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Design

In the AI-Generated ‘Symbiotic Architecture,’ Manas Bhatia Envisions an Apartment Complex Within a Live Redwood

August 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Manas Bhatia, shared with permission

Much of the architecture in the Western world relies on sterile materials like steel and concrete and a desire to build upward, with skyscrapers soaring high above the earth. As designs necessarily shift in response to a changing climate, there’s renewed interest in adopting more organic, sustainable approaches to construction that more directly interact with the environment—see these bricks that double as homes for bees and an exploration of Indigenous technologies as examples.

Part of finding alternatives to conventional methods is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, which is the basis of a new series by architect and computational designer Manas Bhatia. Created using the artificial intelligence tool Midjourney, the conceptual renderings of Symbiotic Architecture imagine an apartment complex embedded within towering, live redwoods. “I have always been fascinated by how small insects and creatures create their dwellings in nature,” he told designboom. “Ants, for example, create their dwellings with intricate networks in the soil. If humans could create buildings that grow and breathe like plants do, what an amazing world would that be to live in.”

To produce the drawings, Bhatia entered basic text prompts like “hollowed,” “stairs,” and “tree” into the system, which then generated the enchanting structures. Glass windows and balconies nestle into the grainy bark, with knotty, cavernous entrances at the base. Although the surreal designs are not practically feasible at the moment, they offer a way to more easily envision potential projects. “To give life to such an idea, we’ll have to wait for a long time working our way towards the goal gradually,” Bhatia says, explaining further:

Currently, I am interested in using these images to try to develop a 3D model using AI and modeling software like Rhino and Grasshopper. That is really the first step towards the journey of manifesting this project into reality. Till that time comes, AI will have drastically improved making the entire process much easier than it can be thought of at the moment.

To find more of the designer’s projects both real and imagined, visit Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Ceramic Rings Link Nature and Community in Cecil Kemperink’s Elaborate Moveable Sculptures

August 23, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Earth Song.” All images © Cecil Kemperink, shared with permission. Photo by Marja Sterck

Constant motion and transformation underpin ceramic artist Cecil Kemperink’s philosophy, drawing inspiration from the rhythms of nature. Since 2019, she has lived on Texel, an island north of The Netherlands in the Wadden Sea that’s recognized by UNESCO as the largest continuous, undisturbed intertidal ecosystem in the world. The infinite crashing of waves on the shore, grasses or branches waving in the wind, and the way humans interact with these phenomena inspire the artist’s linked, organic pieces that combine sculpture with performance (previously). Her work centers on a sense of connectedness, both ecological and within our communities, that manifests symbolically in the form of links that expand and contract like ceramic chainmail.

Intended to be manipulated and reshaped, each ring is looped to others to create a robust yet delicate fabric that the artist can move around on the floor, suspend from the ceiling, or wear. “Motion is a key part of the expressiveness of my sculptures,” she explains. “The movements show the importance of each circle. Every ring is essential and influences the other; they are all connected. They are all one. Every link wears the symbolism of a circle: conjunction, connection, power, endlessness, an eternally ongoing movement.” In some works, the components vary in size and can be expanded or contracted, while in others, such as “White grey tones,” they are closely connected and emphasize the circular form.

Kemperink’s sculptures bear a significant literal and metaphoric weight: when a piece is worn or carried, there is a strong awareness of its presence, responsibility for its care, and occasionally, the burden of carrying it. Characteristically, there’s also duality in the works’ being both malleable and taut. “The interaction of sculpture and woman/man opens several layers of consciousness,” she explains, as “each relation reveals new sensations, change of feelings, and a different energy. New perceptions are being shaped, multiple points of view arise, and consciousness is in full motion.”

Kemperink’s work “Wishful thinking” is included in the International Academy of Ceramics’ 70th-anniversary member’s exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 12 to 16. She has also recently started a YouTube channel, and you can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.

 

“Secrets.” Photo by Marja Sterck

“Something sweet in the wind”

Left: “Shaping perception 3.” Right: “Wishful thinking.” Photos by Marja Sterck

“White grey tones”

Reshaping process. Photo by Marja Sterck

“Morninglight”

“Flow motion.” Photos by Marja Sterck

 

 



Craft

‘Wild Textiles’ Is a Practical Guide for Turning Foraged Materials into Fiber-Based Works

August 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images by Michael Wicks, courtesy of Batsford

From gathering and retting stinging nettle to stitching leaves into delicately layered quilts, Wild Textiles: Grown, Foraged, Found is a trove of tips and projects involving organic fibers. The forthcoming book by artist Alice Fox is a practical guide to working with nature’s materials at all steps of the process: she offers advice on growing plants and harvesting others, how to transform the raw matter into cord or thread, and examples of artworks that incorporate the repurposed textiles. Published by Batsford, the volume covers both rural and urban findings, in addition to pieces by artists like Hillary Waters Fayle and Penny Maltby. Wild Textiles is available for pre-order on Bookshop.

 

Work by Hillary Waters Fayle

 

 



Art

Ecosystems of Fungi and Coral Inhabit Vintage Books in Stéphanie Kilgast’s Intricate Sculptures

August 22, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Old and New” (2022). All images © Stéphanie Kilgast, shared with permission

Fungi sprout from between pages, ivy creeps across a text, and the life cycle of a butterfly unfolds on the cover of a volume in Stéphanie Kilgast’s vibrant sculptures. Known for her intricately detailed works using discarded materials and trash like crushed cans or plastic bottles (previously), her recent pieces explore incredible biodiversity utilizing books as her canvas.

Millions of titles are published each year in the U.S. alone, meaning billions of individual copies—a vast number of which eventually end up in landfills. Kilgast draws attention to these discarded objects by giving vintage editions new life. She constructs delicate mushrooms, blooming flowers, and colorful coral in painstakingly detailed miniature environments as a vivid reminder of the impact humans have on the environment and the tenacity of nature.

The artist has an exhibition opening on November 5 at Beinart Gallery in Melbourne, and you can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.

 

“Ancestral History” (2021)

Left: “Contre Vents et Marees” (2021). Right: Work in progress

“Half Full, Half Empty” (2022)

“Happy or Doomsday Colors” (2022)

Left: “Hungry” (2022). Right: “Beginnings” (2022).

“I Lichen You A Lot” (2022)

Detail of “Contre Vents et Marees” (2021)

 

 



Photography

A Surprising Photo Captures an Osprey Gently Gliding Along the Water’s Surface

August 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

Image © Andy Woo, shared with permission

Ospreys, the large raptors with barbed talons and dense, oily plumage, feed almost exclusively on fish and are known to completely submerge themselves in the water during a hunt. An unanticipated photo by Andy Woo, though, captures the avian predator in a botched attempt as it skims the surface rather than plunging in to retrieve its next meal. “Although I couldn’t figure out what just happened at the time, in looking at the sequence I captured, it looks to me like the osprey tried to grab a fish out of the water, missed, and then could not get enough lift to quickly get back in the air,” he tells Peta Pixel. The unusual move lasted less than a second, just enough time for the Olympia-based photographer to document the act and the bird’s reflection on the water.

Woo is currently selling prints of the short-lived glide, and you can find the entire sequence on his Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Phenomenal Skies and Animals in Action Top This Year’s Nature TTL Photography Contest

August 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The Astonishing,” Godafoss, Iceland, Mauro Tronto

The annual Nature TTL Photographer of the Year contest garnered more than 8,000 submissions this round, with some of the most impressive images focusing on fauna in the wild and stunning light-based phenomena that illuminate nighttime skies. Taken around the globe, the winning photos demonstrate both acts of stealth and moments of serendipity. Images range from Matt Engelmann capturing an unaware dog fox as it creeps over a Swiss mountain to Mauro Tronto framing a rainbow shooting upwards from the misty Godafass waterfalls in Iceland, the glowing northern lights overhead. See some of our favorite photos below, and visit the competition’s site to view all of the top entries.

 

“A Moment of Wilderness,” Mountains of Switzerland, Graubünden, Switzerland, Matt Engelmann

“City Hare,” Kassel, Germany, Jan Piecha

“Sunset Ray,” Tuna Factory, Maldives, Andy Schmid

“Vantage Points,” Hosanagara, Karnataka, India, Achintya Murthy

“Pretty in Pollen,” Mutter’s Moor near Sidmouth, Devon, U.K., Tim Crabb

“The Top of Australia,” Kosciusko, Australia, Josselin Cornou

“Nature Fights Back,” Loxton, Northern Cape, South Africa, Bertus Hanekom

“Ice Bear,” Klukshu, Yukon, Canada, Geoffrey Reynaud

 

 

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