Colossal

April Showers Bring May Mother’s Day Gifts

April 26, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

We love the spring season to remind us to express our appreciation for the lovely people who helped us plant roots and grow—whether that’s a biological or adoptive mom, a female mentor, sister, or grandma. What better way to show gratitude than a gift from our hand-picked guide for Mother’s Day? You’ll find temporary tattoos and puzzles, new Calhoun & Co. blankets, and festive socks to celebrate the most important meal of the day (mother knows best), we’ve got just the thing for your #1 mom. And yes, we offer gift wrapping!

 

 



Art Design

Send-Ups of Pop Culture and Capitalism Hidden in Retail Stores by Obvious Plant

April 26, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

The next time you’re in a grocery store, pharmacy, or toy department and spot a subtly unusual item, it might an Obvious Plant. Jeff Wysaski, the man behind the meme, has been creating and depositing strange flyers, placards, and packaged products in conventional retail outlets for several years. His creations are often a send-up of a popular pop culture phenomenon like Sesame Street or The Avengers, and feature chuckle-inducing copy, alternately quippy and filled with intentional typos. From a lonely Bert to Barely Any Ketchup (made by “Hardly Foods”), Obvious Plant items have become increasingly elaborate over the years, and Wysanski makes some of his designs available for purchase in an online store.

You can follow along with Obvious Plant’s quirky interventions on Instagram. If these are up your alley, also check out Chindōgu, a concept and subsequent community of designers of useless products, first popularized in 1990’s Japan by Kenji Kawakami.

 

 



Design

A Verdant Landscape Breathes Life into a One-Bedroom Apartment in a Suburb of Mumbai

April 26, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

India-based architectural studio The White Room, run by Nitin Barchha and Disney Davis, uses minimal design and natural materials to create clean spaces bursting with plant life. In their recent project Garden Room the pair created a white and slate green sculptural setting that presents a calming segue from interior to outdoor space. The one bedroom apartment located in the Mumbai suburb of Pali Hill is teeming with vines and hanging plants that create a protective barrier from the outside world. An immersive turquoise bathroom mosaic adds to the dissolution between nature and designed structure, dousing the room in blue light reminiscent of a shallow sea. You can see more projects by the architecture studio on their website and Behance.

 

 



Design

Mr. Trash Wheel: An Anthropomorphic Debris-Eating Mechanism Located in Baltimore Harbor

April 25, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Mr. Trash Wheel, a floating mechanism with large round eyes affixed to its hood, was installed on a tributary leading to the Baltimore Harbor in 2014. Since then, the trash-scooping object has intercepted 638,594 plastic bags, 1,000,000 styrofoam containers, 150 miles of cigarette butts, and one ball python. Using the power of the sun, the semi-autonomous machine rakes litter out of the water and up a slow but sturdy conveyer belt. The belt is strong enough to hoist mattresses, trees, and kegs from the water and into a dumpster located on a separate barge for recycling and disposal.

The device was created by sailor and engineer John Kellett who watched debris build up around Baltimore’s waterfront for over twenty years. Mr. Trash Wheel has helped lead to Maryland’s statewide ban on Styrofoam food containers (a first in the country), partly because of a loyal Twitter following by local fans who are witness to the devastating amount of trash intercepted each day.

Although Kellett plans on installing trash wheels in other cities across the US including California, New York, and Hawaii, and internationally, he had also focused on adding more trash-eating power to his local harbor. Mr. Trash Wheel now has two cousin interceptors named Professor Trash Wheel and Captain Trash Wheel who have equally cartoonish eyes attached to the front of their wide-mouthed exteriors. You can watch Mr. Trash Wheel digest its millionth pound of trash in the video below, and view a live stream of real time waste consumption on its website. (via WBUR)

 

 



Art Craft

Claws and Teeth Emerge From Otherworldly Ceramic Vessels by Gregory Knopp

April 25, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

While many designers focus on enhancing the cuteness of small air plants, ceramic artist Gregory Knopp highlights the otherworldly qualities of these popular plants. His hand-built clay vessels feature gaping mouth-like holes surrounded by curling claws or winding appendages that draw attention to the spindly air plants. Knopp, who works under the name Tooth and Snail, explains that he begins each piece with a concept sketch and then develops the work instinctively with clay in hand. “This is such an intuitive and malleable medium, it allows for images and ideas that might not be conscious to come through and take shape.”

Knopp immigrated as a child with his family from Russia to Brooklyn, where he currently lives and works. The artist shares with Colossal that he has always been fascinated by deep sea life forms. As a high schooler he volunteered at the Coney Island Aquarium, where he was drawn to corals and octupuses over the more popular sea otters and dolphins. Knopp’s interest in science continues today, and the artist finds inspiration in readings on anatomy and evolutionary biology. “Living forms have much order and purpose in their constitutions, but are at the same time ludicrous and whimsical,” he explains. “I try to capture some of that with these sculptures.”

Knopp’s unusual sculptural ceramics, including dramatic interpretations of cacti, are available in the Tooth and Snail online store and at pop-up markets around Brooklyn. The artist also shares updates on Instagram.

 

 



Design

A Geological Landmark’s Phosphorescent Glow Inspires the National Museum of Qatar’s Cavernous Gift Shop

April 25, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Patches of natural and artificial light highlight the curved layers of the National Museum of Qatar’s recently completed gift shop. The massive undulating walls were constructed from over 40,000 pieces of timber that tower high above visitors’ heads and imitate the shape and feeling of the Dahl Al Misfir or Cave of Light. The Qatar landmark is an underground formation that contains a wealth of gypsum deposits, which illuminate the cave with a phosphorescent glow and often form clusters of rose-shaped crystals known as “desert roses.”

Koichi Takada Architects wanted to connect visitors to the museum back to Qatari desert landscapes, while also creating a natural extension of the “Desert Rose” concept created for the museum by French architect Jean Nouvel. In addition to the museum shop, the architects also designed its restaurants, including the Desert Rose Cafe, Cafe 875, and Jiwan Restaurant. You can see more of the firm’s previous projects on their website and Instagram, and take a look at the museum’s exterior here. (via designboom)

 

 



Design

A Retired Bike-Share Bicycle Upcycled to a Beetle-Shaped Mobile Library

April 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Seeking to provide a new use for China’s enormous surplus of bike-share bicycles, LUO Studio recently designed a mobile library in the shape of a winged beetle. The studio’s founder Luo Yujie was inspired to create “Shared Lady Beetle” by a friend who teaches young children and often needs to educational supplies around. In a statement on the studio’s website the Shared Lady Beetle is envisioned as a “beneficial insect walking on the urban leaf.”

To create the mobile library, LUO Studio equipped a standard bicycle with two back wheels and an additional load-bearing wheel to accommodate the extra length of the design. Discarded iron sheets from automobiles form the library’s exterior, and the “wings” open to reveal three partitioned shelves that can accommodate books or other creative materials for kids.

The studio describes their mission as being “committed to creating more durable, friendly and quality space through creative thinking, craftsmanship spirit of devotion and caring for nature.” Luo is also the director at the Sustainable Village Studio of China New Rural Planning and Design Institute. Discover more of LUO Studio’s innovative and sustainable designs on their website, which features project descriptions in both Chinese and English. If you enjoy this project, also check out Weapons of Mass Instruction by Raul Lemesoff and Juan Martinez’s bicycle animals. (via designboom)