The Art of Speed: Julie Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car

Julie Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car

In the heart of Paris, at the iconic Centre Pompidou, the air buzzed with anticipation. Art lovers, racing enthusiasts, and curious onlookers gathered, all drawn by the promise of a unique revelation. This was no ordinary exhibit; it was the world premiere of Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car, the 20th in a storied lineage that melds the worlds of high art and high performance.

Designer: BMW + Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car Art Car

Julie Mehretu, renowned for her expansive, intricate canvases, stood before the crowd, her excitement palpable. She had transformed the BMW M Hybrid V8, a machine of sheer power and precision, into a dynamic piece of art. This wasn’t just a car but a performative painting set to race in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.

As the cover was pulled off the car, I can only imagine the gasps rippling through the audience. The vehicle’s surface was a riot of colors and forms, inspired by Mehretu’s monumental painting “Everywhen.” She had digitally altered photographs, layering dot grids, neon veils, and her signature black markings to create a three-dimensional masterpiece. This artwork was not confined to a gallery but was destined for the grueling, high-speed arena of Le Mans.

Mehretu’s painting “Everywhen”

In her studio, surrounded by sketches and digital models, Mehretu had envisioned the car as it would appear at breakneck speeds, the colors and shapes blurring into an exhilarating visual experience. “I imagined the car as if it had raced through my painting,” she explained. “I wanted it to seem like the car had absorbed the painting, transforming into something new and dynamic.”

This vision of speed and art was more than a personal achievement; it was a continuation of a legacy. The BMW Art Car series began in 1975 when French racing driver Hervé Poulain commissioned artist Alexander Calder to paint his car. Over the years, this intersection of art and motorsport has attracted legends like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jeff Koons, each artist bringing their unique perspective to BMW’s high-performance vehicles.

Julie Mehretu’s BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car Art Car

Mehretu’s creation stood proudly among these iconic predecessors. Her Art Car showcased her artistic ingenuity and the technical brilliance of the BMW M Hybrid V8. Underneath the vibrant exterior lay a hybrid electric drivetrain capable of producing 640 horsepower and reaching speeds of 345 km/h. This blend of art and engineering made the BMW Art Car series so compelling.

In the weeks leading up to Le Mans, the car stopped at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este, where it was displayed alongside other historic BMW Art Cars. As Mehretu presented her creation, she spoke of the collaboration between artist and engineer, of turning a race car into a canvas that captured the essence of movement and energy.

Mehretu’s process of envisioning the Art Car involved imagining the physical and emotional experience of racing at high speeds. In her studio, she surrounded herself with sketches and digital models, immersing herself in motorsport and engineering. Her goal was to create a car that would not only perform on the track but also convey a sense of kinetic energy and fluidity through its design.

“I wanted the car to feel as if it had raced through my painting,” she said, highlighting her desire to merge art and performance. Mehretu’s artistic vision was to make the car appear as though it had absorbed the painting, transforming it into something new and dynamic. This transformation was visual and conceptual, as the car embodied the fusion of speed, art, and technology.

The car’s design elements—digitally altered photographs, layered dot grids, neon veils, and black markings—were meticulously chosen to create a sense of movement and energy. These elements, characteristic of Mehretu’s work, were applied to the three-dimensional surface of the car using 3D mapping technology. The result was a vehicle that seemed in perpetual motion, even stationary.

But the story didn’t end there. Mehretu’s involvement with BMW extended beyond the racetrack. She and the automaker had launched the PanAfrican Translocal Media Workshops, a series of events to nurture young artists across Africa. These workshops, set to tour cities like Dakar, Marrakech, and Cape Town, would culminate in a grand exhibition at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. The fusion of art, technology, and social responsibility would inspire a new generation of creators.

Leading up to Le Mans, Mehretu’s BMW Art Car made an appearance at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este. This prestigious event, held on the picturesque shores of Lake Como, brought together a collection of historic and contemporary BMW Art Cars. Here, the 20th Art Car stood alongside works by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer, and Jeff Koons. Each of these artists had left their mark on BMW’s vehicles, creating a lineage of art that celebrated innovation and creativity.

In a special presentation, Julie Mehretu discussed her creation with Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design. Their conversation delved into the process of transforming a race car into a performative piece of art, highlighting the collaborative effort between artist and engineer. Mehretu reflected on her experience at Daytona, where she witnessed the BMW M Hybrid V8 in action, feeling the power and precision that would soon bring her art to life on the racetrack.

Julie Mehretu’s BMW Art Car symbolizes artistic and technological synergy. As it sped down the track at Le Mans, the vibrant colors and dynamic forms would blur into a visual spectacle, capturing the essence of art and speed. This Art Car exemplified the power of creative collaboration and the enduring legacy of the BMW Art Car series, a tradition that continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the worlds of art and motorsport.

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8 Fascinating LEGO Builds Based On Iconic Paintings That Art Aficionados Cannot Miss

It’s really quite extraordinary how there is a wonderful LEGO build for almost everything out there. Whether it’s a bowl of ramen, a scene from the show Friends, or even the Batmobile – honestly you can find LEGO’s adorable tendrils creeping almost everywhere, and we absolutely love it! So, it is a given that LEGO will eventually find itself in the prestigious and beautiful world of art. In this collection of LEGO builds, we’ve curated LEGO creations based on iconic paintings! From da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to the iconic Greate Wave of Kanagawa – we’ve curated a collection of beautiful LEGO builds inspired by tremendous works of art.

1. The Great Wave Of Kanagawa

One of the most iconic and beloved paintings in the art world is The Great Wave of Kanagawa. It is a significant and precious hallmark of Japan’s Ukioy-e art movement, and LEGO Art has recreated a LEGO version utilizing plastic blocks and a brick count of 1810 pieces. The piece includes a special brick with the artist Hokusai’s signature. The build includes multiple dot-shaped bricks which impart the painting with a pointillism effect.

2. Girl With A Pearl Earring

Made from 1619 LEGO bricks, the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ LEGO build perfectly replicates the painting, and has some actual depth to it. Since LEGO bricks were used to build the piece, it does lack some of the finer details, but this is what makes it even more charming and unique. The girl in the build has the same blue and yellow headscarf, and a contemplative expression paired up with the pretty pearl earring which is the star feature of the painting.

3. The Scream

Edvard Munch’s The Scream painting was converted into an intriguing LEGO build! It perfectly captures the anxiety and fear Munch wanted to create in his painting, around 130 years ago. Created by LEGO builder Spacemanship, the build is made using 2999 pieces. He wanted to give people suffering from anxiety an outlet or channel for their emotions, and he really did a great job with this LEGO kit. The LEGO Ideas submission garnered a 10,000 votes milestone, and will soon be converted into a buyable LEGO kit.

4. The Portrait of a Woman in a Hat

Made by LEGO user Mecesoo, this intriguing brick-based portrait captures and recreates the essence of Picasso’s stroke by using colorful plastic bricks instead. The portrait is built using 1070 bricks without any loose bricks or collisions. The build is almost true in size to the original, hence serving as a brilliant replica. The painting is teamed up with a Minifigure of Picasso, an easel with his canvas on it, as well as two Picasso quotes with the artist’s signature.

5. LEGO Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Van Gogh’s sunflowers become quite popular on Instagram, garnering a whole lot of attention. And LEGO master builder Chi Hsin Wei converted it into a stunning LEGO rendition. The pretty MOC includes a frame, and a fantastic three-dimensional rendition of the painting, with the flowers popping out of the canvas, and welcoming you with their simple beauty and charm.

6. The Starry Night

Vincent van Gogh The Starry Night LEGO Set

Vincent van Gogh The Starry Night LEGO Set

The Starry Night LEGO Set is based on Vincent van Gogh’s namesake painting. It is a 3D representation of the iconic oil-on-canvas painting by the Dutch Post-Impressionist painter. The build is another product of a LEGO designer’s imagination being put into production, and being converted to reality from an idea. This final production set is up for purchase, and LEGO lovers can create their own Starry Night recreation.

7. Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is brought to LEGO life with the LEGO® Art Mona Lisa (31213) painting building kit. You can recreate your own interpretation of da Vinci’s iconic painting. It features a bluer hue to reflect the colors that were used by da Vinci around 500 years ago, before paint evolved and changed with time. It serves as a beautiful wall art, or even as a lovely home decor gift for art lovers.

8. Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe Portrait

The LEGO Art 31197 Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe is for all the Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe fans out there! This fascinating set lets you recreate Andy Warhol’s famous pop art portrait of Marilyn Monroe. Once completed, the build features an exclusive signature tile and can be displayed as art on a wall or shelf. You are able to reproduce and recreate the iconic, mass-reproduced piece of pop art from the 1960s.

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AI artist will “train” robot dogs to do a live painting session

Spot has been a pretty busy dog, previously appearing with super group BTS a few years and just last week, getting its own costume and dancing its heart out to celebrate International Dance Day. Lest you think that it’s an actual dog though, it’s actually a robotic dog that can do more than just jump and roll over. Now it’s branching out to the art world with a new exhibit featuring the power of AI.

Designer: Agnieszka Pilat

There has been a lot of heated discussions about AI and art but not all of them are always negative. While a lot have been critical, there are those that want to explore how autonomous technology and AI-generated art can aid in the democratization of art. One of those people is Polish artist Agnieszka Pilat. She has partnered with Boston Dynamics, or rather, Spot the robot dogs, for the Heterobota exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Two of the robot dogs, nicknamed Basia and Omuzana, will do a live painting demonstration in the museum on a 156 x 160 inch canvas on May 10. Pilat will be “training” the dogs to doodle and paint from 8PM to 12AM, with a little resting in between just like an actual artist would. Visitors in the museum can actually watch them live and the final work will not be displayed afterwards so your only chance to see the robot dogs in action would be during the live painting session.

Pilat says that the expected outcome is more like that of a “little kids finger-painting” since the technology is young and new, even though she has collaborated with Spot before. But it’s an interesting experiment in how humans can use AI and robots to generate art. Of course, there’s still a lot of discussion that rightly needs to be had but things like this can open up various viewpoints and opinions that can hopefully enhance the conversation.

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ALTO’s ART 01 is a Gallery of Time on Your Wrist Where Art Meets Precision

In the ticking heart of the watchmaking universe, a bold new contender named ALTO—short for ‘Art and Limited Time Objects’—strides forward, intent on redefining the very essence of timekeeping. Thibaud Guittard, the visionary behind this audacious enterprise, brings a resume that reads like a passionate love letter to horology. His creation, the ART 01, is beautiful timepiece that’s a defiant manifesto of artistic and mechanical rebellion. With this spectacular debut, Guittard is doing more than just dipping his toes into the waters of watch design. Consider him diving in headfirst, ready to disrupt the calm surface with waves of beauty and unprecedented style, where we’ve seen others play it safe. This launch marks ALTO’s commitment to blending of art with the precision of timekeeping in ways previously unimagined.

Designer: ALTO + Thibaud Guittard

Picture this: The ART 01 is a watch that tells a story, one of art, ambition, and audacity. With its angular, octagonal embrace, it whispers tales of Greek temples and brutalist skyscrapers, daring its wearer to dream differently about the seconds slipping by. In my eyes, art meeting precision on the wrist is a visual feast for the heart and soul with every glance. It’s an invitation to explore a masterpiece of movement and a revolution in the reading of time.

Speaking of movement, the ART 01 features a mechanical marvel, expertly crafted by Nussbaumer and the esteemed Cercle des Horlogers in La Chaux-de-Fonds. This innovative movement redefines tradition with its automatic micro-rotor caliber, which powers the watch through a counterclockwise motion—an audacious deviation from the usual clockwise routine. This unique twist isn’t just a display of exceptional craftsmanship but also a bold break from the conventional, inviting admiration through the watch’s transparent sapphire back. Here, the unique and elegant architecture of the A01 movement is fully visible, turning the act of checking the time into an experience of aesthetic appreciation.

ALTO ART 01: Movement

The ART 01’s titanium case blends durability with elegance. It feels as if ancient sculptors and modern architects collaborated to mold its shape. Inside, the unconventional A01 movement features a micro-rotor that uniquely spins against the norm. Observing its secondhand moving counter to the usual tick-tock is like listening to a punk rock anthem amid classical music—it turns every tick into a statement of artistry.

Drawing inspiration from Greek sculptures and architecture, the dial is an art piece set against a matte black lacquered brass backdrop. The slatted openings allow for a captivating interplay between light and shadow, paying homage to light, a key artistic inspiration for the timepiece. Each glance at the wrist becomes a personal ticket to an ever-present performance where time, the star, plays its role with both elegance and edge.

The ART 01 timepiece will be produced as a limited edition, with only 25 numbered examples available. Each watch is priced at 18,450 CHF (approximately $20,286 USD).

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Palais de Tokyo artisanal objects are open-ended art and functional pieces

When it comes to furniture and accessories, most people probably look for things that are functional rather than just decorative. Of course it would be nice if it can be both but for those that are more concerned about budget and usage, then the former is more important. But there are also products that serve more as decoration or art pieces that also has a secondary function as an actual piece of furniture or accessory that you can use.

Designer: Aequo Design

The OBJ Collection from the Palais de Tokyo is one of those that are derivative products that look more like art pieces that belong in an actual museum. They were commissioned to present the essence of the modern and contemporary art museum into miniature artwork that can still serve some function if the user so wishes to use them. But their purpose or function are actually “open-ended” so it’s up to the user to use them whichever way they want, therefore making them part of the creative process.

For example, the travertine stairs sees several blocks put together as “stairs” so you can use them as a candle holder, bookends, or whatever else you can use it for. The Zinc container, which is made from actual zinc pipes, can serve as a flower vase, pen holder, or even just as a design for your desk if you’re into the aluminum aesthetic. There are other things in the collection like concrete columns, powder coated rod, and a stainless steel pin, which you can use whichever way you want.

The design company says that there are two levels of reading the objects in the OBJ Collection. The first is to your “memory of the place”, which probably means how you interacted with the artwork in the Palais de Tokyo. The second level is where the function of the object comes in. It would be interesting how they will actually be used by people who buy these artisanal pieces.

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D-LINK AQUILA PRO AI is a beautiful Wi-Fi 6 router that looks like an art object

Our Internet needs are becoming more complicated even at home. Multiple devices ranging from smartphones to smart appliances compete for bandwidth, while different services like gaming and streaming demand more data than, say, a smart thermostat. The simplistic routers of yesteryears are no longer sufficient to face the challenges of modern lifestyles, but as these boxes become more sophisticated, their presence also becomes more obnoxious as well. The latest and greatest routers seem to want to be seen as powerful monstrosities rather than helpful tools that make our lives easier. Completely bucking the trend, D-LINK launched its AQUILA PRO AI smart mesh routers that finally look more at home in your home, masquerading as a piece of sculptural art that hides the powerful technology inside its graceful curves.

Designer: D-LINK

Granted, those antennas on your router aren’t just for show, but that doesn’t always mean they need to be visible, especially with today’s technologies. It might simply be a matter of pride that some of these literally black boxes show off the number of spikes they have as if those indicate how much power they actually possess. The result is a design that isn’t just space-inefficient but also unaesthetic to most people.

In contrast, you won’t find sharp points or even sharp edges on the D-LINK AQUILA PRO AI (models M30 and M60). What you will find instead is an elegant object that belies its superior technology, looking more like a piece of decoration rather than a router. Its name and unique shape, whose ends curl up and inward, are inspired by the Aquila constellation and the eagle, a majestic bird that exudes both power and grace. That association goes even beyond the general shape of the device, with feather-like patterns on the router’s ventilation.

The D-LINK AQUILA PRO AI isn’t just all looks, of course, as it also boasts the latest connectivity technologies, especially Wi-Fi 6. And since it’s a mesh router, you can combine multiple units and spread them around your house to get rid of dead zones and ensure fast, stable, and uninterrupted connections. It also comes with the latest privacy and security protections, plus conveniences offered by smart home platforms and mobile app control.

The D-LINK AQUILA PRO AI’s ground-breaking design doesn’t stop there either. It also tries to give back to the planet we live in by making use of PCRs or Post-Consumer Recycled materials for its housing, reducing its negative impact on the environment. This smart mesh router is stunning and beautiful proof that power doesn’t have to look harsh and cold. After all, there is both power and elegance in the form of an eagle taking flight.

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The ‘Gentle Geometry’ Of Wood Reflecting Cultures Through Sculptures By Aleph Geddis

If you are inclined to woodworking, sculpture, or an appreciation for abstract geometric forms, the creations of sculptor Aleph Geddis are sure to captivate your imagination. Geddis’ work is a harmonious blend of traditional craftsmanship, modernist aesthetics, and a deep-rooted fascination with the fundamental structures of our world.

Designer: Aleph Geddis

Aleph Geddis’ artistic roots can be traced back to his upbringing on Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest. Immersed in a creative environment shaped by his stepfather’s expertise in sculpture, carving, and boat building, Geddis found inspiration in the stylized naturalism of Northwest Coast Native carvings. His early works reflected this influence, evolving over time to incorporate diverse cultural experiences, such as a transformative family trip to Japan.

His sculptures beautifully straddle the intersection of different cultures and artistic traditions. Drawing upon the rich traditions of wood carving and totems from the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the intricate woodwork of Bali, Geddis merges these influences with the familial impact of his stepfather’s similar craft. The result is a collection of hand-carved pieces that resonate with a global and timeless aesthetic.

As Geddis’ artistic journey unfolds, a consistent theme emerges—exploring the simple elegance inherent in natural forms. His recent works delve into the integral shapes of Platonic solids, conveying a sense of truth beyond human subjectivity. For the sculptor, these forms possess a magical existence that predates and will outlast humanity, offering viewers the pleasure of interacting with something timeless and profound. His Orcas Island studio serves as the birthplace of each meticulously handcrafted piece, connecting the artist’s work to the landscapes that have shaped him.

The sculptor acknowledges the profound impact of a trip to Japan on his artistic exploration. Exposed to the country’s rich woodworking tradition, he integrates Japanese craftsmanship elements into his sculptural endeavors. This influence adds depth and diversity to his work, contributing to a body of art that seamlessly weaves together figurative, abstract, and even architectural elements.

Geddis’ sculptures cross the rational realm of mathematics and Platonic solids while embracing a spiritually inspired curiosity about sacred geometry. Some of his vertical pieces evoke a softer interpretation of Brutalist forms, while others conjure visions of wondrous alien audio speakers reminiscent of Arcosanti. Each creation invites viewers to contemplate the intersection of the tangible and the transcendent, encouraging a deeper exploration of the mystical dimensions embedded in his wooden sculptures. Each of his pieces is an artwork that makes you think, learn, and build conversations. And trust me, the longer you look at them, the more there is to keep.

Aleph Geddis’ sculptures are more than mere artistic expressions; they are gateways to a world where tradition, culture, and the inherent beauty of natural forms converge. Each piece from the Pacific Northwest to Japan reflects the artist’s journey, inviting viewers to join him on a visual and conceptual exploration of warm geometries sculpted from wood—a testament to the enduring magic found within the simplicity of shapes and the richness of cultural intersections.

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Huge transparent horn speakers deliver an odd yet beautiful way to enjoy music

We’re long past the days when speakers, especially those at home, would simply be literal black boxes that belted out sound in whatever direction they were pointed at. While those still exist, many of the audio equipment marketed for home use have taken on more interesting designs that marry aesthetics and function without sacrificing either. Bang & Olufsen might be one of the most popular brands in this growing market of art-inspired speakers, but it is hardly the only one with curious and eye-catching designs. This loudspeaker set, for example, is just as much a work of art as it is a piece of high-end audio equipment, promising to elevate the listening experience to a whole new level that involves not just the ears but also the eyes.

Designer: Timothy Hill

In an iconic form, the speaker has always been represented by one of its oldest designs, a conical structure that curves from one end to another, creating what is commonly known as a horn shape. The Jetstream loudspeaker takes that shape and transforms it into an art piece by using transparent acrylic for the horn and blowing it up to human-sized proportions. The result is a distinctive, one-of-a-kind speaker that makes the drive unit look like it’s floating in mid-air. Viewed from the side, the speaker also looks like the sonic boom traces left by a high-speed jet, which given the background of the designer, seems almost fitting.

The horn shape chosen for the Jetstream might look ornamental, but it is actually based on a solid foundation of physics. Just like with horn speakers of old, the shape helps to propagate sound waves more freely and evenly, and given its size, it also multiplies that effect to reach all corners of a room. The loudspeaker system promises clear and dynamic sound, regardless of what you’re listening to, whether it’s classical masterpieces or modern movie sound effects.

Although the horn loudspeaker is definitely the center of attraction, it isn’t the only member of the Ferguson Hill Jetstream loudspeaker system. There’s also the bass speaker which takes the form of a transparent sphere with a large drive unit, held up by three metal cone feet. This gives the speaker a certain retro-futuristic aesthetic that perfectly complements the gigantic horn loudspeaker.

Although it functions primarily as a sound system, the Jetstream is also a statement piece that transforms any space into a unique audiovisual experience. It’s the kind of fusion of art and technology that truly redefines what it means to be a home speaker these days, offering value that goes beyond blasting sound but also touches the emotions and mind by appealing to more than one of our five senses. That said, it’s also a design that, at least in this case, carries a rather hefty price tag, though that could soon change as more audio equipment manufacturers embrace a more design-conscious approach to making speakers.

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Ceramic-inspired keyboard brings a splatter of Italian design to your desk

Computer keyboards are often regarded as purely utilitarian products. Aside from the RGB lighting that gaming-focused keyboards have, the majority of the designs tend to lean towards black or white color schemes, with a few colorful exceptions here and there. These input devices are rarely considered works of art, or even anything related to art. Of course, there is a very small number that doesn’t fit inside this box, putting as much attention to aesthetics as is paid to performance and ergonomics. This rather peculiar keyboard design, for example, splatters a variety of colors on the case, recreating an artistic style used by Italian artisans to create their rather unique and artistic ceramic.

Designer: Brazen Studio

Some people might have preconceived notions of what ceramic products look like, either completely brown like clay jars or pure white with elaborate patterns painted on their glossy surfaces. Italy, however, has another and rather unique variation to that design, employing a technique called “schizatto,” which literally means splatter, to glaze and decorate their ceramics. The end result is, as the name suggests, a splattering of paint drops with random shapes and volume, giving the design a unique and whimsical character.

That’s the kind of unconventional appearance that the Mason60 keyboard cases deliver, adding not just visual interest but also an element of fun to your computer use. Each keyboard case is individually hand-crafted using this artistic technique, making every single one an exclusive limited edition product of sorts. And since no two splatters will ever be the same, each case carries its own personality, reflecting not just physics but the artist’s “brush” during the time of its creation as well.

The Mason60 Schizzato series doesn’t stop at just mimicking the appearance of those artisan ceramics. Made from gypsum resin composite, the cases give keyboards a heft that’s not unlike those very same ceramic products. The material is also polished to give it a glossy finish that one might even mistake for real marble. In other words, the Mason60 will really make your keyboard look and feel like an authentic Italian ceramic product, or at least something that definitely looks artistic from any angle.

It’s too easy to take for granted how a simple change to the keyboard’s appearance could affect your use of the computer. Yes, it won’t directly affect your typing experience, at least depending on the kind of keys and switches you will be pairing with these cases, but it will affect your mental state at the very least. If you spend a lot of time in front of the computer, having something beautiful and interesting always in your sight could definitely help perk up your mood and stimulate your brain. Plus, it never hurts to have something so novel and unique as a conversation starter and maybe even a source of envy among your friends.

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Beautiful minimalist Apple accessories inspired by architecture and art

The accessory market for phones and computers is a wide and varied one, with designs that are all over the place and cover almost the entire range of the spectrum. Some try to offer everything, almost including the kitchen sink, resulting in a cornucopia of features and attachments, while others aim for the bare basics to keep things simple yet elegant. Minimalism continues to dominate the design world, and it has also started to grip the tech industry, particularly when it comes to gadgets and accessories. Minimalist design, though sometimes plain-looking, doesn’t exactly mean “boring,” especially when they take inspiration from some of mankind’s creative achievements to give these products an interesting visual and functional spin.

Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand

Some say good things come in threes, and iPhone owners tend to own an Apple Watch and AirPods to complete a functional set. Keeping all three charged has become somewhat of a logistics problem, though thankfully it’s less of a mess now that none of them require charging cables all the time. Apple’s MagSafe technology has opened up a new world of designs, free from the tangles of wires, and it has given birth to a variety of charging docks and stations, including some pretty minimalist ones.

Designer: Belkin

The Belkin BoostCharge Pro really takes minimalism almost to an extreme, being nothing more than a metal post that branches in two, standing on a plain round disc. While there are quite a number of 3-in-1 MagSafe chargers that support a similar combination, Belkin’s design emphasizes keeping a tidy appearance, whether there are devices charging on it or not. The base holds the AirPods case, keeping your desk or shelf clean, while both the iPhone and Apple Watch are held up high for easier visibility.

The charger’s clean and minimalist appearance takes its cue from modern architecture, with well-defined lines and shapes and a simple yet functional design. It distills the whole structure down to its essentials, providing support and a place for your gadgets to call home, without overpowering Apple’s already elegant and stylish aesthetic.

MagSafe Origami Grip Stand

The ancient Japanese art of paper folding has inspired many designs across history, from simple children’s toys to mind-blowing structures even to complex robots. The main pull of origami has always been its ability to change shape from a flat sheet of material like paper to something three-dimensional any moving parts or without removing or adding any part at all. Because of that, something that takes up space can be made to collapse down to almost nothing, like this grip and stand that adds almost no thickness to your iPhone.

Designer: Marcy Arimoto

Click Here to Buy Now: MagSafe Origami Grip Stand ($45)

Thanks to its creative origami-inspired design, the MagSafe attachment transforms from a flat pad into a triangular shape that can do more than just prop up your phone on a table. It gives your fingers something stable to latch onto, making it perfect for taking selfies with confidence. It can even stick to metal posts, walls, and surfaces thanks to that strong magnetic power.

The best thing about its design is that it doesn’t get in the way when you don’t need it. It simply collapses back down to a flat shape that’s no thicker than the iPhone’s own camera bump. Nothing to snag when you slip it into your pocket and nothing to make it wiggle when placed on a table. It’s beautiful, functional, and as simple as it needs to be, nothing more.

Twelve South BookArc Flex Vertical MacBook Stand

A laptop stand is, more often than not, a horizontal plane meant to hold your laptop while it lies down. Of course, that’s the most common way to use a laptop, but it’s definitely not the only way, especially when you’re using it as a makeshift desktop computer. With the lid always closed and the laptop simply connected to a monitor and other peripherals, having a laptop lying flat or even on a horizontal stand is already a poor use of precious desk space. That’s where a vertical laptop stand comes in hand, and Twelve South just launched what is probably the most minimalist design in that category.

Designer: Twelve South

It might look like two simple metal arcs, but that ultra-minimalist design is what makes the BookArc Flex a work of genius. Designed to hold your closed MacBook vertically, it can save you precious desk space when all you really want to do is connect the MacBook to an external screen and some peripherals while it’s running. It keeps all the mess away without sacrificing any functionality, and you can still easily plug in other USB devices because the MacBook is still within reach.

The design is both simple yet elegant, perfectly complementing Apple’s design language with its bent all-metal rods in matte black, matte white, or premium chrome finishes. It is inspired by modern architecture, particularly the Noisette Creek Pedestrian Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina, in more ways than one. While it does owe its form to that bridge, it also takes a few lessons from a bridge’s structure and use of physics, particularly in how the stand uses the MacBook’s own weight to pull in the arcs and secure the laptop. That means that this simple design is also future-proof, supporting any MacBook or even any laptop that’s only an inch thick, making it a beautiful example of how good, simple design can be universal and timeless as well.

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