Built in 1608, the Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte is a 142-step staircase in Caltagirone, Sicily made from thousands of ceramic tiles, one design per step, as a fitting tribute to a city known for its design and production of ceramics and terra-cotta sculptures. For centuries the stairs have been used as a backdrop for various festivals for which images of patron saints and other local themes are illustrated using thousands of flowers or candles. You can learn more about the La Scala Flower Festival over on My Modern Met, or the light festival called the Scala Illuminata. Photos by Andrea Annaloro. (via My Modern Met)
In an act of patience and precision that boggles the mind, Dutch artist Suzan Drummen creates sparkling floor installations using an array of individually placed mirrors, crystals, chromed metal, optical glass and precious stones. That’s right, the thousands of objects in each of her artworks are placed and stacked by hand and sit completely loose during the exhibition.
The fractal-like patterns in each installation form a sort of temporary 3D carpet that alters the space in which its installed by reflecting light in all directions. But even the slightest disturbance, an accidental step or dropped object, could send pieces from the unprotected installation flying, a true testament to the artist’s trust in the viewer. (via Lustik)
Built in 1931, this Art Deco railroad underpass in Birmingham, Alabama is a vital gateway between the heart of downtown and a new urban space called Railroad Park. In recent years the dark tunnel had deteriorated into an unwelcoming and potentially dangerous area, so the city hired sculptor and public artist Bill FitzGibbons to create a lighting solution that would encourage more pedestrian traffic. Titled LightRails the installation is composed of a network of computerized LEDs that that form various lighting patterns in the previously darkened underpass. (via contemporist)
Textile artist Olek has just completed work on what may be her largest piece ever, a four-car locomotive covered in crocheted technicolor camo in Lodz, Poland. The artist didn’t even stop to change out of a costume she wore at the Animal Ball in London before jumping on a plane to meet four assistants who began a four-day assault on the large train that was completed on July 19th. You may remember Olek’s work from just over a year ago here on Colossal when she crocheted an entire alligator-themed playground in São Paulo. The locomotive will be on view through August 19th, and you can see more over on Hi-Fructose.
For the last thirteen years Serpentine Gallery has invited a guest architect to design a temporary structure on the London gallery’s front lawn. In what is billed as “the most ambitious architectural program of its kind worldwide,” designs have come from such visionaries as Ai Weiwei in 2012 and Frank Gehry in 2008. This year, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto (who at 41 become the youngest to accept the invitation) constructed a large network of 20mm steel poles and latticed metal that covers an area of 3,800 square feet.
While the white pavilion is impressive in its own right, the gallery further commissioned London-based United Visual Artists to create a network of LED lights that are meant to mimic the natural forms of an electric storm. At night the normally grounded structure becomes an electrified geometric cloud that flashes and pulsates with light. The installation is further enhanced by an accompanied soundtrack of precisely timed soundbites including the buzzing of electrical plants, effectively creating an auditory effect of thunder. A somewhat similar intervention took place here in Chicago a few years ago when LuftWerk transformed Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. (via Wired, Huffington Post)
What looks like a giant pile of rubble outside the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Vancouver is actually an art installation by Chinese art collective MadeIn Company titled Calm. All is not as it seems. Pass by in a hurry and you’ll hardly notice this giant pile of broken cement blocks, grass, and construction waste, but stand next to it for just a moment and you’ll notice something almost imperceptible: the entire pile of rubble is moving, slightly undulating atop a giant hidden reservoir of water.
The large field of debris was collected from a renovated Vancouver synagogue and installed on an exhibition space, Offsite, belonging to the Vancouver Art Gallery last April. According to various news reports people seem pretty polarized by the installation, either loving or hating it. The work was inspired by the near perpetual state of urban development currently underway in China. Via the gallery:
Calm’s ambiguity and unexpected ability to move provoke us to question ways of observing, believing and understanding facts, and remind us that the truth often differs from what it seems. In this context, Calm comments on the concerns that arise alongside urban development and the gentrification of residential neighbourhoods, whether in Vancouver or Shanghai. While the volume of construction in Vancouver might pale in comparison and scale to that of Shanghai, there are currently several retail and residential expansions underway within a five-kilometre radius of Offsite.
The installation will be on view through September 29th and you can learn a bit more over on CTV News. It should be noted that if you’re in Vancouver the installation is not actually meant to be touched or climbed on. You can see a similar installation from Benjamin Boré who created the same sort of effect with a brick sidewalk. (thanks julie & rhea)
Recently installed at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, this gigantic Gordian Knot was constructed by Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira who is known for his near complete organic transformations of interior and exterior spaces. Titled Baitogogo, the work depicts an architectural grid of columns and support beams that seem to morph into a chaotic tangle of branches or roots. Via the Palais de Tokyo:
Through a kind of architectural anthropomorphism, Henrique Oliveira reveals the building’s structure. At Palais de Tokyo, he plays on the space’s existing and structuring features, prolonging and multiplying pillars in order to endow them with a vegetable and organic dimension, as though the building were coming alive. The artist draws inspiration from medical textbooks, amongst others, and particularly from studies of physical pathologies such as tumors. Through a formal analogy, these outgrowths evoke the outermost layers of the bark of a common tree.
The installation will be in view through September 9th, 2013. Photos by André Morin. (via dark silence in suburbia)
Several years ago Los Angeles-based airbrush make-up artist, photographer and designer Adam Tenenbaum was bequeathed several large vintage chandeliers that he thought might look good in his home, but to his dismay they were a bit too large. Then an idea struck him: why not hang a few in the giant tree in his front yard. The Chandelier Tree was born. Filmmaker Colin Kennedy passed the tree almost daily for nearly six years and finally decided to sit down the Tenenbaum to shoot this short documentary about this strange and beautiful tree. (via kuriositas, boing boing)