Category: Design

Polymer Flower Sculptures and Tiles by Angela Schwer 

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Working from a tiny table in the nook of her living room, California-based artist Angela Schwer crafts explosive dahlias, gardenias, poppies, fungi, and sea creatures all from a custom blend of polymer clays. Meant primarily as decorative objects, the dense handmade pieces are surprisingly detailed, assembled from hundreds of perfectly formed clay pieces and formed into large tiles that can be hung from a wall or set on a table. You can see more in her online shop, Dilly Pad.

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Rube Goldberg Device Features Anthropomorphic Ball that ‘Rescues’ His Friends 

Complete with its own theme song, this Rube Goldberg machine made for Japanese educational television program PythagoraSwitch features a brave little red ball named ‘Biisuke’ who rescues his other friends from being trapped elsewhere in the device—And then they all escape together while running away from bag guys! The team behind the program designs a shorter contraption for every single episode of PythagoraSwitch, but this longer one was created for an extended episode over the summer. You can see 200 additional clips from the show at varying levels of quality on YouTube. (via Twisted Sifter)

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Enigma: A Steampunk-Themed Cafe Filled with Kinetic Sculptures Opens in Romania 

Welp, now we’ve seen everything. Just last week, a new cafe opened in Romania called Enigma that claims to be “the world’s first kinetic steampunk bar.” We have no way to verify if that’s true, but it certainly looks impressive from these photos, if you’re into that sort of thing. A slightly terrifying humanoid robot with a plasma lamp cranium bicycles by the door, and a variety of kinetic artworks churn and rotate on both the ceiling and walls. Watch the video to take a peek inside, and if you’re in town you can visit Enigma Cafe at Enigma at Iuliu Maniu, Nr 12, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Photos by Zoly Zelenyak from The 6th-Sense Interiors. (via Steampunk Tendencies)

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Nine Artist-Designed Miniature Book Sharing Libraries Appear in Indianapolis 

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Nautilus, 2015, Katie Hudnall. Plywood, reclaimed wood, wood, fasteners & hardware, plexiglass, paint, ink, dye, lacquer, wax with two ink on paper drawings framed in wood by the artist.

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Nautilus, side view.

Engaging new audiences and attracting people to libraries in 2015 can be tough, but some libraries are up to the challenge. As a way to simultaneously improve literacy and foster an appreciation for local artists, the Indianapolis Public Library and artist Rachel M. Simon conceived the Public Collection, an endeavor to create nine artist-desiged miniature libraries filled with free books.

While the idea of free sharing libraries in urban locations isn’t new (we’ve mentioned several different projects here on Colossal over the years), this project seems particularly ambitious and original by highlighting the sculptural works of Indiana artists and by providing a diverse selection of reading material free to the public.

Perhaps the most ambitious design was built by artist Brian McCutcheon. Titled ‘Monument,’ the five pillar library supports a physical construction of the famous Mark Twain quote: “A public library is the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them.” The base of each pillar contains a circular shelf where passersby can take and leave books as they wish.

Our personal favorite though is ‘Nautilus,’ a spiral-shaped shelf and reading bench built from reclaimed wood by Katie Hudnall. She says “the body of this piece is loosely derived from the image of a boat on water and is designed to remind the viewer that books (and education in general) can be a form of transportation.”

You can see all of the new Public Collection sharing library designs on-site at the Indianapolis Public Library. (via GOOD)

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Monument, 2015, Brian McCutcheon. Steel, aluminum, polycarbonate, fiberglass composite, paint.

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Monument, alternate view.

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Harvesting Knowledge, 2015, Brose Partington. Steel, Aluminum, Polycarbonate, Stepper Motor, Controller.

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Topiary, 2015, Eric Nordgulen. Painted steel, acrylic plastic.

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Table of Contents, 2015, Stuart Hyatt & S + Ca. Reclaimed wood, electronics.

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Artist Theaster Gates Bought a Crumbling Chicago Bank for $1 and Turned it Into a World-Class Arts Center 

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Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.

One might think that an abandoned 1920s bank on Chicago’s South Side, crumbling from top to bottom—the roof long collapsed, exposing the interior to snow and rain for years—would be destined for a wrecking ball. Like so many other decaying structures in the area, that was certainly the fate of the Stony Island Savings & Loan building before artist, urban planner, and Chicago resident Theaster Gates intervened.

Armed with only a vision to carry him through, Gates acquired the 20,000-square-foot bank for $1.00 from the city of Chicago and set about an unbelievable restoration. This month, amidst all the hubbub of Chicago’s Architecture Biennale, the doors were thrown open and the public was given the opportunity to walk through the new Stony Island Arts Bank. While construction is complete, several details of the bank’s history including peeling paint and damaged ceiling tiles have been preserved to physically merge the past and present.

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Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.

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Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.

The Stony Island Arts Bank is a place that proudly defies convention. A community savings and loan bank shuttered since the 1980s turned into a world-class arts center in the middle of a greatly under-resourced community most in need of bold ideas. It’s the kind of place that civic leaders propose and residents dream of, but for a thousand reasons it never seems to materialize. And yet here it is.

Gates’ idea has now manifested itself as a platform for site-specific exhibitions and commissions, artist residencies, and as a home for the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by the artist in 2010 that seeks specifically to foster culture and development in underinvested neighborhoods. In addition, the arts bank houses the vinyl archive of Frankie Knuckles, regarded as the “Godfather of House Music,” as well as 60,000 glass lantern slides from the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute. You can also find the personal magazine and book collection of John H. Johnson, founder of Ebony and Jet magazines.

In a press release Gates describes the Arts Bank as “an institution of and for the South Side,” “a repository for African American culture and history, a laboratory for the next generation of black artists,” and “a space for neighborhood residents to preserve, access, reimagine and share their heritage, as well as a destination for artists, scholars, curators, and collectors to research and engage with South Side history.”

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Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.

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Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.

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Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.

The building’s first exhibition is by Portuguese artist Carlos Bunga, whose installation Under the Skin introduces towering cardboard columns to the bank’s towering first-floor gallery. The facility will undoubtedly be used as a place for black artists, community members, and other individuals to experiment with and engage with the South Side, in an environment Gates refers to as a “laboratory.”

“Projects like this require belief more than they require funding,” Gates tells Fast Company. “If there’s not a kind of belief, motivation, and critical aggregation of people who believe with you in a project like this, it cannot happen. The city is starting to realize that there might be other ways of imagining upside beside ‘return on investment’ and financial gain.”

You can visit the new arts bank Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-6pm. (via Fast Company, the Chicago Reader).

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Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.

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Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.

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Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.

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Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.

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An Elegant Kinetic Sculpture by Derek Hugger that Mimics the Flight of a Hummingbird 

Containing over 400 precisely machined gears, screws, and aesthetic elements, Derek Hugger’s latest kinetic sculpture Colibri mimics the motion of a hummingbird in flight. Though the motions of flying are unmistakable, the piece has much more in common with a clock than a bird. He shares about the piece:

Every element of motion has been completely mechanized, from the beating wings to the flaring tail. Intricate systems of linkages and cams bring the sculpture to life with a continuous flow of meticulously timed articulations. As each mechanism has been linked to the next, Colibri cycles through its complete range of motions by the simple turn of a crank. This project took me roughly 700 hours and contains about 400 parts.

You can see many more of his moving artworks on his website, and in a refreshingly rare move he also sells detailed instructions of how to make them in his shop. (via The Automata Blog)

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