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.
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
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.
Fashion shows keep pushing the boundaries and blurring the lines between art, performance, design and fashion. Last week in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld and his Chanel team took their Fall 2014 runway show to a whole new level. Stepping into the Grand Palais, all attendees were welcomed by the over-the-top Chanel Shopping Center. An entire supermarket recreated with every item rebranded/repackaged and emblazoned with the highly recognizable interlocking C’s of the Chanel logo. From every food product you can imagine, to cleaning products, welcome mats, brooms, soap, garbage bags and much more. The models walked through the runway aisles clad in the new Fall line, all wearing sneakers (because you can wear a Chanel suit to pick up your groceries, but heels might be too much?) pushing grocery carts or carrying baskets. An impressive feat, which apart from the obvious wow-factor, was meant to be a commentary on the state of consumerism. You’ll be relieved to know that all of the items are being donated to charity. It is difficult to wrap one’s head around all the design, printing, and organization that clearly went into this event, in addition to the fashion line itself. It’s the ultimate mega pop-up shop/installation… it’ll be tough to top.
Here’s a video of the models strutting their wares:
via Garance Doré
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.
If you walk by Madison Square Park here in NYC from now through April 13th, you’ll spot a confusing sight: three water towers, the sort we usually see perched atop the city’s buildings holding much of our water supply—and usually a familiar part of the urban landscape. The three tanks in the park, however, do not contain water but rather are Brooklyn-based Chilean artist Iván Navarro’s (previously here and here) latest light installation titled This Land is Your Land after the Woody Guthrie song. This site-specific piece “reflects” the experience of immigration through mirrored neon type, as well as a neon ladder, that repeat infinitely within the wooden cylinders. The word “me” reflects becoming “we” alternating up the interior of one tank, while “BED” in another. I stopped by during the day and then again at night to see these and enjoyed the experience both ways. Having them stand low in the park, with the backdrop of the Flatiron building from one angle and, at night, each one glowing downward with the brightly lit Empire State Building behind from a different position, make the choice of location all the more appropriate. So, make a point to pass by, and peek under, Navarro’s water towers before April 13th.
A couple of weekends ago, when Dan was in town for a short visit, we went over to the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea to catch the new Doug Wheeler light installation. Having been to the previous Wheeler show two years ago (here) I was very excited to share the experience with my daughter. Unlike the last exhibit, there was no line. In fact, we were asked if we had a reservation, which spurred a moment of panic but, fortunately in our case, it was of no consequence. However, also unlike SA MI 75 DZ NY 12 this Wheeler light installation was less surprising and disorienting, which isn’t a bad thing, just different. While the last exhibit was a bit unnerving upon entry — not being able to tell where the room began or ended — this domed room shows its edge and horizon line right from the door. The previous work instilled a bit of anxiety, this one a calm and soothing effect. As in many of Wheeler’s works the immersive environment emphasizes the viewer’s physical experience of space, in this case focusing attention on the way light almost imperceptibly changes along the horizon as the earth turns. If the last exhibit installation felt like being in a cloud, I would equate this one (based on no personal experience, obviously) to a moon-like atmosphere. Forget watching George Clooney in Gravity, head over to David Zwirner and immerse yourself in Doug Wheeler’s rotational horizon. Best to make a reservation, just to be on the safe side. The installation will be up through March 29, 2014.
Third photo courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery. All others collabcubed.
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?
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.
Olivier Ratsi is a French visual artist whose work is mainly based upon representations of space’s perception and the experience of reality. His audiovisual immersive installation, Onion Skin, offers the viewer a changing perspective of space and time. Consisting of two walls set up perpendicular to each other and serving as canvases on which a series of animated geometric shapes are projected—along with sound—a new dimension is slowly revealed. Using repetition and scale, the anamorphic visuals play tricks on the viewer, having what initially seemed flat, suddenly delineate a new space, consequently altering their perception of depth all the while having a hypnotic effect. The illusion appears as the “onion skins” seem to peel away and leave their physical surface behind. Here’s a video:
via rooms magazine
It was only a matter of time before 3D printing turned to food, or vice versa. There have been some spectacularly beautiful pieces (actually, too beautiful to put in your coffee!) made with sugar, and now there is talk of Hershey teaming up with 3D Systems to create, I assume, some amazing things with chocolate. So, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Dutch company MELT is creating an the Icepop Generator to bring personalized ice pops to the public while educating them in 3D design technology. It appears, however, that the Icepop Generator works more on a carving and chiseling process rather than actually 3D printing an ice pop from frozen water but, it’s amazing nonetheless. Starting with a block of ice, the generator (which looks like many 3D printers with the twist of doubling as a freezer) has a sort of drill that moves back and forth along three axes, carving out the designated design, in effect, functioning as a mechanical sculptor. The Icepop Generator was just funded yesterday on Voordekunst—a Dutch funding platform similar to Kickstarter—so these pops are likely to be at a street fair or festival near you in the not-so-distant future. In the meantime the creative team at MELT has made several a pop, some in their own image. You can see how it works in this video:
via notcot and 3ders
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
Who doesn’t like a good flipbook, right? And your very own? Even better. A few years back I made a couple of flipbooks of my kids when they were little via flipclips which were a hit, but now kinetic artists Wendy Marvel and Mark Rosen have taken the concept to a whole new level with their FlipBooKit Moto, a motorized animated flip book. Based on their own artworks inspired by the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, the duo applied the same techniques they use in their sculptural mechanical flipbooks to a DIY kit. It’s easy to assemble— you’ll only need a screwdriver—and will take less than an hour to complete. You can use the included art or use your own images, the possibilities are limitless! Looks like a great gift idea. You can hear more about it in the video below and you can purchase it here.
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.