In 1973 Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill stumbled upon a cement factory in Catalonia, Spain, an enormous compound of silos and buildings that covered nearly two and a half miles of underground tunnels. Bofill decided to buy The World War I era structure and its grounds, making modifications to the original structure in order to create an all-inclusive live/work space that would unite the Surrealist, Abstract, and Brutalist elements found in its industrial form.
Original construction to transform the sprawling series of buildings took a little over a year and a half. After the dust cleared from the jack hammers and dynamite, Catalan craftsmen worked to add gardens and purpose back into the abandoned compound. Today the factory holds a cathedral, model workshop, archive rooms, residence, and studio, a workspace for Bofill’s firm spread over four floors in the factory’s silos and connected by a spiral staircase.
Despite over forty years in the making, the entire project is constantly evolving and is one that Bofill never sees as being fully completed. With continuous tweaks, Bofill has created a perfectly programmed existence, a ritualized lifestyle that goes against his previously nomadic early life.
“I have the impression of living in a precinct, in a closed universe which protects me from the outside and everyday life,” said Bofill on his website. “The Cement Factory is a place of work par excellence. Life goes on here in a continuous sequence, with very little difference between work and leisure.”
You can see more images of the garden-covered structures on Bofill’s website, and see a short Nowness documentary on his studio and residence below. (via Designboom)
Artist Isaac Cordal (previously) is well-known for his creation and placement of miniature cement figures in public places around the world as part of an ongoing series called Cement Eclipses. While the meaning behind each tiny sculpture is intentionally ambiguous, it’s impossible to look at each piece without imagining a story. The pieces often appear in scenes of mourning or despair, as part of what Cordal says is commentary on humankind’s disregard for nature and as foreshadowing of potential consequences. From his artist statement:
Isaac Cordal is sympathetic toward his little people and you can empathize with their situations, their leisure time, their waiting for buses and even their more tragic moments such as accidental death, suicide or family funerals. The sculptures can be found in gutters, on top of buildings, on top of bus shelters; in many unusual and unlikely places.
These new skeletal works are part of a 2013 series he created in Chiapas, Mexico, and he also had work this summer at ArtScape 2014 in Sweden. You can see more over on Facebook. (via Supersonic)
In one of his most ambitious artworks ever, artist Isaac Cordal (previously) spent three months constructing a corporate city in ruins for his installation Follow the Leaders. The sprawling collapsed society involves some 2,000 cement figures and decaying concrete buildings that the artist says are meant as a “metaphor for the collapse of capitalism and the side effects of progress.” You can see many more photos on his website (scroll to the bottom), or you can stop by Place du Bouffay in Nantes, France through September 1, 2013. (via Street Art Utopia)
These cement figures dangling from umbrellas within a narrow space inside the EBC office center in Prague are part of a installation titled Slight Uncertainty by Czech artist Michal Trpák. Check out much more of his sculptural work on his website.
These two animations by Johan Rijpma are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. In the first he organizes the photographs of thousands of street tiles to create the semblance of motion. In the second involving rolls of scotch tape — seriously? Is this even possible? Just watch. (via vimeo)