Boozy balls, Wild Lights, AI creative directors & The Beast. No you’re not dreaming… it’s the Inspiration Station of course.

This month we uncover some unmissable Dublin experiences, a whole heap of mind-blowing technology and we also take a peek at what the rest of the world is up to. Oh and if you end up facing some kind of existential crisis we even have something for that too.

LIVE in Dublin

Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo

This winter, Dublin Zoo is home to “Wild Lights”, a magical wildlife-inspired light festival featuring giant colourful lanterns and illuminated sculptures.

Visitors will be treated to an impressive display featuring a 16-metre high porcelain elephant tower and a 30-metre long Chinese dragon, not to mention a pride of lions, orangutans, tigers, giraffes, monkeys and much more! After seeing all the attention these illuminated beasties get, the zoo’s real inhabitants will have to up their game… That’s right Nellie, your act needs some razzle-dazzle!

Attendees can also expect to be enthralled by Chinese performers and will even get the chance to browse a Chinese craft market. It’s open until January 7th.

Bewley’s Cafe Reopens

It finally happened – the iconic Grafton Street cafe is open for business once again. *Pauses for applause*

The beautiful coffee shop had been closed since February 2015 for what was supposed to be a 6 month renovation. It soon turned into a 33 month, €12 million makeover – but by all accounts it was worth the wait…

The Harry Clarke stained glass windows, mahogany paneling, velvet upholstered banquettes, and the open fireplaces, as well as the Egyptian-motifed facades have all been lovingly restored to former 1927 glory. Much to the delight of regular customers, the famous bun and beverage dispensary has preserved its distinct classic character, despite the changes.

While the ground floor and mezzanine (seating 250) are currently open, a further 250 seats in a series of rooms on the first floor will open in January, with the Bewley’s Cafe Theatre returning to the building in March.

Sam Smith Rose Wall

We all love a vertical garden. Well, now Sam Smith has got in on the action and transformed a building in Dublin for the launch of his new album “The Thrill Of It All”. The building on Aungier Street has been covered with white, pink and yellow roses – they even covered the electricity box, ensuring everything looked immaculate.

Head down and immerse yourself in the floral facade while you can. We aren’t sure what the lifespan of these things are, but if our valentine posies are anything to go by, you won’t have too long! (Then again, Sam’s team probably didn’t go to the nearest petrol station…)

Bullitt New Rooftop

You may remember that previously we mentioned the Bullitt Hotel’s new Dublin site. Well, we have more Bullitt news for you… Babel, a vibrant new rooftop bar and garden has opened as part of a £1.75m expansion of the stylish Belfast city centre hotel. The contemporary new space includes a swanky indoor bar; an open-air terrace with panoramic views and, would you believe it, a retractable roof; not to mention, a cosy corner VIP room! Sufficiently tantalised yet?

Taking inspiration from 1950s and ‘60s design, the rooftop bar and garden is the largest in Ireland. You can expect plush velvet and leather interiors combined with modern touches such as glass balustrades, bespoke lighting, marble and brass detailing. The garden is a laid back, urban oasis with lush foliage, an interior living wall made up of 300 fresh plants and herbs.

Set to shake up Ireland’s cocktail scene, the drinks menu features an eclectic range of “Shrub Cocktails”, using a fresh supply of herbs from the living wall for ingredients, and the mouth-watering small plates menu is inspired by South and East Asian cuisine. We sure love a botanical infusion here at Clive.

Coming Soon…

Departure Beach (Summer 2018)

If you’re flying back from Barbados and you want to spend those precious final moments on the beach before heading back to the grind, it would usually mean a sweaty dash to the airport, arriving without half of your belongings and receiving a lot of disapproving looks from the more punctual passengers… until now.

Introducing the world’s first Departure Beach by Virgin Holidays! That’s right folks, your good pals at Clive have another world first for you. Indulge in food, drinks, tea and coffee – all the benefits of a Virgin Holidays lounge – but on a beach in Barbados. Amazing! With on-site bag drop, transfers, wifi, showers and an air-conditioned lounge, they have taken care of everything. Virgin will even pick you up from your hotel and you can check in on the beach!

What a world.

The Beast (December 2017)

Just when you thought it was safe to begin letting yourself go for the festive gorging, the world’s longest inflatable obstacle course decides to come to Dublin! You heard right folks – it’s time to get training, things are getting serious.

As well as the bouncy course there will be DJs, street food, craft beer and whiskey tasting plus a Christmas market, karaoke room, a human foosball game and an inflatable photo booth to get to grips with. What more could you want this Christmas?

The Beast will be set up in Dublin at the National Basketball Arena, Tallaght, from the 15 to 17 December.

Check out the video here.

Technology

Cotodama’s transparent “Lyric Speaker”

Japanese firm, Cotodama have created a speaker which displays song lyrics on a 22-inch transparent LCD screen, in time with music. Apparently, it can even analyse a song’s mood, before generating the type of animation that will be played with the lyrics. It is made up of just 2 speakers on the front of the device with a volume knob, and a circular disc on the back that holds the graphic-generating computer. But this is one of those instances where you really have to see it for yourself.

The handcrafted device was actually released in Japan last year, but has only just made it onto UK shores (and at the fair price of only £3600 each!) Only 15 units are made every month though — so if you want to get your hands on one, you better have deep pockets and a fair bit of patience.

IRISNotes 3

Are you one of those professional mavericks who like to do things “old school”? Perhaps you prefer to be a bit alternative and stand out from your colleagues? Maybe you’re just a bit of a technophobe… Whatever the case, this is the gadget for you! Ditch that cumbersome laptop and get to grips with the IRISNotes 3 – the smart digital pen that converts your handwritten notes to editable digital text.

The simple set up uses real ink and paper to recognise 30 different languages of handwriting, as well as graphs and drawings. Then you simply export your digital notes to your favourite text editor (Word, Notepad or Outlook) which allow you to edit and share with ease.

The days of you wasting time transcribing your notes onto the computer are finally over. Click here for a demonstration.

LIGEO – as bright as your ideas

Have you ever wanted more from your lighting? Well, LIGEOTM lighting technology enables you to create your very own custom designs by simply connecting light bars together using innovative connection “hubs”.

This unique combination of design and technology not only makes installation incredibly quick and simple, but is also what makes the system highly versatile. The flexibility of LIGEOTM makes it possible to construct inspiring 2D & 3D light designs, meaning there really are no limits to your creativity. You can modify or expand your installation at any time all by yourself too, so no more fretting over late electricians – hooray!

MULTI (the sideways lift)

Put aside your doubts, this is no prototype. This is in fact, a new era of mobility in buildings. After three years of development, ThyssenKrupp is testing the “MULTI” in a German tower and finalising the safety certification. The future of lifts doesn’t just move vertically, but would you believe it? Horizontally too!

MULTI has removed the cables that suspend traditional models in favor of magnetic levitation, the same technology used in high-speed trains. Cutting ties has allowed ThyssenKrupp to increase lift capacity and optimise traffic, while reducing waiting times, the system’s bulk and its footprint too. A sort of subway for lifts if you will.

Click here to see the concept in action.

The World’s First “Telekinetic” Interface For Virtual Reality

Neurable have offered a first look at a product that is without precedent in modern tech: a brain-computer interface for virtual reality. Their revolutionary technology allows people to interact with augmented reality and virtual reality environments using only their mind.

No you haven’t woken up in the year 2376… This tech is already capable of typing on virtual keyboards and controlling prosthetic limbs by analysing patterns in brain activity to determine user actions. A telekinetic society is much closer thank you think!

Around the World

The HotTug

Have you always dreamt of chugging along a canal in the World’s first floating hot tub… Well now you can thanks to “The HotTug”.

The Dutch are an extremely influential bunch. Having penetrated the English language with terms such as “Dutch courage”, “going Dutch”,  and “double Dutch”, you would be hard pushed to find another people referenced in as many colloquial terms. Then there is Dutch cheese, the infamous Dutch oven, and let’s not forget they were even the pioneers of capitalism… Now they give us this feat of nautical engineering.

It is designed by Frank de Bruijn, who works on a barge in the port of Rotterdam. It is his long experience of wood stoves while living and working on his own barge  that helped him to develop the wood-burning underwater stove which makes this possible.

This wonderfully relaxing and fun experience take place in London and lasts for 90 minutes, with 75 minutes of time in the fresh water (which is thankfully changed after every trip), and can accommodate up to 7 people.

We always knew with a name like that, this was going to be a steamy experience!

Whistle Punks Axe Throwing

Chugging down a London canal in a hot tub tug-boat not your thing? You want something to do in the big smoke with a little more edge instead? Boy do we have the outing for you. Introducing: urban axe throwing.

The perfect experience for hardworking groups who need to let off some steam in a satisfying and acceptable manner, the folks at Whistle Punks will let you sling axes side by side with your peers to great music and even better atmosphere. The experienced coaches (who are possibly of viking descent) will kick off your 1.5hr axe-travaganza with a safety briefing and then move on to the throwing techniques – you’ll probably need these unless you have a dark past. Once you’ve got the hang of that, it’s onto the tournament!

What could be more therapeutic than aggressively throwing axes alongside your pesky chums and/or colleagues…

House of Eternal Return

Thanks to creator of Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin purchasing a former bowling alley – artist collective Meow Wolf have turned the modest building in Santa Fe into a maze of “colourful, chaotic portals that take explorers to worlds they’ve only seen in their wildest dreams.” And boy have they!

Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return is a unique immersive art experience which dissolves time and space through its dream-like rooms, secret passages and interactive objects. Its true story only revealed through exploration and interaction with the imaginative installations. By fully enveloping individuals in the psychedelic beauty, Meow Wolf have turned their art into an abstract reality – and made all of our dreams come true.

This maximalist art installation invites guests to explore the 20,000 sq. ft dreamscape by making their way through a multiverse of mind-boggling environments and squeezing through all kinds of spaces. Check out the magical fridge and washing machine portals in the video…

Dive down the rabbit hole and check out the video here.

Coca-Cola’s Robotic Billboard

Last month, Coca-Cola updated their Times Square landmark billboard by unveiling the world’s first 3D robotic sign. The new six-story spectacle features 1,760 independently moving LED screens, perfectly choreographed to the content to create a multi-sensory experience for passersby.

Nearly 100 years after Coca-Cola installed its first sign in Times Square, Guinness World Records was on site for the sign’s debut and awarded them with two record titles: “The Largest 3D Robotic Billboard” and “The First 3D Robotic Billboard.”

Mesmerising to say the least – and it only took Coca Cola and a whole bunch of collaborators four years to create. Seeing is believing though, so check out the video (courtesy of Loren Brinton).

The Standard Life in Bloom

Closer to home, the Edinburgh International Festival celebrated its 70th anniversary with an almighty outdoor spectacle by multi award-winning 59 Productions; transforming St Andrew Square into a magical night garden through huge light and sound installations. The audience wandered around as the buildings burst into life – immersing them in a fast moving world of colour, texture and sound. See the full spectacle for yourself here.

Rainbow Village

This is Kampung Pelangi in Randusari, Indonesia. The pretty little village has been transformed into a colour explosion of 223 rainbow houses. Separated into two distinct communities, each house is painted in a minimum of three dazzling shades.

Why, I hear you ask? Tourism, plain and simple. Pioneered as an important social project, the former slum-turned-celebrity neighbourhood has already experienced a surge in visitors who are now helping to support the local economy.

A Forest Where Gods Live

Teamlab have transformed the 172 year old Mifuneyama Rakuen Park in Japan by illuminating the forest with digital projections as part of their project to “Digitize Nature” where “Nature Becomes Art.” The idea being that non-material digital art can turn nature into art without harming it.

We know what you’re thinking… it reminded us of Avatar too.

Creative Insight…

Ikigai – A Reason To Live

What’s your reason for getting up every day? Originating from Japan, the idea of ikigai is becoming popular as a way to live longer and better. Simply put, it is a concept of “a reason to live” or the idea of having a purpose in life. To find this reason or purpose, experts recommend starting with four questions: What do you love? What are you good at? What does the world need from you? What can you get paid for?

This is a slow process, not necessarily related to work or income – but finding a balance between these four areas could be a route to ikigai for us westerners.

The Automation of Creativity

Shot in Tokyo, London and Amsterdam this 16-minute film by The Drum explores how artificial intelligence is beginning to impact the creativity of advertising and the role of human creatives.

Not sold yet?

Ok, what if we were to tell you that it features the world’s first artificial intelligence creative director, AI-CD ß creating a pitch from a brief it had received? Or how about a machine that was taught to think, act and paint like Rembrandt? This video has it all.

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