In most countries, the design of manhole covers is scarcely given a second thought other than the basics of material and a generic pattern resulting in drab metal circles with a purely utilitarian function. But after World War II, city planners in Japan proposed the idea of allowing each local municipality to design their own manhole cover as part of an effort to raise awareness for costly sewage projects. Designs would reflect local industry, culture, and history. The result was a huge success, and now over 19,000 manhole cover designs can be found embedded across 95% of all municipalities in Japan.
John Daub from ONLY in Japan recently visited the Nagashima Imono Casting Factory to see how the manhole covers are designed and built. He also stopped by an annual gathering of enthusiasts called the Manhole Summit that began in 2014, and learned about a new deck of Japanese Manhole Trading Cards.
For their brand new advertisement, Finnish coffee roaster Paulig asked director and animator Lucas Zanotto to brew a cup of coffee from a single bean. Using a nail file to create the grounds, Zanotto then boils water over a single tea light, and finally pours the freshly brewed java one drop at a time into a thimble-sized mug. The video has a direct relationship to recently popularized miniature cooking videos on Youtube, which have produced everything from miniature deep-fried chicken to tiny shrimp tempura. You can watch more of the Helsinki-based director’s videos on his Instagram and Vimeo, and take a look at Zanotto’s miniature coffee brewing techniques above.
In this all too brief video woodworker Paul Sellers gives us a close-up view as he creates a number of ultra satisfying ‘Fibonacci’ spiral shavings. Between the soothing music, camerawork, and the mathematical perfection of each spiral as it rises from the wood, I could watch something like this all day. Somebody call somebody and turn this into an episode of Slow TV? (via Boing Boing, The Awesomer)
For well over a decade California artist Jim Denevan (previously) has made his mark in the sand, etching elaborate geometric artworks on beaches around the world using little more than a rake or found stick. The pieces last only a few hours, or begin disappearing even as he works, as the tides quickly erase each design leaving only a memory or a photograph. Great Big Story recently visited Denevan and shot this brief profile of the artist as he created a number of pieces.
No, this isn’t digital. Filmed by documentary filmmaker Francis Chee, this amazing video captures the microscopic view of a frog egg as it begins to divide from two cells into millions over a period of about 33 hours. It’s astounding to think that each and every one of us started off just like this. (via Sploid)
In 2001 NASA physicist Robert Lang quit his job to focus on his one true passion: creating original origami designs. With a deep understanding of mathematics and materials, Lang’s folding designs have been incorporated into everything from spacecraft to airbags. His works aren’t limited to functional objects, he’s also produced a wide range of original artworks that have been exhibited around the world. The Great Big Story recently sat down with Lang for this brief interview. (via Uncrate)