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Art

Miniature Architectural Spaces Nestle into Carved Chunks of Raw Marble

May 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Tetraconch II” (2019), Faxe limestone, 38 centimeters. All images © Matthew Simmonds, shared with permission

Since antiquity, marble has been a preferred material for sculptors and architects alike because of its relative softness and the unlikelihood that it’ll shatter. British artist Matthew Simmonds (previously) fuses these two traditional forms and honors their history with his miniature models carved into hunks of the raw stone. Evoking ancient ruins and sacred architecture—most pieces aren’t modeled after specific structures—the chiseled sculptures are complete with grand archways, ornately tiled ceilings, and minuscule statues on display in their halls.

Within the spaces, Simmonds contrasts the rough, jagged edges of the stone with precise angles and detailed flourishes. “Drawing on the formal language and philosophy of architecture the work explores themes of positive and negative form, the significance of light and darkness, and the relationship between nature and human endeavor,” he says in a statement.

See more of the artist’s carved interiors, which are often less than a foot wide, on his site.

 

“Mystras” (2020), Carrara marble, 39 centimeters

Left: “Essay in Perpendicular” (2018), limestone, 42 centimeters. Right: “Window” (2020), limestone, 24 centimeters

Detail of “Hidden Landscape II” (2019), Carrara marble, 180 centimeters

“Gothic Passage II” (2021), limestone, 25.5 centimeters

Left: “Single Helix II” (2019), Faxe limestone, 24 centimeters. Right: “Landscape: study” (2020), limestone, 10 centimeters

Detail of “Basilica V” (2020), Carrara marble, 170 centimeters

“Stepwell” (2020), Faxe limestone, 39 centimeters

Detail of “Stepwell” (2020), Faxe limestone, 39 centimeters

 

 



Photography

Nature Resurges to Overtake Abandoned Architecture in a New Book of Photos by Jonk

May 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

Manoir, Taiwan Manor, Taiwan. All images © Jonk, shared with permission

From dilapidated power plants, abandoned medical facilities, and amusement parks left in rusted ruin, the compelling scenes that French photographer Jonathan Jimenez, aka Jonk (previously), captures are evidence of nature’s endurance and power to reclaim spaces transformed by people. Now compiled in a new book titled Naturalia II, 221 images shot across 17 countries frame the thriving vegetation that crawls across chipped concrete and architecture in unruly masses.

This succeeding volume is a follow-up to Jonk’s first book by the same name and focuses on the ways the ecological crisis has evolved during the last three years. He explains the impetus for the book in a statement:

On the one hand, the situation has deteriorated even further with yet another species becoming extinct every single day. Global warming continues and has caused repeated natural catastrophes: floods, fires, droughts, etc. On the other hand, our collective awareness has widely increased. We are still a long way from the commitment needed to really change things, but we are heading in the right direction. Millions of initiatives have already emerged, and I hope that my photos and the message contained within them can play a small part in the collective challenge facing us all.

Pick up a copy of Naturalia II, which has text in both French and English, from Jonk’s site, and follow him on Instagram to keep up with his travels and reclaimed findings.

 

Centrale lectrique, Italie power plant, Italy

Tour de refroidissement, Belgique cooling tower, Belgium

Piscine, Danemark swimming pool, Denmark

Hippodrome, France

Sanatorium, Lituanie Sanatorium, Lithuania

CimetiŠre de voitures, SuŠde car graveyard, Sweden

Parc d’attractions, Taiwan amusement park, Taiwan

Usine, Allemagne Factory, Germany

 

 



Design

A Mirrored Ceiling and Gleaming Tile Floor Turn This Chinese Bookstore into an Immersive M.C. Escher-Style Illusion

May 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images via X+Living

X+Living is known for its deceptively designed Zhongshuge bookstores that mimic M.C. Escher woodcuts and trippy infinite spaces. The latest iteration is this dreamy location in Chengdu featuring bold archways, a reflective tile floor that makes the display tables appear like floating boats, and a mirror embedded in the ceiling to create a seemingly endless loop of stairways and shelving. Completed in 2020, Dujiangyan Zhongshuge has a cafe on the first floor, along with a children’s area occupied by a bamboo forest and pandas climbing the bookcases. In the rest of the two-story space, the uppermost shelves lining the winding walkways are covered in a decorative print, adding to the illusion of countless volumes and ensuring all 80,000 available titles are within a customer’s reach.

See more of the Zhongshuge locations, in addition to the Shanghai-based studio’s cinemas, family parks, and retail spaces, on its site.

 

 

 

 



Design

350 Layers of Coiled Clay Form an Organic Low-Carbon Home Made Through 3D-Printing

April 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © WASP

Last summer, The New York Times Magazine published a series of articles declaring that climate migration—a global exodus that’s predicted to displace between 50 and 300 million people worldwide—has begun. As more regions surrounding the equator become uninhabitable due to rising temperatures, crop losses, and disasters, entire populations will be forced to relocate to regions with more stable environments and economies. This impending movement coupled with an ongoing lack of affordable housing has sparked a wave of conversation about how best to remedy the looming crisis.

As a partial antidote, a Bologna-based studio, Mario Cucinella Architects, teamed up with the 3D-printing company WASP to design a low-carbon home that’s easily and quickly reproduced. Called “Tecla,” the prototype is a pair of sloping domes that can be built in only 200 hours using an average of six kilowatt-hours of energy. It’s made of 350 layers of coiled clay, which is sourced from a nearby river, that serves as thermal insulation for the earthen structure complete with a living area, kitchen, and sleeping quarters. Two skylights embedded in the roof of the 4.2-meter-tall domes allow light to enter the 60-square-meter space.

A short video from WASP documents the construction technique in Massa Lombarda, which involves two synchronized printing arms that glide back and forth to layer the walls. Producing almost no waste, the process is adaptable to other raw materials, making it a viable option for housing beyond the Italian region.

Find a larger collection of Mario Cucinella Architects’ and WASP’s climate-focused projects and looks into their processes on Instagram. You also might enjoy this 3D-printed home by Rael San Fratello. (via Dezeen)

 

 

 



Design

Massive Curved Vaults Mimicking Traditional Kilns House a Jingdezhen Museum Dedicated to Porcelain Production

April 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Studio Zhu-Pei

Jingdezhen, Jiangxi, China is widely recognized as the porcelain capital of the world with a more than 2,000-year history of producing prized ceramics. As an homage to that tradition, architects from Studio Zhu-Pei constructed an open-air structure with towering arches mimicking traditional kilns. The expansive brick vaults now house the northern city’s Imperial Kiln Museum, which sits adjacent to the production sites used during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

To preserve and demarcate the existing ruins on the grounds, Studio Zhu-Pei configured the new building around the remnants, like courtyards and monuments embedded in the ground, in a way that brings together history and contemporary culture in a single space. Each of the curved structures, which is comprised of both recycled and new bricks, differs in volume and length, allowing light to stream in at varying angles throughout the day. The museum’s entrance is on the ground level so that the “experience of people entering it is the same as the past artisans,” the architects say in a statement.

Find more of Studio Zhu-Pei’s designs on its site and Instagram. (via Yellow Trace)

 

 

 



Art Photography

New Perspective-Bending Collages by Lola Dupré Distort and Reconfigure Pets and Portraits

March 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Cleo” (2020), 8.2 x 11.6 inches. All images © Lola Dupré, shared with permission

Glasgow-based artist Lola Dupré (previously) continues her practice of slicing and rearranging photographs and art historical works into cleverly surreal collages. Her newest manipulations include a blockheaded Léon Bonnat, an entire row of irresistible puppy eyes, and a twisted rendition of George Stubbs’s “The Kongouro from New Holland.” Dupré’s cat, Charlie, still finds himself as fodder for the unusual works—see two pieces centered on him below—and the artist is currently in the process of creating her 33rd portrait of the orange-and-white feline. Find more of the Dupré’s compositions in the latest issue of Standart Magazine, shop originals and prints on her site, and see the distorted works in person at Portland’s Brassworks Gallery later this year. You also can follow along with the contorted creations on Instagram and Behance.

 

“Kayack” (2020), 11.6 x 8.2 inches

“Roo after Stubbs” (2021), 8.2 x 11.6 inches

Left: “After Leon Bonnat” (2021), 8.2 x 11.6 inches. Right: “The Community” (2020), 8.2 x 11.6 inches

“Charlie 32” (2021), 8.2 x 11.6 inches

“Hardy” (2020), 16.5 x 11.5 inches

Left: “Cat after Nathaniel Currier” (2021), 8.2 x 11.6 inches. Right: “Rand” (2021), 11.5 x 16.5 inches

“Charlie 31” (2021), 11.6 x 8.2 inches

 

 

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