World’s Tallest Timber Tower Proposed for Tokyo

Known as “plyscrapers,” several towers of wood are planned for development around the world. None impresses quite as much as Sumitomo Forestry’s 1,148-foot-tall and $5.6 billion project: the W350 tower. It’s slated to be the tallest wooden building in the world, and its construction will honor the company’s 350-year anniversary. Completion of the 70-story tower is expected in 2041. Green balconies will define the exterior, …

Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Inventing transparent wood, saving a language, how emoji is changing the way we communicate and more in this week's look at the web

1. How Empowerment Became a Purchasable Product Originally used by social workers to encourage marginalized communities to rise up from poverty and oppression, the term “empowerment” has taken on completely different definitions in recent years. It’s been transformed into a mass-marketing tactic—especially when pertaining to women—flaunted by corporations (like the #StrengthHasNoGender campaign from Brawny paper towels, a company owned by Koch Brothers who have spent …

Researchers Find a Way to Make Wood Translucent

Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have developed a translucent wood paneling called Optically Transparent Wood (TW) that could transform the way we incorporate sunlight into architecture. It’s created by removing the chemical lignin from the wood veneer and then impregnating it with a transparent polymer. Lars Berglund, a professor at KTH, believes the new material could be used in anything from …

Toyota’s Setsuna Concept Car is a Drivable Heirloom

Ahead of Milan Design Week, Toyota has built a stunning open-top, two-seater car from wood, rebuking the notion that innovative design must come from the latest technology. Called the Setsuna Concept, the drivable wooden vehicle highlights the heirloom qualities of natural materials and how products can be designed to age with grace rather than becoming obsolete. “Wood changes in color and feel in direct response …