Archiving the World’s Saddest Destinations Via Google Maps 

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On a platform filled with glamorous travel images from across the globe, Australian artist Damien Rudd’s account @sadtopographies contributes quite the opposite. Rudd finds the most depressing sounding rivers, lakes, and roads via Google Maps, screenshotting and posting their sad names for his audience of 64,000 followers. Each of his finds are extremely humorous, yet beg us to wonder what series of events could have possibly lead to their naming.

In case you wanted to match your winter mood to “Despair Island” rather than some white sand beach off of the coast of Bali, head over to Rudd’s Instagram for a dose of Suffering St. and Broken Dreams Dr. (via Booooooom)

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Full Grown: Trees Grown into Furniture and Art Objects 

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Full Grown’s prototype willow chair now in the permanent collection at the National Museum of Scotland.

The most common way of producing wooden furniture is fairly straightforward: grow the proper trees for a few decades, chop ’em down, cut them into smaller pieces and assemble the pieces into a chair. Derbyshire-based furniture designer Gavin Munro wondered if he could try a wholly different approach: what if he could just grow chairs? What if trees could be forced to grow in chair-like shapes and through strategic sculpting and grafting result in an annual “chair harvest.” After a lengthy years-long trial in his mother’s garden and a sturdy proof-of-concept, Full Grown was born.

Munro points out that the idea of growing furniture actually dates back millennia. The Chinese were known to dig holes to fill with chair-shaped rocks and had tree roots grow through the gaps, while the Egyptians and Greeks had a method for growing small stools. But Full Grown appears to be on a scale entirely of its own, with an entire farm destined to be harvested into chairs, assorted light fixtures, and other unusual objects. He shares a bit about the process which can take between 4 to 8 years:

In essence it’s an incredibly simple art. You start by training and pruning young tree branches as they grow over specially made formers. At certain points we then graft them together so that the object grows into one solid piece – I’m interested in the way that this is like an organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source materials. After it’s grown into the shape we want, we continue to care for and nurture the tree, while it thickens and matures, before harvesting it in the winter and then letting it season and dry. It’s then a matter of planing and finishing to show off the wood and grain inside.

Full Grown’s first prototype willow chair has already found its way into the permanent collection at the National Museum of Scotland, and Munro and his team just launched a Kickstarter to help them bridge the gap in the final year before their first harvest, nearly 11 years in the making. You can learn more on their website.

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An Airborne Village of Stacking Vertical Homes at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum 

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All images photographed by Ryan Jenq

Sky Villages, designed by James Paulius, is an interactive installation at the SPARK Brooklyn Children’s Museum. The play center features several stackable modules that can be rearranged as expanding homes—wooden dwellings floating between clouds in an aquamarine sky. The imaginative play area aims to educate children about our planet’s constantly evolving population, offering a space for airborne ideas.

“As Earth’s population increases, we may look to the atmosphere for inhabitable space,” said Paulius. “Sky Villages presents the possibility to dwell in the sky in modular architecture that can be added or removed as populations increase or decrease. Dwelling units are prefabricated with the intent of reuse rather than discardment. When a unit no longer fits the particular needs of its location, it can be moved elsewhere for a new family to reside in. Constantly evolving, these structures accommodate the ever-changing tendencies of humanity and nature.”

The toy homes for Sky Villages were fabricated from wood reclaimed from water towers in Manhattan. You can see more of Paulius’ block-based projects on his portfolio site and Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

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A Mesmerizing Sequence of Biological Simulations by Maxime Causeret for Max Cooper’s ‘Order from Chaos’ 

Starting with a recording of raindrops hitting the skylight in his old apartment, this track titled Order from Chaos from London-based artist Max Cooper‘s newest album Emergence is the culmination of three years work merging his interests in science, music and visual arts. French visual effects artist Maxime Causeret was asked to provide the visuals and the result is a mesmerizing blend of biological simulations and music video. Cellular forms appear to collide, merge, and even compete for resources while brain-like structures explode and crash across the screen. Cooper explains a bit of the science behind the art:

Maxime Causeret selected this track to work with, under the brief to map the emergent rhythm to an exploration of emergence in living form. His video shows the raindrops initially, then going into simple cellular forms and then showing the important idea of cooperation between simple cells to form more robust colonies of life. This develops into a visualisation of the idea of endosymbiosis, where simpler smaller organisms can live inside larger cells, each providing a benefit to the other, and eventually forming parts of the same organism as they evolve to be entirely dependent on each other.

Fullscreen, headphones, you know the drill. This is definitely worth getting lost in for a moment. You can listen to Cooper’s full album here.

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Bespoke Stained Glass Succulents by Lesley Green 

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Influenced by elements of both architecture and illustration, artist Lesley Green (owner of Bespoke Glass) channels modern design while working with stained glass and glass tile. Her works have traditionally been quite geometric, however recently she has focused on more organic shapes, like in her latest series of succulent-based sculptures. These stained glass works mirror different types of cacti and agave plants, refracting beautiful light patterns through their green-tinted forms.

“I want to push the technical boundaries of stained glass, and love the challenge of figuring out how to solve problems, such as creating open spaces in a pattern,” said Green in an interview with Etsy. “Pattern and color are very important to me. I’m most often inspired by textiles in that respect.”

You can see more of her cacti creations and other glass tiles works on her Instagram and Etsy shop. (via So Super Awesome)

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