for businesses like Astor Wines & Spirits whose manager likens the new model to a “superior form of 401(k).” Co-owners Andy and Rob Fisher say, “The best succession plan is to entrust Astor to the people who have been so instrumental in building our enterprise.” Learn more about the rise of this labor practice at Eater.

Image courtesy of Astor Wine & Spirits

Pongamia Trees Offer a Sustainable Alternative to Palm Oil

Palm oil and soy are two of the world’s largest drivers of deforestation, with the former destroying almost 25 million acres of forests in Indonesia and 47% of tree cover in Malaysia. A new method from agriculture company Terviva offers a climate-friendly alternative to both palm oil and soy by using the resilient pongamia trees. Capable of growing with minimal resources on degraded land, the trees have beans that are rich in oil (which is why India has used it for oil lamps and varnishes). Terviva discovered that when they process the bean and remove its bitterness it results in an oil (which they called Ponova) that’s rich in Omega-9 fatty acids. Ponova has already entered production and is used in a plant-based protein bar from food brand and B-corp, Aloha. Meanwhile, Terviva plans on partnering with farmers whose lands have been devastated by climate change or disease in order to grow pongamia trees, strengthen their land and futures. Learn more about the promising mission at Fast Company.

Image courtesy of Terviva

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning. Hero image courtesy of El Cosmico