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Art Design

Swing House: A Three-Story Swing Suspended from the Ceiling of a Gutted Cincinnati Home by Mark deJong

May 17, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

All images © Hailey Bollinger

All images © Hailey Bollinger

From the outside, artist Mark deJong’s contemporary installation, Swing House, doesn’t particularly stand out from the other residences lining the street of Cincinnati’s Camp Washington neighborhood. The blue 19th-century building is narrowly built, and features charming architectural details that cap its windows and roof. The interior however, is remarkably different. All three levels of the home have been completely gutted to create an open floor plan void of any interior walls or floors, with a single swing positioned at the center of the space.

Swing House is a piece of art in itself,” deJong tells Colossal. “All of my major decisions were based on the arc of the swing, which started by emptying out everything on the inside. The arc of the swing then dictated where the stairs to the basement went, as well as the placement of the bed and kitchen. While swinging, your feet miss those things with a considered clearance. You are able to swing way over both the bed and kitchen.”

The seat of the swing was formed from reddish pine salvaged from inside the home. Its natural-fiber rope attachments extend 30-feet into the air, and are secured into a metal beam from the home’s three-story ceiling. It is here that deJong painted a black and white hour glass shape, a nod to the motif of passing time represented in the pendulum-like swing.

The installation took three years to build, but had been a dream of deJong’s for nearly thirty. He originally thought of the idea shortly after finishing art school. “I stopped making art for 20 years, so this house was my leap back into the art world,” he explains. He has worked in construction for the past several decades, so this art-based house was a way for him to marry his formal training with his lifelong career. 

DeJong is currently renovating another house on the same street which will also be mostly gutted, except for as set of freestanding stairs which will serve as the main focus. Objects created from salvaged elements of the Swing House are currently on view at his solo exhibition of the same name, which runs through September 2, 2018 at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center. Tours of the home will occur throughout the duration of the exhibition. (via CityBeat)

The outside of Swing House in the Camp Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. Since the photo was taken, the home has been renovated with landscaping and other details that preserve the home's original character.

The outside of Swing House in the Camp Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. Since the photo was taken, the home has been renovated with landscaping and other details that preserve the home’s original character.

 

 



Design History

A Modern Solar-Powered Home Built Within the Ruins of an 18th-Century Farmhouse

May 9, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Architects Nathanael Dorent and Lily Jencks recently collaborated to build a sleek, modern home within the existing ruins of an 18th-century farmhouse. The home is built on a hill that overlooks more than 50 miles of Scotland’s pastoral fields and combines elements of both the old and new world. The structure features white, futuristic walls that wind throughout the length of its interior, which is completely powered by exterior solar panels. Although there are some updated elements, the structure still sits within the original stones of the farmhouse, and is topped by a pitched roof similar to the one that would have sheltered the old Scottish house.

While building the structure, Dorent and Jencks used their admiration of specific views seen from the farmhouse as inspiration for custom windows. One particular oval opening in the wall looks directly onto a nearby field of cows perfectly set against a backdrop of rolling hills. You can learn more about the new home and the philosophy behind its construction on Dorent’s website. (via Fubiz)

 

 



Design

An Optical Illusion Tile System Designed by Casa Ceramica

October 12, 2017

Christopher Jobson

British tile company Casa Ceramica have designed a novel optical illusion flooring system that uses real tiles to create a vertigo-inducing warped floor. The skewed checkerboard floor functions as the entryway to their showroom in Manchester, lending an Alice in Wonderland atmosphere to a generally traditional medium. You can see a couple more photos on their Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Design

A Secret Work Studio Suspended Below a Highway Overpass by Fernando Abellanas

August 21, 2017

Laura Staugaitis

All images by Jose Manuel Pedrajas, courtesy Lebrel

Spanish furniture designer Fernando Abellanas has carved out a new creative home in a section of Valencia that isn’t the typical artist neighborhood: he’s built a studio affixed to a highway underpass. The workspace is complete with a desk and chair, as well as shelves stocked with homey framed artworks and potted succulents―all attached to the highway’s cement framework. The floor and walls function as a self-operated horizontal elevator. Using mechanics adapted from a metal dolly, Abellanas hand-cranks his way to his studio, completing the picture of a cozy four-walled workspace.

As he described in an interview with le cool Valencia, Abellanas has a lifelong interest in refuges―locating peace and solitude in unexpected places, like under the dinner table as as a child, and now, hidden underneath the whir of traffic. The designer is also inspired by the way people with very limited resources use neglected spaces to create homes.

The studio hasn’t been sanctioned by the city of Valencia, so its exact location is a secret, and it will remain intact for as long as Abellanas is able to keep it there. You can follow more of Abellanas’ work  for his brand Lebrel via Instagram and Facebook, and the video below (in Spanish) offers a closer look. (via FastCo)

 

 



Design

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

May 4, 2017

Christopher Jobson

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.

 

 



Design Music

Functional Mixtape Coffee Tables

August 16, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Catering to musicians and music lovers alike, Los Angeles-based company TAYBLES has created a functional piece of furniture that also acts as a nostalgic throwback to the time of homemade mixtapes. The trio of artists behind the company produces cassette tape coffee tables, each work crafted from hardwood and sealed with clear epoxy. Every table also comes with a classic cassette label affixed to the top, and LED lights hidden within the center of the mixtape’s holes. You can buy your own custom mixtape on the company’s website, and browse more designs here. (via So Super Awesome)

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Design

Off the Grid: A Couple Spends 24 Years Building a Floating Island Home in Canada

August 11, 2016

Christopher Jobson

Twenty-five years ago artists Catherine King and Wayne Adams made the realization they would never have enough income to afford real estate so they made a fairly radical decision: they would build an island. Currently moored off the coast of Vancouver Island about 45 minutes by boat to the nearest town, their sprawling floating house is called called “Freedom Cove.”

The completely mobile island is made of 12 tethered sections that incorporates four greenhouses, living quarters, a kitchen, workshop, art gallery, a lighthouse and even a dance floor. Adams estimates the structure weighs in around 500 tons (a million pounds) and says everything was constructed with a handsaw and hammer without the aid of power tools. In this short clip Great Big Story takes a brief glimpse inside this supremely unusual residence.

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