Art Design

A Massive Illuminated Eye of 100,000 Lights Twinkles Above a Madrid Plaza

December 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a glowing installation that looks like an eye

All photos by ImagenSubliminal / Miguel de Guzman + Rocio Romero,, courtesy of Brut Deluxe, shared with permission

Now on view in Madrid’s Plaza de Canalejas is a gleaming eye that peers both downward at those who pass underneath its red-and-blue canopy and upward at the sky. Extending across more than 2,000-square-meters, the temporary site-specific installation is the project of design studio Brut Deluxe, which strung 100,000-plus LED lights into a web of color that hovers nine meters above ground. Mimicking the center of an eye, “Iris” is comprised of the main concentric circles pocked by anatomical anomalies like wrinkles and grooves, with flickering bulbs spread across its expanse.

Watch the video above too see the dynamic elements in action, and explore an archive of Brut Deluxe’s projects on its site. (via designboom)


An aerial photo of a glowing installation that looks like an eye

A photo of a glowing installation that looks like an eye

A photo of string lights and an illuminated ball of light

An aerial photo of a glowing installation that looks like an eye

A photo of string lights and an abstract shape





Kengo Kuma Designs a Dramatically Vaulted Cafe to Evoke Japan’s Sloping Tottori Sand Dunes

December 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a wooden building with a pergola at night

All images ©︎ Kawasumi-Kobayashi Kenji Photograph Office

Overlooking Japan’s vast Tottori Sand Dunes is a new two-level structure that connects earth and atmosphere. Dubbed a “staircase to the sky,” Takahama Café is one of architect Kengo Kuma’s latest projects that reflects the surrounding environment. The dramatically vaulted building, which totals 199 square meters, is constructed with cross-laminated timber and reinforced concrete and features a balcony topped with a pergola for visitors to view the region. Sand from the dunes textures the Washi paper pendant lights inside, and in honor of local craftspeople and traditions, the studio tasked the Tottori Mingei pottery workshop Nakai-gama with creating the bathroom sinks, which are cloaked in its signature blue-black glaze.

For more from Kuma (previously) and his team, visit the studio’s site. (via designboom)


A photo of a wooden building with a pergola

A photo of a wooden building with a pergola and overlook cafe

A photo of a sloping wooden building with stairs on the side

A photo of an indoor cafe

A photo of an indoor cafe

A photo of a wooden building with a pergola

A photo of a dramatically sloped wooden roof




New Year, New Plans: 2023 Calendars to Organize Your Year

December 9, 2022


A collage of five calendars

2022 is quickly coming to a close, and wrapping up the year also means looking forward to the next. To start charting a course for 2023, we’ve gathered some of our favorite calendars for the months ahead. From the school-day aesthetic of an oversized notebook to a celestial chart, these planners will ring in the year with whimsical elegance, bold graphics, and good vibes.


A photo of hands holding a calendar

Yearcalendar 2023 Classic

We’re partial to Yearcalendar’s giant wall-sized planners at Colossal—you’ll find the 2022 edition on a few of our office walls. The Swedish maker offers multiple sizes to fit your space so you can plan your full year at a glance.


A photo of a stacked calendar with paper scattered

You Are Beautiful 2023 Daily Calendar

Peel back layers of positivity and goodwill with You Are Beautiful’s daily calendar. The stacked affirmations reveal a new phrase for each day, offering a tiny dose of encouragement on colorful paper.


Two photos of botanical calendars

Katharine Watson 2023 Letterpress Calendar

Framed by an intricate floral design, this letterpress calendar by artist Katharine Watson nestles an entire year into a garden of botanicals.


A photo of colorful calendars on a wall

Spectrum Wall Planner

This vibrant wall calendar from Poketo adds a healthy dose of color to planning. Each poster-sized page can be displayed individually, so view one at a time or the full year at once. Plus, it’s not dated, so you can start with any month.


A celestial lunar calendar on blue paper

Thoughts Operator 2023 Lunar Calendar

Since 2009, Alec Thibodeau has been releasing these celestial lunar calendars that chronicle the moon’s cycles within the Northern Hemisphere throughout the year. Ornate renderings of natural life frame the elegant letterpress print, which expertly melds artful illustration with timely information.


A photo of a minimal black and white calendar

Stendig Art Calendar

This iconic, minimal design from Massimo Vignelli offers pared-back clarity for the days ahead. View entire months at once with this oversized tear-away calendar in classic Helvetica.


Two photos of hand drawn month calendars

Lorraine Loots’ Hand-Drawn Calendars

We’ve long admired Lorraine Loots’ daily paintings in miniature, and the artist has two minimal calendars available this year. Pick up the larger wall design or the tiny desk model (or both!) for planning in her hand-drawn creations.


A photo of a calendar with December and flowers at the top

Rifle Paper Co. 2023 Appointment Wall Calendar

Rifle Paper Co. is known for its whimsical illustrations, and this spiral-bound calendar is trimmed with colorful bouquets each month. There’s also a blank section for jotting reminders, plans, and other notes.




The Design Stories Colossal Readers Loved Most in 2022

December 7, 2022


A collage of three images of designs

This year on Colossal, we published hundreds of articles across disciplines, and as we look back at those in the design world, we’re finding that readers gravitated toward stories about the world’s largest sheet of chainmail, geometric pastries, and tiny homes for bees. Be sure to take a look at 2022’s top articles across art and craft, and check out our favorite books of the year. You can always take a trip back in time by diving into the Colossal archive.


A still showing a chainmail structure covering a building

A Massive Chainmail Shelter Prevents a Renowned Scottish Mansion from Dissolving in the Rain

English YouTuber and educator Tom Scott visits the largest sheet of chainmail in the world in a short documentary that reveals how the uniquely designed mesh structure has become a landmark of sustainability.


A photo of a round cake covered in a vibrant gradient of spheres

Image © Dinara Kasko

Impeccably Precise Geometries Are Baked into Dinara Kasko’s Bold Cakes and Tarts

Ukrainian pastry chef Dinara Kasko brings a healthy dose of geometry to her meticulously designed cakes.


A photo of a barn with a slice out of the side to allow sky to peek through

Image © Catie Newell

Reimagining an Iconic Midwestern Structure, Catie Newell Cuts a Slice of Sky Out of a Michigan Barn

Conceived by Detroit-based architect and educator Catie Newell, this project reworks the iconic framework of an aging farm building to allow light through an unexpected aperture.


A still of a two shells in a planter

Image courtesy of A24

Production Designer Liz Toonkel Describes Creating the Adorable Universe Behind the New ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’

A tiny mollusk with a big personality, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On captivated audiences more than a decade ago with his quirky antics and endlessly entertaining use of human-sized objects. The adorable character returned this summer for a feature-length mockumentary with brilliant world-building by Liz Toonkel.


A photo of a colorful glass structure over a landscape and brick structures

Image © Vertical Panorama Pavilion at the Donum Estate (2022), Studio Other Spaces, Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann, by Adam Potts

Studio Other Spaces Designs a Conical Structure with 832 Vibrant Glass Panels That Reflect Sonoma’s Weather

A bold, conical structure by the studio of artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann casts a vibrant kaleidoscope of 24 colors underneath its canopy.


A photo of a woven structure around a tree

Image © Ulf Mejergren and Antti Laitinen

In a Remote Swedish Forest, A Nest of Branches and Hay Encircles a Tree with a Cozy Hideout

In April of this year, Swedish architect and artist Ulf Mejergren and Finnish artist Antti Laitinen gathered fallen branches from a forested area outside of Nykvarn and wove a structure around a tree, building a cozy refuge among the thawing spring landscape.


A photo of a latticed bamboo building that's lit by soft light

Image by Hiroyuki Oki, courtesy of Vo Trong Nghia Architects

42,000 Bamboo Shoots Construct an Illuminated, Latticed Welcome Center in Vietnam

The project of Vo Trong Nghia Architects, a glowing welcome center of interlaced bamboo stands at the entrance of the resort Grand World Phu Quoc in Vietnam.


A photo of a brick with round holes and a bee hovering in front of it

Image © Green&Blue

Tiny Holes Drilled into Bricks Provide Miniature Homes for Solitary Bees

An innovative creation of Cornwall-based Green&Blue, Bee Bricks are designed to establish homes for fuzzy, winged insects.


A photo of a person wearing a costume of shells with grass

Image © World of WearableArt

In the World of WearableArt, 88 Dramatic Garments Grace the Stage in a Spectacular Performance

Every year in Wellington, dozens of extravagant garments explode onto the stage for three weeks as part of the World of WearableArt competition.


A photo of a bed in front of a round window

All images © Noritaka Minami

Photos by Noritaka Minami Document the Famed Nakagin Capsule Tower Prior to Demolition

Artist Noritaka Minami documented the icon of Japanese Metabolism, the Nakagin Capsule Tower, that stood in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo from 1972 until it was demolished earlier this year.



Art Design

Thousands of Used Tea Bags Assemble in Ruby Silvious’s Delicate Full-Size Garments

December 2, 2022

Kate Mothes

A child's dress made from tea bags.

All images © Ruby Silvious, shared with permission

When we steep a cup of tea, we typically toss out the bag once it has served up its brew, but for Ruby Silvious, this humble sachet provides the basis for a distinctive artistic practice. Known for her miniature paintings that use tea bags as canvases, she has expanded her use of the material by employing it as a fabric for larger-scale works that are inspired by her family history and an interest in fashion. “It gives me a chance to do large scale work, the antithesis to my miniature paintings,” she tells Colossal. “It’s only natural that my art has always been inspired by fashion. My maternal grandmother was a brilliant seamstress. I was only 20 years old when I migrated to the U.S. from the Philippines, and my very first job was at Bergdorff Goodman in New York City.”

Silvious began making garments in 2015, spurred by an ongoing fascination with the various methods of printing, staining, and assembling the deconstructed segments together. “I have accumulated bins of used tea bags,” she says, “not just from my own consumption but also from friends and family who have generously contributed to my growing collection.” She has made more than ten full-size kimonos, each requiring up to 800 used bags to complete. Pieces in her most recent series, Dressed to a Tea, average approximately 75 to 125 sachets, each one emptied out, flattened, and ironed before being glued together into shirts, slips, or child-size dresses. “Some tea bag pieces have monoprints on them, and the simpler designs are assembled with plain or slightly stained, used tea bags, giving them a more delicate and fragile look,” she explains.

A number of pieces from Dressed to a Tea will be on view in a weeklong exhibition at Ceres Gallery in New York from December 5 to 10. Her work will also be featured in a solo exhibit at the Ostfriedsisches Teemuseum in Norden, Germany, from March 4 to April 29, 2023. You can find more of Silvious’s work on her website and Instagram.


A shirt made out of tea bags.

A kimono made from tea bags.

Slips made out of tea bags.

Two images of a kimono made from tea bags, shown front and back. A child's dress made out of tea bags.

Two dresses made out of tea bags.

A kimono made from tea bags.



Art Design History

Industrial Materials Reconstruct Local History on a Monumental Scale in Public Sculptures by David Mach

November 30, 2022

Kate Mothes

A sculpture of a train made out of bricks.

“Brick Train” (1997) in Darlington. All images © David Mach

Known for sculptures and assemblages that utilize everyday objects like bricks, coat hangers, and matches, Scottish artist David Mach has embarked on numerous large-scale, public projects that draw inspiration from local history. In his monumental “Brick Train” in Darlington, he taps into regional heritage through the use of red brick and the depiction of a life-size steam locomotive. The industrial revolution of the 19th century spurred a need to move materials like coal and steel around the country, and the first railway to use steam engines to transport passengers also originated in the area. In the U.K., red bricks have prevailed as the most popular building material, constructing long rows of terraced homes that characterize the urban landscape.

Further north in Edinburgh, the architectonic “Temple at Tyre” was constructed from dozens of shipping containers and over 8,000 tires (or tyres) in the port of Leith, a critical international shipping hub. It was installed for a month and illuminated at night to rival the city’s major landmarks, like the neoclassical National Monument on Calton Hill. The containers, which are also the focus of a proposed building in an Edinburgh business park, are immense reminders of the trade and commerce that the city is built upon.

Mach currently has additional projects in the works in London, Mauritius, and Syria. Heavy Metal, a solo exhibition opening at Pangolin London in January will highlight ongoing work in a showcase of maquettes and prints. You can find more of the artist’s work on his website.


A public sculpture of a row of telephone boxes tipping over like dominoes.

“Out of Order” (1989) in Kingston-upon-Thames. Photograph by Mike Longhurst

A neoclassical facade made out of brick.

“Temple of Bricks,” maquette, 93.5 x 111 x18 centimeters

A photograph of a sculpture of a train made from bricks, covered in snow.

“Brick Train”

A digital rendering of a contemporary building made out of a pile of shipping containers.

Render for Mach1, Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh

An installation in a port of dozens of shipping containers with a neoclassical monument on top made out of tires.

“The Temple at Tyre” (1994) installed at Leith, Edinburgh

A sculpture of a row of telephone boxes that are falling onto one another like dominoes.

“Out of Order.” Photograph by Mike Longhurst

An installation in a port of dozens of shipping containers with a neoclassical monument on top made out of tires.

“The Temple at Tyre”