French designer and woodworker Malet Thibaut just released this limited edition “Art Toy” undoubtedly inspired by the iconic Lego figures. The toys are quite larger than their traditional yellow plastic counterparts, and it’s probably important to note that although the limbs appear flexible they are not actually hinged. Regardless I think they’d make a pretty awesome gift for the Lego-obsessed. Pick ‘em up on Etsy. Unfortunately sold out at the moment. (via behance)
These funky tree lights were designed by Judson Beaumont of Straight Line Designs, a furniture design firm out of Vancouver. Called Tree Rings the lights are made out of a beetle pine shell topped with mirrored Plexiglas that allows the embedded cool fluorescent light to shine through in the dark. I’m not sure of the practical application, but it appears the lights can be used as as small tables and bear enough weight to act as a stool. The pieces debuted last summer at Duthie Gallery. (via zymaze on fancy)
French firm Orée recently launched a new keyboard made entirely from a single piece of maple or walnut. Every keyboard is made to order and is crafted, polished, oil-finished and assembled by hand in their workshop in southern France. Via their website:
Orée was born from our observation that modern technology products look very much alike, are highly impersonal, made out of eco-unfriendly materials and are designed for rapid obsolescence. We set out to do something different: create lasting & personal high performance technology objects primarily made of wood, the most natural, durable and renewable material on earth. Orée is about reconciling tradition & novelty to create exceptional products through an exclusive combination of timeless woodworking techniques and cutting-edge technologies. All our products are eco-designed, crafted and hand-finished in France.
The keyboard is bluetooth enabled and retails for about $163 (€125.00). On their website you can customize Mac/Windows options, US/UK/Canadian keyboard layouts, options for keyboard fonts, and even a special message. Gorgeous. (via designboom)
For his Brecce collection, Italian designer Marco Stefanelli devised an ingenious way of removing fragments from sawmill scraps, tree branches, and cement fragments, and replacing them with perfectly sculpted resin embedded with LEDs. The resulting lamps retain the organic nature of their original form yet cast a beautifully subdued light. You can see much more on Stefanelli’s blog. (via the awesomer)
The Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville, Tennessee is a 100ft structure built by minister Horace Burgess from the early 1990s through 2004. The entire building wraps around a giant tree and was built completely without blueprints, sprawling to an estimated 10,000 square feet inside, including a four-story swing set. Photographer Kristin Sweeting took a recent trip to the treehouse and took many of the photos above. You can also see more images by Chuck Sutherland who provided the image on top.
At face value these small hand-carved wooden sculptures by scientist and artist John V. Muntean appear to be a random amalgam of mixed geometric shapes, curves and holes, but shine a light at the right angle and suddenly in the objects shadow is a discernable image. In fact, each sculpture contains three images, usually revolving around a theme. Via his website:
A Magic Angle Sculpture appears to be nothing more than an abstract wooden carving, skewered with a rod and mounted on a base. However, when lit from above and rotated at the magic angle (54.74º) it will cast three alternating shadows. Every 120º of rotation, the amorphous shadows evolve into independent forms. Our scientific interpretation of nature often depends upon our point of view. Perspective matters.
Over the past few weeks in a wooded area around Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, UK—a city known for quirky architecture and annual art festivals—three sculptures were surreptitiously carved into a number of felled trees by an unknown artist. These were not crude, amateur wood carvings, but clearly the work of an accomplished sculptor that the Daily Mail called “an anonymous Banksy-style guerrilla artist”. Right. Well, the sculptures are indeed incredible, and I think the world could use a healthy dose of accomplished mystery art, as was the case last year in Scotland where a series of book sculptures were left by a still unidentified individual in libraries and book festivals around the country.
The rogue tree carver’s identity was unveiled when the BBC decided to do the obvious thing and knock on the door of the person who owned the publicly-accessible private property where the sculptures were spotted, David Brown. Although Brown was unavailable for comment his housekeeper reported that the works were were commissioned from chainsaw-wielding artist Tommy Craggs who makes a living traveling around the world carving all matter of mystical creatures, animals, and figurative works into trees. Indeed in his own online gallery several photos a piece entitled King Hallow of Abbey Road identically match one of mystery sculptures found in Knaresborough. Case closed. Also there’s a gnarly looking dead tree in the park down the street here in Chicago desperately in need of Craggs’ chainsaw. Just putting that out there. (via gaks)
A few days ago I happened upon a rather unique art project called Last New Year in the Austin American Statesman, showing photos of a dilapidated home recently transformed with a number of installations by a small arts collective called Ink Tank. The premise for the project was fascinating: the ensemble imagined a fictional group of people living in the home who would react to the prophesied end-of-times 2012 date. One of my favorite pieces from the show is a giant installation called The Purge by artist Chris Whiteburch who decided to imagine how the house itself would confront the impending doom. The result is a structure purging its contents, all manner of debris and structural material shooting violently through a window into a giant wooden splash.
One of the most fascinating things about this project to me was its similarity to Inversion House, another modified house installation created by sculptors Dan Havel and Dean Ruck in 2005, roughly 150 miles east in Houston. The resemblance is uncanny in that they are essentially exact opposites. Via phone Whiteburch says the similarity is purely coincidental and that he wasn’t even aware of Inversion House until somebody mentioned it after seeing his work. Unfortunately the Last New Year has been taken down, but you can see more images over on Ink Tank’s website. I want to thank both Chris and photographers Julie and Adam Schreiber for providing the imagery for this post.