Design

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Art Design History

Artist Ruth Asawa’s Mesh Wire Sculptures Adorn New Stamps from USPS

April 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © United States Postal Service

Soon you’ll be able to mail a letter to a friend—or realistically, pay a bill—with a hint of art history. The United States Postal Service announced this week that it’ll be releasing 10 stamps inspired by renowned sculptor Ruth Asawa. The neutral-toned collection contains mostly her bulbous hanging pieces that appear to swell and contract in vertical lines.

Born in 1926, Asawa was forced into a Japanese internment camp by the U.S. government with her family during World War II. She learned to draw during her detainment, before eventually attending Black Mountain College, where she studied with Josef Albers and began to delve into wire weaving and sculpture. Later in her career, Asawa described her looped artworks as “a woven mesh not unlike medieval mail. A continuous piece of wire, forms envelop inner forms, yet all forms are visible (transparent). The shadow will reveal an exact image of the object.”

The forthcoming stamps feature photographs by Dan Bradica and Laurence Cuneo, with the selvage image taken by Nat Farbman for a 1954-issue of Life. To see more of Asawa’s wire works before you pick up the postal packet, check out the Instagram account that her estate manages. (via Artsy)

 

 



Design

Eight Modern Puzzles, Games, and Creative Kits to Keep You Busy and Offline

April 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

If you’re on the internet these days—since you’re reading this, we’ll guess you are—you’ve seen countless lists outlining shows to watch, books to read, and craft projects to undertake to distract yourself for an hour. You probably saw our Skillshare picks, too.

Today, we’re inspired by Jackie Buddie over at Etsy to gather activities that require no internet connection because we know how it goes: you mean to listen to that audiobook you just downloaded, but all of a sudden, you’re back on Twitter devouring bad news and realizing that you need to plant a victory garden. In an effort to distract your hands and your mind, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite games, puzzles, and kits currently available on Etsy. Another perk? You’ll support artists with your purchases, too.

Part toy and part wildlife painting, these brightly colored puzzles from Saint-Paul based artist Megan Bakke are appropriate for small children and beautiful enough to be displayed once complete. Each set is divided into large chunks that form delicately feathered flamingos and emus and detailed portraits of gorillas and llamas.

 

We’re loving these modern dominoes and geometric puzzle pieces from Montreal-based Jonathan Dorthe. Using a series of lined shapes, the wooden puzzle doesn’t have a strict formation and can be arranged to create a rectangle, a house, or any of the other 36 combinations. On the dominoes, each concentric hexagon represents a dot. Finally learn the rules to the game or simply line them up and watch them tumble one-by-one.

 

Illustrated by Barbara Dziadosz, these colorful playing cards feature kings, queens, and jacks decked out in modern garb. A heads up if you’re in the U.S., though: the Germany-based artist says your shipment might be delayed due to the ongoing pandemic.

 

For those looking for a solitary activity, Dziadosz also creates these woodblock stamps designed to shape robots and other geometric creatures, depending on their combination.

 

An actual trip to the lake or woods—not to mention outer space—might not be feasible right now, but these model kits by the Portland-based shop Houha Designs provide a small escape. All you need is glue (the shop recommends Elmer’s) to fix each laser-cut piece to the next to create a fishing boat, fire tower lookout, or circular spaceship.

 

An impressive upcycle by Calgary-based designer Adrian Martinus, this cribbage board is made from old hardwood and repurposed skateboards. Detailed with chevron and stripes, the classic game comes with nine metal pegs that are stored separately.

 

Correctly assembling all 500 pieces of this varicolored, impressionist puzzle is sure to be meditative. Titled “Moonlight Over Euclid,” the abstract landscape jigsaw is based on a painting by Milwaukee-based artist Karen Williams-Brusubardis.

 

 

 



Design

A Massive Faux Staircase Punctuates A Glass-Sided Home Before Flowing into an Outdoor Garden

April 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

The design team at Nendo knew they’d need a way to connect the three generations—and eight cats—living inside a newly constructed home in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, so they created an enormous staircase. Spanning from the outdoor garden to the third floor, the steel-and-concrete structure isn’t designed for climbing between floors but does serve as a multi-level garden area and space for the cats to lounge. It also conceals bathrooms and the staircase residents actually will use, while the white-paneled walls hold additional storage.

Aptly named Stairway House, the interruptive project juxtaposes connection and separation within one home, the design studio said in a statement.

A stairway and greenery gently connected the upper and lower floors along a diagonal line, creating a space where all three generations could take comfort in each other’s subtle presence. Not only does the stairway connect the interior to the yard, or bond one household to another, this structure aims to expand further out to join the environs and the city —connecting the road that extends southward on the ground level, and out into skylight through the toplight.

While a white facade masks the front of the house, the back is covered in windows that face the mature persimmon tree preserved on the property. For more of Nendo’s disruptive architecture, head to Instagram. (via Dezeen)

 

 



Design Music

Cut Your Own Vinyl with this DIY Record Engraver and Player Designed by Yuri Suzuki

April 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Yuri Suzuki

Making mixtapes and burning CDs might be a forgotten pastime, but the days of simple, homemade vinyl are just arriving thanks to Yuri Suzuki. The London-based designer, who is also a partner at Pentagram, has created the Easy Record Maker, a small device that makes audio recording straightforward and accessible to the general public.

By plugging in an auxiliary cable or USB and playing audio through a phone or other digital device, the cutting arm receives the sound vibrations and engraves the blank plastic three to four times within a single millimeter. Each side of the 5-inch record takes about four minutes to complete. When ready to play, the machine’s cutting piece should be swapped for the tone arm, which is large enough to accommodate traditional 7-inch EPs.

In an interview with It’s Nice That, Suzuki said that creating a DIY-record engraver has been one of his goals since his teenage days as part of a ska-punk band when he didn’t have the financial resources to use professional recording equipment. While that difficulty persists today, the designer said he also hoped this audio project would encourage users to focus and have fun. “Sound has a strong impact on our emotions and the way we behave, and I always try to create an experience with sound that as many people as possible can relate to,” he said.

The Easy Record Maker is currently available from Gakken in Japan and will be released to U.S. and U.K. audiences in the coming months. For a live demo, head to Suzuki’s Instagram this Friday to check out what he shares on IGTV.

 

 



Design Science

Meltdown Flags Visualize the Climate Crisis’s Toll on Glaciers Worldwide

March 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Meltdown Flags

A new digital project called Meltdown Flags envisions the disastrous effects of the ongoing climate crisis. Countries with glaciers see a reduction in the amount of white on their flags, which serves as a visual representation of the shrinking ice masses. Canada’s middle section begins at full width in 1995 before condensing in both 2020 and 2050. The United States’ white stripes similarly are a fraction of their usual height by the middle of the century.

Created by the digital design studio Moby Digg, Meltdown Flags also functions as an online tool replete with statistics about the percentage of glacier retreat from 1995 to 2050, the nation’s population, landmass, and emissions. Information on Argentina, for example, details the consequences of melting glaciers in the Andes. “Although the Perito Moreno glacier has shown an advance in the past years, ice in this region is being lost at some of the highest rates on the planet,” the page says. “And as ice vanishes, heat increases, resulting in long periods of drought, heavy rainfall, and flooding which could affect up to 130,000 people.”

The project outlines the severity of global warming, saying that based on the current projections, glaciers will be gone by 2100 and “with them, 69% of the world’s drinking water.” Meltdown Flags begins its timeline in 1995 when the first United Nations Climate Change Conference occurred. The UN hoped to reach net-zero emissions and keep the global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celcius by 2050.

To follow the global awareness movement, head to Instagram and Twitter.

 

 



Design Science

Get a Meteorite-Speckled Slab of the Moon’s Surface Made with NASA Data

March 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © DeskSpace

Most of us will never get to touch the moon’s outer crust, but a new project by DeskSpace lets people pretend they’ve got a little portion of the crater-covered satellite sitting on their desks or hung up on their walls. Designed using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Lunar Surface is a square piece of portland concrete that’s natural bubbles form ridges and dips that mimic the divets caused by meteorites.

The astronomical project commemorates humans’ first steps on the moon. “It was 50 years ago that the first Apollo landing took place. With such an important anniversary, we understand that space enthusiasts need special items for their collections,” DeskSpace said. There are just a few options left for purchase on Kickstarter, but you can stay up to date with future space-themed releases on DeskSpace’s site.

 

 



Art Design

Swiveling Mirror Installation Skews Perspectives of Historic Venetian Architecture

March 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Arnaud Lapierre and Andrea Giadini

AZIMUT, an installation by French artist and designer Arnaud Lapierre, offers a prismatic look at some of Venice’s historic structures. Situated along the waterfront of Riva degli Schiavoni, 16 titled mirrors with battery-powered motors rest on the cobblestone walkway in front of the Palazzo Ducale, a gothic landmark that dates back to the 14th century and currently houses one of the Italian city’s museums. The reflective circles spin in tandem, offering a magnified view of the palace’s patterned stone and the intricate details on its facade.

When facing the water, the mirrors even pick up glimpses of the San Giorgio Maggiore, a Benedictine church that was completed in the 16th century. Featuring massive marble columns, the basicillica was designed by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.

Lapierre described the project as “a loss of balance, of recomposing landscape and a patchwork observation,” of the surrounding architecture and historic city. For more of his designs that question and alter perspectives, head to Instagram and Vimeo. (via designboom)