1. Luxury Space Hotel “Aurora Station”
A new luxury hotel called Aurora Station is set to begin accommodating guests in 2022. The brainchild of start-up Orion Span, this is a hotel unlike any other—as it will be in space. Founder and CEO Frank Bunger says, it’s the “first-ever affordable luxury space hotel,” but the word “affordable is questionable since a 12-day stay is going to cost upward of $9 million. As for the luxury element, it seems that the key is size, as it will be roughly equivalent to a large private jet cabin. Read more at Space.
2. Moscow Home Designed by Zaha Hadid
Located just outside of Moscow, a retro-futuristic home built for Vladislav Doronin is the only private residence Zaha Hadid ever designed. With the brief being that Doronin wanted to “wake up in the morning and just see blue sky,” Hadid created a fascinating structure whose first floor merges with the forest and a 22-meter high tower rises above the trees. Inside there’s a pool, massage areas, sauna and even a hammam—all in Hadid’s striking style. See more at Designboom.
3. 60+ Years of Tom of Finland
For 60+ years, Tom of Finland (aka Touko Laaksonen) has inspired and empowered viewers, while pioneering expressions of gay desire through his art. While certainly erotic, much of his artwork wasn’t overtly sexual, rather playfully suggestive—making male-on-male lust somewhat everyday and casual (nothing if not brave in the ’50s, when he began showing his work). In a new show at Detroit’s MOCAD, “Tom House: The Work and Life of Tom of Finland,” Laaksonen’s art is explored alongside his private life. Displaying everything from childhood sketches to personal possessions, the show promises to be tremendously comprehensive, with the team at MOCAD and the Tom of Finland Foundation recreating “the interior of Laaksonen’s own Los Angeles perch.” See more at Artsy.
4. NPR Readers Select the 150 Best Albums by Women
A list that’s just as fun as it is purposeful: NPR readers have selected the 150 best albums made by women. Roughly 4,500 people participated and ultimately 8,000 received a vote. The poll was done as a counter to NPR’s self-assembled list, voted on by 50 NPR-affiliated women. Many of the top 10 don’t surprise: iconic works by Lauryn Hill, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and Beyoncé. Others just might, from Taylor Swift’s placement to which Fiona Apple album ranks highest, and where Madonna happens to crop up. Time certainly plays a role but check out the whole list at NPR to establish your own opinions.
5. Introducing LEGO-Compatible Furniture
Italian design studio NINE has produced a storage furniture series called Stüda that’s covered in studs compatible with LEGO bricks. Constructed from corian, the series features three different modular sizes and numerous colors. They’ll make their debut at Milan Design Week but the innumerable opportunities for customization will continue to manifest long after they’re available to consumers.
6. Farewell Studio Ghibli Co-Founder, Isao Takahata
Co-founder of the influential Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata has passed away at 82 years old. Takahata (who started the studio with Hayao Miyazaki) wrote and directed some of the most magical and poignant animated films of the past 50+ years—including the heart-wrenching “Grave of the Fireflies,” an anti-war film based on a short story by Akiyuki Nosaka. Heavily inspired by French literature and film, he was particularly moved by French poet Jacques Prévert’s work—especially animator Paul Grimault’s “Le Roi et l’Oiseau” for which Prévert wrote the screenplay. While Takahata didn’t “put pen to paper,” it was his beautifully imagined characters that made his work spellbinding and tender. Read more at the Guardian.
7. Supersonic Travel May Return by 2023
The last Concorde may have completed travel in 2003 but that doesn’t mean supersonic travel came to an end entirely. Three aviation start-ups are hoping to bring Mach speed back by 2023—and plan to tackle the faults of the previous airplane. First, not all companies are planning to reach Mach 2 (as the Concorde did) but max out at Mach 1.1 to 1.8. Further, they’ll be more fuel-efficient (with two engines as opposed to four) and with a thinner nose, they should be able to reduce sonic booms. Read more about all three—one of which is referred to as the “direct descendant of the Concorde”—at the Wall Street Journal.
8. 4,500 Dachshund-Related Items at New German Museum
In the German town of Passau, former florists Josef Küblbeck and Oliver Storz have opened a museum dedicated to the delightful daschund, aka the wiener dog or sausage dog. Known as Dackelmuseum, or Dachshund Museum, the destination features 4,500 sausage dog-related items. According to D. Caroline Coile’s assessment in “The Dachshund Handbook,” this particular breed originated in Germany to assist in badger hunts. They were bred to wriggle into holes in the soil. Now, they’re certainly an internet favorite and even have their own fiesta. Learn more about the museum at Smithsonian Magazine.