Meticulously cutting each piece by hand, Katsumi Hayakawa crafts dense cityscapes and urban districts from white paper. The Japanese artist assembles towers and various cube-like structures that are positioned in lengthy rows, resembling congested streets. Dotted with primary colors and metallic elements, the sculptures evoke electronic equipment like microchips and motherboards, which references the relationship between modern cities and technology. Hayakawa’s use of an ephemeral, organic material further contrasts the manufactured nature of both urban areas and technological inventions.
To explore more of the artist’s projects that are concerned with the complexity of modern life, head to Artsy.
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In London Fieldworks’ delicate creations, architecture meets nature. Its installations feature pine-colored clusters of minuscule wooden forms that appear to grow upon vast tree trunks. Founded by artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson, London Fieldworks is a collaborative and multidisciplinary arts practice with projects at the intersection of architecture, sculpture, installation, and film.
Each of the homes has rounded windows and doors, while those on large evergreen trees resemble natural objects, such as wasp and hornet nests or even fungi and mushrooms. From reflecting Clerkenwell’s urban renewal to offering new habitats for animals, the sprawling birdhouses fuse architectural ideas with nature and art, resulting in sculptures that integrate effortlessly in both natural and urban spaces. Through its installations, the practice explores its concern with the climate crisis through the lens of history, the environment, and culture.
One work, “Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven,” references opposite sides of London: Duncan Terrace Gardens in the east and Cremorne Gardens in the west. The installation is constructed from hundreds of bespoke bird boxes reflecting the forms of the local architecture—a combination of Modernist 60’s social housing and Georgian townhouses.
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Modern architectural building methods and Indigenous materials converge in the latest endeavor by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, titled “Casa Covida.” The earthen structure is part of a MUD Frontiers/Zoquetes Fronterizos that centers on Pueblo de Los Ángeles and the ways technological advances can work in unison with historic mud-based designs. “Casa Covida” contains a bathing pool, sleeping areas, and fireplace seats for two.
To create the three-room home, the duo employs a custom, portable robot that they transport to various sites, allowing them to dig soil and other materials and immediately shape it into the necessary structures. Utilizing clay and mud, the building process is informed by the practices of Ancestral Pueblo peoples and Indo-Hispano cultures of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. When wet, the natural materials are layered in zigzag-like coils. The undulating, textured facades generally are made with a few rows to provide insulation from the nighttime cold.
MUD Frontiers was a recent recipient of a 2020 Art + Technology grant from LACMA. It strives to consider “traditional clay craft at the scale of architecture and pottery. The end goal of this endeavor is to demonstrate that low-cost and low-labor construction that is accessible, economical, and safe is possible,” a statement says.
Based in La Florida, Colorado, and Oakland, respectively, Rael and San Fratello are known for subversive projects at the intersection of art and architecture, like the neon pink teetertotters slotted through the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Follow their latest sustainable works on Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)
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Myriad Layers of Intricately Cut Paper Construct Architectural Sculptures by Artist Michael Velliquette
Despite being built with a pliable, degradable material, Michael Velliquette’s paper sculptures exude strength and durability. Densley layered walls fortify the borders of his architectural works, and three-dimensional elements evoke mechanical gadgets like gears and other hardware. The incredibly intricate structures also have more delicate features, like the tiny dots and curved flourishes decorating the small pieces.
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, the artist hand-cuts each shape with straight-edge scissors or an Exacto knife, utilizing templates, mechanical punches, rulers, and compasses. Requiring between 300 and 500 hours to complete, each monochromatic sculpture begins at the center, and Velliquette expands outward. He shares with Colossal that he “aspire(s) for balance and symmetry in the overall design, but they are not perfectly symmetrical.” Acid-free PVA glue and hot adhesives hold the layers together.
Velliquette first started utilizing the accessible material as a way to model larger installations before it quickly became central to his practice. “Paper comes in endless forms. It can be used in multiple dimensions. It is easy to handle and manipulate, and it is available anywhere. It is inherently ephemeral, but given the right conditions, it can last for centuries,” he says.
The work I am now creating is non-pictorial, non-objective, and non-representational in nature. The perspective of these pieces is left intentionally ambiguous: they can be read hung on the wall like bas-relief sculptures or mounted horizontally like architectural studies. There are new issues around engineering and construction that I have had to tackle as my work has evolved in this direction. The broad aim of this investigation is to use three-dimensional structure and intricate detailing to push the boundaries of paper art literally into a new dimension.
The artist’s work will be on view at David Shelton Gallery in Houston this fall, and he is a 2021 resident at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Until then, follow Velliquette on Instagram for glimpses into his process and studio and to follow his upcoming projects. (via Dovetail)
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Evoking a bit of time-travel, NeoMam (previously) recently animated a series of gifs that restore impressive, human-made structures around the globe to pristine condition. Although the six landmarks are now in some form of decay and have made UNESCO’s list of endangered world heritage, the short clips digitally reconstruct the sites to show what they’d look like had they not faced the ravages of time.
Included in this round of restoration are a remnant of Hatra, a large fortified city that was capital of the first Arab Kingdom, and the hundreds of islets that make up Nan Modol in Micronesia. UNESCO designated these landmarks in danger because of natural and human-generated threats like earthquakes, military conflict, and urbanization. Dig into the history behind the six restorations, which were completed in partnership with BudgetDirect and architect Jelena Popovic, in addition to other at-risk locations on UNESCO’s site.
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Japan's New Kadokawa Culture Museum is Housed in an Angular, Granite Structure Designed by Kengo Kuma
Slated to open in the next few weeks, the new Kadokawa Culture Museum in Japan is situated within a starkly designed structure by architect Kengo Kuma (previously). Appearing pixelated, the facade is formed with 20,000 individual pieces of granite, and the polyhedron-shaped building is broken up into five floors, including a garden, art gallery, two museums, and a cafe. The most alluring feature is the bookshelf theater, an eight-meter-high library that holds around 50,000 titles. On level four, the multifunctional space can be transformed into a performance venue through projection mapping.
Located west of Tokyo, the museum is part of the larger Tokorozawa Sakura Town complex, which includes an anime hotel, an outdoor space lined with cherry trees, an indoor pavilion, shrine, shops, and restaurants. An exhibition dedicated to Kuma will mark the museum’s launch, although a definitive schedule for public visits hasn’t been released due to concerns about COVID-19. To follow Kuma’s architectural projects and updates on Kadokawa’s full opening, head to Instagram. (via designboom)
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