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Top 12 Stories of 2014 – Art & Design

12. Jordan Hangar Los Angeles Housed in a massive 80,000 square-foot plane hangar, the new Jordan Hangar basketball court in Los Angeles is as much an experience as it is a beautifully designed space. The state-of-the-art facility features a full regulation-sized basketball court with a Jordan fractal …
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Art & Design was a difficult category to narrow down for us because at Freshness, we believe everything is art in its own merit. Graffiti on the wall of a New York City sidewalk may be be as meaningful to someone as a 10-million dollar Monet. Heck, a pair of Jordans is a masterpiece to some (like us). Art is in the eye of the beholder so to wrap up the year in all that is beautiful, we brought together some of your favorites like the trending Giant Nike Inspired Sneaker Storage Box, stunning concepts from the architecture world and even a figurine. Take a look below to revisit some of the best design-forward things from 2014.

1. Apple Campus 2

Nicknamed “the Spaceship”, Apple’s new campus is a spectacle to behold. The concepts shown feature portions of Steve Jobs’ 2011 presentation to the Cupertino City Council and will be built on a 175-acre site that was once home to Hewlett-Packard. An arborist (that’s a real job, apparently) will repopulate the entire site with plants native to that region of California and the facility will house solar panels, natural ventilation, vast green space and will run on 100 percent renewable energy. The massive structure will cost around $5 billion with completion set for sometime next year.

2. SHUT $15,000 Gold-Plated Skateboard

This gaudy and amazing creation was originally thought to be an April Fool’s joke, and for good reason. If someone asked if you’d consider buying a $15,000 skateboard, you’d probably laugh in their face. But New York City-based skate shop SHUT pushed the limits of decadence in creating a stunning gold-plated board. It’s like any other one you’d see – 31.5-inches in length and 8-inches in width, but it weighs in at an impressive 9-pounds and features an assembled deck that went through an electroplating process in gold with 99.999 percent purity (in case you care). Though it “sold out”, serious buyers can contact the store directly for more information.

3. Qatar Airways First Class Suites on Airbus A380 Passenger Jet

If you really enjoy living in the lap of luxury, look no further. Earlier this year, Qatar Airways revealed their first class suites on the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner, featuring eight ultra-wide “seats” made with woven fabric, leather and engraved copper, high-definition video screens, a fold out dining table, “spa-like” bathrooms in the private cabin, and a chandelier-adorned Arabian-themed lounge that offers a “sanctuary in the sky”. For 5,000 euros, you, too can enjoy The Great Gatsby in the comfort and privacy of a premium leather reclining sky-bed.

4. Fresh Creative: Colossal Media

If you’re ever walking down a New York City sidewalk and happen to notice an incredible painted advertisement on the side of a building, chances are, it’s done by these guys. “Always Hand Paint” is the slogan for Colossal Media, the largest outdoor mural painting company in the world. In an era of all-digital everything, they stand out using a classic method from a simpler time that yields incredible results. They’ve worked with some huge companies like Nike, Disney, GM and Chevy, in addition to working on street-level satirical pieces that mock housing developers and hipsters (no offense, we love you guys). Their dedication to their craft easily places them on our list for 2014.

5. Ashigaru Samurai Stormtrooper Action Figure by Bandai

George Lucas himself has stated that he drew inspiration from Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, so it’s fitting that the iconic image of a Stormtrooper gets treated with a feudal Japanese makeover. Complete with a an old-school E11 blaster rifle and a katana, Bandai’s Ashigaru Stormtrooper (ashigaru were foot-soldiers employed by the samurai) is absolutely stunning with ivory armor and gold detailing. Our only hope is that they decide to roll out a few more so the Jedi-Samurai and Sith-Ninjas can duke it out with their katana-lightsabers.

6. Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division Headquarters

Professional rally driver Ken Block opened the global headquarters for Hoonigan Racing Division last January and furnished it with re-purposed shipping containers (those giant backs-of-truck looking things that they carry on ships, in case you were curious). Block specifically asked for a modular space design and included plenty of unique eco-friendly designs such as the kitchen countertop made of recycled skate decks. In addition to housing Hoonigan Racing Division’s employees, the space also has a vehicle service area where Block and his team assemble a number of different cars. The colorful and environment-friendly “office” is one of our favorites of the year.

7. “Fat and Famous” Illustration Series by Alex Solis

This one was one of our favorites in any category from 2014 so we were more than happy to fit it into our Art & Design list. Graphic designer and illustrator Alex Solis decided to take it upon himself to create some lovably plump recreations of some of our favorite cartoon characters. Pikachu struggles to get into his Poké Ball (not that he’d ever go in anyway), Batman keeps some french fries in his utility belt and Frozen‘s Elsa has a penchant for triple servings of ice cream in these colorful and imaginative illustrations. We look forward to more of Alex’s work in the new year!

8. Do-It-Yourself Giant Nike Shoebox-Inspired Storage Trunk by Albert Hei

In what might be one of the most epic sneakerhead creations of the year, the Giant Nike Inspired Sneaker Storage Box was one of your favorites of 2014. Created by Albert Hei (aka “The Professor”), it’s modeled after the very familiar orange Nike box and is made using sanded plywood, a piano hinge and ball-bearing drawer slides. With just $90 and four days work, this awesome do-it-yourself project quickly made its rounds with sneaker lovers everywhere. It houses 18 pairs of your favorite kicks and even includes a custom made label that reads “Air Albert”. Very cool.

9. “Batman Versus Darth Vader” by Machinima

This one could have easily fit into our Entertainment category but considering the amount of work that clearly went into character, costume and set designs, this fan’s dream come true is most definitely a work of art. Made by YouTube gaming channel Machinima, the video features a lightsaber-wielding Batman facing off against Darth Vader in a fight to the death. The Dark Knight uses his bat-gadgets and the Sith Lord uses the Force in an epic battle between two of the greatest characters ever made. Re-live the moment again and look forward to more fantasy match-ups from Machinima.

10. Cardboard Stormtrooper Helmet for Halloween by Steve Wintercroft

The cardboard Star Wars Stormtrooper Helmet created by UK-based paper craft and mask designer Steve Wintercroft proves that art doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. All you have to do is purchase the (affordable) template and instructions then print, cut and tape (or glue) and you’re ready to go. Wintercroft’s design makes do-it-yourself projects fun and best of all, accessible. It was released around Halloween so hopefully some of you were able to make good use of it. It also makes for a great decoration for your house (or even a tree topper!). Check out more Wintercroft masks to unleash your creative side in the new year.

11. “Easy Too” Air Yeezy-Inspired Armchairs by John Nouanesing

Creativity and an intense love for sneakers come together for a series of armchairs inspired by Kanye West’s famed Nike Air Yeezy II silhouette. Designed by French product designer John Nouanesing, the “Easy Too” chairs come in the three well-known colorways of the legendary shoe – “Solar Red”, “Wolf Grey” and “Red October”. Nouanesing’s creations feature a side and back that mimic the textured heel and side panels on the original sneaker and are even made complete with the glow in the dark soles (no word on if it actually glows or not).

12. Jordan Hangar Los Angeles

Housed in a massive 80,000 square-foot plane hangar, the new Jordan Hangar basketball court in Los Angeles is as much an experience as it is a beautifully designed space. The state-of-the-art facility features a full regulation-sized basketball court with a Jordan fractal pattern printed across the hardwood. Also included is the Cube, a 10-foot tall contraption with video screens on each side that plays drills athletes can mimic. There’s also a runway, launchpad and landing pad that measures hangtime and generated force during liftoff. There’s also a display of all the Air Jordans you know and love, making the Jordan Hangar a sneaker and basketball fan’s dream come true.