Issue #083

Megan Hotson


Welcome to your weekly dose of TooXToo, this week featuring a ‘build your own’ plywood bicycle, the 2022 baton for the commonwealth games, Free Stock’s shift to represent the real Brazil, and how Facebook are changing their name to focus on the metaverse…

The self-build bicycle

Many of us adopted new forms of exercise during the pandemic to move more or be closer to nature. Cycling became popular, as not only did it provide an alternative to those not partial to a 5K, but it also allowed commuters to swap the busy tube for some early morning endorphins. This surge in interest created a struggle for bike retailers who failed to meet the increasing demand for bikes.

Spanish architecture studio Arquimaña saw an opportunity to innovate, overcoming this supply and demand barrier. This Spanish studio began working on design files provided by OpenBike since 2015, and recently produced the ‘Rev4’- which is now on display at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. These are a series of designs you can access to build your own model of a bike.

There is a four-step process to building a bike on the website, which also includes a full list of tools you’ll need. As well as this a list of components you can reuse from other bikes or get from a shop.

This project is about more than the bike itself- the concept behind the bikes is all about trying to get people to articulate how they can contribute to a better, more sustainable future.

 “This is not about bicycles!” comments Openbike on their website. “Open your eyes, this is about you, about your attitude towards the future. Do you think that the pollution of the cities will disappear by itself? Do you think traffic jams are caused by others?”

So next time you are feeling crafty and conscious of the environment- head over to their website to find out more. Perhaps you and your hand-crafted bike could be the talk of the office next week.

The design behind the Commonwealth 2022 baton revealed

The next commonwealth games are set to take place in Birmingham, and the baton to take centre stage has now been revealed. This prolific prop is inspired by championing womanhood and wants to explore how today’s youth think about the commonwealth.

Designer, Laura Nyahuye is currently touring the countries of the commonwealth ahead of the games in July 2022. Nyahuye has called the baton “the Queens Baton”. And further commented, “although I don’t relate to the Queen a lot, I can see her as a mother, a sister and daughter – she’s a woman like me and there is common ground there to work with.”


The combination of different materials and shapes hint to Nyahuye’s Zimbabwean heritage because, as she outlines upcycling and recycling are native methods of production in her country: “It’s something we did because we had to, because it made things affordable,” she stated.

Several features modernise her concept and are designed to act like senses. For example, a 360-degree camera forms the “eyes and ears” of the baton. The camera will be able to record as well as transmit imagery along the route the baton takes. LED components alongside a heart rate sensor will be able to show the heartbeats of the baton bearers as they travel with it along the relay. The baton will also have “lungs” in the form of a series of atmospheric sensors which will use lasers to analyse its surroundings.

Who knew so many elements of design and inspiration could be incorporated into what is a relatively small canvas? All made possible by “the power of collaboration”.

Representing the real Brazil- free stocks commitment to transparency

Every day we are faced with unrealistic images in the media which foster negative perceptions surrounding how we see or feel about ourselves. Free Stock are amongst those social disruptors, who are working towards creating more honest and transparent representations of people, and communities. The result? Images that are relatable, authentic, and refreshing.

Free stock wants to challenge Brazilian stereotypes that associate this rich and diverse culture solely with carnivals, rainforests, or beaches. To curate a genuine representation of Brazil and the people living there- creative agency 678 decided to create its own stock photo website.

The site is called Brasil com S, and is divided into three segments. The first is ‘doing business on a Tuesday at 12:11’, followed by ‘Thursday happy hour at 19:43’, and finally ‘relaxed Sunday with friends at 16:27’. These three categories aim to represent daily life in this buzzing, vibrant destination.

Lab 678 states, "We are a country rich in diversity of bodies, skin tones, identities, gender expressions and sexualities." There are over 200 of their images to access online that are also free to use for editorial purposes.

We all deserve to see our own culture reflected in the photos that are circulated online, and in real-life. There is a lot of work to do to portray humanity authentically for all. Thanks to Lab 678 and Free Stock- who are producing diverse and decolonized images to share and honour, an example has been set for other countries to follow.

Facebook and the metaverse

Multiple brands are harnessing the power of the digital, virtual realm to enhance their physical presence. Amongst these brands is social media and tech giant, Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans to rebrand Facebook with a name that affiliates the company with the metaverse.

The chosen name will be revealed to the public on October 28th as the annual connect conference and will signal the broadening of Facebook's horizons. Zuckerberg has commented on his ambition for wanting to be known for more than social media. Discussing the future, he stated: “we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.”

Facebook has already laid some of the groundwork towards this ambition. They developed a dedicated metaverse team of specialists over the past summer and has over 10,000 people working on different hardware devices- including AR glasses to bring this highly sought after metaverse, to life.

So, will Facebook successfully lead us into a virtual world where you can live, work and shop? And what does this mean for our privacy moving forwards, and the value we place on physical relationships and experiences?

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