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Design

Seeds Embedded into 3D-Printed Earthen Architecture Produce Living Green Walls

September 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of the University of Virginia

Recent years have seen an outpouring of 3D-printed structures, including homes made of coiled clay and looped, stackable bricks, and now, researchers from the University of Virginia put a lively spin on the innovative technique. For an ongoing project within the School of Architecture, assistant professor Ehsan Baharlou and his team mixed seeds into earthen building materials that, once layered into walls, sprout lush plant life and evoke a Chia Pet aesthetic.

At this stage, the technology has been tested on smaller domes and walls, although once scaled up, it has the potential to naturally insulate buildings, soak up excess water that could lead to flooding, create green space for urban critters, and even be carbon negative, as the succulents sequester carbon from the surrounding environment. “We are working with local soils and plants mixed with water; the only electricity we need is to move the material and run a pump during printing. If we don’t need a printed piece or if it isn’t the right quality, we can recycle and re-use the material in the next batch of inks,” Baharlou said in a statement. The idea, he told Dezeen, is to establish “an active ecological system that might store emitted carbon in 3D-printed soil structures through the process of photosynthesis.”

In the coming months, the team plans to expand the capacities of the process to create more expansive structures and address the cracks that occur in the soil when produced on a larger scale.

 

Left: 48 hours. Middle: 96 hours. Right: 144 hours

Photo by Tom Daly

 

 



Illustration

Colorful Digital Illustrations by Calvin Sprague Balance Order and Chaos

September 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Calvin Sprague, shared with permission

A patchwork of geometric shapes and clean, black lines comprise the bold, dynamic illustrations of Rotterdam-based artist Calvin Sprague (previously). Digitally rendered in retro color palettes, animals, foliage, and facial features layer into compositions dense with abstract details. Monochromatic backdrops tend to frame a central figure or scenario, which sometimes camouflage additional figures and elements within their structural forms.

Prints, t-shirts, and other goods featuring Sprague’s works are available in his shop, and you can dive into an archive of his illustrations on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Photographic Composites of Birds and Environments Accentuate the Rich Textures and Colors Found in Nature

August 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Eclectus,” (2018), Indian peacocks. All images © Joseph McGlennon, courtesy of Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin, shared with permission

Hundreds of individual photographs comprise the richly layered works of Joseph McGlennon, who plucks particular textures and colors found throughout the natural world and splices them into new contexts. In one image, the cascading feathers of Indian peacocks frame a sailboat in the distance, and another centers on an Australian black cockatoo surrounded by rainbow lorikeets, butterflies, and flowering foliage. Many of the works accentuate the sheen and distinct patterns on the bird’s feathers and utilize the variances in shadow and light to cohesively position the subjects within their manipulated surroundings. By highlighting these features, the photographer references the earth’s stunning diversity and what could be lost given the increasingly disastrous climate crisis.

McGlennon has a solo show open through September 11 at Michael Reid Southern Highlands—he’s represented by Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin—and is also included in Bird published by Hoxton Mini Press. Find more of his works, in addition to glimpses into his process, on Instagram.

 

“Flowering Dry” from Awakening

“Silentium 1” (2021)

“Quiet Dawn” from Awakening

“Silentium 2” (2021)

“Electus,” wedgetail in Tasmania

“Silentium 3” (2021)

“Silentium 4” (2021)

 

 



Art

The Aquatic and Terrestrial Life of Southern California Merges into Hybrid Creatures in Jon Ching’s Paintings

August 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

“King Tide.” All images © Jon Ching, courtesy of Beinart Gallery, shared with permission

Los Angeles-based artist Jon Ching imagines the fantastic possibilities of melding Earth’s flora and fauna, rendering bizarre creatures with mushroom feathers and striped tulip fins. His latest oil paintings, which are on view this fall in Habitat at Beinart Gallery, extend this interest in hybridity by blending aquatic, aerial, and terrestrial organisms and their environments.

Marine ecosystems appear in many of the pieces, alongside cacti and succulents native to Ching’s home in southern California. In “King Tide,” for example, rising water approaches a cockatoo with plant-like plumage, and “Acclimate” depicts two green parrots perched on aloe growing below the surface. Each work envisions how different ecologies could converge and references nature’s resilience, the climate crisis, and the growing necessity of adapting to a changing world.

Ching’s solo show Habitat runs from September 11 to October 2 in Melbourne. Prints and stickers are available in his shop, and you can follow his latest works on Instagram.

 

“Acclimate”

“Reparation”

Left: “Hygge.” Right: “Think Tank”

“Double Vision”

“Flash Point”

Left: “Jungle Gym.” Right: “Neogenesis”

“Long Game”

 

 



Photography Science

An Elegant Timelapse Captures an Oak from Acorn to Tree in 196 Days

July 18, 2022

Christopher Jobson

In this brief timelapse, a single acorn germinates from seed to sapling during a period of 196 days, transferred carefully from vessel to vessel as it sprouts. The simple yet wondrous clip is just one of many plant-growing timelapses produced by the Youtube channel Boxlapse (also on Instagram) where you’ll find a new release almost every weekday. The videos include all manner of plants and fungi captured in interesting ways, including the growth of a mango tree during a yearlong period or the first 113 days of a dragon fruit cactus, seen below.

 

 

 



Art

Vibrant Botanicals Spring from Cheerful Pups in Hiroki Takeda’s Playful Watercolors

July 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Hiroki Takeda, shared with permission

Sprouting flowers and botanical sprigs, the subjects of Hiroki Takeda’s watercolor works exude the boundless joy and energy we tend to associate with canine companionship. The vividly rendered pieces are part of the Japanese artist’s whimsical body of work that defines the contours of cats, birds, and inanimate objects with delicate plants and other natural elements. Prints and originals of Takeda’s blooming creatures are available from TRiCERA Art, and you can stay up to date with his latest pieces on Instagram.