The Giant Birdsnest is exactly that. Except it’s not made from twigs and it’s definitely not for the birds. The gigantic, cozy nest is made from a foam-padded wooden backwall that’s covered with wooden panels and filled with egg-shaped cushions that allow for ergonomic sitting positions. Designed by the Israel-based design firm OGE Creative Group, the Birdsnest is a “new and inspiring socializing space: a fusion of furniture and playground” where ideas come to get incubated.
It’s a multifunctional piece of furniture that can be used for resting, browsing the web, reading, talking and doing almost anything. It comes in 4 different sizes (ranging from 2,700 – 7,900 Euros) and, at its largest, can accommodate up to 16 people at a time. We want all our future meetings to be held in the Birdsnest! (via Laughing Squid)
Ai Weiwei, Blossom (2014). All photos by Jan Sturman
The Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei currently has an exhibition on Alcatraz, the notorious island used as a military fortress and federal penitentiary. Amongst a large body of work created specifically for Alcatraz is “Blossom,” which has been installed in several hospital ward cells and medical offices. And as its name suggests, intricately detailed encrustations of ceramic flowers are blossoming out of sinks, toilets and tubs that were once used by hospitalized prisoners.
The curator offers two possibilities in interpreting Ai’s porcelain blossoms: a symbolic offering of comfort to the imprisoned or perhaps an ironic nod to China’s famous Hundred Flowers Campaign of 1956. But to understand the piece we think this quote by Ai himself is all you really need: “The misconception of totalitarianism is that freedom can be imprisoned. This is not the case. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill.”
Ai Weiwei’s exhibition on Alcatraz will be open through April 26, 2015. (via My Amp Goes to 11)
These astonishing renderings of symmetrically designed carpets are the beginning of a new paper sculpture series by artist Lisa Nilsson (previously) who arranges quilled strips of hand-cut mulberry paper at remarkably small scale. The new paper works are a departure from her earlier exploration of anatomical cross-sections and show a marked leap in her nearly unbelievable vision of paper quilling, something All Things Paper’s Ann Martin boldly states “has never been seen in its hundreds of years as an art form.” Unlike a traditional rug that might be woven row by row, Nilsson instead starts at the very center and progresses slowly outward, a tedious process that takes several months to complete a single piece. If you want to learn more, head over to All Things Paper to read an interview with Nilsson about her process.
A team of researchers in Japan lead by Akira Asano of Burton Inc. have developed a 3D aerial display capable of projecting text and imagery in mid-air. The Aerial Burton works by firing a 1kHz infrared pulse directly into a 3D scanner which in turn focuses and reflects the laser to a specific point in the air. Molecules at the end of the laser then ionize, releasing energy in the form of photons. While the full potential for such a display has yet to be seen, Asano suggests it could be used as a communication aid in the event of a disaster by communicating evacuation routes or broadcasting the location of emergency supplies. Personally, I would be satisfied with a 3D laser butterfly in my backyard. (via DigInfo)
The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was built gradually—building on top of building—over time. Without a single architect, the ungoverned and most densely populated district became a haven for drugs, crime and prostitution until it was demolished in 1993. Photo documentation of the site exists but for the most part much of the inner-workings of the city remained a mystery.
Perhaps due to its proximity, Japan, in particular, developed a keen interest towards Kowloon. Its demolition in 1993 was broadcast on national television. But watching the footage, what most spectators didn’t realize was that up until the night before demolition a team of Japanese researchers were taking precise measurements and documenting the vacated city. Their findings were compiled into a book that, among other things, featured this panoramic cross section of the city depicting what life was like inside. You can read more about the book on Spoon & Tamago, and if you look hard enough, a few rare copies of it are available online. (via deconcrete)
The Yaybahar is a new acoustic instrument designed by Istanbul-based musician Görkem Şen that emits music right out of a retro sci-fi movie, a remarkable feat considering there isn’t a bit of electricity involved. The Yaybahar can be played in a variety of different ways using mallets or with a bow, relying on a combination of two drum-like membranes, long springs, and a tall fretted neck to create music. Like any instrument, it’s capable of producing sounds that run the gamut from “beautiful music” to “noise.” Give it a listen! (via The Creators Project)
Update: Here’s a video (in Turkish) of Şen giving a TEDx talk earlier this year where he plays a similar bow and spring-type instrument. (thnx, JR!)
While studying graphic design in college, German artist Peter Dahmen was given the assignment of creating a 3D object out of paper. He soon realized a small problem. Regardless of what he designed, there was no safe way to transport it to class on his daily train commute. Instead of risking damage to his project, Dahmen devised a way to make his paper sculpture fold flat like a pop-up book, a fateful decision that changed the course of his life. He enjoyed the challenge so much that be became obsessed with creating more elaborate designs, eventually leading to a full-time career as a paper engineer.