Stefan G. Bucher is a graphic designer, illustrator, author, creator of monsters, and pursuer of obsessions. The (sole) creative force behind 344, his clients have included art galleries, film directors, magazines, record companies, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Blue Man Group. If you’ve seen the Yeti themed Saks Christmas windows, you’ve seen Stefan’s work. The Daily Monster is his, too. The cover of The Matrix soundtrack; typography for Mirror, Mirror; Blue Man Theater. All Stefan G. Bucher.
Aside from his amazing and prodigious creative skills, Stefan is an astute observer of culture and a consistently funny writer. He agreed to be interviewed for Beautiful/Decay.
B/D: Thanks for talking with me, Stefan—I’m just going to jump right in. What’s the most interesting thing you’re working on right now?
Stefan Bucher: It’s my pleasure. The most interesting project I’m working on right now is the pitch for an animated show surrounding the Daily Monsters. It’s a long process of uncertain outcome, but it involves a lot of things I love—illustration, working with a brilliant writer and a genius animation producer, thinking about music and character design. It’s great! I’m also working on a solo gallery show for the spring. That’s just a big beast breathing down my neck. I don’t know how much of it will be retrospective and how much will be new work. I just want it to be a fun trip for the audience.
Bed made from a template of Dominic Wilcox’s body.
Tea cup with inbuilt cooling fan.
Finger nose stylus.
Finger nose stylus.
Dominic Wilcox is a British artist whose works balance on the margins of bizarre, yet somehow very logical and poignant at the same time. His cutting-edge inventions vary from unbelievable tech-wizardry (GPS shoes), to everyday objects that would actually find a place in our household (tea cup with a fan). Despite often humorist approach, Wilcox crafts his devices until they look and work like intended.
When asked, what is it that he does, Wilcox hesitates: “If I had to title myself, I would say I’m an artist/designer/thinker.” He says he loves innovation, creativity and finding conceptual surprises hidden in the banal, mundane things that surround us everyday. Thus, most of his concepts are light, direct and with a pinch of witty intention. Artist isn’t afraid to be the lab rat for his works. For example in the Switch project (below), he was wearing the metallic toggle for nearly a month, day and night.
Besides actually making these crazy inventions, Dominic starts each idea with a sketch. To pay tribute to all the unaccomplished ideas, he has published a book titled “Variations on Normal”. Full of insightful illustrations, this book may give you some inspiration on your next invention, say… a family poncho or a machine that strengthens handshakes.
US-based team of scientists has built a robot that folds itself into an origami-inspired shape starting from a flat sheet. The assemblage of such robot doesn’t require any human intervention. It is made from a polymer material which shrinks when heated, also has electronics and motors attached to it. When the heating elements affect the hinges made in paper, the robot starts transforming into a crab-like machine. The whole process takes about 4 minutes before the robot can start walking.
The team behind the project said their inspiration came from the complex 3-D shapes in origami: like in the Japanese paper art, various three-dimensional shapes are constructed from a single sheet of paper. This robot takes origami a step further. According to the developer team, such self-assembling robots can be greatly employed in construction or rescue works.
“[They could be delivered] through a confined passageway, such as a collapsed building, after which they would assemble into their final form autonomously,” states Marc Lavine, senior editor at Science.
Robot‘s small size makes is what makes it very useful because of the easy transportation and storage. Apart from search-and-rescue missions, a more advanced version of the robot could be easily used construction works, especially in places that are hard to reach. The whole project is said to cost $11,000 but with the initial designs in place, the mass-production robots should cost around $100 each. (via NPR)
Watch a short video about the project after the jump.
This Too Shall Pass, 2012. Oil package. – A package made of caramelized sugar, coated with wax. This package is made for oil-based food.
This Too Shall Pass, 2012. Oil package. – To open it you crack it like an egg. When the material is cracked the wax do no longer protect the sugar and the package melts when it comes in contact with water.
This Too Shall Pass, 2012. Oil package.
Swedish design studio Tomorrow Machine experiments with unusual materials to create revolutionary food packaging concepts. Pursuing the modernist principle of form follows function, Tomorrow Machine unites visual appeal with highly innovative and operational technologies to create both aesthetic and pragmatic design.
Their project This Too Shall Pass addresses the increasing issue of environmental pollution and recycling. Using biodegradable materials, studio has created food packaging that shares the symbiotic life span with the food housed inside. Vividly colored and minimalist in shape, these concept containers for oils, dry foods and liquids disintegrate when the contents they store are used.
“Is it reasonable that it takes several years for a milk carton to decompose naturally, when the milk goes sour after a week? “This Too Shall Pass” is a series of food packaging were the packaging has the same short life-span as the foods they contain. The package and its content is working in symbiosis.”
Besides their environmentally friendly attempts, Tomorrow Machine creates interactive product packaging to shape the innovations of tomorrow. Collaborating with Swedish research company Innventia, designers created self-opening and self-expanding packages based on the use of the 100% biodegradable material they developed together. According to Tomorrow Machine, “this is the new generation of sustainable package design, using materials that are both smart and environmentally friendly”. (via Packaging | Uqam)
Graphic design and illustration studio Violaine & Jeremy create stunning graphite pencil drawings of animals and people merging with wildlife and nature. Surreal illustrations feature wild and domestic critters propped with various attributes of human world: spectacles, patterned scarves and even Victorian waistcoats.
Another humorous venture by the creative duo, Violaine Orsoni and Jeremy Schneider, is to attach lush flowery beards onto humans and wild animals. The unexpected combination of a fiercely looking gorilla sporting a Garden of Eden-like facial hair is beyond humorous. The idea seems to resonate with the latest trend of men adorning their beards with colorful blossoming flora.
Each piece of the collection demonstrates incredible attention to detail. Perfect technique of pencil hatching and shading brings Orsoni and Schneider’s intricate drawings very close to photorealism. Their studio collaborates on a variety of projects: from visual identity, to album covers, to design of the France’s leading innovation magazine, Influencia. (via KoiKoiKoi)
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)
David Skazaly is a Hungarian/German graphic designer who has been creating hypnotic, mind-warping GIFs since 2008. Working under the name Davidope, Skazaly’s psychedelic GIFs and warped images have set the standard for animated GIFs across the internet. Even if you haven’t heard his name before (or his online pseudonym, Davidope), you probably recognize some of Skazaly’s technicolor, organic forms, pulsing in infinite loops, whether on art blogs or the annals of Tumblr. Skazaly’s animations are strangely hypnotic and entrancing, pushing a format that is now primarily used for cat memes and celebrity reactions into successful, technically adept artistic territory.
Skazaly got his start experimenting with animation program Macromedia Flash in the 90s before focusing on his own motion graphics. Looking at his Tumblr now, it’s clear Skazaly has mastered the art form of creating technically perfect GIFs, from trippy, twisting shapes to black and white worms perpetually moving forward. Skazaly’s mind-bending GIFs are dizzying, satisfying works of art, elevating a now common internet trend to a mesmerizing new level.
Through the metamorphic conversion of discarded paraphernalia given a second life, art created from materials otherwise destined for a landfill has turned waste into resource. In a conscious reflection of a recycled object’s inherent value as a cultural statement, the fragmented disarray of salvaged goods conjoin as a reflection on the surplus of consumerism. Computer relics and plastic toys from the 1990’s resurface as jarring, three-dimensional works that reestablish a value beyond their initial introduction as cultural commodities. Extending the life of goods long since forgotten, the immortalization of a wastefulness that continues to swell stands as not only a poignant reminder of the ecological decay resulting from our consumption, but the opportunity to revisit and remake otherwise quotidian, superfluous goods.
Working predominately, if not entirely, with upcycled goods, the following artists create stunning installation and sculptural works that are a visual whirlpool of texture, color and line.