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.
via gothamist & nytimes
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.”
via abc via lagaleriademagdelena
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.
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)