plants

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Design

A Minimal Window-Laden Facade in Paris Sprouts a Luxuriant Vertical Garden

May 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Yann Monel and Michael Denancé, courtesy of Triptyque Architecture

Hidden under a lush canopy of vegetation on Paris’s Left Bank is a minimal, mesh-like structure housing a healthcare center, restaurant, and hotel. The project of the French-Brazilian Triptyque Architecture in collaboration with the Coloco landscaping studio, “Villa M” is a mixed-used building cloaked in a vertical garden that ascends from the sidewalk to the rooftop bar. Foliage and vines trail down from the hotel room balconies and sprout from planters embedded in the facade, establishing a verdant environment spanning 8,000 square meters in the middle of the busy Montparnasse.

In addition to the urban ecosystem, dozens of windows allow for natural lighting throughout the space. “We have explored all of the available surfaces to potentialise the greenery and to avoid energy and carbon waste,” architect Guillaume Sibaud told Plain Magazine. “Villa M” was also named the Building of the Year 2022 by ArchDaily.

For more of Triptyque’s environmentally conscious designs, visit its site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft Illustration

Impossibly Small Houseplants and Basketry Crafted from Paper by Raya Sader Bujana

April 25, 2022

Christopher Jobson

All images © Raya Sader Bujana. Photography by Leo García Méndez, shared with permission

Barcelona-based artist Raya Sader Bujana (previously) defines her work as something between sculpture and illustration, creating impossibly tiny replicas of houseplants that rest atop a finger. From leaves to blooms and thorns to branches, even the delicate woven baskets that contain the plants are constructed from paper with the aid of tweezers and scalpels in a process more akin to surgery than origami. Her background in architecture translates to an exacting quality of “composition, use of color, texture, volume, light and sometimes subject matter,” she shares. In addition to selling original works and prints on Etsy and Society6, Bujana also has a wide range of corporate clients like Coca Cola, Swarovski, and HP. You can follow more of her process and updates to her online shops on Instagram.

 

 

 



Illustration

Cheery Characters Enliven Vibrant, Whimsical Illustrations by Tania Yakunova

March 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Tania Yakunova, shared with permission

Ukrainian illustrator Tania Yakunova gravitates toward bold color palettes and clean lines to define her spirited characters. Set on monochromatic backdrops, her quirky scenes are tinged with whimsy and play with scale, surrounding the figures with low-hanging white stars, towering leaves, and oversized art supplies. Many of the Kyiv-based illustrator’s works involve a mix of digital and analog sketching with the final pieces rendered in paint.

In recent weeks, Yakunova has been creating a series of ceramics focused on mental health, alongside illustrations responding to the ongoing war in Ukraine. You can find more of her works on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Bas Reliefs by Rachel Dein Preserve the Supple Contours of Herbs, Flowers, and Plants

March 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

Stinging nettle. All images © Rachel Dein, shared with permission

Soft and fibrous, the leaves of the stinging nettle are infamous for their minuscule hairs that produce burning sensations when touched. The plant, though, is also a striking example of nature’s penchant for structural patterns and texture, with small, serrated edges and delicate ribbed veins. It’s not easy to study or touch these intricate forms without exposing a finger or hand to potential pain, a barrier made less formidable by London-based artist Rachel Dein.

For the last 11 years, Dein (previously) has plucked herbs, flowers, and other foliage from the soil and arranged her findings into new assemblages. She’s an early cultivator of the botanical bas relief technique, which involves pressing the compositions into clay and filling the impressions with plaster, concrete, and most recently, iron powder and resin. The resulting tiles, which have grown in scale from 40-centimeter squares to two-meters-long, preserve the supple shapes of sage, snowdrops, and ripe blackberries, immortalizing their unique contours and network-like systems long after they’ve withered and wilted.

Dein has multiple projects in progress at the moment: one casting Alpine plants from Switzerland and another working with the garden plants at Nunnington Hall in Yorkshire, which will culminate in an exhibition in February 2023. She’s also creating limited-edition embossed prints and exploring additional materials, like glass, iron, and copper. Shop available pieces on Etsy, and keep an eye on Instagram for new releases.

 

Weeds

Herbs

Turquoise snowdrops

Left: Geum. Right: Ribes, leucojum, and muscari

Ferns

Snowdrops

Rosemary, sage, betony, ribwort, astragalus gummifer, and alchemila

 

 



Illustration Music

Musicians Harmonize with Plants and Birds in Gaspart's Soothing Digital Illustrations

February 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Gaspart, shared with permission

Twined with leafy vines, Gaspart’s series of digital illustrations titled Birds, Plants & Music emits the calming, lyrical presence we need right now. The collection, which was inspired by research detailing the effects of melodies and other audible compositions on vegetation, centers on lone instrumentalists with exaggerated limbs and gargantuan feet. Each casually sits on the ground or curls forward in a crouch to pluck the strings of an upright bass and buzz into a trumpet.

In a note to Colossal, Gaspart shares that he begins with a preliminary sketch that he then recreates with shapes in complementary palettes. Shades of purple are prominent in the violinist’s garments and backdrop, for example, while bright, brassy orange dominates the image of the saxophonist. As a follow-up to the illustrations shown here, Gaspart also collaborated with motion designer Bogdan Dumitriu, the sound design studio Ronroco Audio, and musicians Pablo Jivotovschii and Jake Fridkis to animate three of the compositions.

Gaspart, who lives in Maisons-Laffitte just outside of Paris, shares details about his process, in addition to similarly tranquil renderings, on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Illustration

Whimsy and Vintage Illustrations Merge in Colorful Stippled Tattoos by Joanna Swirska

February 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Joanna Swirska, shared with permission

Amidst delicate black lines and stippled shading, Polish tattoo artist Joanna Swirska (previously) inks splashes of bright pigments. Her works blend fanciful elements with elegant illustrations of flora and fauna, like her signature ferns and detailed monsteras colored with bright green gradients. Often covering an entire upper arm or calf, the tattoos are whimsical in both subject matter and style, depicting raccoons dressed in orange hooded capes, birds perching on berry-studded branches, and cheerful cats riding retro cruisers.

Swirska, who’s known as Dzo Lama, lives in the Karkonosze mountains and works between Jelenia Gora and Wroclaw, where she runs Nasza Tattoo Shop. Her books are closed until July, but keep an eye out for future openings on her Instagram. You can also pick up prints, mugs, and other goods adorned with her illustrated characters on Etsy.