Design

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Art Dance Design

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

November 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a costume made of shells

“Haerenga (Journey),” Christopher Davis, of New Zealand. All images © World of WearableArt, shared with permission

Every year in Wellington, dozens of extravagant garments explode onto the stage for three weeks as part of the World of WearableArt competition. The annual performance is New Zealand’s largest theatrical production that highlights vast creativity translated through fashion and costume from around the globe. Of the 88 works from 103 international designers in this year’s contest, many are interpretations of the natural world with dried grasses pouring from sleeves and sculptural dresses mimicking coral patterns. No matter the materials or aesthetic, all of the garments have a flair for the dramatic.

In the 32 years since the competition launched, WOW has featured more than 5,000 garments on its stages, and it’s worth a visit to the contest’s site to peruse the archive.

 

A photo of a costume with pink ribbons suspended from the ceiling

Estère in the 2022 competition

Two photos of costumes, one with feathered wings and the other with multicolor spikes

Left: “Apocalyptic Angel,” Sherri Madison, of the United States. Right: “Wild Things,” Saar Snoek, of the Netherlands

A photo of a costume with a full bird-like face

“Call of the Kōkako,” Stephanie Cossens, of New Zealand

A photo of a costume made with white, coral like forms

“Life,” Sun Ye, Ma Yuru, Zhou Honglei, of China

A photo of a costume made of white plastic

“Plastic Marriage,” Allison MacKay and Gabrielle Edmonds, of New Zealand

Two photos of costumes, one on the left with rippled features and the other with elaborate beading

Left: “This Is the Pyrocene,” R. R. Pascoe, of Australia. Right: “The Giant Purse,” Thao Nguyen, of Vietnam

A photo of a costume that splays outward from the body

“X-Ray,” Lyndal Linton, Brett Linton, Harvey Linton, of New Zealand

 

 

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Design

Shaped Like a Mushroom Cap, This Sustainable Pendant Lamp Is Grown from Fungi

November 7, 2022

Kate Mothes

A pendant lamp made from organic material and textured with mycelium.

All images © Myceen, shared with permission

Fungi isn’t usually something we welcome indoors, but Estonian studio Myceen sees home decoration a bit differently. Focusing on furniture and interior design products, the team has found an enlightening application for mycelium, the fibrous root-like system produced by fungus that spreads below the Earth’s surface and gathers nutrients. “B-Wise” is a sustainably-grown pendant lamp (you read that right!) that combines one of nature’s most resilient materials with recycled byproducts into a light fixture that looks like it was just plucked from the soil.

The production of each piece begins with combining organic waste materials like sawdust and straw into a mold along with the mycelium, giving the organism five weeks’ worth of food to promote expansion. After that, the lampshade is removed from the mold and dehydrated to prevent any further growth.

You can see more work from Myceen on its website and on Instagram. (via Yanko Design)

 

A pendant lamp made from organic material and textured with mycelium.

A pendant lamp made from organic material and textured with mycelium.

A pendant lamp made from organic material and textured with mycelium.

A pendant lamp made from organic material and textured with mycelium.

 

 



Colossal Design

Interview: Jessica Oreck of the Office of Collecting & Design On Her Enormous Museum of Miniatures

November 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jessica Oreck, shared with permission

In Las Vegas, the Office of Collecting & Design is a haven for the minute, the small objects that have been broken, separated from their partners, or grown obsolete and somehow found their way into the hands of Jessica Oreck. Today, the museum of miniatures houses countless objects from handmade sushi smaller than a pushpin and a teeny-tiny tube of Colgate to stone marbles and limbs detached from toy figures.

I see each object as being stitched together with the fabric of both its creator and all its previous caretakers. I try to preserve that connection while still keeping the object accessible for new interactions, new connections, even if that means the physicality of the object may degrade. The collections aren’t frozen behind glass. They are very much still a part of a living, breathing existence.—Jessica Oreck

Oreck speaks in this interview about the origin of the ever-expanding collection of miniatures, how respect and intuition ground her approach to the objects, and the mysterious story behind one of the strangest items she’s encountered.

Read the interview and see the collection.

 

 

 



Design

Undulating Volumes of Rattan Wind Through the Interior of a Chiang Mai Gallery

November 3, 2022

Kate Mothes

A contemporary interior in Chiang Mai, Thailand, featuring walls and lighting features made of rattan and wood.

All images by William Barrington Binns, © Enter Projects Asia

In South East Asia where palm trees grow abundantly, rattan has traditionally provided a source of sustainable, affordable, and adaptable material for everything from homewares and furniture to sports equipment and crafts. Architecture firm Enter Projects Asia (previously) has transformed an art gallery in Chiang Mai, Thailand, by weaving a continuous, undulating form throughout the space. Winding from room to room, the structure provides lighting along the ceiling and drops to the floor to create three pods.

Known for its use of the thin, malleable wood that can be dried in long strips and shaped into sweeping, airy volumes, Enter Projects seized an opportunity to reinterpret the existing interior with the addition of warm tones and curving lines. “We sought to create an immersive experience, giving the space a warmth and depth uncharacteristic of conventional art galleries,” explains architect and director Patrick Keane. An important facet of the project was to embrace traditional Thai craftsmanship and materials with a focus on sustainability. “It is not hard to be sustainable in construction if we adapt to our environment. Why would we use synthetic, toxic plastics when we have all the noble materials right at our fingertips?”

You can explore more on Enter Projects’ website and on Instagram.

 

A contemporary interior in Chiang Mai, Thailand, featuring walls and lighting features made of rattan and wood.

A contemporary interior in Chiang Mai, Thailand, featuring walls and lighting features made of rattan and wood.

Two images side-by-side of a contemporary interior in Chiang Mai, Thailand, featuring walls and lighting features made of rattan and wood.

An image of the exterior courtyard of an art gallery in Chiang Mai featuring a rattan lighting feature that winds in and out of the building.

 

 



Design Science

A Five-Meter Magnifying Glass Uses the Sun’s Immense Power to Melt Metal

November 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a giant magnifying glass-style machine illuminated by sunlight

“The Solar Metal Smelter.” All images © Jelle Seegers, shared with permission

Anyone who spent time outside with a magnifying glass as a kid is aware of the instrument’s power to generate a staggering amount of heat and even start a fire when hit with sunlight. Designer Jelle Seegers harnesses that practice in a new project he presented as part of the Design Academy Eindhoven student show at this year’s Dutch Design Week.

“The Solar Metal Smelter” uses a square polycarbonate sheet that Seegers carved with circles to mimic the convex lens of a magnifying glass. Extending about five meters wide, the material is embedded in a frame made from upcycled stainless steel, with an attached hand crank that needs to be turned every ten minutes to keep the sun focused on the correct spot. Once heated, the smelter reaches up to 1,000 degrees Celsius and can liquefy zinc, aluminum, and other metals that are then poured into various sand molds. The designer estimates that the device generates about four kilowatts of energy.

In a conversation with Dezeen, Seegers shares that he produced the machine to reduce the reliance on electricity and to better utilize the sun’s power. He says:

Electrical solar panels, they never have an efficiency of more than about 20 percent. Only 20 percent of the sunlight gets converted into electricity, so we need a huge amount of solar panels to create a huge amount of electrical energy. But if you just take the sun’s heat, and you only bend it and direct it, you don’t need to do this complex conversion to electricity. And for that reason, you can achieve an efficiency of about 95 percent.

Seegers plans to scale up the project in the coming months and has been working on a variety of carbon-neutral machines, including the pedal-powered tool grinder shown below. For a similar solar-powered design, check out this sinter that uses sunlight and sand to make glass.

 

A photo of a piece of polycarbonate scratched with circles

The lens of the machine

A photo of a giant magnifying glass-style machine illuminated by sunlight

A photo of a giant magnifying glass-style machine illuminated by sunlight

A photo of a man shaping sand casts for molten metal to be poured into

Seegers shaping the casts for molten metal to be poured into

A photo of a man pressing on the petal of a metal tool grinding machine

Seegers using the pedal-powered tool grinder

 

 



Art Design

Designed for Leisure, Sarah Ross’ ‘Archisuits’ Question the Inhospitable Environments of American Cities

November 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

All images © Sarah Ross, shared with permission

Among American cities, Los Angeles has a reputation for being particularly car-centric, and it lacks the infrastructure for walkability or a robust public transit system. This choice of design is inherently political, as it makes commutes and travel across neighborhoods more inaccessible for people who don’t drive.

There’s also the fact that public spaces available to pedestrians generally aren’t constructed with comfort in mind, an issue Chicago-based artist Sarah Ross sought to remedy back in 2005 with the satirical Archisuits. Absurdly shaped, Ross’s four leisurewear pieces bulge with supports that perfectly fit into the negative space of benches, fences, and building facades. The designs draw a contrast between the soft, bendable wearables and the cold, rigid architecture, which the artist describes as “an arm of the law, a form that uses the built environment to police and control raced, classed, and gendered bodies.”

Nearly twenty years later, the project retains its original relevance and has gained new urgency as the climate crisis requires mass reduction in car use and an overhaul in how we collectively conceive of public areas. Ross shares with Colossal:

The same issues are happening where people are criminalized for being poor, black, brown, or disabled in public space. In many places around the globe, there is a turn to the right a monopoly of power is concentrated into the hands of the very few. We continue to live in siloed, segregated worlds.

Find more of the artist’s projects that consider how politics inform spaces on her site.

 

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

A photo of four people wearing blue bulging leisure suits