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Art

Over 10,000 Tree Samples Compose a Modular Cave-Like Installation at the Royal Fort Gardens

March 21, 2019

Anna Marks

Credits: Katie Paterson & James Cohan, New York. Photos by Max McClure

Credits: Katie Paterson & James Cohan, New York. Photos by Max McClure

Situated within the Royal Fort Gardens at The University of Bristol, British designer Katie Paterson and architects Zeller & Moye collaborated on Hollow, a wooden installation that illustrates the diversity of tree species found across the globe. From the outside the sculptural work appears as a series of rectangles made from a similar, light colored sample of wood, yet when one enters the modular elements break into wooden blocks of all shapes, sizes, and hues. Clustered rectangular structures emerge from the ceiling and floor of the cave-like public art piece like stalactites and stalagmites. The structures are composed of a range of wood samples, including ones that evolved millions of years ago to far more recent examples. 

During three years of research and sourcing Paterson collected over 10,000 tree samples from various sources, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University and Yakushima, known as one of the wettest, forest-filled islands surrounding Japan. The collection also features a piece of wood from the Indian Banyan Tree, a fig tree where Buddha achieved enlightenment, the Japanese Ginkgo tree, and the Metuselah tree, found in the White Mountains in eastern California, which at 4,850 years old, is believed to be one of the oldest trees in the world.

Hollow is an ethereal environment for both play and meditation, and resembles a forest canopy with patches of light dappling in from the ceiling. The construction illustrates the detailed beauty of the natural world, and is poignant reminder of the importance of appreciating and maintaining our fragile natural environment. To step virtually into the permanent installation, visit Hollow‘s website

 

 



Art Design

Bubbletecture: A New Book Explores Decades of Soft Architectural Forms and Inflatable Designs

February 25, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Skum, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) (architect), Roskilde, Denmark, 2016. Picture credit: Rasmus Hjortshoj (pages 46-47)

Bubbletecture, a forthcoming book from Phaidon, captures the incredible range of inflatable architecture, fashion, art, and design that has been created over the last several decades. From chair-shaped balloon creations by Seung Jin Yang to a blow-up aubergine concert hall by Arata Isozaki (previously) and Anish Kapoor (previously), the included designs range from aesthetic interpretations of puffy inflatables to pieces that highlight their ease and functionality. The book, which was written by New York City-based architect Sharon Francis, presents more than 200 examples of shape-shifting designs dating back to the 1960s. You can discover more soft architecture forms and air-filled frocks by preordering the book on Amazon. (via Web Urbanist)

Eden Project, Grimshaw Architects (architect), Bodelva, Cornwall, UK, 2000. Picture credit: © Hufton + Crow (page 106)

Ark Nova, Arata Isozaki and Anish Kapoor (architect / artist), Matsushima, Japan (or elsewhere), 2013. Picture credit: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images (page 88)

Blowing Balloon Collection, Seung Jin Yang (designer), South Korea, 2015. Picture credit: Seungjin Yang (page 266)

Dactiloscopia Rosa, Plastique Fantastique (architect), Madrid, Spain, 2017. Picture credit: courtesy of Penique Productions (page 71)

Shelter, Leopold Banchini with Daniel Zamarbide (architect), Geneva, Switzerland, 2016. Picture credit: Dylan Perrenoud (page 41)

Drift, Snarkitecture (designer), Miami, Florida, USA, 2012. Picture credit: Markus Haugg (page 154)

RedBall Project, Kurt Perschke (artist), various, 2001—ongoing. Picture credit: Kurt Perschke (page 101)

 

 



Art

Glass Lilac, Daffodil, and Magnolia Blossoms Thrive Underground at New York City’s 28th Street Subway Station

February 21, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

A new mosaic mural breathes life into the recently reopened 28th Street Station in New York City thanks to a cheerful design of blossoming glass flowers by artist Nancy BlumROAMING UNDERFOOT depicts plants that were chosen from the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Perennial Collection because of their ability to withstand climate change, such as Red Buds, Magnolias, Hellebores, Witch Hazel, Daffodils, and Camellia. “Blum’s intent was to capture some of the magic of the nearby park, regarded as an urban sanctuary, and to enhance the station environment for transit riders,” explains the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in a statement about the new work. If you live in NYC, take the Lexington Ave Line to visit the newly sprouted station, and check out more of Blum’s floral drawings and public art on her website. (via Gothamist)

 

 



Design

Little Tree Library: A Clever Twist on the Donation-Based Community Library Gives New Life to a Big Old Stump

January 7, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Thanks to the nonprofit Little Free Library, chances are you have encountered a small house-like structure on a public thoroughfare, with a front door that opens to allow passersby to give or take a free book. The program exists in 88 countries, with over 75,000 registered Little Free Libraries. In addition to the goodwill-fueled, donation-based libraries, one of the charms is that each one is customized. Many sport unique paint jobs or even entirely off-the-wall architecture, like the Swedish flag-bedecked Library in the shape of a water tower, which pays homage to the real structure, a beloved fixture in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago.

One family in Idaho took their Library design to the next level with a “Little Tree Library,” carved out of a 110-year-old cottonwood tree stump on their property. Sharalee Armitage Howard, you’ll not be surprised to learn, works as a librarian and previously studied bookbinding, according to her Facebook profile. She spearheaded the complex installation on her front lawn, including dentils that, upon closer inspection, are actually miniature books complete with titles. The Library also features interior and exterior lighting, to give the space an extra-homey glow, as well as a “roof” over the top of the stump to help prevent its weathering away.

KREM, the local news station in Coeur d’Alene made a video (below) to give those outside the small town a closer look at the Howard’s new addition. You can find a Little Free Library near you on the organization’s website, which also offers premade kits if you don’t have any large stumps on hand.

 

 



Art

Expressive Text Loops, Folds, and Ties Itself in Knots in New Murals by Pref

December 13, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

British graffiti artist Pref (previously) transforms words and sayings into visual interpretations of their meanings or messages—forming the word “undo” into a knot, or layering the phrase “all over the place” on top of itself to take up as much surface area as possible. With added shading and perspective the words appear as if they are 3D, like his piece “It Is,” which forms a a narrow grey cube when the letters are stacked. Some of his monochromatic works on paper (which you can see below) will be included in the upcoming group exhibition Control and Disorder with Gary Stranger, Elliott Routledge (Funskull), Georgia Hill, and William LaChance at Galerie 42b in Paris. The exhibition opens this Friday, December 14, and runs through January 19, 2019. You can see more of Pref’s recent work on his Instagram, and buy prints through his Big Cartel.

 

 



Art

Amsterdam’s 2018 Light Festival Illuminates City Streets with 29 Art Installations

December 13, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

OGE Group, "Light a Wish," Amsterdam Light Festival 2018, all images © Janus van den Eijnden

OGE Group, “Light a Wish,” Amsterdam Light Festival 2018, all images © Janus van den Eijnden

This past month the Amsterdam Light Festival (previously) opened its seven year, inviting visitors to observe 29 light-based works by international artists, designers, and architects along the canals and throughout the historical center of the city. Artworks were inspired by this year’s theme, a quote from media scientist Marshall McLuhan: “The medium is the message.”

Installations such as British artist Gali May Lucas’s piece “Absorbed by Light” address our contemporary obsession with screen-based technologies. Her piece features three figures next to each other on a bench, each head bent to peer at an illuminated phone. Guests can take a seat between the sculptures to get a better look at the piece, or simply rest and check their own device. Another piece, “Waiting” by Frank Foole features a paused loading wheel on the side of the building surrounding the silhouette of a person inside.

Many of the works are presented close to the city’s canals, making an even more spectacular scene when reflected in the water below. Sculptures like Jeroen Henneman’s “Two Lamps” pay tribute to this effect as the title references the lamp installed on the riverfront, and the one that is projected into the glassy surface underneath. The Amsterdam Light Festival continues to light up the city through January 20, 2019. You can see more documentation of this year’s festival on their website. (via Design Boom)

Alicia Eggert, "All the Light You See"

Alicia Eggert, “All the Light You See”

Frank Foole, "Waiting"

Frank Foole, “Waiting”

Gali May Lucas, "Absorbed by Light"

Gali May Lucas, “Absorbed by Light”

Jeroen Henneman, "Two Lamps"

Jeroen Henneman, “Two Lamps”

"Michela Bonzi, "Antenna Sud"

“Michela Bonzi, “Antenna Sud”

Peter Vink, "Mr. J.J. van der Veldebrug"

Peter Vink, “Mr. J.J. van der Veldebrug”

Ivana Jelić & Pavle Petrović, "Starry Night"

Ivana Jelić & Pavle Petrović, “Starry Night”

OGE Group, "Light a Wish"

OGE Group, “Light a Wish”

 

 

 



Art

Thousands of Shards of Glass Imitate Blurred Motion in a Towering Public Sculpture by Costas Varotsos

December 5, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

First completed in 1988, Dromeas or “The Runner,” is a 40-foot-tall public sculpture created by Greek artist Costas Varotsos. The densely layered work is formed from thousands of jagged shards of greenish-grey glass which are stacked around iron in the formation of a runner in motion. Originally the piece was installed in the Athens’s Omonia Square, but due to fear that it would topple from underground metro vibrations, in 1994 the city moved the piece to Megalis tou Genous Sholi square. When designing the sculpture, Varotsos considered which types of movement occur in these public spaces and how they might impact the viewing of his work.

“The position of people on the square is never fixed,” he explains. “As is the case with every city, here, too, objects and buildings are things you see while in motion. Rarely do you stop to look closely at something. Individuals observing the sculpture do so at two speeds, depending on where they are on the square: walking on the sidewalks or driving by in a car. The kind of space operating here is not only a purely visual one, but also one open to the sense of touch; one generating a tactile sensation.”

The ambiguous figure is meant to capture the exact moment one finishes a race—be that a literal translation of a marathon, or a more loose interpretation of conquering a challenging moment. You can see more of Varotsos’s public sculptures on his website. (via Atlas Obscura)