If you can’t get to a beach this summer, then you will be thankful for design duo Snarkitecture‘s new installation at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. The space is filled with 1 million translucent polystyrene balls in a massive wading pool, the floor is carpeted and scattered with deck chairs and beach umbrellas, inviting the beach goers to enjoy a day reading, wading, or playing paddle ball. There is even a summery snack bar available selling popcorn, candy, chocolate bars and soda pop. Every Wednesday the Museum offers different events where the snack bar will also offer bar service.
The Beach is a part of the program the Museum likes to offer each year – they dedicate the 10,000 square foot space to a gimmicky exhibition that will draw the crowds. And this year the honor went to Snarkitecture to produce something that would entertain the masses. Established by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham, Snarkitecture is a design studio that focuses on minimal and intelligent design solutions, not only for spaces, but for objects as well. Drawing their name from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of The Snark, the team like a challenge and enjoy re-imagining existing objects and architecture. The poem describes an “impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature”, and Mustonen and Arsham take on this idea quite literally. They state their mission as:
Snarkitecture’s approach focuses on the viewer’s experience and memory, creating moments of wonder and interaction that allow people to engage directly with their surrounding environment. By transforming the familiar into the extraordinary, Snarkitecture makes architecture perform the unexpected. (Source)
The duo have been responsible for some very clever installations in many different spaces. You can check out their back catalog here. Or take your bathing suit and towel and head to their artificial paradise. The Beach is open until September 7. (Via Washingtonian)
Recently, Mobstr published a series of images of a progressive graffiti “experiment” that spanned the course of a year, entitled “The Curious Frontier of Red.” On the wall of an electricity substation in Hackney Wick, London, the artist engaged in a strange and amusing battle with a local council worker. Mobstr explains the project’s inspiration:
“I cycled past this wall on the way to work for years. I noticed that graffiti painted within the red area was ‘buffed’ with red paint. However, graffiti outside the red area would be removed via pressure washing. This prompted the start of an experiment. Unlike other works, I was very uncertain as to what results it would yield. Below is what transpired over the course of a year.” (Source)
Over the 30 images included in his documentation (see the full series here), you can see how Mobstr’s game escalated: at first, he writes “red.” This word is painted over and re-marked numerous times as it gradually migrates to the top, where, eventually, the words “pressure wash” appear on the brick. The council cleaner then paints over the words “pressure wash” with red, to which Mobstr teasingly replies: “You went above the line.” In a hilarious effort to defeat the graffiti artist, the entire wall is painted red. “Thanks mate, it’s been fun,” Mobstr concludes.
Light-hearted and witty, Mobstr’s “red frontier” provides a visual dialogue demonstrating the battle against (and social delegitimization of) graffiti art. Luckily, Mobstr seems to be having fun with these cat-and-mouse battles, much to our amusement. Check out Mobstr’s website and Instagram to view more of his work.
The street art and murals of artist Okuda San Miguel drip with color and burst with energy, until they are no longer held on a brick wall, but spilling out into real life, in three-dimensional form. The Madrid-based artist uses a pop surrealist style to create large scale murals that transform public spaces into places of geometric, vibrant color and imagery. His work is so incredibly stunning, that it is almost as if the street walls cannot contain them. Public works like his painted phone booth contain an element that explodes from the piece. Color drips from the phone booth, fusing Okuda’s work with the real world. He often transforms his murals into three dimensional sculptures, creating an even more dynamic and captivating piece. As if Okuda’s mural that resembles a multicolored starburst didn’t demand our attention enough, he has a sculpture piece that brings the mural into the third dimension.
Okuda’s beautifully fractured, geometric style is applied to murals, street art, smaller scale paintings, and sculptures. Whichever medium the artist so chooses, he creates works that are both mesermizing and transfixing. His paintings often use similar imagery, such as velumptuous, nude bodies, animal heads, and skulls. A fascinating juxtoposition is formed when certain subjects of Okuda’s paintings are covered in colorful shapes, while others have a smoother texture rendered in black and white. It is interesting that often the face or head will be full of color, while the more organic forms such as a nude body or a tree branch will be absent of it. Okuda portrays what lies underneath the bright shapes as monochromatic forms, exposing our sameness and human connection below our exteriors.
What if all our food was served sushi style? Would it be more appetizing? And would we eat less if everything was the same size? The artist/design team of Lernert and Sander asks that question and ponders the aesthetic of making food dimensionally equal. In an ambitious project they took dozens of food items and cut them into uniform cubes then photographed the results. The final result is an array of colors which resembles a very large tray of sushi. The different pieces offer an interesting palette through color but the size seems well a bit static. Overall it has a futuristic vibe but is it appetizing? In other words, would you rather eat cherry pie in a cube or oozing with cherries? It probably works better as a puzzle because its display references word and board games. The puzzle at hand would be guessing at quick glance what food group or item you’re eating from. Still only eye candy maybe there’s a chef or game designer out there that can make something else of the food seen here; and attempt to make something more than just the perfect square. (via 1designperday)
That seemingly irrational paranoia of always being watched begins to rise when viewing photographs from Andrew Hammerand’s series, The New Town. The artist, currently based near Phoenix, Arizona, has created a power play in the dichotomy between watching and being watched. He offers us a glimpse into the lives of a small, Midwest town and its anonymous inhabitants by electronically accessing and controlling a webcam on a cellular tower, taking screen-shots of what was captured over the course of a year. This camera, overlooking the town, is appropriately located on a steeple of a church, giving new meaning to “omnipresent”. This camera is watching over the people, not unlike a higher power. The question is who is in charge, who has the power? Do the townspeople have power through the safety gained by being observed, or do we have the power because we are doing the looking? We live in a world of meta-data in which digital snapshots are constantly being taken, whether it is through the lens of literal cameras, or by information given from our Google searches.
One element that is especially significant in this remarkably unique series is the anonymity behind every aspect of it. The artist is unknown to the subjects being watched, the town’s location and peoples’ identity are also a mystery to us. Although we see small hints of each person’s life, what he or she is doing remains unclear. We have no indication if their intentions are malicious or moral. By nature, even the viewer is anonymous to the artist, especially when the artist’s work is being displayed through digital publications like this one. The grainy quality of the photos makes each composition all the more intriguing. We are wrapped up in the mystery, in the unknown story of these peoples’ lives. We see them playing in a park, pushing a stroller, and texting, but we do not know them at all. Even further, many of the subjects seem isolated in spite of being around others. Are we all detached through the lens of a camera, or does the convenience of the digital age connect our existence? Hammerand brilliantly gives rise to a slue of challenging questions and tests society’s progression into a super-digital age. Interconnecting technology, privacy issues, and digital culture, Hammerand’s work confronts contemporary politics in authority.
Have you ever had anything stolen? Perhaps a cellphone, or bag, or bike, or even a car? Well if you have been the victim of someone’s swift fingers, then you will really like this project. Some clever individual has decided to be pro-active and beat the thieves at their own game. After purchasing a brand new VW van, they have enlisted the help of UK based vinyl wrap company Clyde Wraps to avoid being the target of any crime.
With some clever coloring and detailing, they have made their 2014 Volkswagen T5 Sportline look like a rusty old van that shouldn’t be fit to drive around the city. Big rust stains drip down from the handles, the side panels look like they are disintegrating in front of your eyes, and the wing mirrors look like they have seen better days. Of course the actual body of the car is fine – the tires, the lights, and the windows all seem brand new and dent free.
But for someone looking quickly to see whether it is worth the trouble to steal this van, they will look twice. And who knows? Maybe the owner will even be able to leave their vehicle, walk around town and get away with not locking their doors! (Via Lost At E Minor)
Jon Almeda creates miniature glazed ceramics which could easily be misunderstood for a pretend tea set play party, the average size of a piece being 1” scale. He designs cups, pots, tea kettles and bowls that perfectly resemble normal sized items. All the details are there: furrows, textures, handles and lids. In order to attain this meticulousness, he had to come up with the instrument that would allow him to get thorough so he built his very own pottery wheel, which is called “curio wheel”. Despite their fragile appearance, the small ceramics are nonetheless solid and able to resist the high temperature of glaze fusing.
The artist doesn’t seem to care about what’s normal. He prefers to juggle between the extremes; he goes from creating huge ceramics to sculpting macro pieces. The time he spends on doing so is more enjoyable. He compares this time to a meditation cession where he can focus on the creation and nothing else.
Jon Almeda’s inspirations are soothing and flowy. He says he likes to drift away thinking of calm dark waters and luscious flora from places where he spends most of his time. His creativity seems to be coming when his mind is somewhere else, daydreaming and meditating when his hands create beautiful little gems.
Now you can decorate your home/office/studio with wallpaper that strays from the norm. A company called Feathr has started collaborating with artists to make statement with bold wallpaper design that will inspire your daily routine. Definitely staying within the parameters of textile design the company now represents a large group who think outside the box. Some of the collaborators include Peter Judson who takes art deco in his brightly colored patterns to arrive at a striking motif and Russell Marshall who pulls directly from Warhol and uses a gun and the check bought with it for pop effect. Using both abstract and figurative patterns the placement and use of color pushes these new designs just a tad off the grid thus allowing for more free-flowing ideas. By joining up with different artists the company allows for more conversations to occur between design and fine art which references Andy Warhol’s pop and consumer ideal. This middle ground allows more people to see the work of these artists and also show how their ideas can be used in a more commercial sense.
The papers are all reasonably priced and can be bought on the Feathr website. They are currently becoming a cool commodity in the design field. (via designmilk)