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Art Craft Design

Vertical Dwellings Nestle into the Floating Miniature Landscapes of Rosa de Jong

December 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Rosa de Jong, shared with permission

Suspended within Rosa de Jong’s simple wooden frames are miniature dwellings that climb the steep, rocky terrain. Stilt houses, tents, and exceptionally tall ladders form the idyllic environments that are surrounded by faux moss, minuscule trees, and generally rugged topography. Once assembled, the enchanting scenes appear to float in the open air or within the vertical enclosures of test tubes.

Based in Amsterdam, de Jong (previously) shares with Colossal that she hopes to incorporate water-rooted plants and crystals into future projects. “I feel like a huge part of my work is how I frame things—let’s see if I am able to frame these inspiring natural elements,” she says, noting that the actual boxes are hand-crafted by her father.

Follow de Jong’s latest miniatures, which include studies of artificial moon rocks, on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Design

A Curved Pavilion Designed by Kengo Kuma Weaves Wooden Slats into a Tessellating Structure

December 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Kengo Kuma and Geoff Nees, by Tom Ross

Wrapping a gallery space at the 2020 NGV Triennial is a bowed pavilion of tessellating wood. A collaboration between renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (previously) and Australian artist Geoff Nees, the large-scale installation is constructed with trees felled at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens during the millennium drought. The pointed slats interlock without the use of additional supports, a design derived from traditional Japanese joinery, and create a scaly pattern that allows light to stream through.

Titled “Botanical Pavilion,” the curved structure features foraged timber—some of which predates European colonization on the continent—arranged by color rather than species. “By prioritizing natural phenomena over scientific order, the designers call into question the reductive nature of science during the colonial era, a mindset at odds with many Indigenous cultural beliefs and knowledge systems,” a statement about the piece says. At both ends, the walkway opens up to reveal South Korean artist Lee Ufan’s 2017 painting titled “Dialogue.”

“The semi-circular shape of the pavilion invites the visitor into a journey to explore the space and experience the various essences of wood,” Kuma told Dezeen. “The porous structure is assembled like a tridimensional puzzle without the use of metal connections to be able to reassemble it in a different location.”

“Botanical Pavilion” is on view through April 18, 2021. Follow Kuma’s and Nees’s upcoming projects on Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft Design

Dive Into the Incredibly Satisfying Art of Japanese Wood Joinery

December 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

Since the 12th Century, Japanese artisans have been employing a construction technique that uses just one simple material: wood. Rather than utilize glue, nails, and other fasteners, the traditional art of Japanese wood joinery notches slabs of timber so that the grooves lock together and form a sturdy structure. Yamanashi-based carpenter Dylan Iwakuni demonstrates this process in the endlessly satisfying video above, which depicts multiple styles of the angular joints and how they’re slotted together with the tap of a mallet.

As Iwakuni notes at the end, new joineries often are used in traditional architecture to replace a damaged portion, maintaining the integrity of the original edifice. “Structures built from natural materials and the knowledge and skills passed down generations,” he says. “Through the fine skills and knowledge, Japanese Wooden Architecture has been standing for (thousands of) years.”

If you’re interested in trying your hand at the centuries-old artform, Iwakuni recommends reading The Complete Japanese Joinery and Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit and Use. He also offers a collection of tutorials and videos on his Instagram and YouTube. You might enjoy watching the creation of this kokeshi doll and the fine art of Japanese marquetry, which uses razor-thin slices of mosaics, as well. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Design

Swirling Plumes of Black-and-Gold Rattan Fill the Ceiling of a Bangkok Lounge

December 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Enter Asia Projects

The rattan devotees over at Enter Projects Asia are back with a sweeping installation that swells through a Bangkok restaurant overlooking the Chao Priya River. Occupying the lounge of Spice & Barley, two 30-meter pillars ascend from the ground level before erupting into a mass of black-and-gold stripes.

Patrick Keane, the director of the Thailand-based firm, told Dezeen that the team “used 3D special effects software—Maya and Rhino—to simulate bubbles, foam, and liquids” that reference the array of Belgium beers the restaurant serves. Concealing pipes and ventilation equipment, the spiraling forms also mirror the nearby architecture, while the painted stripes evoke the country’s gilded temples.

Similar to its sinuous yoga sanctuary, Enter Projects Asia utilized only natural materials for the overall design, like leather and of course, rattan. The natural, woody material is a particular favorite of the firm because of its sustainability and ties to local culture. “Many rattan factories are at the brink of extinction due to the rise of importation of inferior plastic products. This project saved two rattan factories from closing down,” Keane said.

Explore more environmentally and culturally conscious projects from the firm on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

Clusters of Candy-Colored Domes Designed for Communal Living Populate Iran's Hormuz Island

December 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © ZAV Architects, by Tahmineh Monzavi

Along the beaches of Hormuz Island in the Persian Gulf lies a series of gumdrop-esque abodes. The multipurpose project, titled “Presence in Hormuz,” features earthen structures that dot the sandy landscape in a textured cluster of peaks and bulbs.

To build the candy-colored domes, ZAV Architects utilized the SuperAdobe process of renowned Iranian architect Nader Khalili, which involves stacking coils of wet earth, and trained local craftsman in the technique. “A carpet is woven with granular knots inspired by the particles that make up the ecotone of the island,” the Tehran-based firm says in a conversation with designboom, noting that the area’s topography inspired much of the architecture. “The sandbags that create the spatial particles (aka domes) are filled with the dredging sand of the Hormuz Dock as if the earth has swollen to produce space for accommodation.”

Most of the bulbous structures hold living accommodations with communal dining, laundry, and prayer areas woven throughout. The vibrant venues were designed as part of an initiative to remedy local economic struggles and bring together tourists and the community in a shared cultural space. ZAV expands on the intention of the project:

In a country where the state struggles with political disputes outside its borders, every architectural project becomes a proposal for internal governing alternatives, asking basic questions: What are the limits of architecture and how can it suggest a political alternative for communal life? How can it attain social agency?

“Presence in Hormuz” follows an earthen cultural center ZAV embedded in the island. You can see minimal renderings of the firm’s projects and upcoming plans on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Vertical Cities Soar Into the Sky in Otherworldly Digital Paintings by Artist Raphael Vanhomwegen

November 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Raphael Vanhomwegen, shared with permission

Raphael Vanhomwegen describes his process as “visual brainstorming,” a technique that involves rendering his digital paintings quickly “to keep a spontaneous going-with-the-flow feeling.” The Belgium-based artist depicts vertically built cities with houses, shops, and stairwells that spring up from a hillside or body of water. Whether in technicolor, neutral shades, or moody grays, the soaring architecture is otherworldly and even foreboding as it appears to peek through surrounding fog. In many works, a few figures are perched on the balcony or a swarm of birds flies overhead.

When painting, Vanhomwegen focuses on his internal thoughts and allows himself to move comfortably through the practice of adding a new walkway or leafy vine. “You need to at least be obsessed with one particular subject that you will explore way too much than necessary,” he shares with Colossal, noting that his favorites are tiny houses and moody scenes. Similarly, he strives to imbue each artwork with volume and energy, an idea he expands on:

Every brushstroke should have a meaning in order to be visually interesting. This is idealistic, of course. I am also one of those people who think nothing is more beautiful than a sketch. I almost never saw a finished drawing look better than a very good sketch. That’s why I almost never finish my drawings. It feels like adding more notes to a perfect musical piece. It’s just not worth it.

To keep up with Vanhomwegen’s unearthly architectural paintings, head to Instagram. (via Jeroen Apers)

 

 

 

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