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Design

A Japanese Home Designed Around a Climbable Earthquake-Proof Bookshelf

December 4, 2017

Johnny Strategy

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are lovely, and can act as a robust focal point in any home, though accessing the high shelves can be a problem. The common sidekick has always been ladders which can also add character and charm, but for smaller homes like in Japan they can be a nuisance, occupying too much space for not enough usage. Japanese architect Shinsuke Fujii came up with a simple, yet brilliant solution that solves another problem too: earthquake safety.

The “House in Shinyoshida,” as it’s called, named for the neighborhood in Yokohama where it stands, was conceived shortly after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. The client, who happened to be an avid book lover, approached Fujii with the task to design a home around a large bookshelf that’s both easily accessible but also one that won’t spill all the books if there’s ever a tremor.

The solution was to slant the entire western-facing façade and create a built-in slanted bookshelf whose shelves also function as a ladder. The slant allows family members of all ages to climb up and reach books, but also keeps the books from falling should an earthquake ever shake the home. The slanted façade also has the effect of creating an open feeling in the family room, where the home’s high perch allows for plenty of sunlight to enter through the large windows. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

 

 



Art Illustration Science

The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel: A Compendium of Colorfully Rendered 19th-Century Biological Illustrations

November 27, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

German biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel dedicated his life studying far flung flora and fauna,  drawing each of their peculiar specificities with an immense scientific detail. Haeckel made hundreds of such renderings during his lifetime, works which were used to explain his biological discoveries to a wide audience. In addition to these visual masterpieces, Haeckel also discovered many microbes, and coined several scientific terms commonly known today, such as ecology, phylum, and stem cell.

A new book from Taschen titled The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel outlines the 19th-century artist-biologist’s most important visual works and publications across a hefty 704 pages. The compendium includes 450 drawings, watercolors, and sketches from his research, which was in large support of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Most notably the book contains the Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature), a collection of 100 prints of varying organisms originally published between 1899 and 1904.

You can learn more about the collection of illustrations and Haeckel’s discoveries on Taschen’s website. (via Fast Co. Design)

 

 



Craft Design

Laminated Jewelry Crafted from Vintage Books by Jeremy May

November 14, 2017

Laura Staugaitis

New work from literary jeweler Jeremy May (previously) transforms the dense layers of books into jewelry that carries the words within each individual, wearable form. Littlefly, his line of rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, reinstalls the finished jewelry in the book that it was originally extracted from, but each piece also has a life of its own with abstract patterns and sculptural shapes.

 

 



Design

This Heat-Sensitive Edition of Fahrenheit 451 Can Only Be Read by Flame

October 19, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

This week the Anne Petronille Nypels Lab at Van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands shared a video of an edition of Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451 being held up to a flame. The video was not an ironic twist on the book’s overt message of censorship, but rather a demonstration of the experimental work’s hidden capabilities. The book was screen printed by French graphic design collective Super Terrain using heat sensitive ink, which conceals the book’s text behind a layer of black when at room temperature. You can see more of the collective’s experiments with printed matter on their website and Instagram. (via Open Culture)

 

 



Art Craft Design

An Exquisite Collection of Paper Pop-Ups Designed by Peter Dahmen

October 18, 2017

Christopher Jobson

From commercial packaging to artistic creations fused with geometry, paper designer Peter Dahmen is a true master of the pop-up. This new video titled Most Satisfying Video of Pop-Up Cards is a portfolio of sorts spanning the last several years of his work engineering elaborate objects that unfold from the pages of books or the confines of tiny boxes. You can go behind the scenes a bit more in this 2014 film on Dahmen from Christopher Helkey, and you can also try building some of his original designs with these free online tutorials. (via The Kid Should See This)

 

 



Design

A New Book Filled With Interactive Paper Pop-up Gadgets by Kelli Anderson

October 10, 2017

Laura Staugaitis

Kelli Anderson, a self-described artist/designer and tinkerer has just released her long-awaited book, This Book is a Planetarium. Anderson, who is based in Brooklyn, works in a variety of digital and analog media but is best known for her use of paper in the form of educational apps and animations, as well as interactive toolsThis Book is a Planetarium features several different paper gadgets designed by Anderson, all of which are fully functional.

From the namesake planetarium to a musical instrument, message decoder, and spiralgraph, Anderson also includes readers in the sense of wonderment by offering detailed explanations of how each gadget works. In choosing to compile these tools into a book format, Anderson told Colossal, “Pop-up books are fairly unique among analog experiences in that they engage the reader with both text and experience—and can therefore simultaneously demonstrate and explain a concept. My intention was to create a memorable way to learn foundational physics concepts—especially for artists, children, and people who think with their hands more than they think in numbers.”

As a designer who works with one hand in the digital world and one hand in the tactile world, Anderson described to Colossal a flurry of literal back-and-forth between paper and glue and equations and schematics. Most gadgets started as rough physical prototypes followed by researching mathematical refinements to make them work. In deciding which tools made the cut for the book, the designer created 25 prototypes and evaluated them by the criteria of pop-up-aesthetics, educational value, production feasibility, ease-of-use for the user, and utility. Anderson describes her motivation for the book:

I’m really interested in learning about how the world works through my projects—whether it is the physical world or the world of aesthetic signs and signifiers. The lo-fi devices in the book may be less functional than their digital counterparts, but they reveal structural forces in our world that are otherwise hard to see in isolation. At their fundamental core, digital experiences are always made of rules built by humans. With the book, I hope that I can prove that possibility hides in even the most mundane materials—and that you do not need a specialized education, math genius, or sophisticated equipment to tap into it.

This Book is a Planetarium is available in The Colossal Shop.

 

 



History Illustration

Digitally Explore a 1,000-Year-Old Illustrated Guide to Plants and Their Medical Uses

September 25, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Cotton MS Vitellius C III is the only surviving Old English illustrated book describing plants and their uses. Recently the British Library, along with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, digitized the 1,000-year-old illuminated manuscript. The ancient book features illustrations of plants and animals alongside various bodily issues that can be treated by their use or consumption. For example, a snake is illustrated by the passage on sweet basil, an herb that has been known to help fight poisonous bites.

Despite the manuscript being an extensive guide, there have been questions posed by several scholars regarding the piece’s exact use.

“Although it might seem like a practical guide to finding plants and preparing remedies, this manuscript’s uses are debated,” explains the the British Library’s Alison Hudson. “First, the illustrations are not always very useful for identifying plants and animals in the wild: take, for example, these depictions of strawberries and elephants [seen below].”

You can flip through the entirety of the guide’s illustrations on The British Library’s website. (via Open Culture and Hyperallergic)