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Art

Bold Bands of Paint Bisect Playful Sculptures of Carved Wood by Willy Verginer

March 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

Detail of “I pensieri non fanno rumore” (2019), different types of wood, acrylic color, 150 x 100 x 107 centimeters. All images © Willy Verginer, shared with permission

Clusters of wooden spheres bubble up the fingertips and bodies of the children in Willy Verginer’s poetic sculptures. The Italian artist (previously) contrasts realistic carvings of adolescent figures with elements of whimsy and imagination. Alongside the forms that evoke childhood games are thick stripes of monochromatic paint, which wrap around the sculptures and bisect them in unusual places.

Whether a pastel, neutral tone, or black, the color is symbolic and used to convey subtle messages. Verginer’s works often stem from what he sees as the absurdity of ecological issues or larger societal problems, like the U.S. banking collapse. “My largest effort and research focus on not tying myself to the naturalistic representation of figures, but on giving something more through a dreamlike study, or better an absurd one, and not an imaginary one,” he says. “This world and the whole connected system were so absurd that they made me reproduce an equally absurd situation.”

 

Detail of “Chimica del pensiero” (2019), lindenwood, acrylic color, 168 x 46 x 45 centimeters

Many of the sculptures shown here are part of Verginer’s most recent series, Rayuela, which is the Spanish term for hopscotch and the title of Julio Cortázar’s counter-novel that can be read from front to back or vice versa. Written in a stream-of-consciousness style, the book produces varying endings and meanings depending on the reader’s sequence. Cortázar’s adventurous format combined with the imaginative nature of the game informed Vreginer’s approach to the series, which the artist explains:

(In rayuela), kids outline an ideal map on the ground, which starts from the earth and reaches the sky, through intermediate stages marked with numbered squares, on which they jump according to where a pebble is thrown. I can see a metaphor of life in this game; our existence is full of these jumps and obstacles. Each of us aims to reach a sort of sky.

In June, Toronto’s Gallery LeRoyer will have an exhibition of Verginer’s precisely carved works, and the artist has another slated for September at the Zemack Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. Until then, find more of his sculptures on Instagram.

 

“Pensieri nascosti” (2020), lindenwood, acrylic color, 172 x 39 x 33 centimeters

“Chimica del pensiero” (2019), lindenwood, acrylic color, 168 x 46 x 45 centimeters

“I pensieri non fanno rumore” (2019), different types of wood, acrylic color, 150 x 100 x 107 centimeters

“Scisserlé,” lindenwood, acrylic color, 200 x 59 x 46 centimeters

“Palvaz” (2019), lindenwood, acrylic color, 95 x 70 x 47 centimeters

“Rayuela” (2020), tiglio, acrylic color, 123 x 110 x 90 centimeters

 

 



Art

Smooth Curves and Negative Space Complete Elegant Wooden Sculptures by Ariele Alasko

March 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ariele Alasko, shared with permission

From hunks of beechwood or maple, artist Ariele Alasko carves sculptural works that take the shape of smooth curves, ruffles, and squiggled lines. The elegant pieces play with contrast and negative space and are assembled into abstract compositions, whether as a smaller wall object or expansive mobile-style suspension. In a note to Colossal, Alasko shares that she strives to sustainably source all of her materials, whether from local lumber yards or her own property in Washington State. The artist holds a BFA in sculpture from Pratt Institute, and you can follow her carvings on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

A Canadian Company Upcycles Millions of Disposable Chopsticks into Sleek Furniture and Home Goods

March 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

On a global scale, we collectively consume a staggering number of chopsticks each year—80 billion pairs to be exact—many of which end up discarded in landfills and other waste sites. Since 2016, though, a Vancouver-based company has been upcycling the disposable utensils into a modern, minimal line of furniture and home goods.

A new video from Business Insider goes behind-the-scenes with ChopValue to chronicle the entire production process, which starts with collecting the free, raw material from about 300 restaurants around the British Columbian city. When they’re brought back to the plant, the utensils are sorted, coated in a water-based resin, and baked in a 200-degree oven for five hours to kill all germs. They’re then broken down and loaded into a massive hydraulic machine that compresses the individual sticks into a composite board, which finally is sanded and fashioned into countertops, tiles, and dominos, among a variety of other products. Since its inception, the company has saved nearly 33 million pairs of chopsticks from entering a landfill.

With three microfactories in Canada and retailers across North America, ChopValue’s footprint is growing, and the company is currently offering opportunities for franchises. Shop coasters, shelving, and other goods on the site, and follow product launches on Twitter and Instagram. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Design

A Striking Curved Wall Swells Upward Across Three Stories of a Taipei Home by Yuan Architects

February 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images via Yuan Architects

Nestled in the mountainous region of Taipei’s Xindian district is a new home by Yuan Architects that mirrors the stately landscape outdoors. In “Lan Villa,” the international design firm constructed a central, curved wall that sweeps upward as it follows the two staircases from ground floor to ceiling. It mimics the roving scenery that can be viewed through the large, glass windows covering the back facade.

Cloaked in wooden slats, the striking enclosure spans all three stories of the 2,390-square-foot home, which features a kitchen, dining area, and large deck on the first level, main entrance and mezzanine on the second, and bedrooms on the uppermost floor. The bowed wall “represents the flow of life through an architectural structure,” the firm says in a statement about the project. “As a collector of seasonal changes outdoors as well as an interface of the living space, the wall reflects every variation of light and color on the rolling hills and casts different colors of light into the living space accordingly.”

Take a virtual tour of the home below, and see more photographs of the elegant, swelling feature on Yuan Architects’ site. You also can follow the firm’s work on Instagram. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Design

An Elaborate Kamidana Shrine Designed by Naohiko Shimoda Wraps an Inner Corner

January 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Naohiko Shimoda, shared with permission

Architect Naohiko Shimoda’s interpretation of a kamidana—a small altar or “god shelf” that’s part of a tradition to bring Shinto shrines into private spaces—strays from the simple ledges most often found in Japanese homes. Designed with an intricate foundation and slatted roof, the wooden structure lines an inner corner and is installed high on the wall following the custom. The precise and detailed construction is built on a 1:1 scale, allowing it to “be regarded as architecture with unique proportions and beauty.”

The size of many Japanese houses today limits the placement of the miniature shrines, Shimoda says, which spurred the original 2018 design that’s similar in style but wraps around an outer corner. “Unlike other architectures, the kamidana is usually represented only in the front half of the building. It makes people imagine ‘something behind’ that was not represented and (setting it up) in a corner make it even more effective,” he says.

To see more of Nagaski-born designer’s architectural and renovation projects, head to his site and Instagram. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

 



Art Design

A Curved Pavilion Designed by Kengo Kuma Weaves Wooden Slats into a Tessellating Structure

December 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Kengo Kuma and Geoff Nees, by Tom Ross

Wrapping a gallery space at the 2020 NGV Triennial is a bowed pavilion of tessellating wood. A collaboration between renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (previously) and Australian artist Geoff Nees, the large-scale installation is constructed with trees felled at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens during the millennium drought. The pointed slats interlock without the use of additional supports, a design derived from traditional Japanese joinery, and create a scaly pattern that allows light to stream through.

Titled “Botanical Pavilion,” the curved structure features foraged timber—some of which predates European colonization on the continent—arranged by color rather than species. “By prioritizing natural phenomena over scientific order, the designers call into question the reductive nature of science during the colonial era, a mindset at odds with many Indigenous cultural beliefs and knowledge systems,” a statement about the piece says. At both ends, the walkway opens up to reveal South Korean artist Lee Ufan’s 2017 painting titled “Dialogue.”

“The semi-circular shape of the pavilion invites the visitor into a journey to explore the space and experience the various essences of wood,” Kuma told Dezeen. “The porous structure is assembled like a tridimensional puzzle without the use of metal connections to be able to reassemble it in a different location.”

“Botanical Pavilion” is on view through April 18, 2021. Follow Kuma’s and Nees’s upcoming projects on Instagram.