In addition to its sleek, minimalist design, this West London private residence dubbed Number 23 (based on its street address) designed by and for Matt White of MATT Architecture, is very playful. From the camouflaged front door with a very cool cut-out 23 and the humorous “hello” right above it, to the large single window jutting out of the façade with its electronically ‘switchable’ glazing—an LED technology that creates opacity for privacy with a mere flick of a switch—to the climbing wall and little messages such as “boo” in neon inside the bar cabinet and the “I don’t have OCD” mugs in the kitchen, these guys definitely had fun working on this home. Plus, the simple elevation conceals a house that is 30% bigger than its neighbors, despite occupying a 20% smaller plot and also includes various concealed technologies that dramatically reduce the energy consumption and running costs for the family. Magic. Humor, trickery, energy efficiency, and style…what more could a person ask for in a design?
For performance artists/architects Ward Shelley and Alex Schweder (previously here) sharing an unconventional living space is not a new concept. Their “performance architecture” has taken unusual forms such as a hanging see-saw-like structure or a stacked-living arrangement, in each case co-dependent on the other’s movement. Their latest installation/performance is titled In Orbit: a 25-foot wheel hanging from the ceiling, complete with two beds, desks, chairs, sinks, and apparently porta-potties (fortunately those don’t flip with the wheel), one of each at the counterpoint of the other. Ward Shelley lives on the exterior of the wheel, while Alex Schweder on the interior. And live they will, like this, without getting off, for a total of ten days. Currently they’re halfway through their stay. Any time one of them wants to use the sink or lie on the bed, they both have to slowly walk, rotating the wheel—much in the way a hamster makes his/her cage wheel rotate—to get to that particular item, in unison, and they both have to be in agreement as to the current activity. Schweder can’t choose to work at his desk while Shelley lies on his bed. That simply won’t work.
For those of you in NYC, you can visit In Orbit and witness their cohabitation at The Boiler through March 9, 2014. After that the structure will remain on view until April 5th sans artists. For everyone else, there’s the video below:
German artist/designer/architect Tobias Rehberger (previously here) currently has a three-part exhibit titled Home and Away and Outside at the Shirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. For the purposes of this post, I’m focusing only on the first part: a floor to ceiling installation with an optical illusion all-over effect combined with paintings and sculptures that create a dizzying state of sensory-overload. The dazzle camouflage graphics covering the surfaces are based on an optical technique employed mainly on ships in World War I making them difficult to pinpoint as targets. Once visitors make it through this first, trippy, part of the exhibition, they are greeted by a second, more tranquil section that contains applied and functional artworks including much of the sculpture that has set Rehberger apart since the 90s.
Home and Away and Outside is on view in Frankfurt through May 11, 2014.
This is such a fun idea. Paris mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet is proposing, as part of her platform, to repurpose some of the 14 to 16 abandoned Metro stations in the city of light , converting them into cultural or recreational gathering spaces. The project aims to bring back life to these phantom stations by giving them a new function. She commissioned architectural firms OXO Architects + Laisné Architecte Urbaniste to come up with a series of concepts, rendering the Arsenal subway stop as a restaurant, swimming pool, nightclub and theater. How cool would that be? If it weren’t for all the frolicking rats rejoicing on the NYC subway tracks, I would vote for any of these concepts in this very town. Or maybe one of these could be worked into the Lowline?
What would you do with 500,000 sugar cubes? Well, if you’re Irish artist Brendan Jamison and his sculptor collaborators Mark Revels, Mary McCaffrey, Lydia Holmes, and David Turner, you build a metropolis, naturally. A Sugar Metropolis. Brendan Jamison and his crew did just that this past October through January at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland, inviting visitors to participate in the ongoing construction of sugar buildings with the assistance of the experts. Now, with the help of No Longer Empty (previously here and here) they’re bringing their project to Harlem this summer; the Sugar Hill district, no less! The event aims to celebrate the power of collaboration in art, engaging local residents of all ages in the community to help build their own Sugar Metropolis, with the goal to ignite the imagination of everyone in the neighborhood. Brendan Jamison has created a Kickstarter page to help fund the project, so see if you might want to consider contributing to their generous creative efforts.
Here’s Ulster installation in progress:
It’s that time of year again, when all things turn red and heart-shaped in honor of St Valentine. Times Square is no exception. Now in its sixth year since the revitalization of Father Duffy Square, Times Square Arts held their annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition for a heart- and love-themed interactive sculpture to be placed across the square from the TKTS booth steps. This year’s winning design is Young Projects’ Match-Maker that will cosmically connect people, guided by their zodiac signs. Peering through bright red, interwoven periscopes – which, from certain angles, appears as an iconic heart, while from others a more abstract tangled object – visitors are offered glimpses of their four most suited astrological mates.
But while Match-Maker is a clever design, the competition was no slouch either. The five finalists were strong candidates and merit mentioning as well. Haiko Cornelissen Architecten submitted Tweet Heart NY, an illuminated heart that would pulsate with every tweet @ it. The more tweets, the faster the pulse. Schaum/Shieh Architects offered My Fuzzy Valentine, a striped graphic reflective structure that would create moiré patterns when rotated that pulse like a beating heart, as well as making for great selfie opportunities and creating digital Valentine-grams. Next, The Living proposed Vapor Valentine: a dynamic cloud that captures and displays the ever-changing life and light of Times Square. People could interact with the heart through touching and blowing the cloud, through placing their hands on the glass box to affect the vapor inside, and through a custom text-messaging hotline. Heart, proposed by Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio, would have been made from an illuminated circle that could be pulled and folded to form a heart. When released it would flutter until regaining its balance. Lastly, SoftLAB’s entry was inspired by the sweetness and forms of rock candy and candy hearts, hence its name Sweet ❤. Its kaleidoscopic reflective surface would capture the lights of Times Square in addition to revealing hidden messages as visitors moved their mobile cameras around the sculpture.
You can visit the winning Match-Maker sculpture through March 11, 2014, and you can read more about all the entries over here.
via Van Alen Institute
Designed by Brooklyn-based firm Para-Project, the Haffenden House in Syracuse, NY, departs from the traditional “house”, breaking the repetitive suburban landscape. The house, designed for two poets, includes a library and writing space on the second floor, a curved reading room above that, and a garage at its base. The 1,125 sq. foot building is wrapped in a white fabric made with silicone-impregnated fiberglass. The fabric adheres to the façade with the exception of the glass windows. The space between the glass and fabric create a fuzzy quality, allowing light in, yet providing a certain amount of privacy from the street. The back windows are not screened, offering an open view to the backyard.
All images courtesy of Para-Project.
One would imagine that the new Veranda Café in Kuwait City might have upped their usual insurance policy. The striking mirrored design by Adam D. Tihany of the NYC-based Tihany Studio makes for a fun house hall-of-mirrors quality that looks like it could confuse even the sharpest person as they ascend or descend the staircase. Made using pieces of steel shaped into fractal geometric forms and then covered with a mirror finish, the entrance to the restaurant continues up the walls and onto the ceiling all the way to the reception area. Probably makes for some fun photos, seeing oneself in multiple panels at the same time. Once inside the restaurant, the design continues in a slightly warmer style that also envelopes the space, but this time in undulating pieces of wood. Quite dramatic all the way around.
Maybe it’s time birds get in on museum culture. Or at least that might be one of artist Marlon de Azambuja’s (previously here and here) goals in creating these sculptural bird cages in the shape of famous international museums. See if you can identify all four. I’ll link to photos of the actual museums: top (c’mon, that’s a freebie!); second one down; second from bottom; and bottom.
If you like these you might also enjoy these gingerbread museums.
Well, this is quite a transformation. Majid Fatourechiani and Hamid Fatourechiani of Fatourechiani Architecture Studio in Tehran, Iran, have recently completed a new storefront for Nakhlak Confectionery in their own city. By attaching a sculptural prismatic patterned wooden louver to the upper part of an existing—and rather unremarkable—building (see 4th photo from top), in addition to renovating the interior and rest of the exterior, Fatourechiani Studio has made the building virtually unrecognizable. What was once generic is now strikingly contemporary. It almost looks like giant exploding triangles of milk chocolate…but maybe that’s just me. The stainless steel signage slab adds to the modernity and gives an element of sleek elegance. Definitely interesting and daring.
If you like this, you might also enjoy this Iranian snack bar design.
via contemporary architecture of Iran
At the VVTs All-Russia Exhibition Center in Moscow last week, an upside down house had visitors in a tizzy. Similar in concept to Jean-François Fourtou’s Tombée du Ciel, this house (not sure who the artist/designer behind the project is) is larger and even includes a car hanging from the driveway. The multi-room structure was built upside down as a tourist attraction and was fully fitted with furnishings, kitchen, bath, and even food on the dining room table, all hanging from the ceiling, or, rather, floor…wait. It appears that at least in one of the rooms a video camera was inverted inside a cabinet (see third photo down) projecting the room live and right side up on a tv screen and, consequently, its visitors upside down. Confusing and fun.
Thanks Ramon and Eugene. (GMS)
NYC-based artist Sarah Oppenheimer‘s work blurs the line between sculpture and architecture. Her amazing installations usually involve moving walls, slanting floors, and creating apertures—sometimes symmetric, sometimes asymmetric, and often with mirrors—that would mesmerize (and confuse) the most resistant of gallery/museum guests. Much in the way James Turrell or Doug Wheeler can create spatial confusion with light, and Richard Serra can take over a space with his torques, Oppenheimer makes the gallery itself—and the experience of walking through it—the art. All her works are identified by letters and numbers such as D-33 (second photo from top) making them all the more abstract. Each work is meticulously planned with mechanical drawings and engineered load tests, then executed with precision. I can’t wait to see one of these in person.
via ppow gallery
The Scandinavia-based architecture firm White Arkitekter has created a tricky all-paper cabin titled Chameleon Cabin. Made of corrugated paper and weighing roughly 100 kilos, looks like white marble from one angle and black marble from the opposite one. Using a simple system of tabs and slots, 95 paper modules—printed in white on one side and black on the other—were attached to form a cabin the proportions of which were based on those of a Swedish friggebod, a shed that can be built without planning permission. The modular system could be used to create longer structures as well. The bright yellow interior is a great glowing touch.
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Imagine 365 wooden sleds stacked in the form of a Christmas tree. Now imagine each of those sleds going to a child in need once the structure is dismantled. Nice, right? Well, that’s just what architecture/design studio Hello Wood (previously here) is doing at the Palace of Arts in Budapest. In the span of one week, they built an 11-meter tall tree that can be viewed from inside as well, giving the impression of being in the middle of a giant snowflake. The base is made of steel to keep things safe in case of strong winter winds. A tall wooden frame was built with the help of a crane and some welding, in which the sleds were fixed upon. Once the temporary installation comes down, Hello Wood will donate the sleds to the children at SOS Children’s Villages, keeping things reusable and charitable as the holidays should be.
Here’s a video of the installation process:
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This is one crazy-looking housing complex, and yet the logic behind the hivelike building is, well, just that: logical. Completed in the 1970s, Ramot Polin housing project in Jerusalem was designed by Zvi Hecker. The Polish-born Israeli architect spent much of his career exploring cubes and dodecahedrons in his work. Hecker used the unique structure’s form to adapt to—as well as fit in with—the surrounding irregular terrain. By using the dodecahedrons and pentagon-shaped walls, he was able to enclose a large volume with less surface area; there’s a compactness to these units that makes them pack tightly and nicely together. Apparently, at this point (almost 40 years later) all of the 700+ original structures have been transformed to some degree, without a single one left in its originally designed state. Understandable, yet it would have been interesting to see.
Top photo from domus. All others by the architect.
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Sure, it’s that time of year when visions of sugar plums dance in your head, and gingerbread houses abound. But New Zealand-born artist/photographer Henry Hargreaves based in Brooklyn and stylist/chef Caitlin Levin took their holiday creations to new heights. The two have collaborated on several projects in the past (Deep Fried Gadgets being a largely recognizable one,) but their latest collaboration took the form of Gingerbread and Candy Art Museums & Galleries for ArtBasel/Miami. These amazing models of the iconic institutions were made using gingerbread, hard candy, chocolate, licorice, and many other tasty sweets. Hargreaves and Levin made tabletop-size replicas of the Louvre, Guggenheim, Maxxi, Tate Modern, Karuizawa Gallery, MAS, and Soumaya and then cleverly lit and photographed each one.
You can see more of the process here.
via grit and neatorama
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Seattle-based architecture firm Mithun created a sustainable tree house for the Boy Scouts of America that functions as an educational center in West Virginia. Sitting among the trees within the forest the structure, that follows the rigorous set of standards of the Living Building Challenge as a guide, has a set of outdoor staircases that go from the forest floor to the 125 ft-high rooftop. At the top a 4,000-watt wind turbine and 6,500-watt photovoltaic array offers lessons about renewable energy. The structure’s mission is to teach visitors about the environment and sustainability, including water conservation, energy use, recycling and more.
Photos by Joe Fletcher