Good design is supposed to make life easier. Ideally, it’s beautiful, intuitive, and useful. This can be said for things like Apple products, for instance, but the same doesn’t apply to Katerina Kamprani’sThe Uncomfortable project. The architect has applied the exact opposite principles to objects such as forks, watering cans, and rain boots. Instead of helping improve our lives, they make it harder but being oddly contorted, ill-placed, and out of the wrong materials. This includes hairy dishes, a cement umbrella, and steps that lead to nowhere (paired with a door you can’t enter).
Kamprani (also known as KK) ponders if these designs are vindictive, or perhaps a helpful study of everyday objects. Her goal was to make them uncomfortable (hence the name) but technically usable and to maintain the essence of the original item. While they aren’t totally unusable, they certainly won’t improve your life. (Via La Monda)
Tucked away in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert is a tiny pool whose location is unknown to the public, identifiable only by guarded GPS coordinates. It was imagined by Austrian artist Alfredo Barsuglia, and is technically open to the public. If you want to swim in it, all you need to do is ask the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in West Hollywood about the longitude and latitude points and obtain the special key to open the pool’s cover.
The four-foot by 12-foot body of water is available for 24 hours to any one person or small party, and you must bring a gallon of water per person to replenish the pool. Its minimalist stylings are painted white and stands out against the sandy and arid terrain. Alone in the desert, it’s an oasis for a weary traveler or nomad. Barsuglia calls it Social Pool, and meant for the swimmer to consider the societal ramifications of this outdoor installation. A description of the project reads:
The work embodies the massive socio-economic changes that have taken place in the last forty years. It thus understands itself as the product of an economy in which privacy and immateriality have been fully commodified… For many a consumer, art is expected to operate according to the principles of the service economy rather than following humanist ideals of intellectual or moral stimulus and education.
Whether or not this pool encourages this deep thought or is simply a well-thought gimmick remains to be seen. (Via Huffington Post)
Some works of art look so wonderfully tactile that you’re drawn to want to touch them. Such is the case of Séance by American artist Sheila Hicks. The larger-than-life installation features huge tufts of colorful fabric stacked on top of one another. It was recently presented by Demisch Danant at Design Miami/Basel’s Design at Large Program.
A black-painted curved wall is covered with giant splotches of vibrantly colored wool, linen, and cotton. Crafting them utilized a processes that originates as pure powdered pigment and is later combined with a binding agent that creates a pliable fiber. This process is symbolically thought of as translating color into 3D form which is then repeated again and again for the purpose of Hick’s installation.
The multi-faceted Séance features a suspended column and a “color table” in addition to the things against the wall. A waterfall of individual strands pour from the ceiling onto a stack of blobs below them, carrying a powerful visual. The color table encourages viewers to create color combinations based on their own associations. When they’re done, they can share and trade them with other participants and piece together a unique narrative. (via designboom)
Art director, designer, and photographer Francois Prost captures the exteriors of french night clubs in his series After Party. There’s a twist to these straightforward compositions, and it’s that they are all pictures taken the in the daylight, where the glitz is non-existent. It’s safe to say that they are significantly less impressive places in the afternoon. Instead of of neon lights and gaggles of beautiful people, they are abandoned-looking, desolate buildings that show their age.
We see a lot of faux features at these clubs, like fake palm trees, sphinxes, and even an Acropolis. It’s all meant to create a fantasy and make the guests feel like they’ve been transported from their normal lives and into some glamorous one. Of course, without the aid of the dark and flashing lights, the buildings are dilapidated and out of place. If you’re a club goer, it’s probably best to avoid them during work hours to preserve their intended effect. (Via It’s Nice That)
Our society, by and large, seems to love mashups of popular culture. Adding to the growing list of amusing combinations is Justin DeVine’s illustrations of Muppets as Twin Peaks characters. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie the Bear take the roles of Special Agent Dale Cooper, Laura Palmer, and the Log Lady, respectively. DeVine’s watercolor drawings include the clothing, scenes, and quotes from David Lynch’s cult classic television show but whose characters are replaced with the gregarious Muppet clan.
If you aren’t familiar with Twin Peaks, it’s a surreal drama that follows the investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper into murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer. It takes place in a small town, and explores the facade of small-town values and the seedier layers that lurk beneath it. Pairing this with the happy-go-lucky Muppets creates some strange imagery; not necessarily in the same way as Lynch crafted Twin Peaks, but odd nonetheless.
All of these illustrations are available as prints in DeVine’s InPrnt shop.
Artist Hilary Fayle uses embroidery techniques to create delicate suspended designs in dried leaves. She first cuts shapes like circles and mimics the contour of the actual leaf, and then stitches thread into a variety of intricate patterns. The complex designs mimic the veins of the plant in their twists and weaves.
Fayle first began stitching on unconventional materials while she was studying embroidery at the Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England. She started with found materials and fabric and later moved onto leaves once she returned to America. The choice to use them was a logical extension of Fayle’s desire to use renewable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly materials for her artwork. Photos by Natalie Hofert Photography. (Via Colossal)
There’s an air of both mundaneness and mystery in the series The Waiting Game by Spanish photographer Txema Salavans. The blown-out landscape images were collected over a period of six years, and the intriguing photographs don’t depict hitchhikers – they feature prostitutes. We see women sitting at rural roadside locations along Spain’s Mediterranean coast, including highways, secondary highways, and small byways between towns. Formally, they are not the focus of Txema’s composition. They appear from a distance and sit on the side of the photo’s frame as road signs, wilderness, and construction sites surround them. The routes seem desolate but are still well traveled, as drivers want to avoid having to pay for toll roads, as well as trucks carrying goods and fruit take them from Andalucia to France.
Salavans disguised himself knowing that these women probably wouldn’t want their photos taken in the first place. He wore a surveyor’s costume, complete with an assistant and a surveyor’s pole. The results offer an unconventional into the world of prostitution that takes it off city streets and to quiet moments. (Via Feature Shoot)
With television game shows like Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior (and every slapstick movie, too), it’s no surprise that some of us derive pleasure from seeing people get hit. Photographer Sandro Giordoano’s twisted (both literally and figuratively) series In Extremis (bodies with no regret) capitalizes on the fall of others The staged images feature people comically posed in awkward and unflattering positions.
Always face down, the poor subjects are often garishly dressed and surrounded by their belongings. This is Giordano’s commentary on our attachments to our possessions; in every photograph, you’ll see the person clutching something like a watering can, oversized tennis ball, and even a power tool. To him, the characters in his compositions are oppressed by their appearance and the need to have things – and save them, even at their own expense. Their fall signifies that they hit rock bottom, and that they need to reexamine their life. (Via Laughing Squid)