Design

Section



Design

Inexpensive Toys Fashioned into Unique Action Figures by Artist Tomohiro Yasui

March 8, 2020

Andrew LaSane

All images © Tomohiro Yasui

Tomohiro Yasui is best known as the creator of the paper robot wrestlers called kami-robo, but that’s not the only medium his imagination has conquered. Using wire and cheap rubber duckies, squirting frogs, and plastic hammers, the Japanese artist builds posable action figures that deserve their own Saturday morning cartoons and comic books.

Having spent the past 35 years designing paper robots and plastic toys, Yasui is an expert when it comes to humanoid anatomy in dynamic poses. Multiples of the same donor toys were used to create the chiseled physiques, which means that all of the pieces match in texture and color and did not have to be repainted. If the fantasy figures were packaged and displayed on a shelf in the toy section, no one would be able to guess that they were cut, reconfigured, and assembled by hand.

To see more of these unlikely heroes come to life, follow Yasui on Twitter.

 

 



Art Design

Geometric Doorways and Angular Turrets Form Sand Fortresses by Calvin Seibert

March 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Calvin Seibert, shared with permission

Like many kids with a love for digging in sandboxes, Calvin Seibert (previously) grew up creating grand castles and towers from piles of the sediment. But for Seibert, the practice wasn’t just a childhood pastime. “In hindsight I see that much of what I made was more like sculpture. It really was all about the object and its resonant meanings rather than interiors and spatial flow,” he says.

After studying at the School of Visual Arts, the Colorado-born artist began sculpting modernist buildings featuring sharp angles, clean edges, and various geometric shapes that resemble brutalist architecture rather than something from a children’s story. “While not all of my structures have quite the rugged fortress-like presence of a Kenzo Tange or a Paul Rudolph building, it is something I aim for,” he writes. “Certainly I see my sandcastles in opposition to those frivolous turreted fantasies that Cinderella would feel at home in.”

To create his works, Seibert begins by mixing water and sand to create layers, before packing and smoothing the rest by hand. He cleans the edges with various trowels and knives that he’s made himself. Plus, he never works without a five-gallon pail because it’s “indispensable for digging and fetching water, as well as carrying stuff to the beach.”

I always start at the top and work down, taking great care to keep the horizontals level. I pretty much make things up as I go along, allowing surprises and engineering difficulties to shape the castles. Robert Venturi’s prescription of ‘complexity and contradiction’ is always in the back of my mind, while mash-ups of gameshow sets and artillery bunkers are soon added to the mix.

Seibert tells Colossal that he’s moved to Colorado since making the works featured here, which limits his time on the beach, although he dreams of transforming a pile of sand at the Venice Biennale or as part of Casa Wabi in Mexico. Follow what he’s up to, and perhaps get a glimpse of his next visit to a sandy landscape, on Instagram.

 

 



Craft Design

Step-by-Step Instructions on Making the Paper Airplane that Broke World Records

March 5, 2020

Grace Ebert

John Collins, aka The Paper Airplane Guy, is a master at shattering world records with a single sheet of paper. The aircraft designer now has collaborated with Great Big Story on a new video that not only teaches the Susanne, the model that secured his spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012, but also two others that swoop through the air. As its name suggests, the Tube resembles a hollow cylinder designed to be tossed like a football, while the Boomerang is the most complex of the trio, requiring more complicated folds and angles in order to craft a model that returns to whoever throws it. You can find more instructional videos on Collins’s YouTube channel or in his book that comes with 16 tear-out model planes.

 

 



Animation Design

A 3D Artist Imagines the Realistic Fossilized Skulls of Endearing Cartoon Characters

March 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Canis Goofus – USA, 1932.” All images © Filip Hodas

A Prague-based artist is memorializing some of his favorite cartoons with a series of convincing fossils that provide an unconventional look at the skeletons of animated characters. Filip Hodas’s Cartoon Fossils series features preserved skulls of Spongebob, Tweety Bird, and other familiar characters, accompanied by the years they first were spotted on television and their zoological names like Anas Scroogius, Homo Popoculis, and Mus Minnius.

The artist’s surreal compositions mimic the fossils and assemblages displayed in history museums, although Hodas said in a statement he wanted to add to their playfulness with bright, solid backgrounds. He also embellishes his characters with hats, glasses, and even stacks of coins to amplify their fictional roles.

Initially, I wanted to make them stylized as dinosaur fossils set up in a museum environment, but later decided against it, as the skulls didn’t look very recognizable on their own—especially with parts broken or missing. That’s why I opted for (a) less damaged look and also added some assets to each of the characters.

To create each piece, Hodas used a combination of programs including Cinema 4D, Zbrush, 3D Coat, Substance Painter, and Substance Designer. Find more of the artist’s work that intertwines history, science, and pop culture on Instagram and Behance.

“Mus Minnius – USA, 1928”

“Anas Scroogius – USA, 1947”

“Anas Scroogius – USA, 1947”

“Spongia Bobæ – USA, 1999”

“Homo Popoculis – USA, 1929”

“Homo Popoculis – USA, 1929”

“Canaria Tweetea – USA, 1941”

“Canaria Tweetea – USA, 1941”

 

 



Art Design

Undulating Kinetic Sculpture by Julia Nizamutdinova Mimics Intertwined Infinity Signs

March 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

Artist and designer Julia Nizamutdinova has created a kinetic sculpture that rotates, twists, and turns in a mesmerizing and hypnotic fashion. Made of plastic, aluminum, and steel, INFI is modeled after the infinity sign in its form and movement, constantly crisscrossing and repeating. When illuminated with an LED light, the edges stand out against the sculpture’s fish-shaped body, and the rhythmic, undulating movements become more clear.

Nizamutdinova tells Colossal that her creation is part of a larger project she calls Cyberflora. “They contain a meditative therapeutic effect from the contemplation of smooth hypnotic movements and the beauty of futuristic forms,” she writes. To see more of Nizamutdinova’s work that falls at the intersection of technology, art, and design, head to YouTube and Instagram.

 

 



Art Design

Kinetic Artwork Attempts to Get a ‘Little Piece of Privacy’ with Mechanized Curtain

February 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

Berlin-based artist Niklas Roy isn’t just concerned about his privacy and protection online. To stop passersby from peeping into his workshop, he strung up a white, lace curtain stretching only partially across his window. Titled “My Little Piece of Privacy,” the ironic project from 2010 was established to offer seclusion to the artist, while recording those who walked past his space. Each outside movement triggers a motor to position the thin fabric in front of the person attempting to look inside. The resulting footage shows various strategies people use⁠—think rapid arm waving and hopping from one spot to another⁠—to try to trick the mechanism tracking their positions. They never succeed for more than a second, though. You can find more of Roy’s projects interested in humor and technology on YouTube.

 

 



Design

Roof of a Copenhagen Power Plant Doubles as Snow-Free Ski and Snowboarding Center

February 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Copenhill

Danish architectural firm BIG recently transformed what would be another underutilized industrial space into a year-round entertainment hub as part of Copenhagen’s plan to be carbon-neutral by 2025. Copenhill, which opened in October of 2019, is situated on top of the waste-to-energy power plant, the Amager Resource Centre, in the Danish capital. Offering snow-free skiing and snowboarding, the outdoor space also allows hiking and running on its trails that border the 41,000-square-meter area. It even boasts the world’s largest climbing wall reaching 80 meters high.

The power plant can convert as many as 440,000 tons of waste into energy and heat for the hundreds of thousands of the city’s homes every year. Each machine is arranged by height, pushing the multi-use site to 90 meters at its peak.