Here is one way to adorn your wall or even replace it altogether. Panasonic has introduced a whopping 152-inch plasma television in India. If that does not make you choke on your cola, its 3D full HD capabilities might do just that. This Yeti-of-all-TVs is the world’s largest plasma screen with a self-illuminating display that is capable of resolutions up to 4096x2160 pixels — four times the pixel information in a 1920x1080 full HD flat panel. The ‘4K2K’ display, as it is dubbed, employs technologies that are used in its VIERA Full HD 3D plasma televisions and boasts of a native contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1, which should translate to stellar reproduction of black levels. If your wallet permits the fiscal assault, then do reserve a wall for this monster screen.Rs. 3.5 crore, panasonic.com Cruise control
Jabra Cruiser2 makes hands-free driving hassle free, especially if you hate wearing Bluetooth headsets. This device can be clipped on to the sun visor or connected to the car radio, depending on how you want to make or take calls. Use the FM transmitter to listen to calls or play music stored on your smartphone on the car’s stereo system. Cruiser2 can read out caller ID and has a voice guidance system, which helps with set up, keeps you informed about connectivity and battery status. Noise Blackout tech reduces ambient sound, so you are always good to go. Rs. 5,999, jabra.com/in-en
BOOKHome, Suite Home
The second offering from White Flag Media and Communication, 50 Beautiful Houses in India, is as its title (and cover) indicates, devoted to 50 houses, 485 images and 118 plans.
Volume one begins with a short essay by professor Christopher Benninger, a much-respected name in Indian architectural circles. But his essay is a general one about the architect’s response to the abode and does not touch upon the selection of houses inside. So there is no explanation for why these 38 architects have been selected.
In an age of information overload, it is a relief to see that there is sparse text in this well-designed book. There is an introduction to every architectural project, featured in an easy-to-read font and a generous use of images to showcase every house. There are, however, some images that have been enlarged to the point of pixelation and stand out horribly in an otherwise pleasing volume. There are several that are very dark and could have been processed better.
Useful information such as house plans and detailed design credits for each home give some idea about who the book is really intended for. On the whole, the quality of the homes featured is high on the aesthetic scale (with about two exceptions). Encouraging, too, is the cross-country representation of houses and architects from all over India. 50 Beautiful Houses in India
Publisher: White Flag
420 Pages; Rs. 2,995
Ever wonder how people living in the harsh desert climate survive without air-conditioning? Traditional Islamic architecture deals with such conditions by careful direction of light and airflow with elements such as mashrabiyas, wind towers, and earthen walls. Similarly, London designers PostlerFerguson have come up with Microclimates, a unique design that blends these age-old building techniques with computer-aided manufacturing. A customised software creates an interpretation of a mashrabiya that has layers made out of local sand, held together with a magnesium-based binder. Each rendition houses a complex internal structure made with a large-scale rapid prototyping machine. The structure’s surface will efficiently cool the air that passes through it.
More at postlerferguson.com Auto
Low on carbon, high on carbon-fibre BMW’s Project i was set up to investigate the best format for ultra-low emissions future cars and has confirmed that the first production outcome, on sale from 2013, will be a four-seat hatchback with a carbon-fibre bodyshell on an aluminium chassis. Batteries and an electric motor will drive the rear wheels. There may also be a range-extender hybrid version. The key to this project is low weight, though BMW has not released a figure for this first ‘i’ car. HOME Stool of thought
Isn’t there always one less seat, one more guest? Additional seating isn’t always possible in matchbox houses. Now, if space-smart designs are eco-sensitive too, it’s even better! Israeli industrial design firm Kulla has created the 50% Sawdust, a stool with detachable legs, made out of waste: A combination of sawdust and plastic bags. The process includes baking a measured mixture of the two materials in an aluminium mould.Read more at kulladesign.com
(This story appears in the 11 March, 2011 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)