Tucked inside clear glass vessels are Ayumi Shibata’s regal architectural vistas and layered cities enveloped by trees and vines. The Japanese artist is known for her elaborately constructed paper sculptures that fill small spaces like books and jars or occupy entire rooms, all of which are alluring and immersive as they draw viewers in to the enchanting, dream-like environments. Because the artist uses solely white paper, each sculpture highlights the intricacies of her cuts, and the details are enhanced even further when illuminated. That soft light source creates depth and shadow, as well, and Shibata describes the latter as adding a spiritual dimension to her works.
The artist recently finished two large commissions, one to accompany singer Ryoko Moriyama on stage and another for the KITTE shopping mall next to Tokyo station. You can follow updates on those in addition to other pieces on Instagram.
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Olafur Eliasson Designs a Conical Structure with 832 Vibrant Glass Panels That Reflect Sonoma’s Weather
A bold, conical structure stands on The Donum Estate in Sonoma Valley, casting a vibrant kaleidoscope of 24 colors underneath its canopy. The work of Studio Other Spaces—artist Olafur Eliasson (previously) and architect Sebastian Behmann co-founded the Berlin-based project in 2014— “Vertical Panorama Pavilion” is “inspired by the history of circular calendars,” containing 832 glass pieces arranged around an oculus opening to the north.
Drawing on the microclimate of the vineyard, the studio constructed the mosaic of translucent and transparent panels using meteorological measurements of solar radiance, wind intensity, temperature, and humidity. A winding gravel path leads to the outdoor seating area, and as the sun passes over the area, it drenches the brick construction in a full spectrum of color, a contrast to the Northern California landscape.
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Through Organic Sculptural Furniture, Artist Nacho Carbonell Channels the Sensual Details of the Mediterranean
Evoking the textures and colors of his native Valencia, the sculptural furniture pieces by Spanish artist Nacho Carbonell are sensual interpretations of life in the Mediterranean. A bulbous, metal mesh canopy sprouts from a rugged pink seat, small wooden sticks comprise the sinuous patterns on a buffet, and a vibrant mosaic takes the form of a headphone-shaped lamp. Tactile and potentially functional, the objects reference the natural, sun-soaked environment of Carbonell’s childhood, in addition to art historical traditions like those of 15th Century painter Hieronymus Bosch and 20th Century Austrian sculptor Franz West.
Constructed from a wide array of recycled and industrial materials like glass bottles and concrete, the works are largely organic and archaeological, rooted in personal memories the artist likens to fossils. He tells designboom:
I learned that when you build something, nature can take over. Here, in this context is where I learned it. But this is not unique in the world, it is happening everywhere. So I just take [the natural elements] and I appropriate them because they are part of me… I feel entitled to say ‘Because we grew together, I can use you in my work to create this narrative for others, to let them know that you exist here.’
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“Light,” says Chris Wood, “is the purest form of radiance.” The Cambridgeshire-based artist is known for her dazzling installations made of dichroic glass—this transparent material produces a shifting spectrum of color depending on the viewpoint—that emit phenomenal prisms when illuminated. Often arranged on a panel or wall, the works evoke organic patterns, like helices, murmurations, and in the case of Wood’s most recent piece, the spiral of a nautilus shell.
A commission from the beauty brand Clé de Peau Beauté in celebration of its 40th anniversary, this new rainbow-like installation revolves around that milestone. “There are 40 spirals, each with 40 dichroic elements to them. Embedded within each spiral is the number 40, written in binary code. The dichroic pieces will project 40 millimeters from the surface of the artwork. The outermost circle measures 1,600 millimeters in diameter—the square root of which is 40,” Wood (previously) says.
This incredibly intricate design also references the earth, moon, and sun through the three more prominent rings and expands on the intrinsic connection between the mathematical and natural. She explains:
I see this artwork as an interpretation of how radiance, much like ideas and discoveries, start from one central point and expand outwards… The whole design is built around Fibonacci’s golden ratio, which we see in natural forms from flowers to animal pattern. I was initially inspired by the nautilus shell. It is a wonderful representation of Fibonacci’s spiral. The form of the shell is structured to provide strength and protection, and the shell itself is iridescent. We find in this a representation of how radiance can be embodied within us, as projected to those around us.
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Water is both versatile and undisguised. Its magnitude is only made possible by its minute, microscopic makeup, and this equilibrium is what carries its message. It’s what makes water so precious, so fluid.
Maya Lin’s A Study of Water mimics these qualities in scale, subject, form, and material. Lin has previously erected public land sculptures from the earth’s materials, called “Wavefields,” that speak to the interconnectedness of natural systems. Through this new exhibition, she takes these motifs even further by focusing on the liquid’s melodious nature.
In fact, Lin’s works are their own kind of harmony. Several of her pieces are made with recycled silver, a precious and reflective natural material, as a counterpart to water that emphasizes its value. In “Flow,” she uses salvaged wood to mimic wave textures. The specific combinations of natural and rescued materials—each imbued with weighted meaning—create a chorus the same way that climate change (the root note), deforestation and over mining (the third), and an increase of water-based natural disasters (the fifth) creates a triad.
Lin’s practice is a swirl of decades of research, her architectural background, and poetic expression, and she speaks the language of nature and the human heart. Each piece is made to amplify the gravity of humanity’s environmental impact on this treasured resource and each other. For example, in “Marble Chesapeake & Delaware Bay,” the artist expands notions of connectedness by changing the perspective. The unification of the two waterways as marbles challenges us to think beyond the small, contained bites of our everyday interactions with the liquid and instead, see it as the celestial force that draws us to each other.
A Study of Water, which is on view at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, literally sits between the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay. These bodies are not only central points of Lin’s fascination with the subject, but they also provide a physical locale to ponder the unseen connections humanity often takes for granted. Her career is a bridge between architecture, art, and activism—expanding always like water but never too detached from its simultaneous nature.
For more of the artist’s works, visit her site.
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A brilliant greenhouse suffused with a rich spectrum of color stands at 25 Porchester Place in London. Bathed in sunlight by day and illuminated by LED bulbs at night, the translucent structure is lined with a disorienting collage of Christian iconography and folkloric imagery: saintly figures sprout insect wings and wildlife occupies spaces usually dominated by humans in a melange of spiritual symbols.
Titled “Sacré blur,” the greenhouse is a 2015 project by horticultural artists Tony Heywood and Alison Condie, who originally created the piece to house psychedelic plants at the Oxford Botanic Gardens—this part of the project never materialized over fears that students might misuse the hallucinatory specimens. The intention for the sculpture revolved around the idea of sacred light, the foremost example being stained glass, and creating a transcendent space complete with a mirrored infinity floor. “We are gardeners,” Heywood shares with Colossal. “The greenhouse is an architect’s equivalent of a temple. It’s where life begins and the ritual of caring and nurture take place.”
The London-based pair, who work as Heywood & Condie, began by dismantling hundreds of panels, some of which dated back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and following the patterns and grisaille to splice new creatures. They then glued the layered works to the existing frame of a greenhouse. “The idea is nature transforming and using the stained glass as a medium to visit a (time) when we worshiped plants, insects, and animals, as opposed to the Christian line of thinking that humans are above animals, above everything,” Heywood says.
This connection to the earth alongside an interest in the broad reaches of spirituality influence the pair’s practice, particularly those relating to creation myths and about bringing new life into existence. “Church is about shifting our consciousness and making us think of where we lie in the world and likewise, whether it’s a psychedelic experience or a meditative experience, it’s about shifting our attention,” he shares. “Gardening is an act of creation.”
“Sacré blur” has been exhibited in multiple locations in recent years and will be at its current spot for the coming weeks. Heywood & Condie have a few works in progress at the moment, including an alphabetical labyrinth on a northwest U.K. beach and an obelisk collection mixing religious stained glass along with pieces from early pinball and gambling machines that will be on view at Vigo Gallery. You can also see their works as part of The Poetry of Trees, which opens at The Atkinson in Southport on June 4, and on June 11, a series of jewel-encrusted marine microorganisms will float across The Water Gardens at Marble Arch in London. (via Steampunk Tendencies)
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