Tag Archives: architecture

Buildings and Stars Cut into Blackout Curtains Turn Your Windows Into Nighttime Cityscapes 

A Ukrainian blind company called HoleRoll shared this fun set of concept blinds that feature iconic cityscapes cut into blackout curtains. The silhouettes of famous skyscrapers become apparent as light streams in through the window. The images were posted back in 2014 and it looks like their website is currently down, so not sure if they’re available anywhere. Could make a fun DIY project? (via Laughing Squid, Reddit)

Update 1: Aalto+Aalto has a similar concept from 2006 called Better View.

Update 2: It looks like their website is back up. Thnx, Jann.

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A Stained Glass Cabin Hidden in the Woods by Neile Cooper 

Stained glass artist and jeweler Neile Cooper had a vision for a sanctuary: a small cabin behind her home in Mohawk, New Jersey that would feature her glass designs on every available surface. The result is Glass Cabin, a structure built almost entirely from repurposed window frames and lumber that features dozens of panels of her stained glass work, depicting flowers, birds, butterflies, mushrooms and other scenes from nature. Cooper explores many of these same motifs in her popular jewelry designs. You can see more photos of Glass Cabin on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

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A Giant Friendly Octopus Forms an Immersive Playground for Children in Shenzhen 

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman (who previously produced this oversized bunny in Taiwan) has unveiled his newest large-scale animal design, this time with the function of a playscape for Vanke Group's One City development in the centre of Yantian, Shenzhen. The playground is designed within the eight legs and head of an octopus, a piece that is named after the mythological sea creature Kracken despite its friendly appearance.

The octopus was designed alongside the team at UAP, which helped Hofman bring his imaginative work to life, and plays off of the history of the area which previously housed a battleship in its harbor. The Kracken is now docked as a place for imaginative play, rather than attacking other sailing vessels at sea. (via Designboom)

  

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New Flying Houses Hover Above Paris by Laurent Chéhère 

As part of his ongoing series titled Flying Houses, French artist Laurent Chéhère (previously) imagines a world without gravity where unusual architectural structures seem to float midair, tethered only by loose strands of power lines. Each house seems dense with details, telling the story of fictional inhabitants through purposeful details that allude to much deeper stories behind each image. Chéhère draws influence from Jules Verne to Hayao Miyazaki, but most poignantly brings attention to marginalized communities found in Paris, specifically Gypsies and immigrants. By uprooting the houses he hopes the viewer focuses more clearly on them, an act he refers to as “releasing them from the anonymity of the street.”

Each house is actually an extremely detailed photomontage and begins life as a series of sketches. Chéhère then photographs hundreds of elements like antennas, walls, roofs, graffiti, and birds which he then assembles digitally into the pieces you see here.

Several recent artworks by Chéhère are currently on view at Muriel Guepin Gallery in New York along with miniature buildings by Joshua Smith. You can see more of his photographic work on Instagram.

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The Vanishing Stepwells of India: A New Book by Victoria Lautman Documents the Fading Relics of Subterranean Wells 

Van Talab Baoli. Amer, Rajasthan. c. 1600/19th Century.

Scattered across India’s vast landscape of ancient architecture including temples, mosques, and palaces are an often overlooked relic of historic infrastructure called stepwells. These subterranean buildings, once numbered in the thousands, were originally dug into the landscape so residents could easily access water. Over time, stepwells grew increasingly elaborate in their construction, morphing from modest rock-cut holes into fully functional Hindu temples with ornate columns, stairwells, and shrines. Each well now serves as a fading structural fingerprint, diverse and unique as the communities that designed and built them.

Chicago journalist Victoria Lautman first peeked over the edge of a stepwell some 30 years ago and was immediately transfixed at the idea of staring down into an architectural wonder as opposed to looking up. She has since dedicated much of the last five years criss-crossing India over several years to locate and photograph as many wells as possible. We first mentioned Lautman’s discoveries back in 2015, after which she resumed trips to India to locate an additional 60 wells, bringing the grand total to over 200 sites she’s personally visited and documented.

“Descending into the earth is a profound experience, one in which sweltering heat turns to enveloping cool, and noises become hushed,” she writes about encountering the wells.

After centuries of neglect some stepwells are in perilous condition or have vanished altogether, while others have been thoughtfully maintained by surrounding communities or governments who recognize their significance and possess the will (and funding) to restore them. In an attempt to preserve their legacy, Lautman has gathered a visual tour of 75 of the more unique and interesting wells in a new book titled The Vanishing Stepwells of India. The book includes not only her original photography, but also her impressions about each well and the precise GPS coordinates of their locations.

It remains to be seen if the renewed interest in stepwells, as well as the accompanying tourist dollars, will drive the change to save them. “In the long-run,” Lautman tells Colossal, “I think the most helpful thing for stepwells is simply acknowledging their existence in history and guidebooks, through classes and specialized tours, and finally just seeing them up close, embedded in the landscape.” Another way to explore the wells is through the Atlas of Stepwells, a website where enthusiasts can share their own discoveries.

The Vanishing Stepwells of India with a foreword by Divay Gupta, is published by Merrell and is available now.

Ramkund. Bhuj, Gujarat. Mid-18th Century (c. 700 CE).

Mukundpura Baoli. Mukundpura, Haryana c. 1650.

Ujala Baoli Mandu. Madhya Pradesh. Late 15th/early 16th century.

Chand Baori. Abhaneri, Rajasthan. c. 800 ce/18th Century.

Batris Kotha Vav. Kaoadvanj, Gujarat c. 1120.

Dada Harir Vav. Asarwa. c. 1499

Navghan Kuvo. Junagadh, Gujarat. 4th/6th/Mid-11th Century.


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Miniature Displays of Contemporary Urban Buildings by Joshua Smith 

Working at 1:20 scale, artist Joshua Smith builds in-depth works that capture the layered existences of urban environments in cities such as Hong Kong, Sydney, and Los Angeles. His miniature buildings showcase the details and detritus left by the diverse population of each city, bringing in elements of the city’s workers, inhabitants, and street artists. These marks can be seen through heavily graffitied exteriors, and thoughtful additions like a small table on the roof of one building with takeout food from the tiny Chinese restaurant below.

Smith has been working on this series for the last two years, after stints as both a stencil artist and gallerist. Using several reference photos from a building’s actual site, he utilizes MDF, cardboard, and plastic to create the base of the work, and chooses paint and chalk pastels for the exterior’s details. Smith’s newest four-story work took him three months to complete, often working 8-16 hours a day.

The Australian artist recently exhibited his miniature buildings with Muriel Guepin Gallery at VOLTA Art Fair in New York City from March 1-5. You can see more of his work on his Instagram and Facebook. (via My Modern Met)

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