Using modeling software and multi-material 3D printing, industrial designer Nicole Hone created a series of 4D-printed futuristic aquatic plants, or Hydrophytes, that are as full of character as the natural organisms they mimic. In the film of the same name, the hydrophytes are activated by pneumatic inflation in water, and transform into dynamic organisms that you could swear were actually alive.
“I have always been fascinated with nature,” the designer tells Colossal. “It inspires my design ideas and aesthetic. For this project, I became particularly interested in botany and marine life. I was amazed by the way sea creatures and corals moved, and I wanted to reflect similar qualities in my designs.” While working on her Master of Design Innovation thesis at Victoria University of Wellington, Hone learned about plans to redesign the National Aquarium in New Zealand. She thought that it would be interesting to develop a “future-focused exhibition” with moving models as an interactive installation for visitors. She began making test prints and discovered that the models moved best in water, which eventually became the pieces used in Hydrophytes.
Hone explains that software was used to create the shape, surface texture, and internal structures for the Hydrophytes. One benefit of the 3D printing system is that there can be a varying degree of hardness for the parts, but the machine can still handle printing them as a seamless object. During printing the works are encased in a support material, which Hone has to then painstakingly remove (sometimes a 4-hour process) by soaking them in water and using a toothpick. After cleaning, air is passed through the CGOs (computer generated objects) and they are placed in the underwater environments.
“They can respond to external forces such as gravity, water ripples or currents, and interaction with people or other 3D prints in real life,” Hone said. “Their man-made composite materials behave uncannily similar to living organisms.”
She went onto explain that each Hydrophyte has a unique character that is defined by both their style of movement and appearance. The colored lights that illuminate the printed plants were chosen to “complement each personality and amplify the emotive qualities of the film,” and the functions of each plant were inspired by the effects of climate change on marine species. “As the 4D printing experiments developed from abstract shapes into more plant-like models, their appearance and movement helped me think of which function would best suit each character,” she added. It’s fascinating to see the intersection of art and technology produce such a unique collection of objects. To view more of what Hone has created with her research, visit her website. (via Designboom)
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Photographer Sebastian Magnani carefully positions round mirrors in outdoor settings to capture two landscapes at once: the ground below and the sky above. In the ongoing series Reflections, some compositions reflect connected imagery, like blossom-covered grass and a flowering tree. Others juxtapose man-made surfaces like asphalt with organic branches. By removing the usual context of landscape images, Magnani allows the viewer to focus on the textural qualities of the environment, and some images even veer into illusions, as with the cloudy night sky that appears like a full moon. You can see more from the Swiss photographer, including portraits, on Instagram and Facebook. Magnani has also recently started offering prints of the Reflections series on Society6. (via Bored Panda)
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In addition to designing dramatic floral arrangements for vases, Joshua Werber uses an unusual substrate: his head. The Brooklyn-based designer’s ongoing series #FloralTeteATete focuses on just one or two flower types at a time. Using the blossom’s natural shapes, colors, and angles, Werber creates wearable sculptures which he then documents in unassuming selfies.
“#FloralTeteATete was initially intended to be a weekly artist’s practice, the goal of which was to motivate myself to create something, even when there is no specific inspiration,” Werber tells Colossal. “Just by being in action, the materials at hand begin to dictate the final product and the act of creation itself is inspiring.”
Werber has been sharing his weekly creations on Instagram since 2014, but of late has gained quite the following. Recent collaborations include the New York Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.
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In artist Sarah Meyohas‘s series Speculations, infinite tunnels are created with facing mirrors set against pastel backdrops. Smoke, flowers, and finger tips border the reflective surfaces, creating dream-like environments that pull the viewer deep into the image’s frame. Meyohas is interested in the creating a seductive quality in each of the photos. “Whether it’s the colors or the flowers drawing you in, I want viewers to feel like they’re being drawing into the void, like standing upon a precipice,” the New York City-based artist tells Sleek Magazine. You can see more of her mirrored works on Instagram. (via Contemporary Art Blog)
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The most basic instrument in the hands of a master can produce awe-inspiring results. For Yorkshire-based artist and printmaker Pippa Dyrlaga (previously), that instrument is a common blade handle equipped with fine point blades. The resulting works of art are incredibly detailed paper cuts of plants, animals, and abstract designs with hand-replicated patterns and variations in line width that give them dimensionality and bring the flat images to life.
Pippa only began paper cutting in 2010, a year before completing her Masters degree in Art and Design and Curation at Leeds Metropolitan University. On finding inspiration and imagery that would work well for her style and craft, Pippa tells Colossal that ideas tend to flow from her surroundings and from other projects. “Most of the time one piece will lead to another, but I sometimes get an idea that I just want to try out, something I have been thinking of for a while. I have always lived in quite inspiring and green places, filled with local wildlife and flora, and much of my inspiration stems from being outside and enjoying it, and feeling like a part of it.”
While all of her pieces are meticulous, Pippa says that apart from a basic layout sketch, not a lot goes into the planning phase. “I prefer the pieces where I work on the design as I am cutting them out! I will have a detail or a general idea of what I want it to look like in my head, and I will create the full image whilst I am working on it, in smaller sections, so it develops quite organically.” For larger pieces that do require some planning, she will sometimes make smaller versions first to see how the details will work. “I quite like not knowing what it will look like until its finished,” she tells Colossal.
As for how those details are achieved, Pippa assured us that the blades and handle are the main weapons in her arsenal. “Papercutting doesn’t require anything fancy,” she said. “The tools are as simple as the medium. The rest is practice!” She does, however, have personal preferences when it comes to the paper she cuts (good quality, acid-free, and from sustainable sources), and there are a few measures taken to ensure that the works stay flat, dry, and away from the harsh sun. “Paper cuts are surprisingly strong,” Pippa said, “but they can’t take much damage so they do have to be handled and stored safely, just like any paper.”
To see more of Pippa Dyrlaga’s work, follow her on Instagram.
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Samuel Zeller began photographing greenhouses in 2015 after making a spontaneous trip to the Jardin d’hiver on his way home from work in Geneva, Switzerland. He was instantly fascinated by the blurred quality of the botanical specimens when gently pressed against the rippled glass, and began documenting this effect in greenhouses across Europe. His collection of images from the last three years have recently been compiled into the book Botanical, published this spring by Hoxton Mini Press.
“What I’m doing right now is very much influenced by my past,” Zeller tells Colossal regarding the plant-based series. “I’ve always enjoyed going to museums, and I developed an attraction for painting, specifically Impressionist ones. In ‘Botanical’ I tried to re-create this painterly feeling by capturing a refracted reality.”
When viewing the images, an intimacy can be felt between Zeller’s lens and the glass-guarded ferns, florals, and succulents despite the physical barrier that separates them. You can see more of his plant photography on his Instagram and Behance. (via Feature Shoot)
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Sticks, Seeds, and Petals From the American Southwest Inspire New Insect-Shaped Arrangements by Raku Inoue
Raku Inoue (previously) recently look an extended road trip to several destinations in the American Southwest. During his journey he created a scorpion-shaped arrangement from seeds, sticks, and a pepper found at Antelope Canyon in Arizona, and utilized a fallen cactus segment near Horseshoe Bend as the abdomen in a prickly tarantula. Other works created with found natural elements during Inoue’s trip include a turtle bug, red ant, and centipede.
Recently Inoue created a monochrome stag beetle and Monarch butterfly for a short film in collaboration with CBC Arts. The artist has also begun to explore three-dimensional versions of his found flora creations, building armatures for a gorilla, water buffalo, and tiger. More foraged creations can be found on his Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Murals
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.