November 24th, 2013 – The Land Rover Defender has turned 65! That means this robust cross-country vehicle long ago passed the minimum age to qualify as an old-timer. To enhance the vehicle’s history and aura, Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, the duo behind Antwerp-based Studio Job were asked to take this 4×4 in hand. It has become a pièce de résistance. The Land Rover has been submerged in a Studio Job ‘bath’, with all that this implies. Like a project that has got out of hand, the Land Rover has been dissected and interpreted, ridiculed and celebrated, laden with stories and adorned with a variety of materials. The motor has remained in place but driving the vehicle is anything but a comfortable experience.
‘As you would expect from someone who knows nothing about making a car, our approach got completely out of hand,’ says Job Smeets. ‘The numerous elements kept accumulating. The car literally sticks its tongue out. It wants to be something that it actually isn’t. It’s become a great concoction, monumental and cynical. But isn’t that also true for power and class structures? Those are surely also inventions. A fictive status symbol that other people supposedly look up to. It’s also a nudge at designers who are asked to design a concept car and who then invent a stylish-looking apparatus that is launched with all the necessary bells and whistles. So we also take aim at the car industry: I can already imagine the chief sitting in this modern carriage, with the chauffeur in the front and his various wives and children in the back. A Popemobile for an African chief, personalised in a bizarre way.’
In respects to the novel and flamboyant additions to the Defender, we felt the need to properly credit each one. Outfitting the Land Rover are lamp holders with polychrome glass, rugged terrain exhaust system, mechanical door handles & faience grips, crystal enlaid xl exterior mirror, high-beam headlamp with candle, high load imperial with smurray planks, sirens in hand blown glass, imperial mounted sound speaker, aluminum & polished brass shock-absorber, stained glass windows with peepholes, aluminum casted tailor-made mudguard, hand painted flags on pole (zimbabwe & congo), curtain rails & rings in wax printed vlisco fabrics, mud flap holders with xl figurative rubber mud flaps, crystal inlaid globe with belt drive & pulley system, fuel system: hose, trumpet, grinder & barrel, stick out tongue grill, sex cake hub-cap, bronze bull bumper, charm chain, capitol hub-cap, colloseum hub-cap, exhaust flame, warning bell, coach wheel, high load tail gate, gilded rhino hood horn, rock mudguard & side, exterior fire pan mirror, thick toot, porch roof fender, cable reel & bracket, crate of duvel, barbed spare wheel & suspension, classic steering wheel and knob, low tech thermometer, leveler, timer & navigationfront seats upholstered in wax printed vlisco fabrics, rear benches upholstered in wax printed vlisco fabrics, car leveler, sand timer, dashboard clock, mono radio, rock handle & headrest french oak floor, brass pedals, heavy duty shift, compass and a rock headrest.
Photography by Zero40 | fashion by Viktor & Rolf
October 28th 2013 – Nobuyoshi Araki has been widely labeled as one of Japan’s most provocative artists. His works demonstrate features of post-modern Japan such as: richness of figurality, Evanescence and lyricism of life, as he has captivates audiences by portraying a variety of shifting values in Japan. For these reasons, Araki was chosen to take part in this year’s Setouchi Triennale, an annual collective of art installations constructed in various cities throughout China. Superimposed to the outside of a train that runs between Takamatsu and Kanonji, connecting Takamatsu to sites west of the city, is the photography of Araki. The imagery illustrates the idea of traveling art, with bold and vibrant flower arrangements that are meticulously juxtaposed with bright blue dinosaur toys and the naked bodies of retro baby dolls. The cars of this train have been wrapped in Araki’s work to create art in motion. Granting a wonderful way to travel to ports linking the Triennale islands west of Takamatsu.
Photography Courtesy of Setouchi Triennale
October 25th, 2013 – Two years have passed since KNSTRCT sat down with artists Lauren Larson and Christian Swafford of Material Lust over Le Pain Quotidien’s meticulously crafted lattes in SOHO. Even then, it was evident that the depth of their shared artistry is synced perfectly – like a sixth sense that only they can tap into. Since our coffee that day, the New York based duo have gone on to create a series of limited-edition art pieces that double as furniture. Their latest edition to the Material Lust family is the divinely-inspired Pagan Chair – a worship-worthy geometric steel chair rendition of the Pagan star. “The chair has received some visceral reactions. People either get really uncomfortable and quiet or immediately connect with it.” Swafford explained of viewer’s initial reactions to the dark piece.
The primal geometric steel frame of the chair is powder coated in a matte black finish with a smoke Lucite seat. “We used a matte black Powder coated finish on the frame to give it a graphic quality. The Pentagram is a powerful 2-dimensional geometry so the matte finish helps flatten the piece out and accentuate the lines. The frame is so heavy visually we lightened it up with a smoke Lucite top. The transparency of the top pulls the eye back to the frame geometry.” Larson noted.
The inherent talent of the two is ingrained in each of their DNA – Larson and Swafford’s Mothers were both painters and sculptors. “Painters love to use symbolism in their work,” Larson remarked, ”and we try to include that same power of symbolism in ours.”
The design duo upholds an extremely high standard of craftsmanship and strives to manufacture all of their work in the US of A. “Our method for sustainability is to make high quality pieces that never make it to a landfill because people pass them on generation after generation either through family or auctions or donation” says Larson. The Pagan Chair is one garage sale find we’d love our future self to stumble upon. I guess we’ll have to leave that up to divine intervention.
Photography Courtesy of Material Lust
October 16th, 2013 – Most of us stand in before a mirror each day, searching for a sense of reality. The same reflector that we grow to trust, is the object that artists have used to manipulate the mind in powerful ways. A clever use of a mirror can make a room look larger, make an object appear as though it’s floating, or make a space go from dark to light. Get a dose of some magical mirror trickery in this week’s roundup.
Seemingly floating Monopoly-like mirror houses designed by photographer and creative director Autumn De Wilde.
Bureau Betak used spherical mirror globes to visually distort Christian Dior’s runway at the Place Vauban, Paris.
Artists Hiromi Tango and Craig Walsh’s mirrored fishing boat, Traces: Blue, is nearly invisible to the eye.
Madrid-based architecture studio OHLAB created five eye-catching gold boxes inside Port Adriano’s new jewelry boutique, Relojeria Alemana.
A metropolis has been cleverly turned upside down due to mirror trickery at Audi’s ‘Hanging City’ during Frankfurt’s 2013 International Motor Show. The innovative exhibition was designed by Munich-based KMS Blackspace, in collaboration with Schmidhuber Architects,
Found Associates employed black mirrors to add visual depth and dimension to a symmetrical space. The shoes on display at this Kurt Geiger boutique multiply in record numbers, showcased on mirrored tables and cantilevered glass pedestals, behind back lit Kurt Geiger artwork.
The massive mirror globe overlooking the lobby of London’s new EDITION Hotel allows patrons to be more discrete when “scoping the talent”, thanks to Ian Schrager and design studio Yabu Pushelberg.
Holzer Kobler Architekturen designed the outer skin of the new Paläon Research and Experience Center to act as a giant mirror that reflects the surrounding landscape and thus becomes one with the surroundings. Ultimately, the precisely crafted volume is covered with a reflective surface that becomes a mirror of the landscape.
In this piece entitled Fear Expanded, by artists Ryan Everson and Jason Garcia, the idea of fear seems to vanish into a soothing and peaceful landscape. The pair decided to work on the project together, with Everson building the letters and then handing them off to Garcia to further develop them based on his own personal vision. The final results are these four large wooden letters covered in variously-sized pieces of mirror.
October 15th, 2013 – When juicing goes desert. In celebration of Britain’s best-selling contemporary artist, Damien Hirst, a retrospective of his life’s work will be on display from October 10 till January 22, 2014, at ALRIWAQ DOHA exhibition space. Relics will present the largest collection of Hirst’s work ever assembled. Spanning over twenty-five years of Hirst’s artistic career, the exhibition includes both iconic and previously unseen works. The artist, who has explored the complex relationship between art, love, life and death, explained “I’ve got an obsession with death, but I think it’s like a celebration of life rather than something morbid”.
In respects to the Relics installation, Hirst teamed up with the fashion aficionados over at Prada to create Pharmacy Juice Bar, installed in the uninhabited Doha desert, like a mirage of sorts. A juice bar is exactly what you want in the Arabian desert after all. Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), is the third hand in this collaboration. It was launched in respects to “Relics”.
His work bears testimony to his enduring fascination with the daily intrusion of death into life, and the inevitable decay of our bodies despite an increasingly unquestioning faith in pharmaceuticals. Often framing scenes within boxes, tanks or vitrines, he stages startling and thought-provoking situations in which life cycles play out, life wrestles with death, and cures become confused with illnesses.
Emerging from the Young British Artist (YBA) movement that originated in London in the late 1980s, he was part of a group which became renowned for their audacious and often shocking works, receiving international acclaim and succeeding in revitalizing the British art scene. As Jean Paul Engelen, Director of Public Art at the Qatar Museum Authority comments: “With his own artistic language Damien Hirst changed our perception of London and the UK. There are very few artists in history that have had such a profound impact on high and popular culture. QMA is extremely proud to make this exhibition with Damien.”
The exhibition will be curated by high-profile writer, critic, and internationally renowned curator Francesco Bonami, currently Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and who has previously occupied a number of prestigious posts, including Artistic Director of the Venice Biennale in 2003.
Relics is part of a series of cultural projects initiated by QMA to promote and support local and international art production, foster appreciation and understanding of artistic practices, and create opportunities for cultural dialogue. It also aims to encourage local audiences, to take part in debates and discussions about the arts that can challenge our understanding and unveil new perspectives.
The restrospective is part of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture. Inspired by the Qatar National Vision for 2030, Qatar UK 2013 celebrates and showcases the deep-rooted bilateral relations between Qatar and the UK. It aims not only to showcase each other’s culture and forge new partnerships in culture, education, research, but also to provide a platform on which to build new long-term relationships between institutions and local communities.
Photography Courtesy of Qatar Museums Authority
October 3rd, 2013 – Called upon by Miuccia Prada herself—four sensational muralists and two illustrators set a vibrant stage for Prada’s Spring/Summer 2014 fashion presentation, In The Heart Of Multitude, at Milan’s Via Fogazzaro show space. Inspired by “the political wall art from Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera,” Mrs. Prada plucked the artists from all over the world: Mesa from Spain, El Mac from the United States, Gabriel Specter from Canada, Stinkfish from Colombia, Jeanne Detallante from France (she works in the U.S.), and Pierre Mornet from France.
The the artist’s paintings extend from the set of the show to the garments in the collection, as Prada employed the group of contemporary artists to help communicate her vision of the new power woman. “I saw them as strong, visible fighters. We need to be fighters in general. There is this debate about women again, and I want to interpret it. My instrument is fashion. I use my instrument to be bold. I had this idea that if you wear clothes so exaggerated and out there, people will look, and then they will listen.” She laughed. “It’s a sort of trick.” Then the designer added, “I want to be nasty.”
The visions of the artists were cleverly integrated into the collection in various ways. The bold, cartoon-like faces of Artist Jeanne Detallante are bejewelled onto bra-implanted coats, dresses, bags, and furs. This, of course, allows fashion enthusiasts to acquire a piece of art-fashion. In application, the garment will be speaking-as-you-wear the imagery of six artists.
Brooklyn-based artist Gabriel Specter composed a telling portrait of a weeping girl who is surrounded by rainbows. The artist says he’s inspired by the “overlooked elements in society, the things that most people would regularly pass by, those are the things I pick up on.”
Stinkfish boasts most of his inspiration from his home city of Bogota, the place where he honed his painting skills as a youngster. Recognized internationally for his large, colorful murals, Stinkfish works from the photographs of local people that he takes on the streets and later turns into stencils. For Prada’s fashion show, the artist splatted bursts of colors across the wall to create the face of a gazing woman.
Photography Courtesy of Prada
October 2nd, 2013 – Saturday in the Tuileries turned out to be a vision of teenage rebellion when the Victor & Rolf show hit the runway on a white-tiled locker room set with a collection that oozes adolescent unrest. The hints of punk on the charming school girl uniforms, plaid patterned garments secured with safety pins, and indie artist Joan as Police Woman’s belting out a unique rendition of Britney Spears (“… Baby One More Time”) helped set the stage for the youth at unrest concept. However, it was the Berlin-based creatives at Studio Job who really enhanced Victor & Rolf’s collection with a stark white ‘brick’ runway that forced onlooking fashion enthusiasts to be nostalgic for their school days.
Scribbled on the wall at the head of the runway is Victor & Rolf’s signature logo, an element that evokes memories of the Sharpy riddled locker room walls of high school. High contrast seemed to be a principal theme for the show as the models hit the black and white stage in their crisp white shirts adorned with spikes on the collar.
The display of Victor & Rolf’s punk-esque collection was presented in a dynamic and cohesive style thanks to the team at Studio Job and Bureau Betak, who produced and directed the entire event.
September 30th, 2013 – A colorful new solo-exhibition titled Hügel und Zweifel (Hills and Doubts) by Franz Ackermann kicked off last week in celebration of Berlin’s second annual Art Week. The Berlin-based artist, best known for his prismatic cartoonish abstractions, decked out 130 feet long, 30 feet high entrance hall of Berlinische Galerie with an expansive installation.
The towering walls of the museum are outfitted in colorful geometric shapes, adorned with Ackermann’s large panel paintings. While the murals on the wall depict a clean graphic quality, the paintings are induced with disruptive components, splashes of paint, or cut-out holes with photographs peeking through, disturbing the straight lines of Ackermann’s color planes.
“Like a panorama. A hilly landscape unfolds. The observer changes its position, but also reveals a tremendous wealth of detail.” The artist explained of the installation. “The ideal-typical scene is interrupted by additions such as photographs from India and Tarlabasi, an Istanbul neighborhood that is soon to be demolished. They represent the doubts raised in the title of the exhibition.”
Many of Ackermann’s cartographic drawings have been created during his numerous travels. The paintings he creates are mental maps, subjective interpretations of spaces and places that are compressed and expanded in his works. The themes illustrated in the paintings range from Ackermann’s interest in communicative changes, digital technologies, and power relations.
Hills and Doubts will be showcased at Berlinische Galerie until February 3rd, 2014.
Photography by Berlinische Galerie
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This past weekend KNSTRCT took a little field trip to downtown San Francisco – more specifically, NOPA (for all of you rookies, this stands for “North of the Panhandle”). We joined ABSOLUT in celebrating their collaboration with 15 emerging artists, and watched as a team of creative masterminds were unleashed into the city, transforming ordinary features of Divisadero street into an interactive art exhibition. Sidestepping an obstacle course of paint rollers, swirls of latex rainbow decals, ginormous pine tree air fresheners and a spiderweb of yarn, we caught up with a few featured artists.
For Olek, our resident yarn bomber, yarn became a new, noteworthy medium (or perhaps we should say KNITworthy medium). A multi-piece crocheted banner that read, “Money won’t love you back,” graced an otherwise lackluster street corner.
Jenny Sharaf took another angle, splashing an entire wallscape in a punchy pink, and plastering the façade in a dreamscape of psychedelic rainbow swirls constructed from latex and paint.
Another fresh take came via 1000 pine-scented air fresheners. Michael Krouse’s installation, aptly titled, “1 Tree. 1000 Little Trees” employed irreverent humor and cultural icons, exploring human relationships with nature.
As the sun set and paint began to dry, a whole new cityscape emerged – one splashed with vibrancy and life, providing urbane urbanites a fresh take on city living. And don’t worry NOPA residents (“NOPANites?!”), if you didn’t get a chance to check out Open Canvas this weekend, it can be seen throughout Labor day weekend.
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August 23nd, 2013 – There’s much more to Miami than sunshine and sparkly beaches. In recent years, Miami has grown to be one of the top destinations for creating and showcasing electrifying art & design. Annual events such as Art Basel Miami and Design Miami continually put the festive equatorial town on the global map. But underneath the posh crowds and high profile curators is a crew of artist who are captivating the masses with their vibrant and powerful street art in Miami’s Wynnwood Art District. ”You can’t sell these murals, they’re on the walls, and they’re not forever,” Said one of Wynnwood’s finest muralist Kenny Scharf. “It’s a way of reaching people in a big way, I mean, if you do a painting in a gallery, how many people are going to see it? If you put a painting on Houston and Bowery I think 20,000 people an hour will see it. This is an alternative to the obsession with why art is better if it’s worth more money.”
A sea of objects is how Artist b. describes his colorful and detailed murals. From far away you may not be able to make out the individual forms and how they interplay with each other, but as you get closer you can see Christmas trees, stuffed animal characters, military tank, birthday cakes, hamburgers—anything and everything that people consume or throw away.
“I’m influenced a lot by supermarkets, TV advertisements, all these huge toy stores, all that architecture of shopping, which is everywhere.” b. believes that we make a pattern of random things in the choices we make, and he wants to show that this is the world that we create.
How and Nosm (Raoul and Davide Perre) are identical twin brothers known for their large scale graffiti based murals that adorn such famed city walls as New York’s Bowery and San Franscisco’s Hyde Street. Their Wynwood wall, completed in just four days, was built around the theme of homing pigeons–on the left a pigeon head rises out of the water; a dead pigeon lies on its back in the center, and the character on the right, a human-bird hybrid, symbolizes the viewer watching the scene unfold.
TMNK (aka Nobody) is a, New York Street Artist, a contemporary American artist who works explore and offer critical discourse on socio-political issues such as racism, classism, sexism, third-world plight, first-world arrogance, war and peace. The artist took a minimalistic and straight forward approach in Wynnwood by painting the entire wall magenta with scribbles reading “I am not defined by your ignorance. I am beauty. I am love.”
Artist Liqen created a powerful black and white mural of a maze in Wynnwood titled ‘Wall Street Labyrinth’. Liqen grew up in the industrial city of Vigo, Spain. He was inspired by the comics that he read, and from a young age graffiti also fascinated him. What influences his work most today is the animal kingdom, nature, and creatures from the earth’s depths. His pseudonym Liqen, which is a mix between an algae and a fungus, reflects his socio-biological interest in species that on first view might seem strange but that contain unique characteristics that allow them to be reborn after lying dormant for centuries.
“I don’t put eyes because I believe that we are all blind,” said Mexican artist Saner. “When we look through the heart’s eyes, we will feel the world and see what it really is.” To create this Wynnwood mural, Saner teamed up with follow Mexican artist Sego, an artist known for painting dreamy otherworldly creatures. “Our work now is not only for us,” said Sego. “The problems in trafficking, the violence, and other bad things do exist. But those aren’t the only things that exist in Mexico.”
Painting the Wynnwood Walls was street artist Nunca’s first mural in the United States. when he arrived in Miami for the Wynwood Walls in 2009. The artist, who lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil, has been painting in that city’s streets since the 1990s, and he is known for confronting modern Brazil with its native past by depicting indigenous people on countless walls.
All Photographs were captured by KNSTRCT using the new HTC One
July 9th, 2013 – The story behind Marseille’s new museum, MAMO, short for MArseille MOdulor, runs deep into the roots of modern architecture to pay tribute to a building and an architect. The recently opened MAMO is housed in the upper levels of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse, an extensive apartment complex built in 1947 that is often described as a “vertical village”. The pioneer of modern architecture was an instrumental urbanist who spearheaded the movement toward contemporary vertical living, making it no surprise that the architect would push the boundaries of urban living by incorporating all of 337 apartments, a restaurant, a hotel, a bookstore and a nursery school into one tower.
The beloved building was widely noted as a meaningful and prized piece of architecture and went on to be classified as one of France’s historical monuments in the 1980′s.
A turn of events took place for Cité Radieuse in 2010, when the building’s rooftop gym and solarium went up for sale. Designer Ito Morabito, who goes by Ora-Ito professionally, purchased it as a collector might. “Like you buy a piece of art, but architecture,” he noted. After the acquisition, it became Ora-Ito’s self-appointed mission to honor the iconic structure.
Ora-Ito transformed the rooftop of Cité Radieuse into MAMO, a contemporary art center dedicated to exhibitions and creative ateliers. The renovation was a three year undertaking that involved a full restoration of the original rooftop structure, including the removal of an unsightly add on, and the realization of design elements in Le Corbusier’s blueprints that had not been realized when the building was originally constructed.
The opening of MAMO kicked off with the exhibition of Ora-Ito’s friend and sometimes collaborator, the French artist Xavier Veilhan. Titled Architectons, the exhibition features a series of large-scale sculptures made specifically for this space and includes an angular bust of Le Corbusier on the rooftop. Veilhan created Le Corbusier’s bust as a way to pay homage to a master on the top of his legendary build. “Le Corbusier would be proud,” Ora-Ito said.
Photography by Diane Arques
August 1st, 2013 – As an initiative to spruce up an old town center, celebrated Australian artists Rowena Martinich and Geoffrey Carran were commissioned by the Chameleon Arts Collective of Balmoral to create a bright floral mural for the town of Balmoral. Martinich and Carran’s canvas was the peach-colored side of Balmoral’s humble community store building, which they transformed into a mural of vibrant birds and flowers that are local species native to the area mixed with splashes of colorful paint.
“Public art projects in regional communities have a powerful and important role in fostering, maintaining and promoting many facets of the cultural life, identity and intrinsic values of these communities,” writer Geoffrey Carran explained. “This is of particular significance in the smaller rural communities of Victoria, where in many cases, the population has declined and the remaining communities are battling continuing environmental and economic hardships.”
The artistic mural provides an opportunity to galvanize communities as they pull together to contribute to the cultural wealth of their location. Carran says the “Chameleon Arts in many ways broke the mold of rural art projects by commissioning us to do a bold and contemporary mural rather than the classic ‘wagon and bullocks’ and in doing so made a loud statement that their small community in the Southern Grampians is still very much situated in the present, aware and proud of who they are.”
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Generally when we think of the street art that decorates the facades of cityscapes we envision hoody-clad, rattle can-toting taggers traipsing through the night under the guise of anonymity, never recognized for their work. Invisible patrons of the arts, so to speak. Well, thanks to ABSOLUT, the playing field, or canvas, is wide open. As the name suggests, Open Canvas provides a platform for creative expression, bringing emerging contemporary artists into the light – not only showcasing, but celebrating their work. It’s not outcome-driven, but a mindset rather. A radical mindset celebrated by a collective of artists who have defied convention, blurred genre boundaries, and turned expectation on its head.
Earlier this month, the Open Canvas art experience kicked off in Brooklyn, NY. Artists unleashed their creativity on the hipster-filled streets of Brooklyn, as ABSOLUT painted the facades and walls of an entire city block white. Artists then splashed the otherwise drab and snooze-worthy city block with color, vibrancy and life, and the stark, white canvases were transformed with a mélange of inspirational call-to-creative-arms, like “The Future is yours to create.” Art enthusiasts and locals lined up to witness artist OLEK create an 80-foot long crocheted yarn fence (one that would make Grams and her knitting needles ridiculously envious, if we do say so ourselves), the humanoid mural size photographs of Asger Carlsen, and the work of nearly 20 other emerging artists.
After the success of Open Canvas NY, ABSOLUT is venturing to the West Coast to team up with a new crew of emerging artist at Open Canvas San Francisco. However, this time ABSOLUT wants you to get involved. If you join like-minded creative folk with a passion for risk-taking to enlist in their Transform Today initiative now, you just may see your own creative vision brought to life on the streets of San Francisco. Artists are invited to submit artwork that represents their vision of artistic transformation. This is your chance to be featured as an artist in Open Canvas SF with a dedicated area on the neighborhood block. So go ahead, ditch the hoody and spray paint and make your mark on the side of a building. Enter here.
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Recasting the Rotunda: Artist James Turrell transforms the Guggenheim rotunda with new LED art exhibition
June 20th, 2013 – In the most dramatic transformation of New York’s Guggenheim Museum ever conceived, that wasn’t CGI’ed in a blockbuster action movie, American artist James Turrell’s powerful exhibition begins tomorrow and focuses on the artist’s groundbreaking explorations of perception, light, color, and space.
Tomorrow marks Turrell’s first exhibition in a New York museum in 32 years. The entrancing exhibition, aptly titled Aten Reign, is a major new project that recasts the Guggenheim rotunda as an enormous volume, filled with shifting artificial and natural light. Reorienting visitors’ experiences of Frank Lloyd Wright’s original curvacious rotunda from above to below, Aten Reign gives form to the air and light occupying the museum’s central void, proposing an entirely new experience of the structure. The exhibition kicks off on June 21st, 2013 and comes to a close on September 25th.
James Turrell, Aten Reign, 2013. Daylight and LED light. Temporary site-specific installation, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York © James Turrell. Photography captured by David Heald © SRGF
June 7th, 2013 – A reputation is on the rise for street artist Oli-B, as his colorful and shapely murals are brightening the grey walls of Brussels. Although he’s an amazing muralist, Oli-B (short for Oliver Binamé), won’t limit his artistry to a wall or a canvas surface, the painter beautifies stickers, clothing, scarves, and now skateboard decks. Four hand-painted boards are each composed of Oli-B’s vibrant figurines that collage into an abstract totem pole on the underside of the wood deck. These decks will more than likely be used for wall decor as opposed to shredding the rails, but for the skater/art enthusiasts, Oli-B’s boards are surely an object of affection.
May 30th, 2013 – A brief yet powerful collaboration, aptly titled – Fresh Paint, has brought three artist together to create four unique pieces of art. Jon Kleinhample, Founder of Brussels-based design firm LMBRJK, has a knack for creating intriguing objects using digital methods of fabrication. The objects of subject are LMBRJK’s Trilip Series Vases, a handmade collection of voluptuous vases constructed from layers of plywood. Kleinhample’s Trilip vases became the canvas for fellow collaborating artists Oli-B and LastYardz to paint on.
The TRILIP SERIES is an investigation and catalog of organic beauty. Each vessel is distilled from the formal logic of a tulip and an index of functional constraints, such as height, width, performative cavities, perforations, historical vase typologies, etc. The vases are a result of digital wood, A term Kleinhample has coined meaning a re-assembly of sheet lumber into functional objects.
The Fresh Paint exhibition called for both Oli-B and LastYardz to each paint two Trilip vases, one vase over the course of two weeks, and another vase was painted live at the exhibition’s final event. Oli-B is a street artist and painter from Brussels who uses uses vibrant shades of acrylic, spray paint as well as screen printing techniques to create abstract and curvacious characters.
Also a street artist and painter, LastYardz, paints tantalizing yet slightly ailing scenes filled of societal decay with an urban twist. His work, tantalizing yet intriguing, exuding a delightful bit of anarchist spirit.
To create the Trilip vases hundreds of veneer layers form together, cut from hardwood and softwood species harvested from Slovenian forests. The layers are tooled using a CAD-based, 80-watt laser cutter, and then assembled by hand in the studio.
The exhibition resulted in four unique vases, each illustrates a medley of the collaborating artist’s styles. Oli-B painted a collage of colorful curvy shapes overlapping one another, exposing portions of the raw wood below.
LastYardz coated the top portion of one Trilip in black, and the other in white, with etchings branded into the unpainted areas. At the final event, the design enthusiasts of Brussels packed into a shop to witness the artists painting the vases live, at the end of the evening, the collaborators gave away two of the four painted vases in a raffle. Lucky.
This post is curated by KNSTRCT in partnership with Jaguar. Experience F-TYPE.
How eight impossibly thoughtful designs are conceptualized from the most improbable everyday materials.
There was a time in all of our lives when we envisioned a rocket ship from a discarded cardboard box, light sabers from the prosaic paper towel roll, and an infra-red Mission Impossible-esque laser security system out of our standard, yawn-worthy electrical tape. Well, at some point along the way, we lost that childlike wonder and imaginative spark. Not these folks. They’re the MacGyvers of the design world. Give them a rubber band, three paperclips and stick of gum and they’ll build you a geodesic dome (Okay, okay, maybe we took that a little too far – but you get the idea). It takes a truly brilliant brain to create sheer design genius from uninspired everyday objects that the rest of the masses discard – we’re talking pencils, tape, cardboard, fabric, and chain link fence.
Enter …. designer Aakash Nihalani, artists Soo Sunny Park, Philip Karlberg, Janet Echelman, Jacob Hashimoto, Nils Völker, François Dumas, and the creatives from M4 Architects. These cardboard crusaders and rope renegades are pushing the limits with disruptive design, shifting our perception of traditional design by utilizing mundane materials in new, innovative ways. Ten bucks says they’ll have you thinking twice the next time you take out your recycling. Could that empty gallon milk jug be an impromptu watering jug? There’s only one way to find out…
Aakash Nihalani – The Taped Crusader
Featuring bold, fluorescent streaks of tape, Aakash’s geometric installations exist on a completely different plane, offering optical illusions that are divinely incandescent.
Philip Karlberg – The Pencil Pundit
A study in smart design, Karlberg’s pencil pin art effectively captures the likeness of iconic figures in a simplistically loose and beautifully abstract manner.
M4 Architects – The Fabric Shifters
For a Moroccan Tagine restaurant in Seoul, Korean design office M4 created a graphic black and white space with a dreamy, cloud-like ceiling. The curvacious white fabric is dotted with lights, and diffusers that cause the clouds to shift and move.
Nils Völker – The Rubbish Beautician
German artist Nils Völker has transformed a bunch of black plastic garbage bags into captivating wall art in his newest installation, Eighty-Eight.
Janet Echelman – From Mesh Fabric To Wind Choreographer
Janet Echelman’s floating sculpture She Changes in Porto, Portugal dances in the air because of its lightweight materials of string and mesh fabric.
François Dumas – Broom Re-purposer
Jacob Hashimoto - The Paper Prep
For the American artist’s first solo show in the UK, he hand-made hundreds of small kite elements from paper, which he then adhered to bamboo frames. In the exhibit space, the kites hang from thin dowels and rest at various levels to create an uneven, fragmented landscape.
Soo Sunny Park – The Chain Link Scuplter
Suspended from the walls and ceiling are thirty-seven individually sculpted units are arranged to appear as twisting mesh of crystals at Park’s ‘unwoven light’ installation that animates the Rice Gallery.
May 23rd, 2013 - Vivid Sydney, an annual 18-day festival of light, music, and ideas, will once again transform Sydney’s skies, waters, and landmarks into a spectacular canvas of light. Kicking off the festival is Australia’s own creative innovators The Spinifex Group who have taken over the Sydney Opera House sails with a newly commissioned artwork, “PLAY”, transporting audiences through a playfully projected journey that will celebrate Vivid Sydney’s light, music and ideas in an immersive new way.
In the ultimate art meets architecture encounter, The Spinifex Group is outfitting the Opera House sails with a new visual adventure featuring dramatic animations and iconic, thought-provoking imagery. As part of the Opera house’s annual makeover, the ground-breaking technical executions on the sails will combine light projection, architectural mapping and tightly-choreographed motion graphics as the sixty-strong Sydney agency takes on their hometown to perform on one of the nation’s most culturally significant landmarks.
Also part of this years festival will be a glowing makeover of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Using the latest interactive lighting technology, you’ll be able to select a section of the bridge to light up, choose your own color and watch in awe as your illuminated creation brings to life the beautiful grey arch and spans of this iconic piece of Australian architecture. It’s a rare treat to play with something you drive, walk or cycle over on a regular basis!
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCAA) is a major harbourside venue in Vivid Sydney. Not only do stunning 3D mapped illuminations light up the façade of the building in a creative splurge of colour and movement but, inside, the museum is home to the ever-expanding Vivid Ideas Exchange as well as a series of major new exhibitions. 3D-mapped projections are the result of a unique collaboration between a world-class content creator and a world-class creative communications company. The sublime work of Australian artist, Gemma Smith, represented in the MCAA’s collection, is also brought to life by Sydney’s Spinifex Group.
March 21st, 2013 – About a decade ago, somebody hit the fast forward button on the world and forgot to press play again. Our constant state of overdrive has borderline turned old world artistry into an endangered medium, leaving generations of arts and crafts lost. Adding a positive to that depressing intro, Jameson Irish Whiskey is one spirit maker who has placed a high value on their traditions since 1780. To parallel Jameson’s true-to-your-roots philosophy, the master blenders commissioned acclaimed glass engraver Dave Smith to dream up their limited edition 2013 St. Patrick’s Day bottle.
Keen to celebrate the pairing of their traditional Irish whiskey with Smith’s old world technique, Jameson invited KNSTRCT to hop on over to Dublin for a weekend of St. Patrick’s Day festivities, a tour of their original distillery, and to experience Smith’s work first hand. While there, the chilly weather made warming up in Dublin’s beloved Stag’s Head pub quite comforting, posing a perfect spot to watch Smith’s gold leafing demonstration. The artist was easily able to silence the room of spectators with his humble and collective demeanor, a manner well suited with his craft of choice.
The design of Jameson’s bottle was inspired by the intricate glass etching and ornate gilding synonymous with the décor of great Dublin pubs where Jameson has been enjoyed for generations. Smith began his process at the drawing board where he enjoys the freedom of using a pencil, this start ensures that the final product will avoid the appearance of coming from a production line. Pencil sketches soon manifest into an emerald etched bottle that consists of festive gold trumpets, green streamers, tiny little whiskey makers carrying barrels on their backs, and of course the classic Jameson lettering.
To achieve the desired black bar mirror look, which is frequently used in traditional pubs in Ireland, Smith explained that he used a reverse glass technique. This is a technique where gold and silver are hand painted onto the back of the glass. “Gold leaf is light, delicate, and very fragile. If you touch it, it will tear,” his connection with this material is undeniable, “nothing conveys as much impacts as gold leaf itself, especially applied in reverse. It has that dignity and richness, providing something that no other material can.”
Because of its fragile consistency, applying the gold is a very tedious process. This led Smith to design and develop a new handmade tool to lay the gold onto the glass, making it easier to apply. With a few tests, the artist noticed that with this new tool, even kids as young as five are able to apply the gold leaf. The joyous discovery opened up new doors for continuing the trade, as Smith is now able better to teach his three young daughters Hannah, Lauren, and Millie the old craft in his quest to pass on a dying art.
With Jameson’s Irish hospitality, you’re always in for a good time – but I didn’t know how good. The weekend itinerary included exotic cocktails at the Vintage Cocktail Club, A whiskey and cheese tasting at L Mulligan Grocer, checking out the Bombay Bicycle Club at the Jameson St. Patrick’s Day Live concert, and a proper whiskey tasting with Jameson’s 17-year distiller and chemist, Liam Donegan. Not on the weekend itinerary was a few awkward attempts at river dancing, learning how to strategically maneuver in and out of the smallest bar in Dublin, discovering that “mushy peas” is not guacamole, losing a passport, and thankfully, avoiding a naked sleepwalker – but we’ll leave those stories for a travel feature on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin coming next week – hook. line. sinker.
March 19th, 2013 – At the moment, technologies such as 3D printing and laser cutting are sort of a delicacy. Experimenting with these tools requires designers to get past the steep equipment and software prices, but these hurdles didn’t stop the Savannah-based crew from Magnetic Kitchen. Designers Wes Batts, Dan Dittmar, and Kayla Colaizzi, co-founders of Magnetic Kitchen, started tinkering around with laser engraving as an artistic medium while they were studying at the Savannah College of Art and Design. The trio quickly became frustrated with the limited time they were allowed to use the tool at school, so they banded together and started a Kickstarter page to fund a new laser cutting machine.
After funding kicked in, Batts, Dittmar, and Colaizzi began to kick it in the workshop until the wee hours of the morning experimenting with the machine. Out of those after-hour sessions came an intricate new series of laser engraved skateboard decks with names like Grandma’s Sofa, Death Grip, and Hangover Cure. The 7-layer ply hard rock maple boards are sourced from a craftsman in Pennsylvania, the team then “creates the design in Adobe Illustrator, refines it in Rhino, before bringing it into the laser cutter,” Colaizzi noted while explaining their process. Each deck is an artistic piece that can be visually preserved for something along the lines of wall decor, but the designers made sure that the laser cutting went through less than half of a layer, allowing the deck to keep its ride-able integrity. The team is keen on forging clean design and homemade goods in order to create a one of a kind experience for the user – all at a competitive price of $95.00 to $125.00 per deck. If you’re in the market for a stellar new board, check out the rest of the collection at Magnetic Kitchen’s Shop.
Photography By Magnetic Kitchen
January 21st, 2013 – Bastian Preussge’s drippy hatchings are usually carefully carved out from coffee ashes, tea, gouache, or Indian ink. But the Hamburg-based artist is now pairing his daring doodles with a little bit of urban flair. Preussge has created a series of story telling skateboards with illustrations of a powerful bird kingdom, biblical tales, and a graffiti-esque black and white depiction of a life gone to waste. Preussge says that the skateboards are currently designated to no one. This was a passion project, done for no money, or attention. So if you’re a million dollar skate house looking for some creative new decks to sell, please do not bother Preussge…. unless you’re a multi-million dollar skate house, because these cool decks are aching to ravage some concrete, and are sure to sell.
January 16th 2013 - Berlin’s Pictoplasma is the world’s leading Festival of contemporary character culture. The artist line-up has just been released with some awesome illustrators such as Andrea Wan, Mr Clement, and Bakea headlining the conference. In the midst of all the talent, it’s the glossy 3D-esque characters of El Grand Chamaco that are catching some well deserved attention. El Grand Chamaco is a 30 year old artist based in Los Ramones, Mexico, who creates 3D illustrations of characters who are playful, dramatic, and somewhat defiant.
Chamaco’s pursuit of artistry began to develop as a young orphan who spent his childhood and adolescence with his grandfather on his mother side, it was she, who drove him through the paths of drawing and painting. As his passion for his artistry grew, outside appreciation did not. Chamaco was rejected from art school, but channeled all his frustrations into his work. It wasn’t until a few years back, when Chamaco’s small village received the internet, that he was able to properly showcase his talents to the world. This art school reject will be proudly speaking about his work, and his journey as an artist at Pictoplasma in April, where a dense marathon of inspiring lectures and presentations by some of the most outstanding artists, illustrators and designers pushing the edge of contemporary character visualization will be featured as well.
Photography courtesy of the talented Fernando Guerra