Design

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Design History Photography

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

September 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

“B1004” (2011). All images © Noritaka Minami, shared with permission

An icon of Japanese Metabolism, the Nakagin Capsule Tower stood in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo from 1972 until it was demolished earlier this year. Conceived by the famed designer Kisho Kurokawa, the building featured two central concrete towers, with 140 individual pods slotted into the main structures. A circular window allowed light into the small modules, which were created with the intention that they could be removed and replaced as needed.

This flexibility was an essential component of Metabolist architecture, which fused the concept of megastructures with organic growth, meaning many of the designs of the period embraced prefabrication for its ability to “regenerate” every few decades. Unfortunately for the Nakagain Capsule Tower, though, structural issues prevented the pods from being easily swapped, and the building fell quickly into a state of disrepair.

 

“Facade” (2010)

Until it was disassembled back in April, the complex served as a beacon of the pre-war movement that began in the 1960s and was one of the few remaining structures of its kind—Kurokawa’s similarly futuristic Capsule Hosue K is still in use in Nagano woods. Today, some of the tower’s capsules are being shipped to museums and institutions or converted into single accommodations, and one company is also working to digitally preserve the building.

Artist Noritaka Minami documented the complex prior to demolition, and his photographs of the facade and residential units are on view this week as part of 1972/Accumulations at MAS Context Reading Room in Chicago. Framing the living quarters from the same angle, the images compare the structural similarities and personal effects of each space. The photos, most of which Minami took between 2010 and 2021, capture a certain intimacy within the austere uniformity and preserve what once was an architectural innovation.

1972/Accumulations runs from September 22 to December 8. See more of the series on Minami’s site.

 

“A503” (2017)

“Artificial Land” (2021)

“A703” (2017)

“B605” (2021)

“B807” (2021)

“B702” (2012)

“A905” (2018)

 

 

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Design Food

Le Puzz Taps Into Playful Nostalgia with Its Retro-Style Jigsaws

September 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Le Puzz

Kids of the ’90s will recognize the playful retro designs of Le Puzz’s jigsaws. From close-ups of a big salad to a sweet flat lay of peach rings and hotdog gummies, the puzzles capture a certain vintage style sure to bring back child-like joy and nostalgia. Designs range from 500 to 1,000 pieces, all of which are cut at random for a chaotic and quirky tiling experience. Le Puzz is helmed by Alistair Matthews and Michael Hunter and features collaborations with artists like Maisie Broome and Clay Hickson. Shop available jigsaws on the company’s site.

 

 

 



Design

Measure Twice, Cut Once: These Playfully Designed Scissors Nestle Three Functions into Geometric Shapes

September 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Zencix

Part tool and part quirky design object, a trio of scissors by the Japanese manufacturer Zencix package multiple uses into one unusually efficient and playful form. Three geometric models comprise the company’s collection known as Trisqucle, a mishmash of triangle, square, and circle. In addition to their typical cutting capabilities, the steel scissors also have a ruled edge and spherical drawing guides for three-in-one functionality.

Vintage editions dating back to the 80s are floating around online, and you can pick up the modern version from Present&Correct. (via Core77)

 

 

 



Design

Seeds Embedded into 3D-Printed Earthen Architecture Produce Living Green Walls

September 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of the University of Virginia

Recent years have seen an outpouring of 3D-printed structures, including homes made of coiled clay and looped, stackable bricks, and now, researchers from the University of Virginia put a lively spin on the innovative technique. For an ongoing project within the School of Architecture, assistant professor Ehsan Baharlou and his team mixed seeds into earthen building materials that, once layered into walls, sprout lush plant life and evoke a Chia Pet aesthetic.

At this stage, the technology has been tested on smaller domes and walls, although once scaled up, it has the potential to naturally insulate buildings, soak up excess water that could lead to flooding, create green space for urban critters, and even be carbon negative, as the succulents sequester carbon from the surrounding environment. “We are working with local soils and plants mixed with water; the only electricity we need is to move the material and run a pump during printing. If we don’t need a printed piece or if it isn’t the right quality, we can recycle and re-use the material in the next batch of inks,” Baharlou said in a statement. The idea, he told Dezeen, is to establish “an active ecological system that might store emitted carbon in 3D-printed soil structures through the process of photosynthesis.”

In the coming months, the team plans to expand the capacities of the process to create more expansive structures and address the cracks that occur in the soil when produced on a larger scale.

 

Left: 48 hours. Middle: 96 hours. Right: 144 hours

Photo by Tom Daly

 

 



Art Design Illustration

Flora, Fowl, and Fruit Pop with Color in Diana Beltrán Herrera’s Ornate Paper Sculptures

September 7, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Diana Beltrán Herrera, shared with permission

A menagerie of beady-eyed birds and butterflies complement vibrant florals and fruity morsels in Bristol-based artist Diana Beltrán Herrera’s elaborate paper sculptures (previously). By utilizing subtle gradients to shape flower petals and making tiny cuts to detail individual feathers, the artist adds incredible dimension and density using the ubiquitous, 2-dimensional material. Ranging from shop window displays, to individual sculptures, to interior installations, she is often commissioned to make work featuring flowers or creatures specific to a location or region, and in a meticulous process of planning and sorting, she assembles different colors and sizes of paper into spritely flora and fauna.

Herrera has an exhibition planned for spring of next year at Children’s Museum Singapore, and you can find more of her work on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Design

Interview: Rael San Fratello Navigates the Boundaries of 3D Printing, Architecture, and the Impact of Division

September 1, 2022

Grace Ebert

“House Divided.” All images © Rael San Fratello, shared with permission

Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael of the eponymous studio Rael San Fratello (previously) foster a practice that’s difficult to categorize, which they speak to in a new interview supported by Colossal Members. The pair pursue projects that transcend the boundaries of design, art, technology, and craft: they continually address the implications of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, had a hand in the iconic Prada Marfa, and have constructed homes entirely through 3D printing. Although their interests are broad, Rael San Fratello is always committed to the material and structural, to recognizing everyone’s humanity, and to finding sustainable, practical ways to create a more hospitable future.

It was our hope that people would be able to relate to some of the spaces we created and would be able to understand and literally feel the bereftness, loneliness, and loss created by the division in the house. These are emotions that we all have and we all understand. With this project, we wish to communicate how the (border) wall is not only dividing places. It’s dividing people. It’s dividing families and how the unfortunate politics of the wall today is dividing children from their parents.

In this conversation, the pair speaks with Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert about applying their 3D-printing practice to larger projects, the role tradition plays in their works, and how, as educators, they encourage their students to embody the same innovative, endlessly curious mindset.

 

From the Frontier Drive-Inn project

 

 

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