Chinese architecture and design collective Penda reckons bamboo should be a more widespread construction material than it currently is. To promote this view, the firm produced a pavilion, dubbed Rising Canes, for this year's Beijing Design Week. The installation comprises a prototype bamboo framework that Penda envisions as a basis for a modular housing system in the future.
If you've ever fancied making your own furniture, now's your chance. PlayWood allows users to design and build pieces of furniture using special connectors and other materials of their choice. It's possible to make everything from chairs to tables to storage solutions.
Minecraft has partly replaced Lego bricks as a creative platform for young tinkerers, but while it is a fantastic avenue for training computer and block-building skills, Mojang's hit videogame also does little to improve handcrafting. Robo Wunderkind, from the German "wonder child," is a modular toy that promises to marry the old with the new by letting even the youngest hands and minds (aged five and up) build and program their own robot creations.
Today's proliferation of niche housing types includes dwellings that are tiny, modular, prefabricated and inexpensive. Belgian firm Skilpod is producing homes that are all of these things. With the right equipment, they can even be zero energy or energy positive.
The Swiss-designed Boner Kayak's name doesn't translate over so well to English, but that's okay because slick design is a universal language. The kayak breaks down into three pieces that nest together and fit easily into the trunk – or even backseat – of a car. It's not the first kayak we've seen with such a modular design, but its birchwood-and-fiberglass construction makes it the most appealing.
According to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE), there were 607 families in emergency accommodation in Dublin during August this year. One means of reducing this, it says, could be the use of modular housing. It can be built quickly and inexpensively to house homeless families temporarily.
A prefabricated modular block of apartments has been opened in London,
to provide accommodation for the homeless. The Y:Cube concept was announced earlier this year and its method of construction means that rent can be kept low. Residents will pay just 65 percent of the local market rate.
New York City-based entrepreneur, investor, and perennial tinkerer Arnon Rosan drew inspiration from everyone's favorite construction toy to create a modular building system. Functioning very much like supersized Lego, EverBlock is promoted as suitable for building modular furniture, dividing walls, and even a habitable shelter – no glue, or specialist tools required.
Google's Project Ara has shown us how a modular component approach can work with a smartphone, and now Acer is trying the same strategy with the compact PC. Its latest Revo Build machine can be customized and slotted together like a tower made of blocks, with each piece adding extra functionality or capacity.
For generations, mountain bikers have had to make the sometimes difficult choice between affordable, nimble-climbing hardtails and fast, cushy full-suspension bikes. German company Altinsoy Manufaktur has a different idea. Its Bees Bike has a completely modular design that lets you quickly change over from hardtail to full suspension. You can also adjust sizing and positioning with ease.