Abstract Cakes Topped With Chocolate Brushstrokes 

Moscow-based bakery Kalabasa takes a more abstract view of cake decorating, mounting its confections with stiff swipes of chocolate that look like painted brushstrokes. The colorful cakes and cupcakes are each decorated with layers of the crisp painterly gestures, and often drizzled with similar colors to tie together the whole production. You can view more of the artistic treats in a variety of shades on the bakery’s Instagram. (via Design You Trust)

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Hurdy-Gurdy: UGEARS Launches the World’s First Mechanical Musical Model 

All-in-one: puzzle, toy and fully fledged musical instrument, UGEARS has just launched one of their most ambitious mechanical models yet—Hurdy-Gurdy, now on Kickstarter. Based on the obscure but beloved folk instrument which derives its sounds through a crank-driven wheel that rubs against strings like a violin, the UGEARS Hurdy-Gurdy is a DIY wood model that lets you construct and play it yourself.

Inspired by the art of medieval craftsmen, the new model comes with everything needed for assembly including incredibly precise laser cut wood components, strings, and instructions. To help with easy assembly, the pieces are designed to lock together without the need for glue or adhesive while remaining fully mechanical. All UGEARS products are built from eco-friendly, sustainably sourced plywood.

In addition to the instrument, UGEARS is offering a wide variety of additional models as part of their expanding Mechnical Town series that now includes a Tram Line Model, Rail Manipulator Model, a Robot Factory Model, and a number of smaller toys including a yet-to-be-announced “secret” model.

The Hurdy-Gurdy model launches today and you can mix and match a variety of reward options right now on Kickstarter.

This post was sponsored by UGEARS.

A Technicolor Basketball Court Emerges in Paris 

Photo © Sébastien Michelini

In a unique collaboration between French fashion brand Pigalle and design agency Ill-Studio, the Paris Duperré basketball court was recently redesigned and repainted with a vibrant new color scheme. The narrow basketball court is nestled between two apartment buildings in the 9th arrondissement and has become a backdrop of sorts for unconventional color schemes, the first of which appeared in 2015. Photos courtesy Alex Penfornis and Sébastien Michelini. (via It’s Nice That)

Photo © Penfornis Alex

Photo © Penfornis Alex

Photo © Penfornis Alex

Photo © Penfornis Alex

Photo © Penfornis Alex

Photo © Penfornis Alex

Photo © Penfornis Alex

Photo © Penfornis Alex

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The Apprehension Engine: An Instrument Designed to Play the Music of Nightmares 

Movie composer Mark Korven wanted to craft the perfect sounds for horror movies, but the instruments he needed didn’t exist, and he was tired of using the same digital samples. To produce the original effects needed for evoking breathtaking moments of suspension, he teamed up with guitar maker Tony Duggan-Smith to craft an original instrument that would better aid in manufacturing fear. The Apprehension Engine is that tool, a mechanism built with several bowed metal rulers, spring reverbs, a few long metal rods, and other attachments that allow for spooky interludes and effects.

“A normal instrument, you are playing it and expecting it to have a sound that is pleasing,” said Korven to Great Big Story, “but with an instrument like this, the goal is to produce sounds, that in this case, are disturbing.”

The Apprehension Engine expresses the emotions that cannot be expressed in other ways, triggering fear with intense sonic methods. You can listen to more music by the machine tuned to provoke horror in the video below. (via Great Big Story)

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Mesmerizing New Serpentine Tattoos by Mirko Sata 

Milan-based tattoo artist Mirko Sata (previously) has mastered the art of inking snakes, creating elaborate tangles of scales and tails that wrap around the arms and legs of his clients. Sata frequently works with opposing color schemes, creating novel contrasts between black and white or red and green in the otherwise minimalist line-based pieces. He’s also incorporated various floral motifs in place of the snake’s scales in a number of recent pieces. You can follow more of his work on Instagram.

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Portraits of Women Painted on the Handles of Old Paint Brushes by Rebecca Szeto 

Misako Shirasu. 7″h x 3″w x .75″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2017.

Drawing inspiration from across centuries, mediums, and cultures, artist Rebecca Szeto (previously) identifies both anonymous and historically significant women to depict atop the carved handles of old used paint brushes. From the first woman to graduate with a degree in architecture from MIT to a Chibok schoolgirl kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, or an anonymous face lifted from a 17th century Baroque painting, each portrait presents the face of a woman who has come in and out of focus throughout history.

“I am interested in things that fall between the cracks of place and language,” says Szeto in her artist statement. “Rust, dead bees, beaten up paintbrushes and scrap materials from my immediate surroundings all become a starting point. Play and chance are integral parts of my process; they’re a way for me to detach from preconceived ideas about the materials so I can freely explore their inherent qualities and investigate their deeper implications.”

You can explore the individual stories of all the women featured in the works seen here on Szeto’s website, and she’ll have work on view at Root Division in San Francisco as part of an exhibition titled Bizarre Bizarre curated by Michael Arcega starting in July.

Musical Notation. 7.25″h x 2.5″w x .1″d · Oil, Plaster on Carved Paintbrush · 2016.

Marion Mahony. 8″h x 3″w x 1″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2015.

Angela Isadora Duncan. 6″h x 2″w x .5″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2015.

Chibok Girl: Salamatu Bulama Usman. 5.5″h x 3″w x .5″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2017.

Violet Jessep. 5.25″h x 2.5″w x .5″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2015.

Emilie du Chatelet (2 for Squared). 8″h x 4″w x .5″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2015.

Margaret Roper (1500). 7″h x 3.5″w x .5″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2015.

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