Mirage: Doug Aitken’s Mirrored House Creates a Kaleidoscopic View of the Surrounding Swiss Mountains
For this year’s Elevation 1049, a series of site-specific installations dotting the mountain town of Gstaad, Switzerland, the chosen theme is “Frequencies.” In response, Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken (previously) installed a house-shaped structure made almost entirely of mirrored surfaces that reflect the mountains, skies, and trees. Aptly named Mirage Gstaad after the region and its optical effect, the ranch-style structure echoes the snow-covered landscape while also disappearing into the surrounding environment. The structure’s angled walls and ceiling easily bounce light, which creates a kaleidoscopic view of the area’s mountain peaks when seen from within.
The materials for the structure were sourced locally and transported by truck to the site back in November before the snow season began. Aitken and his team tell Colossal that the location and materials were chosen in collaboration with local authorities to “be conscious of environmental issues, such as the fritting (the aluminium stripes) that were added to the reflective surface for the safety of birds.”
Having launched alongside the program at the beginning of February 2019, Aitken’s structure will continue to reflect the changing landscape of Gstaad for the next two years. Admission to the mirage and other Elevation 1049 installations is free. For locations and directions head to the project website, and for more of Doug Aitken’s work, follow his studio on Instagram. (via designboom)
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Self-taught artist Carl Lavia, who goes by the nickname “Sketch,” has been drawing intricate cities and architecturally-minded illustrations since he was the age of five. Although his early works were imaginative renderings of fictionalized cities, his practice has grown into immensely detailed depictions of large cities from an aerial point of view. Lavia uses ink and archival paper to produce each drawing, which appear like maps from a distance, but have a loose, almost Impressionist style when viewed up close.
In 2016 Lavia paired with photographer Lorna Le Bredonchel to form the project “#69Cities,” which aims to create a portrait of the whole United Kingdom through large-scale drawings of its 69 cities. It takes approximately 2-4 months for Lavia to create each drawing in the expansive project, with Le Bredonchel documenting the entire process from his wall-sized sketches to their time exploring each city by foot.
So far the duo has traveled to Birmingham and Manchester, England as well as Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling, and Perth, Scotland. The completed Perth drawing will be on display at the Perth Museum and Art Gallery at the end of his month, and be on view through January 2020. When completed, Lavia and Le Bredonchel hope to develop an app that will allow visitors to explore each drawing in an immersive 3D landscape. You can follow along with the pair’s upcoming travels and future drawings on their website, Instagram, and Twitter.
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Little Tree Library: A Clever Twist on the Donation-Based Community Library Gives New Life to a Big Old Stump
Thanks to the nonprofit Little Free Library, chances are you have encountered a small house-like structure on a public thoroughfare, with a front door that opens to allow passersby to give or take a free book. The program exists in 88 countries, with over 75,000 registered Little Free Libraries. In addition to the goodwill-fueled, donation-based libraries, one of the charms is that each one is customized. Many sport unique paint jobs or even entirely off-the-wall architecture, like the Swedish flag-bedecked Library in the shape of a water tower, which pays homage to the real structure, a beloved fixture in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago.
One family in Idaho took their Library design to the next level with a “Little Tree Library,” carved out of a 110-year-old cottonwood tree stump on their property. Sharalee Armitage Howard, you’ll not be surprised to learn, works as a librarian and previously studied bookbinding, according to her Facebook profile. She spearheaded the complex installation on her front lawn, including dentils that, upon closer inspection, are actually miniature books complete with titles. The Library also features interior and exterior lighting, to give the space an extra-homey glow, as well as a “roof” over the top of the stump to help prevent its weathering away.
KREM, the local news station in Coeur d’Alene made a video (below) to give those outside the small town a closer look at the Howard’s new addition. You can find a Little Free Library near you on the organization’s website, which also offers premade kits if you don’t have any large stumps on hand.
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Panoramic Photographs by Peter Li Bring an Otherworldly Perspective to the Architectural Symmetry of Churches
Photographer Peter Li uses panoramic photography to introduce a new perspective to the already breathtaking architecture of churches from around the world. By capturing the entirety of the ceiling and supporting columns, Li allows the viewer to get the chance to feel what it is like to stand at the center of these grand buildings, while also achieving a viewpoint that is impossible to get without digital intervention.
One of the many stand-out aspects of the photographs is the symmetry that is highlighted when a chapel’s interior is stretched. This element, Li tells Colossal, is what gives the composition its overall balance. Lighting factors and the season are also a key parts that make a panorama more compelling to shoot. Shapes and shadows appear differently in each space depending on where the sun might be overhead, and when in a certain position, this can be quite disruptive to the photograph.
When all elements fall into place however, Lee achieves photographs that are truly transportive. His images not only take us to a different place in the world, but also allow us to be slightly removed from our known reality. “Observing a three-dimensional space in its entirety gives us a view/perspective beyond what the eye can see,” he explains. “It breaks us from reality, plays with our perception of shape and form and creates a sense of another world. Through my photography, I hope to impart the otherworldly nature to the viewer, encouraging them to take a momentary step out of their reality.”
Li is in the process of making his high resolution panoramas available to the public in the form of large, wall-sized prints. Keep up-to-date with these prints, and new images from the photographer, on his website and Instagram. (via My Modern Met)
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Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” is perhaps one of the most iconic images that Japan has ever exported. And it’s now emerged as a giant mural on the facade of a new development in Moscow. Called Etalon City, the development, which comprises 9 buildings, is located in the South Butovo region in south-west Moscow. While the rectangular buildings will feature the silhouettes of New York, Chicago, Barcelona, and Monaco, a decision was made to include Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” on the 6 square-shaped towers that are situated along the highway and most visible. The total area of the facade is almost 60,000 square meters. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
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Copenhagen-based artist Matthew Simmonds (previously) carves miniature architectural interiors, angular shapes, and tiny windows filled with symbolic objects, trinkets, and animals. His ghostly white sculptural forms are cut from and presented within raw stone, which allows for a striking contrast between his designs and the medium’s natural surface.
Although Simmonds mainly focuses on sacred architecture, particularly from the Medieval era, he is drawn to how cultures overlap and influence each other. His work often references a variety of architectural styles in one piece, and sometimes presents abstract forms. “I get inspired by real architectural spaces, but the works are not reproductions of actual buildings in miniature, with the exception of the Elevation series,” Simmonds tells Colossal.
His sculptures take a minimum of three weeks to complete, however they can span several months depending on the complexity and size. “The longest I’ve ever worked on a single piece of stone was when I made Windows in 2017,” explains Simmonds. “There was around 180 days, or nine months, of carving time with more time spent on research and design.”
This particular piece was one of his most complex to date. Rows of carved openings collectively served as a curio cabinet, with each window filled with a range of creations, from a miniature iguana and array of small fruits to even tinier models of buildings and structures. Here Simmonds showcases the world in miniature, seen through the visual symbols of a variety of cultures. In the piece are also several references to San Francisco, as it was specifically created for a show in the Bay Area. To view more of the artist’s recent stone carvings, visit his website.
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JaeCheol Park, who goes by the artist name PaperBlue, creates intricate drawings in the style of architectural drafts. But rather than imagining a buildable building, Park employs the classic illustrative aesthetic to form fantastical urban environments where structures appear and disappear, bleeding into one another in a haze of geometric patterns. His loose linework and intensive layering enliven the historical architectural styles he highlights in his drawings. The artist, who is based in Seongnam, South Korea, has a broad audience for his digital and concept art along with his more traditional drafting-inspired work. Park shares drawing tutorials on Youtube and finished work on Facebook. He has also published a book, which is available on Amazon. (via ARCHatlas)
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