The Flederhaus—a pun off the word fledermaus which means ‘bat’ in German—is a fun structure in Vienna designed by architects Heri & Salli explicitly for hanging around and relaxing. The open building, situated in the Museum Quarter of the city, houses 28 hammocks on 5 floors that offer great views to one and all at no cost. The inviting hammocks are arranged to allow for meeting and interacting with neighbors. A fun public space for sure.
Swiss accessories luxury brand Bally has launched a year-long initiative expanding their commitment to art and design with their project titled Form Scratch presented during Art Basel last month. The project has three parts to it: the restoration of one of architect Jean Prouvé’s signature prefab nomadic structures; a collection of furniture by Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret; and, lastly, a commission by French artists Benjamin Moreau and Samuel Boutruche of Kolkoz. That last part mentioned is the one this post is about. Drawing from their background working in video games and 3D digital imaging, the Kolkoz duo recreated the house’s elements as a flat wooden panel, much in the style of the model kits from my youth (and likely still today… it’s been a while since I’ve put together a toy model.) Being that the Jean Prouvé house is meant to be built by two people in a day, the artists flattened it out and playfully made it an oversized toy object. The installation is both fun as well as a document of the structure’s elements. Suspending it over the river Rhine makes it all the more humorous and eye-catching.
Here’s the event in all its fabulousness:
At first glance, the winning design for a 100-meter-tall observation and broadcast tower set to be built in the city of Canakkale—on the northern part of the Aegean coast of Turkey—looks like the latest in cutting edge amusement park rides. Upon a closer look, the strikingly dramatic sweeping structure is a clever solution to the challenges of combining technological requirements of a broadcasting tower with recreational ones of a public space. The two Rotterdam-based architecture firms that formed the winning team, Inter.National.Design (IND) and Powerhouse Company, united all the functions and requirements in a single strong structure. Made of Cor-Ten steel, the looping design offers close-up panoramic views on all sides of both the city and forest as well as a visitor center that hovers above the trees before shooting off into the sky into antenna-mode. A future iconic landmark for sure.
Inspired by the half-timbered houses and architecture of Orleans, France, French artist Sambre (previously here) whose signature style involves using recovered wood in a variety of impressive installations, is in the process of building his latest work titled Escalier de Secours (Fire Escape in English) in the center of the Church of St. Peter the Puellier in Mairie d’Orleans. The exhibit officially opened at the end of May, though the enormous staircase was not yet completed, this completely intentional, inviting guests to experience the process. Sambre’s majestic and almost disproportionately large staircase offers discovery through ascension; new perspectives on the Church’s space and architecture. The artist doesn’t impose a single path, but invites visitors to make a choice among multiple possible routes, like the path of life chosen by man.
This intervention comes only two months after his last piece along the Seine in Paris (see bottom two photos), once again utilizing discarded materials instead of spray paint to create his sculptural street art. And shortly before that piece, he collaborated with Teurk and Run on OKube (see two photos on middle right side) for the Inuit Festival in Cergy.
So far, 2014 has been a very prolific year. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with this second half. Escalier de Secours will be up through July 13, 2014, if you happen to be in France this summer… lucky you.
Photos courtesy of Sambre & The Mouarf
New York based artist Jenny Holzer (previously here) recently unveiled her newest typographic LED installation in Sydney. I Stay (Ngaya ngalawa), as the permanent site-specific installation is titled, takes over all four sides of one of the 19-meter steel columns beneath 8 Chifley Square. Globally recognized for a body of work that is responsive to history and place through language that speaks to the community, Holzer has chosen texts by numerous Indigenous authors. They span the past century and represent a broad range of sources. Some are poems, some are songs, and some much longer texts. This site-specific work enlivens what was essentially a concrete wind-tunnel, providing a human, emotional, and political focus to the corporate building and neighborhood through the use of blue, green & red diodes vertically streaming its words.
Photos: Brett Boardman
Last weekend we headed over to Bushwick Open Studios. Always a bit difficult to navigate due to the number of artists and studios that participate, as well as the sprawling nature of it, we were fortunate to find Hyperallergic’s Concise Guide and managed to hit a good amount of studios with interesting work. One of these was Rodney Allen Trice’s, an artist and designer who moved to NYC 25 years ago and needed to furnish his apartment on a budget, ultimately using found objects and “refitting” them into furniture. What might look like an old garden hose to the naked eye becomes an ottoman or a funky fashionable hat in Trice’s world. His tire rocker, having sat in one myself, couldn’t be more comfortable, and the crutches table, though maybe not my personal aesthetic, is definitely eye-catching and incredibly clever. But the designer doesn’t stop there, no siree. His company T.O.M.T. has been repurposing trashed and forgotten objects for years with the mission of object recovery and reassignment. He likes to call it “object career counseling” rather than waste-handling and he’s spreading his philosophy and technique not only through his work but via classes in his studio as well.
One could certainly say there’s an MC Escher quality to the dramatic staircase designed by Zecc Architecten for the transformation of the Sint Jansklooster Watertower in the Netherlands into a watchtower. The Dutch architects converted the water tower situated in the middle of a nature preserve, into a “route architecturale” (architectural route) leading up to a spectacular 360 degree view of De Wieden. The repurposed tank still contains the original steel staircase that intertwines with the new and functional wooden one. The newer steep, angular staircase contrasts nicely with the smooth cylindrical walls, and the warmth of the wood with the coolness of the concrete. Visitors are rewarded for their long trek upstairs with a spectacular view which has been enhanced by the addition of four large windows.
Photos by Stijn Poelstra
A recent project at the University of Isthmus in Panama City by one of my favorite Spanish art collectives, Boa Mistura (previously), engaged the architecture and industrial design students. Invited to give a two-week workshop, the artists worked with the students to create a design using their signature anamorphic style which was then executed by the students. Seeing the university as a Ciudad del Saber (City of Knowledge) they created a type mural on the side of one of the campus buildings that reads pensar (think) from one angle, and sentir (feel) from another; two key elements in obtaining knowledge.
All images courtesy of BoaMistura
Based in North Carolina, Patrick Dougherty has become noted for his amazing work with saplings and sticks which he uses to create fantastical, quasi-architectural structures that seem to evoke another time, place, or fantasy realm altogether. Individual sapling branches and sticks are woven together in windswept fashion, fitting in as if part of the natural landscape. Combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature, the artist began to learn more about primitive techniques of building and to experiment with tree saplings as construction material. These works have evolved into largescale environmental pieces, requiring saplings and twigs by the truckload. Almost seems like a Hobbit should be peering out the door of some of these.
You can see Dougherty at work in the trailer for the film Bending Sticks, below, which documents his stickwork.
via Nashville Arts
Believe it or not, Belgium-born Henk van Rensbergen is an airline pilot; a job which takes him to many locations around the world. But it is the urge to explore eerie abandoned sites which he’s possessed since childhood, that has led him to take this stunning series of photographs (and books) titled Abandoned Places. Van Rensbergen captures the ghost-like atmosphere that exists within these spaces, whether they be homes, offices, amusement parks or hair salons. The presence of those who once inhabited these locations is almost palpable. The stories (or the stories we decide to create in our minds) are there to be told via his amazing images. These few are just the tip of the iceberg. You can see so many more over here. I think it’s safe to say, flying might be Mr. Rensbergen’s official profession, but photography is clearly his passion.
Dutch visual artist Martijn Sandberg creates Image Messages in public spaces as well as in paintings and sculpture. He explores the tension between text and image, legibility and illegibility, public and private domain. In his site-specific public artworks throughout The Netherlands, Sandberg plays with the material bearing the image which in turn camouflages the message from certain angles, and exposes it from others. “Image is message is image.” Whether created using bricks on a building facade, tiles on a floor surface, concrete staircases, or a wooden fence, there’s a trickiness to all of Sandberg’s work that both challenges and amuses the viewer. And as if that weren’t enough, the messages themselves are often chuckle-worthy, such as in the third photo down in what looks to be brass strips: “U Heeft Tien Bewaarde Berichten” which translates as “You Have Ten Saved Messages.”
The Frankfurt based Luminale 2014 — one of the world’s largest and most renowned light festivals — concluded this past weekend. As per usual, there were many impressive installations this year including Cornea Ti, a collaboration between Interior Architecture students from the School of Design Mainz and Ensemble Modern Frankfurt. Consisting of three connected containers that formed a sort of interactive stage, visitors would step through the amorphous tunnels triggering the many integrated LEDs hidden within the walls of the structure with their movements. In addition to the movement, sound caused the light to change, illuminating letterforms that would transform and morph into anagrams, only visible from the perspective of the audience. I haven’t been able to make out any words myself in the video below, but I sure do like the effect.
Reminiscent of the summer of 2000 when The Cow Parade hit the streets of NYC—we were huge fans, having set out on the mission to find all the cows and photograph ourselves with our favorites, pre-social media era, just for our own pleasure…imagine that!— this April the city has kicked off The Big Egg Hunt NY with close to 300 eggs “hidden” around town that Fabergé commissioned artists, designers, and architects to paint, or create their own, all in the name of charity. The participants are an impressive bunch, from artists such as Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel, to architects Zaha Hadid and Morphosis, to graphic designer Debbie Millman, fashion designers including Cynthia Rowley and Diane Von Furstenberg, and, of course, street artists: Dain, Cost, Faust and plenty more. Unlike the cows at the beginning of the century, the eggs can be tracked via smartphone app that will notify a person if they’re near an egg and will place it on a map once it’s been discovered (and checked in) by ten people. It seems many of the street art eggs are located downtown, other eggs are exhibited in Grand Central, Rockefeller Center and Columbus Circle (there are a whole bunch more photos here.) But those are just a few eggsamples… there are lots more to find all across the boroughs, so get cracking! Well, you know what I mean. You have until April 17th. After that they’ll be exhibited at Rockefeller Center through the 25th and then auctioned off. Anyone can bid via the website and there are also more affordable mini versions available in the site’s shop.
Photos courtesy of The Big Egg Hunt NY & facebook page; danap07’s instagram; and complex.
If you were to pass by the Edgeland House in Austin, Texas, you may just think you’re seeing a small hill that has somehow split apart, or you may just miss it altogether. The cleverly hidden house designed by Bercy Chen Studio, is a contemporary re-interpretation of an old Native American Pit House. The Pit House was typically sunken, taking advantage of the earth’s mass to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the year; cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. In addition to providing maximum energy efficiency, the project also converted a property that had long been used as a dumping ground for construction crews into a showcase for the wild nature found in the very land itself. The result is a sculptural piece, hidden from the road with dramatic glass clad polygons stretching out back, allowing illumination of the entire house, with privacy and, of course, sustainability in mind.
Photos courtesy of the architects.
via Texas Architects
Earlier this year, Madrid launched an innovative project that seeks to “redecorate” lower income neighborhoods of the city with contemporary art interventions, both in the form of sculpture/structure as well as murals. Starting in Tetouan, the initiative to improve the urban landscape has been quite successful and is continuing on into other neighborhoods: first Usera, then Villaverde in the southside of the capital. One such project is Hypertube, a collaboration between PKMN Architects and Taller de Casqueria. The playful looking structure is made up of six precast reinforced concrete tubes two meters in diameter and two and a half meters in length. These dimensions make it possible for anyone to stand inside, from child to adult. Its objective: a “gathering place for neighbors and passers-by.”
Photos: r2hox’s flickr; marta nimeva; & intermdiae
Amsterdam-based firm NEXT Architects (previously here) has created a spiraling sculptural staircase titled The Elastic Perspective that seemingly leads to nowhere, but in fact provides a lookout point with panoramic views. The looping oxidized-steel structure, with its rusty Serra-esque quality, is located in an industrial precinct, near to railway tracks, sitting prominently on a grassy hillside on the outskirts of Rotterdam. The Möbius strip-inspired staircase appears to be endless but instead leads at its highest point to an unhindered view of the city’s skyline in the distance.
Le Palais Bulles or “Bubble Palace” designed by Hungarian-born architect Antti Lovag who grew up in Scandinavia, sits on the Mediterranean in the south of France and was originally the home of Pierre Cardin. Now the Palace of Bubbles is a private event venue that hosts grandiose weddings, posh parties and other exclusive events as well as serving as the backdrop for many fashion photo-shoots and films. Somewhere between futuristic moon house and groovy 1970s pad, like it or not, the house is one unique piece of architecture. It seems that Antti Lovag spent many hours of his Scandinavian childhood building snow forts in the style of igloos and eventually became the preeminent architect of bubble architecture as well as designer of circular furniture. Lovag has at least two other of these bubble homes credited to his name, previous to this grander Palais near Cannes.