New York City-based design studio SOFTlab combines technology and craft with an installation titled We Are Flowers. Inspired by nature, the beautiful large-scale funnels are comprised of over 20,000 translucent flowers that create an immersive sculpture in the New York flagship store for Melissa shoes. It appears in the Melissa Gallery and was specifically created for the space. If you aren’t familiar with the brand, it’s funky, colorful, and playful rubber footwear that evokes a childlike feel (although marketed to adults).
SOFTlab’s sculpture is both precisely engineered yet enchanting at the same time. It’s whimsical and not over thought, which is how the designers want you to feel. They write:
Although we used cutting edge digital technology to develop this installation, we hope it remains mostly hidden in order for everyone to experience the magic of a hanging garden of flowers. We imagine this installation as an extension of the We Are Flowers collection by Melissa: technically innovative with attention to every detail, but first and foremost a design that expresses sensuality through its form and brings joy and color to the Melissa experience. (Via Ghost in the Machine)
Considerably ancient art form of calligraphy is brought to new dimensions by Tolga Girgin, a Turkish electrical engineer by trade and graphic designer by heart. His series of 3D calligraphic artworks witness how a little bit of imagination and skill can breathe life to a slowly disappearing craft.
Looking at Girgin’s graceful letters and strokes it seems like they are going to leap off the page and float into thin air. The eye-catching effect is achieved by combining skillful shading and perspective. Bright colors also do justice for Girgin’s works. His letterforms look more like paper cut-outs than two-dimensional drawings.
Girgin also practices “calligraffiti” which blends the properties of calligraphic style with modern day graffiti: the art of writing meets the art of getting your (pseudo) name up in an urban environment. Calligraffiti borrows inspiration from ancient lettering styles: Japanese ancient brush characters, Arabic pictorial scripts, medieval books and quill writing. The new form of art was originally named and pioneered by Dutch artist Niels Shoe Meulman. (via Colossal)
British artist Tom Phillips released the first edition of A Humument in 1970. To create this stunning book, Phillips illustrated and/or collaged each page of a found Victorian text - WH Mallock’s A Human Document - leaving parts of the original text exposed and uncovering a new story line with a new protagonist named Bill Toge, whose name appears only when the word “together” or “altogether” appears in Mallock’s original text. Of the text and his project, Phillips says,”It is a forgotten Victorian novel found by chance …I plundered, mined, and undermined its text to make it yield the ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems, erotic incidents, and surrealist catastrophes which seemed to lurk within its wall of words. As I worked on it, I replaced the text I’d stripped away with visual images of all kinds. It began to tell and depict, among other memories, dreams, and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love’s casualties.”
Over the years, Phillips has revised and replaced pages of the text, resulting in updated editions. The most recent 5th edition was published in 2012. In 2010, A Humument made its digital debut as an app for the iPad and iPhone. Assisting in its develop, Phillips is very pleased with his work’s transition to the digital realm. For Phillips, a bright screen enhances his illustrations, lending them a glow his pens and paints couldn’t achieve, “almost like church windows at times.” After Phillips started working on the book in the 60s, he dreamed that it could one day be used as an oracle. Forty years of technology later, Phillips’ dream has been realized, and he’s become his own consumer: “Each night after midnight I consult, somewhat furtively (even though alone), the Oracle I have made. I’m often surprised by pages made long ago and almost forgotten, as well as by the sometimes uncanny predictions they offer their maker.” (via the guardian)
Michael Craig-Martin has been creating art since the 1960s. His wall painting installations from the 1990s and 2000s feel current with their bright colors and flat appearance, but some of the items in the paintings, ubiquitous at the time they were captured, are now relics. Among the shoes and pails rendered in black tape outlines are Nokia style cell phones and milk bottles. That doesn’t diminish the charm of these installations. Craig-Martin’s intent was to make these works in a generic style, even attempting to erase his personality from the works by using tape as outlines instead of pencil drawings. It didn’t work. The purposeful non-style of painted mass-produced items executed meticulously in a vibrant palette at enlarged scale has become one of Craig-Martin’s signatures. The choice of everyday objects for his wall installations was a purposeful one.
“I thought the objects we value least because they were ubiquitous were actually the most extraordinary. … I wanted people to realise how extraordinary everyday objects are, and think about what image-making is. The impulse was never nostalgia, kitsch or a critique of consumerism.” (Source)
Photos of the installations can only capture part of their impact. Walking around a corner only to be confronted with an enormous pink desk lamp is part of the experience, as are the shifting views of eyeglasses and belts through the arches of a candy-colored room. Only when standing next to a seven-foot extinguisher can the scale of the articles be truly appreciated.
Though he is often called a conceptual artist, Craig-Martin prefers to be called radical. It’s not just about the concept for him—the making that comes from the idea is equally important. “Throughout his career, through work in many different media, he has explored the expressive potential of commonplace objects and images.”
A jewelry collection by Icelandic designer Ágústa Sveinsdóttir explores the transience of all earthly pursuits by incorporating one unusual material, dust. Her metallic wearables allow their owners to experience the transformation and disintegration as the jewelry changes and decays over time.
“In this world everything existing is linked to the process of birth, decay and disappearance. That is the way of life, the way of nature. Inspired by the tradition of the symbolic Vanitas paintings, the Dust collection is a reminder of the transience of all earthly pursuits and how it can be a motive for design.”
Designer wanted to break the traditions of material use and employ materials that have been considered worthless. She chose dust as the ultimate result of disintegration: “It’s everywhere and ever-present <…> It is everything and yet metaphorically the embodiment of nothingness.” Sveinsdóttir questions the material worth by juxtaposing jewelry, a sign of beauty and wealth, and dust, an inconvenient mundane matter that people always try to get rid off.
The dust was collected from abandoned Icelandic farms. Designer pursued to find dust at its purest form, thus derelict places where time has stopped, man has left and nature has taken over were perfect. Using a biodegradable adhesive, dust particles were transformed into a jewel coating and used to cover the metallic bangles and rings. With time, the dust fades away unveiling the manmade skeleton of the object. (via designboom)
In the photographic works by Kevin Corrado, human limbs and objects intersect with the landscape. They are painted over, dipped, and blend in the with the horizon line. The series entitled Transfer best showcases this idea as different hands are encased in varying colors of paint. Corrado talks about how this is not only a connection made design-wise, but our notions about the things we see. He writes:
The project began as a playful idea of the ocean being a giant sea of blue paint rather than water. The idea of a blue sea is so engraved into our minds, even though in most cases, water is not actually blue. In all three pieces, a hand becomes covered in paint by touching a landscape of that color. In its entirety, the project speaks about our intense connection between common landscapes and their assigned colors. Possibly something that was instilled in us during our elementary days. The project also addresses my role as an artist, and what color I will choose for my landscapes, even though my tool of choice is a camera (a tad bit ironic). A painter is given the task to paint a tree, but that painter must choose to use green paint.
The quietly compelling images play with our sense of scale; hands are huge, looking like giants and whose veins appear large enough to line up with the choppy waves. (Via Slow Art Day)
Founder of Los Angeles-based architecture and design studio Urbana, Rob Ley has yet made another venture into the world of interactive architectural installations. This time large-scale. His project “May-September” features a field of 7,000 angled multi-color metal panels constructed onto the facade of Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis.
According to Ley, the project began when he started wondering about the typical notion of the parking structure. Often these huge concrete constructions are unappreciated and ignored by public. Ley posed himself a challenge to turn it into a dynamic system that would interact with the viewers as they pass it by.
Together with Indianapolis Fabrications, they’ve built a huge angular aluminum and stainless steel installation (12,500 square feet) that also features an east/west color strategy (yellow and blue). The visual experience of changing colors and patterns depends on observers’ perspective and speed when they move across the hospital grounds or drive along the street. The piece also interacts with nature as every sun beam or cloud can shape the hues and saturation of colors.
As in nature, the volume and shade offered by the piece shies away from harsh, geometric patterning – instead tending towards a gentle, dappled variability in form <…> [parts of installation] work together as brush strokes to create a dynamic façade <…>.
Artist Nastasja Duthois creates large installations and small-scale embroidered artworks that explore aspects of shadow and negative space. Though composed of thousands of straight sewn lines reminiscent of crosshatching, the final pieces are generally organic in form from the silhouettes of dogs and animals to more complex landscapes.
“My work is done ellipses, gaps and assembled fragments that attempt to re-transcribe experiences and encounters. It restores daily annotations that one way or another have caused me a surprise, empathy, an indistinct disorder, rebellion or indignation choked. I contemplated steps, stopped movements, noted the words of anonymous … I approached … I immersed myself until disappearing collecting many snapshots of collective life that my readings were converted. Cross existences are mixed with reminiscences and personal obsessions, while retaining their opacity and mystery. They reactivated real memory and imagination. What thoughts and feelings aroused places, objects and people became especially experiences of encounter with oneself. I want to watch the world with the attention of the traveler who discovers a country; I’m looking for simple and fleeting wonders.”