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Form + Function: Awesome Architecture

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The following are B/D’s picks for today’s awesome architecture. Sometimes it seems architects don’t get enough recognition for their work as artists, but they are truly masters of sculpture and design (and not only that… they know calculus). Read on to drool over the art works that you (wish you could) live in.

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Astounding Human Skulls Carved Into Delicate Mother Of Pearl Shells

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Carved carefully into the delicate surfaces of shells, Gregory Halili’s magnificent human skulls look like forgotten human fossils, discovered long after the extinction of our species. The New Jersey-based artist draws inspiration from the wild plant and animal life the Philippines, where he lived into his teenage years; his medium, black-lip and gold-lip mother of pearl, are gathered from the shores of the island country. The artist’s shimmering skulls are complex bas-reliefs, and his technique, which includes detailed oil painting, is evocative of ancient coins; in the place of hard metal lies a soft partially organic material, and portraits of kings are replaced with ominous skulls.

Halili’s skulls are poignantly fragile, far less durable than human bone. A single slip of a tool, and the tender piece is ruined. The shape of the shell lends itself to the humanoid form; encased within its circular bounds, the skull appears like a child in the womb. The shell material that once protected a gastropod with maternal determination, softly frames Halili’s expert carving. In this way, the artist forces a collision between birth, the “mother” of pearl, and death, represented here with the skull. Like relics washed ashore, these masterful pieces serve as a memento mori, reminding us of our own mortality, our creation and our inevitable demise. Take a look.

Halili’s work will be on view at New York City’s Nancy Hoffman Gallery beginning October 30th and through December 13th. He also has an upcoming show at Manila’s Silverlens Gallery. (via Colossal)

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Patrick Bergsma’s Sculptures Of Inverted Tree Houses Look Like Post Apocalypse Relics

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Patrick Bergsma‘s sculptures aren’t your childhood’s tree houses. Though they embody the whimsical architecture that a child might dream up, they also feature urban decay: rusted cars, broken down buildings, overgrown houses in disrepair. The trees seem to spring forward, like next-generation dwellings that have survived a nuclear apocalypse.
Bergsma’s sculptures also play with physics, sometimes featuring an inverted house underneath the roots of a large, gnarled tree. The barren branches loom over tiny figures that sit beneath them, as though they’re contemplating lives past or lives lost. In a way, the trees almost seem to depict a life that an urban dweller might hope for: a simpler life in the outdoors, free from worrying about busted pipes or rent or the other responsibilities of caring for a permanent dwelling.
There’s a peacefulness to Bergsma’s work. It asks us to imagine ourselves somewhere else and shows us that, even when we’re thinking about watering the lawn or fixing the shingles, we’re still a part of nature.(via I Need a Guide)

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Ofer Wolberger’s Life With Maggie Travel Diary

New York City based Ofer Wolberger’s ongoing series Life With Maggie resembles a photographic travel diary that follows a mysterious girl simply known as Maggie as she travels across the land and documents her journey through the bizarre, the historic, and the sometimes mundane.

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Gottfried Helnwein’s Beautiful Victims

Gottfried Helnwein’s watercolors from the 1970’s tell a frightening story of  pain, abuse, and brutal crimes.

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VIOLENT DEBAUCHERY SCENES MASK A GENUINE MESSAGE OF LIBERATION IN RAQIB SHAW’S PAINTINGS

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Raqib Shaw was born in Calcultta, India. He now lives in London where he graduated from Central St Martins School of Arts and based his house/studio in the South London neighborhood.

His work is mostly comprised of paintings. He uses a unique technique: he paints with a porcupine quill and car paint. Every motif is outlined in embossed gold, a technique similar to ‘cloisonné’ found in early Asian pottery, which is a source of inspiration.
The artist’s fantastical world is full of intricate details, rich colors, and jewel-like surfaces, masking an intense violent and sexual content. It’s an explosion of Western architecture (arches, columns, wall decorations), vibrant flora and unexpected animals that have human bodies (peacoks, ducks, roosters, reptiles).
The result from far is intoxicating; but as the viewer, you want to come closer and admire the beauty of the details. The paintings, which at first can feel overwhelming become fascinating in terms of color, shapes and harmony. Underneath the bizarre combinations of the figures, there is the celebration of a society free of moral restraint.

Raqib Shaw has added new paintings in this recent parisian exhibition. Three of them are self portraits, showing the artist in his house/studio. Although his own image never clearly appears, he made sure his favorite personal elements were recognizable: his dogs, views from his studio’s window, champagne bottles and his new bronze sculptures.

Raqib Shaw’s second solo exhibition is currently at the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery in Paris, Marais location, until July 25th 2015.

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Nádia Maria’s Hauntingly Beautiful Melancholic Photographs

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Brazilian photographer Nádia Maria creates melancholic, visceral and nostalgic photography that resonates with her private life struggles and universal themes that are familiar to all, amongst them- anxiety, depression, confusion, and so on. The dark aesthetic of these photographs are not to be taken lightly. Contemplating about these will bring discomfort and unwanted past painful memories…it happened to me. However, Maria’s work is so hauntingly beautiful that can just can’t look away.

“It’s all about experiments, games and involvement with the camera, with the image, the feelings, with ourselves.”

‘Vacuum’ and ‘Perfume’ are the names of the two series of photographs that are shown here. Maria’s series ‘Vacuum’ was inspired by constant wars insides herself (and humanity in general). She brilliantly captures the essence of deep nostalgia and sadness, and eternal yearning for something more, or something different. Its darkness is not to be confused with complete destruction and agony, as her subtle feminine, delicate characteristics take on and leave us feeling hopeful. Similarly, ‘Perfume’ visualizes Maria’s mental state (post-partum depression) after having her first son. “It was a phase of deconstruction and transformation”, she says. (via IGNANT)

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Stunning Swimsuits Designed For Breast Cancer Survivors

enhanced-3402-1400922908-4enhanced-18154-1400922908-1enhanced-26107-1400922911-1enhanced-27169-1400922911-2In a world where the words “bikini season” are met with judgement, panic, and dread, it can be hard to embrace our bodies as they are. For breast cancer survivors and patients who have undergone single or double mastectomies, the season’s swimsuits can be alienating, as they are most often designed to accommodate twin bosoms.

Hoping to challenge the damaging pressures and judgements placed on the female chest, Ph.D. Elina Halttunen came up with the idea to manufacture bathing suits specifically for women who, like she, have one breast. With the help of design duo Tärähtäneet ämmät (Nutty Tarts), a group of trailblazing Finnish designers, and a dedicated group of models, all of whom had undergone mastectomies, her dream became a reality. Their fashions and images are all part of the project Monokini 2.0.

Taking inspiration from legendary fashion photographer Helmut Newton, the team at Nutty Tarts have conceived of glamorous, edgy designs with a distinctive yet cohesive aesthetic. The Monokini 2.0 designs comprise looks that convey both strength and softness. Designer Outi Pyy creates pieces designed with warriors and mermaids in mind. Tyra Therman, who works in luxury underwear, sees the project as a way to redefine femininity and celebrate the courage of women.

Each swimsuit is crafted to be both extravagant and comfortable, unique as the women who choose to wear them. Moved by the project, most of the models pictured here contacted Halttunen and her colleagues, volunteering their bodies to empower all women, regardless of how many breasts we might have. Be sure to check out Monokini 2.0’s crowdfunding initiative, opening May 30th. (via Buzzfeed)

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