Each rope that suspended San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge from 1935 to the 1970s was made of 229 individual strands arranged in a unique “lay” created at John A. Roeblin’s Sons Company in Trenton, New Jersey. Though these suspender ropes were retired about fifty years ago, the history and strength imbued in them lives on. Strands of History, a Tahoe City, California-based company founded in 2016, focuses on building functional items using the bridge’s original ropes, including a spectacular wood and steel coffee table.
Mary Zimmerman of the Strands of History team explains to Colossal that the company was able to verify the rope’s authenticity by reviewing the original schematics from the Roebling’s company. Every suspension bridge has ropes with a unique lay, which create a sort of finger print for the bridge’s materials.
Once a sufficient supply was in the hands of Strands of History, the company got to work determining a way to showcase the strength, beauty, and history of their chosen material. The incredibly strong rope weighs one pound per inch, and is so dense that only five cuts can be made before a fresh 14-inch abrasive blade is required. Strands of History brought in experts from Bushey Ironworks and Roundwood Furniture to help design the coffee table and wrangle the finicky raw materials. Bushey weighed in with forge welding techniques to stabilize the ropes, and Roundwood suggested a deeply striated Claro walnut wood that is about 80 years old.
In creating something new out of such storied materials, Zimmerman explains, “All of us that work on these projects are committed to the preservation of this historic steel. This required exploring various techniques to maintain [the rope’s] structural integrity, as well as to preserve the unique lay of the wire and its inherent beauty and attraction.”
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Watching the animation Idle, Torrent by Alex Moy is like watching the most relaxing screen saver ever produced, or perhaps an old school music visualizer that slowly morphs between trippy patterns and colors. Although it is akin to familiar technological systems, there really isn’t an easy way to describe the deeply harmonious flow that occurs during the two and a half minute short film. We suggest you just sit back, relax, and enjoy, especially in tandem with the soundtrack created by Brian “The Bee” Natalio. For more of Moy’s animations, including an interactive line drawing located on the home page, check out his website. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)
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Thomas Yang (previously) creates poster editions through his 100 Copies project that use bicycles as both muse and tool. Previous works have created famous architectural structures through inked bike tires, while his most recent design uses a more traditional approach. “Breakaway” uses various widths of flat brushes to create a peloton of riders with one breaking away from the racing pack. Swirling semi-circles compose the helmets, tires, and arched backs of the group, which have been created by offset lithographic printing using one Pantone spot color. The poster is printed on recycled 220gsm Maple White paper and, like the title of Yang’s project, is created in an edition of 100 copies. You can purchase the print and browse more of his designs on his website.
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Photographer Winnie Au Captures the Unique Personalities of Dogs Adorned in Sculptural ‘Cones of Shame’
Any person who’s been within shouting distance of a dog owner has probably heard the term “cone of shame,” a euphemism for the medically prescribed devices that dogs must sometimes wear. The cones, traditionally uncomfortable and made of stiff plastic, keeps dogs away from their post-surgery stitches or bothersome skin conditions.
Photographer and dog mom Winnie Au sought to flip the narrative on these puppy-eyes-inducing devices by showcasing dogs in a variety of delightfully frilly and fluffy cones. The photo series, Cone of Shame, complements each canine’s body type, fur, and personality with handcrafted cones by costume designer Marie-Yan Morvan.
Au shares with Colossal that the featured dogs were cast from all over New York, as she and Morvan sought to discover interesting looking dogs, and also match canines to pre-existing cone concepts. The pair worked collaboratively to draw from Au’s loose ideas like “sea urchin” or “cotton candy,” and homed in on feasible designs and materials. Textured cones were formed from feathers, egg shells, and straws, and sleek designs were made with faux flower petals and makeup application wedges.
“When I concepted this series, it was meant to be more abstract and less straightforward portraiture,” the photographer explains. “So when I looked at the dogs, I would look at their fur as one element, the backdrop color as another element, and then the cone style would be the final element. The goal was to put the pieces together like an abstract painting and make sure the colors and tones worked in symmetry with each other.”
Au has just released the “Cone of Shame” images in note card format, as part of a Kickstarter campaign that supports Animal Haven’s Recovery Road fund. You can follow Winnie Au and Marie-Yan Morvan on Instagram.
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Portuguese artist Ana Frois uses her background in architecture to draft precise structures she fills with imaginative monochrome plants and miniature gardening accessories. The series, simply titled Greenhouses, is created with white pencil on top of deep blue acrylic on paper. The ghostly forms are reminiscent of a cyanotype or faded architectural sketch, as if the clean-cut floating renderings are memories from another time. You can find more of Frois’s drawings on Instagram, and purchase prints of her work on Etsy.
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Bubbletecture, a forthcoming book from Phaidon, captures the incredible range of inflatable architecture, fashion, art, and design that has been created over the last several decades. From chair-shaped balloon creations by Seung Jin Yang to a blow-up aubergine concert hall by Arata Isozaki (previously) and Anish Kapoor (previously), the included designs range from aesthetic interpretations of puffy inflatables to pieces that highlight their ease and functionality. The book, which was written by New York City-based architect Sharon Francis, presents more than 200 examples of shape-shifting designs dating back to the 1960s. You can discover more soft architecture forms and air-filled frocks by preordering the book on Amazon. (via Web Urbanist)
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Colossal + HP
Artist Craig Burrows (previously) captures the natural fluorescence of flowers using a unique UV imaging technique, resulting in spectacularly luminescent photographs. The process, known as ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence photography, involves projecting electromagnetic radiation on to the flower, and then capturing the visible light briefly emitted by the plant. Lest you think everything around us is secretly glowing all the time, the light shown in Burrows’ photographs appears within nanoseconds of the UV light projection, and decays within ten nanoseconds. Objects that emit a longer afterglow are referred to as phosphorescent. The incredibly brief window of illumination is usually not observable to the human eye not because it is itself invisible, but because the glow is so brief, and generally surrounded by much more powerful, atmospheric sunlight.
To create his seemingly magical—but actually all-natural—photographs, Burrows first collects local flowers from his lush Southern California neighborhood, or purchases specific species he’s interested in experimenting with. He works with them in an extremely dark environment, to prevent any competing light from dulling the flowers’ glow, and places each stem in a stand that’s covered in light-absorbing matte black electrical tape. Burrows uses long exposures, and moves his UV-filtered LED evenly over each blossom to ensure that every petal, stamen, and pollen grain gets its moment in the spotlight. Despite all the technical details and varied equipment involved in each shoot, Burrows never knows how—or if—a photograph will turn out until he’s finished shooting.
The photographer, who credits Swedish artist Oleksandr Holovachov with his own inspiration for UVIVF, has been working in this mode for just four years, and has taught himself the intricate process. His work has paid off, with a recent feature in National Geographic. Considering Burrows’ unique perspective on blending art and science, we asked him to turn his precision-focused lens to the HP ZBook x2.
“Regarding the laptop, there are a lot of things I was pretty impressed with. For one thing, it’s got an aluminum and magnesium body and is made to meet MIL-STD-810G specs. This makes me feel comfortable bringing valuable equipment like the ZBook x2 with me—it really feels like a quality piece of hardware. I normally use a large laptop with a full-size keyboard, and I was pleasantly surprised by the detachable one for the ZBook x2. Once I got used to the Quick Keys, it was pretty sweet to use.”
“In actually using it, it was incredibly snappy—definitely one of the quickest laptops or computers I’ve had my hands on, including some workstation desktops I’ve used. When it comes to navigating around large 16bit images, rendering a video from them, or creating a focus stack, that power and speed makes it a true delight to use.”
“I work around a lot of people in the design industry and I kept getting compliments from everyone on the looks of the tablet. It looks confident and classy, and doesn’t sacrifice ports and functionality to make it happen. I will admit, I was pretty gleeful that I could use USB devices and SD cards without needing external dongles and adapters!”
“While it would certainly be of more use to an illustrator, I found the pen interface pretty excellent. My workflow for photo editing demands abundant keyboard shortcuts so I struggled with using it in pure tablet mode, but I found it quite adept for sketching and drawing. The fact that the tablet has the functionality of a Cintiq in a compact and portable form makes it extremely useful in photo-editing for both masking and making adjustments. The Zbook has definitely made me rethink what a laptop can be and changed my expectations.”
Learn more about the HP ZBook x2 at hp.com.
This post was sponsored by HP.
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