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Art Design

Demented Toys by Obvious Plant Confront Harsh Realities and the Mundanity of Life

February 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Obvious Plant

Unless you want a distraught child, double-check the packaging of your next purchase in case you accidentally snag a one-off toy by Jeff Wysaski, aka Obvious Plant. For years, he’s been littering supermarket and drugstore shelves with his action figures and small games that cleverly comment on capitalism and the harsh realities we all experience, from a birthday for one—it “includes one party blower because that is all you will need”—to a “childless couple” riding matching jet skis. Sometimes parodying pop culture, the elaborate designs are paired with witty copy and a slew of intentional spelling errors, including warnings that “everybody dies, even bird.”

Many of the subversive products, shirts, and other goods are available in the Obvious Plant shop, although they sell out quickly. To stay up-to-date on the latest designs, follow Wysaski on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Design

Play a Game of UNO with Nina Chanel Abney's New Deck Featuring Her Bold, Energetic Style

December 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Mattel, shared with permission

Artist Nina Chanel Abney revitalizes the classic game of UNO with her distinct fragmented figures and bold blocks of color in a new collaboration with Mattel. Straying from the minimal, numbered cards, lively portraits and mirrored personas emblazon the transformed deck. Just like her larger body of work, Abney’s design is brimming with energy and captures the wildly chaotic experience of modern life.

“I wanted the cards to have personality,” Abney shares. “UNO can be such an emotional game, I thought it would be fun to create cards that could speak for themselves and elicit even more of a response from the players than they already are.”

Currently living in New York, the Chicago-born artist is just the third creator involved in the UNO Artiste Series, which launched in 2019 and previously featured the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. In addition to the deck’s aesthetic transformation, Abney also altered the game’s tenets with the addition of a WILD NO. “If someone plays either a Draw 2 or Wild Draw 4 card on you, lay down this card to force them to have to draw the cards instead,” the artist writes on Instagram.

As part of the collaboration, the toy company also will be making a donation to Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.

 

 

 



Design

Throughout Ukrainian Hospitals, CUBA BUBA Installs Game-Filled Escapes for Young Patients

November 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

“CUBA BUBA SUNNY.” All images © Cuba Buba, shared with permission

Since 2017, the design studio Decor Kuznetsov and the Vlada Brusilovskaya Foundation have teamed up for CUBA BUBA, a project that transforms hospital rooms throughout Ukraine into sensory wonderlands for young patients. Complete with comfy seating, reading nooks, and even open-air chimes, each module is compact and intended for children to rest and relax as they undergo various treatments.

The group recently installed its sixth iteration, “CUBA BUBA SUNNY,” which features a shelved room full of greenery and sculptures. Suspended below the light is an ornately carved ceiling that shines a unique pattern onto the eclectic collection. To inspire play, an earlier design’s facade is comprised entirely of holes, allowing kids to wind rope throughout the structure into a vibrant web.

More information and images of the playful constructions can be found on CUBA BUBA’s site. You also might enjoy Takashi Murakami’s uplifting renovation of a CT suite.  (via Design Milk)

 

“CUBA BUBA SUNNY”

“CUBA BUBA SUNNY”

“CUBA BUBA #1”

“CUBA BUBA #3”

“CUBA BUBA MATRIX”

“CUBA BUBA MATRIX”

“CUBA BUBA #4”

 

 



History Photography

A Colorized Snowball Fight from 1896 Shows Not Much Has Changed in the Art of Winter Warfare

October 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

A short clip, originally captured by Louis Lumière in 1896, documents a rowdy snowball fight on the streets of Lyon, France. Thanks to Saint-Petersburg, Russia-based Dmitriy Badin, who used a combination of the open-source software DeOldify and his own specially-designed algorithms to upscale and colorize the historic footage, the video of the winter pastime is incredibly clear, revealing facial features and details on garments.

Badin applied a similar method—which involves a lengthy process of removing duplicate frames, adjusting brightness and contrast, and manually correcting color—to clips from cities around the world, many of which you can find on YouTube. You also might enjoy this flying train ride through a German village in 1902. (via Twisted Sifter)

Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly cited Barcelona-based Joaquim Campa as the creator of the colorized footage.

 

 

 



Design

Herding Cats: Bring Together Dozens of Moody Felines in This Technicolor Jigsaw Puzzle

July 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

Thanks to Nervous System (previously), herding cats is no longer guaranteed to be a catastrophic failure. The New York-based design studio recently released a 224-piece jigsaw puzzle named after the idiom that’s comprised of 43 different felines as they lounge, stretch out their paws, and jump in the air. Made of birch plywood, the individual pieces form large, technicolor cat by artist Anne Sullivan. Try your hand at rounding up the rambunctious creatures by picking up one of the puzzles from Nervous System’s shop, and watch out for the studio’s future projects on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design Food

Assemble a Meal Bite-by-Bite with This Scrumptious Series of Jigsaw Puzzles

April 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Areaware

A new project from Areaware lets you whip up a big bowl of tonkatsu ramen, a Chicago-style hot dog, and a sprinkle-topped cupcake without making a mess in the kitchen. The design company, which has offices in Brooklyn and Columbus, released nearly 30 tasty main courses, snacks, and party supplies as part of its little puzzle thing collection. Each slice of pepperoni pizza and cherry pie is about 70 pieces, so you might want to pick up a few if you’re a fast cook. And if you’re looking for more modern puzzles to keep you busy during quarantine, check out our Etsy picks.

 

 

A Colossal

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Sailing Ship Kite