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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Visionary High-Rises: Winners of the 2017 eVolo Skyscraper Competition

20 Apr

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

The way we design and engage with our built environments will rapidly change as we grapple with climate change and develop new technological innovations, and in some cases, radical new ideas will be required. The annual skyscraper design competition held by eVolo recognizes visionary ideas for high-rise projects that challenge our understanding of vertical architecture and its relationship with both nature and existing cities. Here are this year’s winners along with 7 honorable mentions, including an Antarctic skyscraper attempting to reverse global warming, research facilities housed in the trunks of Sequoia trees, and vertically stacked factories sharing smart waste disposal and recycling techniques.

First Place: Mashambas Skyscraper

Based on the Swahili word for ‘an area of cultivated land’ often including the dwelling of the farmer, ‘Mashambas’ by Polish designers Pawel Lipinksi and Mateusz Frankowski aims to bring the green revolution of expanded harvests to the poorest people so they can produce surplus food for themselves and their neighbors, helping to eradicate poverty and hunger in their communities. The skyscraper itself is a “movable educational center” providing education, training on agricultural techniques, cheap fertilizers, modern tools and a local trading area, and it’s made of simple modular elements that can expand or disassemble as needed.

Second Place: Vertical Factories in Megacities

In decades past, prior to a round of improvements that made them far less noisy and polluting, factories were often relegated to land outside cities, requiring workers to commute long distances or move to suburban areas. But we don’t exactly want them taking up valuable square footage in urban areas, either. This concept by Tianshu Liu and Linshen Xie stacks them on top of each other like a towering sandwich so they can all take advantage of the same modern technologies for waste removal, potentially even transforming those waste products into clean heat, electricity, fertilizer and water.

Third Place: Espiral3500

In ‘La Albufera,’ a coastal area of Spain located within a natural agricultural park, a rapid increase in tourism during the summer has led to speculation-based development, threatening the very characteristics that make it so attractive in the first place. Population increases up to 1000% in some areas during high tourist season, and they empty out in winter. The Espiral3500 concept aims to meet the needs of tourists while protecting the natural resources of the territory via vertical growth, packing private and public spaces into a skyscraper with an ‘inverted street’ system. Visitors can wind their way up to the top, enjoying a wide range of shops, restaurants and hotels while taking in the view.

Honorable Mention: Arch Skyscraper

The basis of the Arch Skyscraper is envisioned as “an arch that undergoes transformations through the changes of light, human behavior, and other factors to form different spaces/units, which overlap one another vertically to form the final design.” Double-layer arches inspired by those found in medieval cathedrals and ancient Chinese pagodas are combined with vertical transportation, creating a series of vaulted spaces that are fun to explore.

Honorable Mention: The Forgotten Memorials

Noting that in the past, older architecture was often demolished to make way for the new in the constant cycle of urbanization, the designers of The Forgotten Memorials skyscraper concept propose requiring every generation to construct new buildings underneath the older ones. This could help preserve the past while accommodating the future on limited land. “They gradually, generation by generation, penetrate the clouds and become memorials beyond the sky.”

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Visionary High Rises Winners Of The 2017 Evolo Skyscraper Competition

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[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

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Still Life with Smoke Bombs: Artist Live-Paints Berkeley Protest Violence

19 Apr

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

This past Saturday, Trump supporters and counter-protesters from the left clashed violently in liberal Berkeley, all while one intrepid street painter captured the scene live on canvas. As reporters filmed and photographed the chaos, John Paul Marcelo biked his mobile painting station into place.

The alt-right rally organizers and their opponents arrived ready for a brawl, variously equipped with shields, helmets, wooden poles, pepper spray and other weapons. “By mid-afternoon,” reports Blake Montgomery, “the dueling protesters were screaming insults at each other over a flaming pile of trash and using a dumpster as a battering ram.” In the end, dozens were arrested on both sides.

But in the midst of the mayhem (or at least: slightly off to one side) was perhaps the most unexpected sight of all — Bay Area street artist John Paul Marcelo standing his ground and calmly painting the chaotic scene as it unfolded before him.

Marcelo is a fixtures of the San Francisco community, a fifteen-year resident who can be found painting ordinary street scenes as well as timely and tragic still lifes, like: a building just after a fire, burnt out and abandoned.

His artistic gear collapses on demand, folding neatly for transportation by bike to events unfolding in around the Bay or calmer, more everyday still-life subjects (below: Morning on Broadway and Telegraph in Oakland as seen in Cafe 817).

John Paul Marcelo studied graphic design and advertising, then started painting the urban decay of Chicago streets and decided to “reject modern technological mediums” and “paint exclusively en plein air, and migrate to the majestic California coastline.” And although he reports being “very content with painting existing idyllic scenes like Big Sur and Marin, past expeditions have brought him to places like post Katrina New Orleans and Cabrini Green housing projects.” His influences “include Claude Monet, James Nachtwey, and Ai Wei Wei.” (Images via AP, SfGate & KQED)

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Faith Lift: 14 Modern Churches Reinvent Religious Architecture

18 Apr

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

The classic silhouette of a church may be iconic and instantly recognizable, but modern-day religious architecture proves itself to be adaptive after all, evolving into a broad variety of dramatic shapes that frame views of the natural world and prioritize a sense of community. These 14 modern church designs run the gamut from small, modest chapels on the beach to grand, showy structures with undulating rooflines and unexpected interiors.

Cliffside Cross-Shaped Church Concept by OPA

Mimicking its own Casa Brutale design for a residence built into a cliff face, Greece-based firm OPA (Open Platform for Architecture) reveals ‘Chapel of the Holy Cross,’ proposed for the island of Serifos with a single cross-shaped glass facade facing the Aegean Sea. The entire structure is dug into the rock to take advantage of thermal insulation and avoid disrupting the surface landscape.

Synhavnen Church Proposal by NOMOstudio

Submitted as a proposal to a competition to design the first new church to be built in Syndhaven, Copenhagen in 30 years, this design by NOMOstudio is envisioned as a landmark with a deeply sloping roof covered in steps, allowing the public to climb the structure all the way to its peak for spectacular views of the sea.

Seashore Chapel by Vector Architects

Right on the sand of China’s Beidaihe Beach, the ‘Seashore Chapel’ offers a peaceful getaway. “We imagine the seashore chapel as an old boat drifting on the ocean long time ago,” says Vector Architects. “The ocean receded through time and left an empty structure behind, which is still lying on the beach.”

Rainbow Chapel by Coordination Asia

Located within a museum park, ‘Rainbow Chapel’ by Coordination Asia aims to attract young creative couples with a bright, contemporary design enclosed in 3,000 vivid glass panels in 65 colors for a kaleidoscopic effect. Its exterior design of a circle set within a square references fullness and unity contained by honesty and virtue.

Sunset Chapel by BNKR Arquitectura

The sun sets over the sea directly behind the altar cross in ‘Sunset Chapel’ by BNKR Arquitectura, which is set within a forest and designed to mimic an oversized boulder. The faceted concrete structure looks different from every angle, and features slatted openings along its upper level that let in fresh air and sunlight.

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Faith Lift 14 Modern Churches Reinvent Religious Architecture

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Guitar for Modern Nomads: This Digital Instrument is Designed to Travel

18 Apr

[ By SA Rogers in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

What if you were to eliminate the unwieldy parts of a guitar but maintain its resonant sound and the same exact way of playing, in order to make the instrument are more convenient traveling companion? It might sound ridiculous or downright impossible, but that’s exactly what designer Orit Dolev has done with NOMAD, a compact digital instrument with pressure-sensitive frets and flexible rubber strings to replicate the traditional guitar playing experience.

Dolev came up with the idea for NOMAD after taking a long journey through Asia and South America, where she imagined her guitar would offer a handy and powerful way to make new connections across language barriers. She quickly learned that getting around would be frustrating, noting that she couldn’t just shove it into her backpack, and the strings were constantly breaking and getting out of tune.

Designed to encourage mobility, the NOMAD features a wooden neck for a familiar feel in your hands. It pairs up with an app to play a wide variety of sounds, and you can turn the frets on and off to switch between acoustic and electric guitar modes or even to entirely different string instruments, like sitars. Hook it up to headphones so you can play on train rides or in hotels without disturbing anyone, or play through the accompanying portable amp, which doubles as a case cover.

“Technology is constantly changing the way we are living,” says Dolev. “Powerful mobile devices and widespread connectivity are serving as fertile ground for a new generation of nomads. From urban work-from-anywhere lifestyle to digital nomads roaming the globe freely, new cultural movements are rising. We are more mindful of the objects we surround ourselves with, striving to travel light and collect experiences more than things. Own less, explore more.”

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Labyrinthine Loophole: Bar Entry Maze Beats 500 Meter Minimum Distance Law

17 Apr

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Following a Supreme Court of India ruling that bars must be a minimum of 500 meters away from highways, one intrepid watering hole wrapped itself in a 250-meter maze to effectively circumvent the law. Handed down earlier this month, the ruling has closed down liquor-serving establishments across the country prompting some to get creative.

Owners of the Aishwarya Bar in North Paravoor, a Kochi suburb, maintain: “We have done nothing illegal. The plot behind the bar also belongs to the owner and we have constructed an extended way to reach the bar. Now it is 520 meters from the highway. We are set to approach the circle inspector of excise with the new route map to authorize the reopening of the bar.”

Perhaps most remarkably: since the purpose of the law relates to walking distance (rather than linear), officials have given their blessing to this unusual solution — he intent of the legislation, after all, is to reduce intoxicated driving accidents. With that potential code violation remedied, the only accusation left leveled against the establishment related to changing around the property without a building permit, resulting in a small fine.

The solid-walled fence shaping the labyrinth was installed at minimal cost in a matter of days, expanding into adjacent property also owned by the bar’s manager. Pub crawlers, meanwhile, may find themselves somewhat lost when loaded, but at least there are no dead ends. However, bars like this one may still find themselves with fewer customers since the federal ruling also prohibits roadside signage directing drinkers to pubs. Other specific exceptions have been granted on a case-by-case basis, but this particular solution may lead to a series of similar approaches.

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NK INK: North Korea Graffiti, Stencils & Street Art

17 Apr

[ By Steve in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

North Korea may be making the headlines like never before but the world’s graffiti artists have been featuring the Hermit Kingdom’s leaders for years.

When it comes to North Korea, there’s a lot to look down on. Take the country’s unique leadership – a communist dynasty? Who knows what the late Karl Marx might think of that (though it’s not hard to guess). In any case, NK-themed graffiti and street art should never be looked down upon, at least not by those living outside North Korea. Flickr user _eddie999_ brings us our lead image featuring Team America: World Police’s take on Kim Jong-il, snapped in Brighton, UK early in 2012. Just below, Mauricio Balvanera’s (maubrowncow) 2007 photo of a stenciled North Korean soldier with a flower in the muzzle of his rifle gazes out from a wall near the Toy Factory Lofts in Los Angeles, California.

The Sun Is (Still) There

Kim Il-sung (“Kim become the sun”) was North Korea’s first supreme leader – the “Great Leader” in official parlance – who held power from 1948 to his death from natural causes in 1994. Among his most lasting accomplishment was the establishment of the Kim ruling dynasty, now into its third generation in the form of Kim Jong-un. Speaking of lasting accomplishments, Flickr user Loïc Brohard snapped the above artwork captioned “Vote Kim il Sung” in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in April of 2010.

The Son Is Here

Kim Jong-il inherited power from his father in 1994 and was known in North Korea as the “Dear Leader”. Flickr user Larry Jones (westbymidwest) captured this full-color portrait of Kim Jong-il in full panhandler mode on September 20th of 2009 at the Albany Bulb, an artificial landfill peninsula extending westward from the the east shore of San Francisco Bay. It’s uncertain whether the splash of orange paint across the portrait’s “HELP” sign is part of the original composition or a later amendment.

A Spectacles Of Himself

Kim Jong-il was over 50 years old when he assumed North Korea’s leadership but he had been groomed for the position since the early 1980s. Kim the Second raised the cult of personality established and encouraged by his father to ever-greater heights. The stencil above, found in NYC’s Koreatown district, dates from 2009 and was captured in April of that year by Flickr user e.yamasaki.

The Future’s So Bright…

Kim Jong-il’s designer shades take center stage in the above NYC photo pastiche snapped in late 2011 by Flickr user allan molho (amolho4). Sources state Kim Jong-il was a fervent fan of Western cinema, boasting a collection of over 20,000 titles including every Elvis Presley flick. His fascination with “The King” in his late-1960’s rhinestone jumpsuit phase may have influenced Kim’s sartorial preferences, at least when it came to prescription and fashion eyewear.

Thanks, Obama

First rule of tinfoil-hat prognostication and doomsday cult propaganda: never predict near-future events! The unknown creator of the above paste-up mini-manifesto evidently didn’t get that memo. To their credit, they did manage to evoke the spirits (and images) of Lincoln, Churchill and an alarmingly youthful FDR to add weight to their shrill Cassandra callout. Bonus: stating “Prime minister of North Korea said so its the God truth.” Kudos to Flickr users shoehorn99 and allan molho (amolho4) for capturing these ravings in August of 2008 and April of 2009, respectively.

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Nk Ink North Korea Graffiti Stencils Street Art

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Steampunk Micro-Home: Mobile Shabby Chic Trailer Rocks Lofty Aesthetic

16 Apr

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Borrowing stylistic details from urban warehouse lofts and rustic rural cabins, this 200-square-foot home manages to look weathered and sophisticated at the same time.

Reclaimed pine and cedar, a gabled roof and various recycled materials make the exterior of this abode look well-worn but welcoming.

Inside, the so-called Earth and Sky Palace feels surprisingly spacious, complete with a queen bed at one end, bathroom at the other and combination living and dining area in between (as well as small loft above).

While metal, glass and wood detailing help the place feel more upscale (while somehow still minimal), small touches like a large bathroom mirror also help the interior feel larger.

Expensive fixtures and finishes help give an impression of something like a mountain resort lodge, dark but rich in detail right down to the fancy shower heads and butcher-block counter tops.

And it isn’t just about the looks: LED track lighting hooked up to dimmers gives users fine-grained control over the atmosphere, as does an app-controlled air conditioning and surround-sound system. Not bad for $ 74,000.

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A Taste of Japan: Immersive Animated Restaurant Shifts with the Seasons

15 Apr

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

The exclusive experience of dining at this Tokyo restaurant, which serves just eight patrons a day, is not really about the food – though Saga Beef restaurant Sagaya-Ginza is not necessarily lacking in quality. It’s just that watching nature spring to life all around you, cycling through the seasons to represent some of Japan’s most striking natural beauty, tends to eclipse whatever’s on your plate. Art collective teamLab, known for their creative projection-based installations, created a multi-sensory immersive experience with ‘Worlds Unleashed and Then Connecting.’

In classic teamLab form, this projection is not just immersive, but also interactive, responding to the dishes as they’re placed on the table as well as movements of the diners and servers. While other well-known works by the collective tend to unfold within a larger space, like a warehouse or gallery, this installation is private and intimate.

“When a dish is placed on the table, the world contained within the dish is unleashed, unfolding onto the table and into the surrounding space,” the artists explain. “The worlds unleashed from each dish connect in the external space creating a new larger world. The worlds unleashed are affected by the other dishes on the table.”

“For example, a bird unleashed from one dish can perch on the branch of a tree unleashed from another. The trees that grow from each dish are not identical; their sizes and shapes are affected by the worlds unleashed by the other dishes on the table. These unleashed worlds are also affected by your behavior. If you stand still, a tiny bird might alight on your hand; if you move suddenly, it might fly away. The worlds unleashed from the dishes on the table influence each other, react to the actions of the visitors, and combine to create one single continuous world. The world is constantly changing from moment to moment and no two moments are alike.”

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Culinary Arts: Rock Candy Geodes Hidden Inside Huge Chocolate Shells

13 Apr

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

Just like the dull rocks that often reveal geode formations in nature, one would not expect to find such a sweet surprise inside what look a bit like giant Easter eggs (or perhaps dinosaur droppings).

As a final thesis project for the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Alex Yeatts and Abby Lee Wilcox spent months crafting these monstrous treats.

After 6 months of hard work @alex.yeatts and I cracked open our chocolate geodes!!! I am so thankful to have had this experience. #proud2bcia #chocolate #geode #foodart #chefstalk #candy #bakerylife #confectionery #foodie #foodporn #cny #pastry #buzzfeast #geodecake

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Orange-red and purple crystals inside look remarkably natural, particularly the latter (resembling typical amethysts). While hardly healthy, one could imagine subsisting on these gigantic desserts indefinitely.

In a similar vein (treats imitating nature), the “flower cakes” (and cupcakes) of Iven Kawi are stunning works of culinary art, so lifelike one could imagine being pricked by the needles on cacti or grind one’s teeth on the sandy landscapes (via Colossal).

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Picasso in 3D: Famous Paintings Transformed Into Physical Objects

13 Apr

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

What would Pablo Picasso think if he saw that another artist had transformed his two-dimensional Cubist works of art into three-dimensional form? While the MIMIC series by Omar Aqil was created digitally and doesn’t exist as physical objects, it’s easy to imagine each piece as a sculpture you can walk around and examine from all angles, and it certainly offers an interesting perspective on the originals.

Aqil used Photoshop, Illustrator and Cinema 4D-Ray to reimagine six of Picasso’s most dynamic, angular paintings, including Buste de femme dans un fauteuil (1949), Seated Woman (1930), Black Figure (1948), Visage (1928) and Composition (1946). Aquil explains that he’s been studying Picasso’s work since beginning his career in art, and has always found the abstract visual language inspiring.

“MIMIC is a series of new visual experiments using art from the past,” says the Pakistan-based artist. “In this project I have randomly picked 6 paintings from the Pablo Picasso’s (one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century) work and recreate them into modern 3D visuals. In this visual mimicry I have shown, how the skill responds when it come across the complexity of someone’s thought and how the meanings of the shapes and forms have been changed and create new physical realities. It’s propose to give a new implication of Picasso’s artworks with a series of hyper-realistic visuals.”

The choice of ‘materials’ used in the renderings is interesting in and of itself; while some might have given them textures and finishes resembling more classic sculptural materials like stone, Aquil’s sculptural visions seem to be made of plastic, as if they could be sold as tchotchkes in museum shops.

Considering that Picasso is famously quoted as saying “Good artists copy, great artists steal,” perhaps he wouldn’t have minded.

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