“I started as a furniture-maker, but eventually felt limited by conventional notions about what furniture was supposed to look like and how it should be built. I now approach my work fundamentally as sculpture, but likewise have resisted passing over the line into pure or nonfunctional form.” – Michael Coffey
According to Michael Coffey, design is not just about art. It’s also a form of “problem solving.” He sees commissions as creative collaboration– loving most when patrons desire something entirely new, more different than his previous work.
As far as process is concerned, Coffey begins with a small wooden model, then develops a design on paper with set dimensions. First cuts generally begin with the buzz of a chainsaw, followed by the use of smaller, more refined, cutters and discs. Part of the fun is figuring out which tools will service the work best. Click on the video after the jump to see more of his work and philosophy.
Perhaps you may be familiar with your state motto or state bird. However, what about your state amphibian or state grain? America’s fifty states have many official state insignia, some more obscure than others. Artist and designer Julian Montague highlights many of these for all of the states in the union in his new series State of America. While some state insignia may be predictable – Idaho’s official state food is the potato – others are bit stranger such as Georgia’s official state fossil: shark teeth.
From Futura Standard to Helvetica Neue, designer Aleksi Hautamaki refits vintage neon letters, previously destined for the bin, with a touch of LED lighting to resuscitate their glow for another 10 years.
Character, his company, sells each piece to the public, intending to cultivate a “second life cycle” capable of creating “new value for everybody involved.”
Likewise, portrayed here in a series of artful photographs, each previously abandoned bit of font now haunts the city, with a fresh sense of freedom, searching for a new artful context, home, or environment outside its previous life in advertising.
Ana Kraš, born in Belgrade and based in NYC, uses basic structures and everyday materials to design “what people would need and like to use.” Her bonbon lamps or lanterns are handmade and no two are exactly alike. Kraš laboriously loops each bit of thread around the metal frames, creating a color-blocked pattern with a folk sensibility reminiscent of the 1970s.
In a recent feature by Avant Garde Interviews, Kraš suggests such careful repetitious attention is meditative, allowing her room to focus on the details or a “shy little gesture you try to add to a very basic thing.”
A Million Times by the Stockholm based studio Humans Since 1982 beautifully mixes the analog and the digital. The piece begins with the simple analog clock as its starting point. 288 clocks are arranged on the wall, their hands spinning to run through hypnotic patterns and display the time digitally. Each of the 288 clocks’ two hands run independently, powered by 576 individual motors. The entire installation is connected to custom made software and operated from an iPad. Watch the dials spin in the video after the jump.
This curious little structure is one of ten Free Little Library “branches”. Ten designer were chosen for the Free Little Library project – each designing and constructing a little library to place in Manhattan. This is the design created by the firm known as Stereotank. In the New York neighborhood of Nolita, the little library offers books and a bit of shelter to anyone passing by. Small portholes allow visitors to peek inside for a preview before being drawn inside. You can find Stereotank’s Free Little Library at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School in Nolita through September of this year. [via]
The team behind Atelier Ted Noten blend design and art so well, it can be difficult to unravel. They explore issues usually relegated to art such as violence, beauty, private and public life through design. Ice picks and cocaine are sunk into acrylic and transformed into designer bags. Perfume sprays down the barrel of a gun, its silencer concealing nail polish. The atelier’s design seems to at once celebrate and chastise high fashion’s excesses. Its bold design sensibility and irresistible ambiguity make their pieces difficult to turn aside from.
One of the most talked about trends in the creative community is 3D printing and its potential. A collaboration between the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and Joris Laarman Studio created a machine that is perhaps more appropriately considered a 3D drawing tool called Mataerial. The machine extrudes a thermosetting polymer: a material that, due to a chemical reaction, comes out of the nozzle virtually dry and set. This means that Mataerial is able to construct designs without the need of a level base. The tools creations can even be extruded of a vertical surface, directly off the wall. [via]