A Mirrored Ceiling and Gleaming Tile Floor Turn This Chinese Bookstore into an Immersive M.C. Escher-Style Illusion
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.
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Nature's Palette: A New Book Expands the Landmark Guide to Color for Artists and Naturalists with 800 Rich Illustrations
Prior to the proliferation of photography-based reference guides, naturalists and scientists relied on elaborate taxonomic descriptions to identify flora and fauna. One of those invaluable materials was Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, a universal catalog originally arranged by German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1814 and updated with more detail by Patrick Syme just a few years later.
The rich volume, which was the preeminent guide for artists, zoologists, botanists, and others working with pigments and the natural world throughout the 19th Century, is filled with hundreds of simple swatches and notes on where the various shades can be found around the globe. The head of a golden pheasant, for example, is King’s Yellow, while Hepatica flowers are Berlin Blue and some speckles in iron ore are Greyish Blue.
A forthcoming volume published by Princeton University Press celebrates the 200th anniversary of the chromatic catalog with a 288-page expanded edition. Introduced by Patrick Baty, Nature’s Palette: A Color Reference System from the Natural World pairs Syme’s 110 simple swatches with more than 800 illustrations of the animals, plants, and minerals detailed in the descriptions. The resulting book is a comprehensive visual compendium that ranges from large renderings of red coral to full-page charts spanning fine-grained marble to smoky quartz.
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A celebration of contemporary paper art, a new book gathers a wide-ranging collection of collages, quilled portraits, and intricately cut landscapes from 24 artists and studios around the globe. Published by Gingko Press, Paperists: Infinite Possibilities in Paper Art spans 256 pages that explore the unexpected ways the medium is used today and features work from a slew of artists featured on Colossal, including Estudio Guardabosques (previously), Makerie Studio (previously), Yulia Brodskaya (previously), and Zim & Zou (previously), to name a few. Grab a copy of the forthcoming volume on Bookshop.
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An Intimate Series About Aging and Time Compiles Portraits of Photographer Nancy Floyd Every Day Since 1982
For four decades, Nancy Floyd has fostered a routine around confronting aging directly. Every day since 1982, the Oregon-based photographer has taken a portrait of herself perched on a chair in her living room, standing on the front porch, or posing wherever she’s spending the day for her series, Weathering Time. A forthcoming volume published by Gost compiles thousands of these images in a visceral rumination on what changes as we age.
Each black-and-white photograph frames a posed Floyd, who continually exudes a calm, laid-back temperament, and chronicles the way time impacts her body, relationships, and environment, honing in on her experience as a woman in the United States. Although the images are profoundly intimate and personal—many show her pets, stints in hospitals, and her parents aging—they simultaneously broach the universal. Floyd devotes an entire section to the “Evolution of the Typewriter,” and the project creates a broad visual timeline of advancements in technologies, fashion trends, and larger cultural shifts.
At the moment, the series is comprised of more than 2,500 photographs, 1,200 of which are laid out in simple grids in the 257-page volume. Floyd used a film camera for the first 36 years of the project, a choice that allowed her to take a blank image when she was unable to photograph herself, and only switched to digital last year.
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In “XXXX Swatchbook,” Evelin Kasikov (previously) explores all of the variables of CMYK printing without a single drop of ink. She catalogs primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, two-dozen combinations showing how rotation affects the final pigment, and a full spectrum of rich gradients. In total, the printing-focused book is comprised of four base tones, 16 elements, and 400 swatches of color entirely hand-embroidered in 219,647 stitches.
The original idea came from Kasikov’s desire for a reference tool, one similar to loose sheets of Pantone swatches, that she could share with potential book design clients interested in CMYK embroidery. During the next six years, though, the project evolved into the uniquely comprehensive artist book it is now.
“XXXX Swatchbook” features three-dimensional color studies in the style of precisely arranged halftone dots employed in four-color printing. “I use cross-stitch technique to replicate this. It’s a very simple idea,” Kasikov says. “I prepare the image in InDesign or Illustrator, then pierce the design onto paper and stitch with CMYK colored threads. Of course, my ‘print resolution’ is very low, about 3-4 lines per inch compared to 300 in print.”
Stitched with varying thickness, the swatches use conventional screen angles—cyan 105˚, magenta 75˚, yellow 90˚, and black 45˚—to produce a wide range of colors and gradients, all of which you can view on the artist’s blog. Each French-folded page features geometric patches of thread, alongside hand-written details about the CMYK values shown. The spine of the book also reveals a vibrant gradient spanning magenta to cyan.
“XXXX Swatchbook” is founded on Kasikov’s earlier “CMYK Embroidery,” a project that grew out of her MA studies at Central Saint Martins and was influenced by her background in advertising. Merging the two into the broader project of graphic stitching grew organically and offered an outlet to create a piece that was the artist says was “valuable, timeless, and trend-less,” in comparison to the more transitory projects of commercial work. “When you add tactile qualities to graphic design, it changes perspective. The structure of color can be touched. The printed image becomes three-dimensional. A flat page comes to life so to speak,” she writes.
Kasikov splits her time between Tallinn and London, where she’s working on a project called Small Hours. Centered around a theme of silence, the collection features still-life photographs with freehand dots stitched on top in a pointillist style. Follow the ongoing project and find a larger archive of Kasikov’s book designs and embroidered works on her site and Instagram. You also might enjoy Tauba Auerbach’s RGB colorspace atlas. (via Present & Correct)
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At once widely accessible and distinctly personal, street photography has the potential to bridge the divide between the idiosyncratic and universal, a possibility that’s long excited Gulnara Samoilova. A former Associated Press photojournalist and current fine art photographer, Samoilova realized that while the genre was affordable and convenient, the field remained largely dominated by men, an imbalance she sought to remedy when she founded Women Street Photographers in 2017.
In its fourth year, the ongoing project began with an Instagram account designed to showcase work from women around the world. “I soon began to realize that with this platform, I could create everything I had always wanted to receive as a photographer: the kinds of support and opportunities that would have helped me grow during those formative and pivotal points on my journey,” Samoilova tells Colossal, noting that expansion felt like a natural reaction to the positive response the project received.
Now a community of hundreds of amateurs and professionals, Women Street Photographers has burgeoned into a website, artist residency, series of exhibitions, film series, and now a book published this month by Prestel. Collating the work of 100 women from 31 countries, the 224-page volume is just “a tiny sampling of all that is out there,” Samoilova says, one that’s bound by the photographers’ desire to share their points of view and document the world through lenses that span a variety of races, ethnicities, creeds, ages, abilities, and sexual and gender identities.
Depicting an eclectic array of candid expressions and moments of intimacy and chance—whether through the red updo spotted in B Jane Levine’s shot featured on the book’s cover or the childhood exuberance captured by Regula Tschumi—each photograph is paired with a statement by the artist about both the image and their background. The elucidating text contextualizes the subject matter and person behind the camera and grounds the broader vision for the project, which Samoilova explains:
Street photography is both a record of the world and a statement of the artist themselves: it is how they see the world, who they are, what captures their attention, and fascinates them. There’s a wonderful mixture of art and artifact, poetry and testimony that makes street photography so appealing. It’s both documentary and fine art at the same time, yet highly accessible to people outside the photography world.
It’s still too soon to tell how projects like Women Street Photographers are shaping the larger ecosystem, Samoiolva says, although the contributions have rippled across the field. In the coming months, though, she intends to implement more opportunities for women in the field that might take the shape of an exhibition or travel-based project, although she hasn’t announced what those are just yet. “I love to dream, but I don’t like to plan,” she writes. “I go with the flow and all the current to guide me to my next destination.”
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Editor's Picks: Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.