AC Units: extremely useful things but hardly easy on the eye. These street artists have turned the humble metal box into something truly beautiful. They’ve left us wondering why everyone doesn’t make their air conditioning unit into a masterpiece. Whether they’re cleverly camouflaged or playing a major part in a magnificent mural, these air conditioning units blend seamlessly into the walls they’re on. Cool.
Global warming is seemingly turning the world into a great big ball of blistering sunshine, leading to our lives, for those who take the term very literally, to become one never ending episode of Baywatch. When you’re really getting sick of how long the sun wants to wear his ever-present hat on those longer and hotter summer days, you may want to step inside and bask in the glory of some effortlessly cooled, delightfully conditioned air. As such, air con will remain a growing fixture in our lives for the time being.
Demands are changing though. We’re getting a little sick of those big boxes hanging off our buildings like a mishapen raised mole, not to mention the white vents in our homes wrecking with the hard-earned feng shui. You can’t forget either that we’re supposed to treat the environment like a cat lady tends for her felines, rather than the way a matador taunts his bull. The future of air conditioners, therefore, looks to have an emphasis on stealthy sustainability, rather than power-hungry obnoxiousness.
If you cannot get an air conditioner or the power goes out, how can you stay cool when it’s hot? Well, frankly, that depends on your definition of cool. While the following gadgets will ensure your core temperature doesn’t rise, they will be disastrous for your street cred. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
These shoes really suck
If air-conditioned shoes make you this happy then where do I sign?! Look at the sheer force of the icy air coming from those stylish leather loafers. Never again feel the humiliation of hot sweaty feet. Yes, before you ask, these are real and you can pay good money for them. My only concern would be that the suction from the fans would vacuum you to the pavement. Not so cool now, eh?
Ice, Ice Baby
What an innovative idea. While women have the luxury of cool dresses in the office, men have to overheat in a suit jacket and tie. But no longer, oh no, now you can buy the Ice Suit. Or make your own at home in four easy steps. 1) Simply open the freezer, 2) pick up an icepack, 3) deposit it snugly in your inside jacket pocket 4) et voila, instant cool.
Apparently these ice vests are used by top athletes to increase their stamina by as much as 20 per cent. Nonsense. The only conceivable reason anyone would don this chilly monstrosity is so they can pretend they’re an extra from i-Robot – we’ve all done it! It looks to me like someone sewed an ice cube bag to a scuba suit.
It’s a hatastrophy
What’s the one thing you usually have plenty of when it’s hot outside. Sunshine! Yay! So this solar powered cap, which only comes in yellow by the way, is the perfect amalgamation of shade and style. Oh who am I kidding? This is idiotic. While the fan may work, to cool down your face, the hole they’ve had to stick it through renders the whole cap useless! Back to the drawing board guys. Idiots.
Hot under the collar?
Now I think you may have to take another glimpse at this little gadget. It’s so subtle no one would ever know you’re wearing a fan. On your neck. You weirdo. Surely if the dress code at work is strict enough that you can’t take you tie off, a miniature circular fan is not going to go down well? More to the point, who wears a tie with a short-sleeved shirt? Bleurgh.
Don’t you hate cold calls?
So the air-conditioning breaks down at work. No problem, you think, I have my handy-dandy iPair-conditioner. Part air-conditioner, part iPhone (if by that you mean not at all like an iPhone) it’s the ultimate emergency item. If all your friends are morons. Why bother disguising an air-conditioner as an iPhone when it’s three inches thick? Who’s going to be fooled by that? Sheesh.
Got cold feet?
Why? Just … why? Even if you think the concept is good – a miniature fan that can be plugged into a USB dock – the description if going to have you running for the hills. This device is perfect, according to the manufacturers, for shoving into sweating socks and putrid armpits. Unfortunately, I do not think it is one-use-only. I think I just threw up a bit in my mouth. I’ll stick to the air conditioned shoes thanks very much.
A new kinda sea-cup
An ice bra?! Now I’ve seen it all. With the plastic fish and frills I’m not sure if it’s all about fashion or function. Believe it or not this was actually created to encourage people not to turn on their air conditioning. But that’s not all, oh no, it also comes with a miniature fan, a wind chime and some mint leaves so that your senses are as cool as your boobs. I’m sold. What are they making for the men, then?
We’ve all heard of seeing-dogs for the blind. But now all the animals want in on the act. It seems that it’s not just canines who want to be our eyes and ears; it’s also animals which don’t even have them. Do snakes have ears? Who knows…
Iguana helping hand?
A service iguana is not just a helper but also a great accessory when thrown over your shoulder like this fella. Why get a snakeskin handbag when you can have a living, breathing lizard scarf? You’re unlikely to ever face danger with this spiky companion with you, who in their right mind would approach someone cuddling an iguana for God’s sake?!
I only have snake eyes for you
So it can’t open doors for you or help you cross the road very safely but, apparently, a snake can make a great disability aid. Anyone who’s a fan of obscure disaster movies will know that they don’t make great plane passengers, and should best be kept well away from trains in case they get hungry. But on the plus side they’re great for staring contests or scaring away one of your many enemies.
There’s no horsing around with this guy
The worst thing about horses is definitely how tall they are. Why should we have to climb up to get on them? Why can’t they just bend down like camels? Well, worry not as nature has invented a pocket-sized pony, and it’s even been bred with tiny designer trainers so it doesn’t embarrass you. If you’re small you can easily ride it, but hobbits beware as it takes more refuelling than a mobility scooter.
Seeing cats for the blind
Don’t let a lack of eyesight put you off reading your favourite gossip mag – who needs a working set of peepers when you have this moggy? Simply open up what you want to read and it will decipher the words and relay them to you in cat. You will have to learn how to translate cat for this to be worthwhile though. Good luck with that!
Who you calling a pest?
When you say rat. I say pest. Rat.Pest. Rat.Pest? Well apparently not in this case, as someone’s finally managed to tame one by putting it on a lead. Whatever next? They’re great at helping you find your way out of mazes and if you need directions to the nearest sewer they’re the ones to ask.
Hey Mr DJ put a record on
Too many DJs have forgotten about CDs. But not this hero. Spinning those tunes on a regular basis, all with a cheeky tongue akimbo, what more could you want from a service monkey? You could even buy it a little set of decks and mini headphones – ridiculously cute and more fun than a hi-fi. I wonder if he does birthday parties…
Who’s a pretty polly?
To match his rainbow of a shirt, service parrots were clearly this guy’s first choice. You can train them to give you compliments all day long if you want, way better than a mirror or a girlfriend. The only thing to watch out for is try and remember not to leave the windows open, that is unless you’ve got homing parrots.
That’ll do pig, that’ll do
Ever since Babe stormed his way on to the service animal scene (as a sheeppig remember?) it’s become quite the done thing for pigs to help out humans. These little grunters make adorable companions and if all goes hooves up then I’ve heard they make a lovely sandwich… mmm bacon butties anyone?
It’s the vent of the Mersey Tunnel, not the rear end of The Starship Enterprise Source
Air vents are a vital part of our society, not just functionally, but culturally as well. What would have happened to John McClaine if the Nakatomi Plaza had opted for a more open-plan ventilation system? What would have happened to Llewellyn Moss’s millions if his motel had been air conditioned? It’s unthinkable; it really is.
It’s an article about air vents; he had to be in here somewhere. Source
Luckily, air vents criss-cross our day-to-day existence with great regularity and, as such, the designs of these modern-day essentials have begun to take on new and exciting forms. So, sit back and take a deep breath of (hopefully well-ventilated) air as we bring you the eleven most creative air vents in the world.
11. Stereo Vent
Possibly the work of London-based graffiti artist Banksy (or maybe someone else out to make a name for themselves), this air vent represents the grill for a rather angry child’s boom-box. It is worth pointing out that while this vent art is very creative, it is also illegal, so we can’t condone this level of imagination.
10. Polar Vent
If you go down to New York today, you’re sure of a big surprise… a polar bear hastily made out of carrier bags that inflates as a train passes underneath. Yes, welcome to the wacky world of Joshua Allen Harris and his incredible street “art”. Josh doesn’t limit himself only to deformed polar bears, but lends his creativity to mythological creatures such as the minotaur and this Loch Ness Monster-like beasty. NY City Council must love him.
9. Tramp Vent
Just because you live on the street doesn’t mean you have to be stupid … or cold. This sassy hobo has managed to utilize the hot air we throw away to heat his own personal sleeping bag come sauna. Perhaps if he managed to capture enough of it, he could start his own hot-air balloon ride company. We wouldn’t partake.
8. DIY Vent
This vent has a touch of the Blue Peter arts and craft about it. It also looks a little bit like the Cookie Monster, which earns it a whole swathe of bonus points. Most importantly, it indicates that for an air vent to be creative, you don’t need the skills of a world-class engineer or the foresight of a bohemian New York vigilante artist; just some Gaffa tape and a good stock of googlie eyes.
7. Floral Vent
Flowers look nice; air vents do not. It’s as simple as it is painful. Luckily, the creator of this air vent has had the foresight to mask his oxygen tube betwixt a small collection of pretty flowers, therefore negating the natural horror of the extractor.
He is a clever old bean and should be saluted.
6. Tiled Vent
I imagine this vent has a huge concept behind it that we wouldn’t understand. It’s probably about how we often ignore the importance of functional architecture in our shared spaces, and how we blindly pass by the inherent and fragile beauty of our industrialized cities.
We bet skateboarders can pop mean kick-flips off its base too. Gnarly.
5. Art Deco Vent
This building was used as an air-raid shelter during the Second World War. Its air vent has now been turned into a rather pink and rather lovely mural. It saved the people of London from bombs back then, and it’s saving the people of London against drabness now.
All in all, it’s been a worthwhile venture.
4. Arty Vent
Created by Thomas Heatherwick, who has been noted for his striking urban design and architecture, these two air vents stand in London’s Cheapside District. Heatherwick has created many of the famous (and infamous) pieces of art that splatter many British cities; his most famous is probably the B of the Bang installation in Manchester (which had to be dismantled due to safety issues).
These two twisted and contorted pillars are rather tame in comparison. We prefer DIY Vent; sorry Tom.
3. Super-famous Vent
We all remember this scene from The Seven Year Itch. If this happened in today’s blame culture, I’m sure the City Council of New York would be receiving a strongly worded letter from Ms. Monroe’s lawyer. As it stands however, it has become one of the most iconic moments in cinema, meaning the image of this vent must be one of the most replicated, and therefore famous, in the world. So famous, in fact, that a giant 26-foot statue commemorating the moment has been unveiled in Chicago. Nice.
2. MC Hammer Vent
We’re not convinced that the character represented on this vent is MC Hammer, but we can be certain that he is attempting the Hammer Dance or one of its many variations. STOP! Extraction Time.
1. Curvy Vent
You guessed it; Gaudi created an air vent and, in typical Gaudi style, it doesn’t seem to have any rhyme, reason or purpose. The vents on top of Gaudi’s Casa Mila in Barcelona aren’t the strangest we’ve seen, but certainly do create a bit of a talking point.
So there we have it; eleven of the most creative air vents ever conceived. Some designed by executive architects, some designed by inspired Spanish lunatics and the rest made by chaps with too much spare time and Gaffa tape on their hands. While laughing at air vents is all fun and games, we must remember the hazards implicated in their design.
Sadly, not all of us were made to exist so closely alongside the world of the vent. If you do feel the need to traverse your building inside an extraction tube, make sure you butter yourself up good and proper. You’d hate to end up like this chap.
Have fun out there, and stay ventilated.
As well as having the air con full-blast indoors, you can get a variety of mini models to take everywhere with you. But what else should be on your must-buy list for summer to ensure you’re the coolest cat in town? Got your motorised bumper boat yet? If not, why not?
Blow yourself away
No it’s not a child with a hairdryer – how summery or gadgety would that be? – it is actually a handheld air conditioner. Simply rip it open, add water to the sponge, insert batteries and then turn it on. Easy as pie. It also runs on a USB connection, for those of us who take our laptops to the beach. But seriously, who does that?!
Ultimate pool party prop
It’s a question I regularly ask myself – how can inflatable chairs be any cooler? And how can I annoy fellow pool users to maximum effect. In a happy coincidence, that thankfully does not involve John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale (obscure noughties film reference for all you rom com fans), I found an answer to both questions in the motorised bumper boat. Leading only to the next question – where can I get one this instant?!
Sticking your head in the sand
Do you ever encounter that problem on the beach where you’re trying to read the latest top seller but your arms keep getting tired from holding it? Well fear no more thanks to this handy-dandy Ostrich three-in-one beach chair. Read at leisure with your round face stuffed in a square hole and your arms painfully pressed up against hot metal. On second thoughts, the beach probably isn’t the best place to be reading Fifty Shades of Grey anyways… I’ll just… finish it later.
Gently warmed sausages
You know what I always fancy in the summer holidays? Meat. Slightly undercooked meat with a charcoal shell, to be exact. If you’re like me, then you’ll love this solar powered BBQ. Ideal if coal and matches seem just too much like hard work. Because I always thought BBQs were just a touch on the dangerous side with all those open flames, what with having to stand next to them an’ all. Not sure what happens when the sun goes behind the clouds though…
I don’t know about you, but I often look down at my flip flops of a summer’s day and think ‘yes they’re nice, but I can’t help feel they’re missing something’. Now, that problem is solved with the sexy calf-strap and light-up LEDs. But it’s not just any pair of black flip flops – oh no – it’s also a metal detector. For ultimate geek-appeal turn the beeps up full blast and wear with some off-white sports socks.
For the anti-social sunworshipper
For those times when the beach is just too noisy, why not buy yourself a pod? With a fun vent at the front to prevent you from suffocating and made with heat-intensifying plastic, you can top off your day in the sunshine with the gift of sunstroke. I can’t see this little gem going down too well at Skeggy, even though it may be warmer. But from a purely practical point of view it’s not going to make the list of beach must-haves if you can’t fit it in the car? I very much doubt it comes with a flat pack option.
Perfect for some tunes…sometimes
This, meanwhile, is not such a bad idea, a solar powered Bluetooth music player. The only downside? It’s a solar powered Bluetooth music player, therefore unlikely to work on overcast days (read 90 per cent of days in the UK) and is as useful as a chocolate fireguard if you have no Bluetooth or your phone has died. Bad times for all involved.
If you can make two fully functioning air conditioning units out of Lego – what else can you make? The possibilities are truly endless from complete houses to board games and life-size models of celebrities.
As if building stuff out of Lego for a living wasn’t cool enough already, York-based artist Nathan Sawaya has really outdone himself with this fully-functioning air conditioning unit. Commissioned by an air conditioning manufacturer, this is quite literally the coolest thing we’ve ever seen made out of Lego. So impressive was his first effort, he was asked to do it all again by a competitor.
Now we were so fascinated when we saw this life-size replica of a Volvo SUV, we couldn’t resist finding out the back story. This bricked-up model was actually created as part of a prank at Legoland California, where staff replaced manager Peter Rochetti’s real car in the parking lot. As it turns out, there are several other similar Lego replicas out there somewhere – so Volvo drivers beware!
Possibly Top Gear presenter James May’s most ambitious project to date was a house made completely of Lego. Using 3.3 million plastic bricks and taking around 1,000 volunteers to help build it, this multi-coloured mansion featured a working toilet, sink and shower. Thumbs up for effort James! It’s just a shame no-one wanted to live in it. The two-storey house was knocked down shortly after being built because no-one wanted to buy it. Perhaps it was the Lego-brick mattress that put them off!
The creators of this fully-functional Lego pinball machine confidently declared that it is made almost completely of plastic bricks. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this creation is its bespoke Lego motors, sensors and control boards – which function using their own programming language. Makers Gerrit Bronsveld and Martijn Boogaarts were so keen for this machine to work properly, they even took into consideration the size and weight of the ball. Eventually they decided on a 1″ glass sphere rather than the typical 1 1/16″ steel one so as not to burn out the motors or break some more delicate mechanisms.
As far as Lego creations go, this is perhaps the most ambitious of the lot and is certainly a personal favourite of ours. Not only does this replica V8 engine look really cool, it also fully functional. Creator Colin Cunningham actually upgraded to the more engineer-friendly Lego Technic for this project, but we don’t mind. Check out the video to watch the electric engine in action, we’re pretty sure you’ll feel the same way!
This isn’t the first time the worlds of Lego and fashion have collided, and we’re pretty sure it won’t be the last. But one thing we are certain of is that this is one of the most audacious efforts we’ve ever seen. Black Eyed Peas will.i.am was clearly so pleased with his Lego baseball cap, he decided to add to his brick accessories with a Lego chain. Well, it’s the obvious thing to do, isn’t it?
It appears it’s not just humans who have an unusual obsession with Lego. This hermit crab happened upon this discarded Lego when he was on the lookout for a new home, and eventually decided this looked far cooler than a discarded shell. We’re inclined to agree, although we’re undecided as to whether or not this will enhance or reduce his survival chances in the wild. This is perhaps the most conspicuous home he could have gone for, albeit the coolest and potentially geekiest ever!
Human beings hate overheating. They also love saving money. Into this mix add a dash of stupidity and you have many millions of disasters waiting to happen in the form of hideously-installed air conditioning units, as seen below in a gallery that causes my tear ducts to slowly fill each and every time. Some of these hack-jobs simply look ghastly; others, more seriously, are also incredibly dangerous.
With the whole world being concerned about sustainability and getting more environmentally friendly, the air conditioning industry tries to develop new designs and technologies that would bring us a step closer towards making air conditioners more effective while having less impact on the environment.
Needless to say, it’s not an easy task to find the right balance. There are a few features every technician must consider: effectiveness, energy consumption, ecology, technology, affordability and design. When one of these factors is omitted, the air conditioner most likely won’t be successful on the market.
Although the revolutionary technology is still in its infancy, there are some interesting concepts that deserve attention. For example, the futuristic looking tree-shaped air conditioning system. Its idea is quite simple yet effective. Basically it uses the ground heat and the Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) system. The natural looking branches control the direction of airflow, spreading the filtered clean air within a wider range than with traditional air conditioners.
The next design is called “Fresco Di Lana” and it was developed by Laura Boffi. This air conditioning curtain is made from wool, which filters hot air and cools it as it enters the house. The water pump next to it keeps the curtain wet when desired, which supports its next function: an indoor vertical garden. It is meant to provide the perfect environmental conditions not only for you but also for plants you can grow in the ‘pockets’ of the wool.
One of the most futuristic designs was introduced in China and named Habitat 2020. This completely sustainable housing suggests dumping the old materials used for houses, and substituting them for highly sensitive skins that act as membranes between the outside and inside environment. So how will the air conditioning work in this case? Simply put, the outside air will enter the skin, travel through its numerous funnels, where it will be cooled, filtered and then evenly spread into the room. Moreover, the skin is also supposed to emit clean and CO2-free air from the building.
Last but not least is the simple design and compelling of H2O air conditioner that ended 3rd on the annual Panasonic Award. Who said that air conditioning can’t be a nice accessory for your house?
Imagine you were trapped in a small room with locked doors and no windows, what would you do? If you were in a movie you would just head for the ventilation duct, remove it with the tip of your fingernail, smoothly slide in the spacious vent that would accommodate a truck, and easily sort your way out of the ventilation ‘labyrinth’. After a few minutes and no sweat, you are out, neatly groomed and free to go wherever you want!
Action, adventure, horror or a comedy movie; all follow the same pattern of easy-to-do air duct escapes where the villain is utterly surprised by the foxiness of his hostages that just shimmy free through that oh so ambiguous air vent. You would have thought they’d have figured it out by now…
It seems so effortless and ingeniously simple. Want to get out of prison? Use the vent! Do you need to spy on somebody? Use the vent! Looking for a perfect hideout from your mother-in-law? Use the vent! However, how many times have you read in newspapers about someone escaping from a prison via a ventilation vent?
Ok, so there is just one real life incident when prisoners got out of Alcatraz by using the vent duct. Although it’s more of an exception that proves the rule, the scriptwriters hang to it like to the Holy Grail. It may be just their laziness or lack of creativity that forces our typical movie heroes to throw themselves into the strangely clean, shiny air vent over and over again.
Let’s have a look at the most famous vent scenes…
Who wouldn’t adore the superhuman strength of Bruce Willis in Die Hard, when he climbs up and fits his muscular body into a narrow ventilation vent polished better than a mirror in a luxury hotel suit? Although he gets really dirty in the end, which just adds to the American hero character.
Take for example the Red Dwarf. One whole episode (Duct Soup) takes place in ventilation ducts when the whole crew has to crawl through them in order to reach the engine room. Although some fans were pleased to see Kochanski, the attractive heroine, suggestively wiggling her way out of the endless corridors, it still was far from being realistic.
It’s true that Tom Cruise is a tiny man so the chances of him squeezing into the air ducts are slightly higher. Anyway, he does more impossible throughout the movie so the ventilation trick just blends in.
Bruce Willis passes his air vent hobby with Milla Jovovich, the beautiful fairly dressed leading actress, who gracefully jumps to the ceiling duct just before the villain pierces it with loads of bullets.
Surprise, surprise, Milla has taken a liking to hiding in vents! Anyway, it is a similar case as with Kochanski: good-looking girl sweating and crawling in a tiny space guarantees that majority of men audience will be glued to their TV sets. Nobody really minds that it’s not realistic at all.
Men in Black II
Air ducts have a real importance here as the alien worms used them to get to the power control of MIB headquarters. Sneaky, isn’t it?
So it looks like air vents have dominated the movie industry. Whether you mind it or not, there is one lesson you should take out of this: do not ever try to duplicate some scenes from these movies, you may kill or seriously hurt yourself (or somebody else). Why? Usually, real air ducts are much smaller than those in movies and are not designed to carry a weight of an average human body. So, even if you managed to stuff yourself into one (I would love to see that), you would probably end up falling down together with the whole air vent. So much for a silent escape…
Drop us a comment if you think we’ve missed off a Hollywood blockbuster that love a bit of air vent action…