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Art

Harmonious Drawings and Sculptural Renderings by Louise Despont Conjure Balance in Nature

November 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches. All images courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, NYC, and Galerie Isa, Mumbai, shared with permission

Balance, symmetry, and the geometries of proportion create a distinct visual lexicon for Louise Despont. Working in graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger paper, the French American artist practices an alchemy of pattern and color, fusing the two into intricate, contemplative renderings that evoke natural elements. “I think my work has always attempted to bridge the worlds of plant wisdom and healing with a language of architecture,” Despont tells Colossal. “I’m interested in drawing the invisible, in attempting to represent the unseen but nonetheless powerful forces and systems that surround and inhabit us. I’m interested in art-making as a co-creative experience, a bit like gardening. I plant the seeds and tend to the work, but what grows comes from its own source.”

Inspired by the homeopathy and alternative medicine practiced by the artist’s mother, Despont’s works often hearken back to botanical forms as she renders petals and writhing stems in pastel hues. Her sculptural drawings utilize bamboo and string to perfectly mirror the sweeping lines and circular shapes on each side of a three-dimensional form, and this desire for engineered precision is a nod to her grandfather, father, and partner who all have backgrounds in architecture. Whether on paper or dyed fabric, her works illuminate nature’s organic harmonies and are tinged with a reverence for its more mystical properties, focusing on the energies and expressions of the world around us.

Before moving to her current home in Mallorca, Despont was featured in three Art21 films in New York and Bali that offer insight into her earlier practice. The artist’s drawings will be on view at Art Basel in Miami this December with Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, and she is currently working on a book slated for release next year. For glimpses into her studio and process, head to Instagram.

 

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Aconite,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A photo of a bamboo sculptural drawings on pink cotton

“Ignatia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Vital Force IV,” graphite, colored pencil, and pure gold leaf on antique ledger book page, 18 3/4 x 23 1/2 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Arsenicum Album Constitution,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 56 1/4 x 48 inches

Four photos of bamboo sculptural drawings on dark dyed cotton

Top left: “Arsenicum,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Top right: “Veratrum Album,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Bottom left: “Silicia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 73 x 59 inches. Bottom right: “Conium,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Calc Fluor,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 53 x 67 1/4 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

 

 

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Animation Art Design

Thousands of Structures Populate a Growing Whimsical Metropolis in Charles Young’s Miniature Cities

November 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of dozens of colorful miniature buildings and transportation

All images © Charles Young, shared with permission

After picking up a copy of Japanese artist Sanzo Wada’s A Dictionary of Color Combinations a few years ago, Charles Young decided to divert the course of his otherwise monochromatic body of work. The Scottish artist, who is currently based in Edinburgh, has accumulated an extensive archive of tiny buildings, transportation, and public architecture all created in white paper. The stark structures number well into the thousands and together, sprawl into massive miniature metropolises. They’re now joined by similarly sized creations in full color.

Published around 1930, Wada’s reference manual groups pigments into complementary combinations of two, three, or four, and Young uses these pairings as the foundation for his latest models of office buildings, churches, factories, and stations. He finished all of the four-color studies back in 2021 and has since moved on to those with three, a set he plans to wrap up in the new year. “The whole project is like a journal or sketchbook, and not much planning goes into each piece before I start work,” he says. “The project is really about the process and the massing of individual parts rather than each individual building.”

After formulating a general idea of the intended piece, Young prints each hue onto a single sheet of watercolor paper. “I’ll choose one of the colours to be the main feature, used in the walls, and others as accents or for the roofs. It’s a kind of intuitive process where there just seems to be a right way to do it,” he shares. Once cut and assembled into their final three-dimensional shapes, the works are either left as standalone structures or animated in whimsical, stop-motion movements, like a train spinning on its platform or an excavator dipping its bucket.

As mentioned, Young’s three-color studies are ongoing, and you can follow his progress on those on Instagram.

 

An animated image of a train entering a station and turning on its platform

Four photos of tiny structures and transportation vehicles

An animated image of an excavator dipping its bucket

Four photos of tiny buildings and bridges

A photo of dozens of colorful miniature buildings and transportation

An animated image of an arm turning a wheel

 

 



Art

Dried Flowers Are Arranged into Passageways and Processions in Installations by Rebecca Louise Law

November 5, 2022

Kate Mothes

An installation by Rebecca Louise Law made of thousands of fried flowers suspended from the ceiling.

“The Womb” (2019), Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. All images © Rebecca Louise Law, shared with permission. Photograph by Chuck Heiney

For millennia, dried flowers have been prepared for a vast array of uses ranging from decoration and fragrance to pigments and medicine. British artist Rebecca Louise Law taps into our perennial fascination with florals for her monumental, immersive installations. Exploring our relationship with the natural environment and the way blooms and botanicals have influenced cultures throughout history, her reinterpretations of existing architecture encourage the viewer to move around the space in a new way.

In Parma, she draws inspiration from the city’s culinary and medicinal history for “Florilegum,” and in Brittany, France, she was invited to reimagine the Château de la Roche-Jagu’s grand banquet hall. For “The Womb,” visitors walked inside a room delineated by delicate strands of flowers and approached a cocoon-like form in the center, suggesting a space that is simultaneously protective, potent, and fragile. By hand-sewing stems and fronds together and wrapping them carefully in thin wire, she constructs lengthy ribbons of foliage that can be draped from a framework to create long, curtain-like expanses or colorful volumes at various heights.

You can visit “Florilegium” at Chiesa di San Tiburzio in Parma, Italy, and “Awakening” at the Honolulu Museum of Art will be on view through September 10, 2023. Explore more of Law’s work on her website and follow updates on Instagram.

 

An installation by Rebecca Louise Law in the dining hall of a château.

“Banquet” (2019), La Roche Jagu, France. Photograph by Julien Mota

An installation by Rebecca Louise Law made of thousands of fried flowers suspended from the ceiling.

“Florilegium” (2020), Chiesa di San Tiburzio, Parma, Italy

An installation by Rebecca Louise Law made of thousands of fried flowers suspended from the ceiling.

“Florilegium”

An installation by Rebecca Louise Law made of flowers in the interior of a French château.

“Banquet” (2019), La Roche Jagu, France. Photograph by Julien Mota

An installation by Rebecca Louise Law made of thousands of fried flowers suspended from the ceiling.

“Awakening” (2022), Honolulu Museum of Art

An installation by Rebecca Louise Law made of thousands of fried flowers suspended from the ceiling.

Detail of “Awakening”

Two detail images of dried flowers.

Details of “Awakening”

An installation by Rebecca Louise Law made of thousands of fried flowers suspended from the ceiling and a person standing amongst them.

Detail of “Awakening”

A sculpture by Rebecca Louise Law made of dried flowers, illuminated from the top.

Detail of “The Womb.” Photograph by Chuck Heiney

 

 



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.

 

 



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

 

 



Design

Tropical Plants Sprout from the Mesh Facade of an Open-Air Factory in Vietnam

November 1, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a building covered in plants

All images by Hiroyuki Oki, courtesy of the architects

In an industrial park 50 kilometers north of Ho Chi Minh City, a 30,000-square-meter building demonstrates the possibilities of a more sustainable future for manufacturing. The Jakob Factory is a project between Rollimarchini Architects and G8A Architects, who designed the tropical oasis amid the largely concrete structures within the commercial area.

Plants cloak the porous three-story facade made of steel and mesh. Building vertically was a key factor in the project as it contrasts the conventional sprawling designs typical in manufacturing that require more land and greater disruptions to the local environment. The living features protect the interior from rain and harsh sunlight, offer natural ventilation, regulate the temperature, and help to purify the air from dust and other particles. Trees and grassy mounds also sit in a central courtyard, with the green structure surrounding the open space.

The sustainability-focused project received the bestarchitects 2023 award and was included in Dezeen’s 2022 shortlist.

 

A photo of a building covered in plants

A photo of an interior factory with one wall covered in plants

A photo of an interior factory with outside walls covered in plants

A photo of a building covered in plants

A photo of a building covered in plants

An aerial photo of a courtyard in a building

Image by Severin Jakob