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Design History

A Yellow Brick Road is Paved in Chicago to Mark Former Home of ‘Wizard of Oz’ Author L. Frank Baum

November 4, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographs: Bickerdike

Follow the yellow brick road to 1667 N. Humboldt Boulevard in Chicago. The address is home to recently rehabbed affordable housing in the rapidly gentrifying Humboldt Park neighborhood. It’s also where author L. Frank Baum penned “The Wizard of Oz” in 1899 (though the author’s residence has since been demolished). The 70-foot long section of sidewalk is now paved with yellow bricks, a nod to one of the most famous stories in American popular culture, thanks to nonprofit developer Bickerdike. An upright rounded wall will also feature an Oz-themed mural commission from Chicago-based artist Hector Duarte.

In an interview with Block Club Chicago, Bickerdike clarified that the whimsical touches were not part of the core affordable housing budget; the project partners including the architect, general contractor, an an outside foundation paid for it out of pocket. (via Block Club Chicago)

 

 



Art Craft Design

Polish Tram Shelter’s Walls Become a Gallery for Dried Flower Designs

October 29, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A tram stop at Dabrowskiego Square in Łódź, Poland is blossoming with dried flowers, giving pedestrians and commuters a fresh view on the intersection of their natural and built environments. The project, titled “Nostalgia”, was designed by local art student Dominika Cebula, and pays homage to the long tradition of flower selling at Dabrowskiego Square. To create the floating floral installation, the shelter’s walls were replaced by resin-covered flowers embedded in 36 different clear panels.

“The idea of flowery bus stop came from willingness to be closer to nature and to juxtapose the colors of flowers with the grayness seeping out of concrete city,” Cebula explained. She notes that many of the flowers used in the project were from bouquets received by her friends and family. Installed this summer, Cebula’s project was selected as part of an initiative by Łódźkie Centrum Wydarzen and will be on view at least until the end of October, 2019. (via I Support Street Art)

 

 



Design

Upcycled Scaffolding Planks Form Functional Ribbons of Steel and Wood in London’s Broadgate Neighborhood

September 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Mark Cocksedge

As part of the 2019 London Design Festival, Paul Cocksedge’s ‘Please Be Seated’ has taken over Finsbury Avenue Square in the city’s Broadgate neighborhood. The undulating sculpture is comprised of concentric wooden circles that ribbon up and down to create functional spaces to socialize, rest, and walk through. Cocksedge collaborated with White & White to fabricate the massive steel and upcycled scaffolding wood installation, which the designer described as “walk[ing] the line between a craft object and a design solution. It occupies the square without blocking it.”

With Joana Pinho, Cocksedge co-founded his namesake Studio in 2004. In a statement on their website, the Studio shares their design philosophy: “The key feature of the Studio’s work, in everything from product design to architectural projects, is a focus on simplicity and imagination in order to create unique people-centered designs.” Explore more of the Cocksedge Studio portfolio on their website, and if you enjoy this piece, also check out Yong Ju Lee’s Root Bench, which was installed in South Korea. (via designboom)

 

 



Art

A Stadium in Austria is Filled with 300 Trees to Highlight the Tenuous Future of Natural Spaces

September 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature” (2019), Wörthersee Stadium, Klagenfurt, Austria. All photographs by Gerhard Maurer unless otherwise noted

Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift: all typical headliners for stadium attractions. Less common? 300 trees. In Klaus Littman’s public art installation, “FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature”, at Wörthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, Austria, an arboreal group takes center stage. The Swiss curator worked with landscape architect Enzo Enea to arrange the temporary forest, which is comprised of a range of trees typical in the woods of central Europe.

Littmann was inspired by artist Max Peintner’s work, circa 1970, titled “The Unending Attraction of Nature” (some translations use unbroken instead of unending), which depicts a dystopian future where a group of trees is penned in like zoo animals, as a rare artifact and spectacle. The curator first saw Peintner’s drawing more than 30 years, ago and the concept of bringing it to life remained with Littmann over the past three decades.

Visitors to “FOR FOREST” can stop by any time between 10am and 10pm from today through October 27, 2019. Admission is free. Follow the project on its dedicated website and Instagram.

Max Peintner “The Unending Attraction of Nature” (1970/1971)

Photograph: UNANIMO

Photograph: UNANIMO

 

 



Amazing Art Design

Neighboring Communities Playfully Connect Atop Neon Pink Teetertotters Slotted Through the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall

July 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello have long worked in activating structures in projects that blur the line between art and architecture. The Oakland-based duo, who self-describe as pursuing “applied architectural research”, also have a longstanding interest in the United States-Mexico border wall. In 2009 Rael wrote Borderwall as Architecture, which features a conceptual drawing of a teetertotter. The concept relocates the classic playground equipment to the border wall as its fulcrum. Ten years later, this cover art came to life in the neighboring communities of Sunland Park, New Mexico and Colonia Anapra, Mexico.

Constructed by Taller Herrería in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, neon pink teetertotters slot through the wall’s narrow gaps, allowing citizens on both sides to playfully engage with their cross-border counterparts. The fundamental design of the teetertotter, while delightful and chuckle-inducing, also functions by each user literally feeling the weight of humanity of the person on the other side. In an Instagram post announcing the project Rael shared, “children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side.”

Rael and San Fratello worked in collaboration with Omar Rios to execute “Teetertotter Walls.” Rael is a Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and San Fratello is an Assistant Professor at San José State University. Dive into an archive of nearly twenty years of the duo’s socially engaged work on their website, and follow along with their latest projects on Instagram.

 

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Art Craft

A 20 Foot-Wide Tapestry by Vanessa Barragão Recreates the World in Textural Yarn

July 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In celebration of a partnership between London’s Heathrow Airport and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, fiber artist Vanessa Barragão (previously) was commissioned to create a massive botanical tapestry. Using a range of techniques including latch hooking, felt needling, carving, crochet, Barragão mapped out and built up a textural surface that emulates a map of the world.

Earth’s diverse climates and topography are represented in yarn: the deserts of Australia and Africa are conveyed in warm, low-pile colors, whereas Barragão represented the lush rainforests of South America and the high peaks of central Asia with shaggy deep greens and coiling crocheted ridges. The artist also incorporated native plants like China’s Gingko biloba, European Cypripedium calceolus (lady’s slipper), and the coffee of Africa.

Barragão spent 520 hours on the piece, which is completely handcrafted and spans nearly 20 feet wide. The work is on view at Heathrow Airport’s departure area, echoing the diverse and globe-trotting guests who cross its path. To see more from the Porto, Portgual-based artist, follow Barragão on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Design

Cloud-Like Clusters Form THEVERYMANY’s Pillars of Dreams

May 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographs by NAARO, courtesy of THEVERYMANY

A new cloud-like collection of bulbous towers stands on a building campus in North Carolina. The sculptural creation, titled Pillars of Dreams, is by Marc Fornes and his New York-based studio THEVERYMANY (previously). Located outside county buildings in Charlotte, the public art piece stands 26.5 feet tall and 43 feet wide, and required 54,000 rivets to hold together over 3,500 individual metal sheets. Pillars of Dreams is composed of eight columns that merge at the top in spherical formations, and hues of pink and blue on the interior peek through in perforations that add to the airy quality of the structure. In a statement on the sculpture, the studio describes it as “a soft landing in a field of quiet moments and curious interactions” that is “meant to be moved through rather than appraised as an object.” Explore more of THEVERYMANY’s ethereal structures on Instagram and Vimeo.