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
November 26th, 2012 – Archstoyanie is a creative festival that kicks off every year in the forest of Nikola-Lenivets, Russia. This year, the architects from Salto created a performance piece called ‘Fast Track’ – a 170 foot long track made of a trampoline! Designers Maarja Kask, Karli Luik, and Ralf Lõoke built the Fast Track to challenge the concept of infrastructure that only focuses on technical and functional aspects and tends to be ignorant to its surroundings.
The team explained that the track “is an attempt to create intelligent infrastructure that is emotional and corresponds to the local context, giving the user a different experience of moving and perceiving the environment.”
Lawsuits and insurance issues aside, imagine this as your morning commute everyday. Work would literally be a ‘hop, skip, and a jump’ away as commuters would breeze through the forest avoiding congested traffic, loud honking, and the occasional collision.
The idea behind the Fast Track instillation is not just to jump on a cool trampoline, it is to evoke a conversation; new thoughts about the way we move in society. There is an asset to exploring new ways of commuting that will surely saprk some ideas to lend some ease to the congestion of our current methods.
Instead of just deeming our traditional ways of commuting as the only way, Salto created a new user experience in effort to explore avenues of commuting that might work better with various types of environments – in this case – the forest.
(Photography: Nikita Šohov & Karli Luik)
We continue to be absolutely amazed with the savagely surreal and adventurous work of Tokyo based artist Ryohei Hase. His latest creation comes in the form of an album cover, for the Japanese band L’Arc-en-Ciel. Hase created an intricate and finely detailed illustration to represent the hit song on the album titled Chase, where he shows a half-man-half-wolf desperately embracing an ethereal woman. Hase is a multidisciplinary artist, his work has been featured globally in magazines, websites, advertisements, CD covers, and video games – he says that these paintings are what he does in his “spare time.” (Prints range from $200 – $600)
(Photographs Copyright @ Ryohei Hase)
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It seems like the duo behind FWY can go from 2D to 3D with a quick snap of the finger. Borkson and Sandoval decided to give us a glimpse into the schematic phase of the Happy Rainbow exhibition, with their conceptual illustrations – which are art in itself. The joyous characters are first created on a two dimensional wonderland, then transformed into an interactive rainbow shrine. We caught up with Borkson and Sandoval, and decided to ask them some trivial questions, to get a better idea of who they are and how they work (note: Borkson and Sandoval answered the questions as one – which made us smile.)
KNSTRCT: If aliens came to our planet, and you could send only one person to be an ambassador, to talk them out of annihilating the human race, who would you send?
K: When you sleep at night, do you dream of the color spectrum? Do more than less objects in your dreams have smiley faces?
FWY: No, there are so many things that happen in dreams – so abstract or normal situations or magical ideas or things that are not quite explainable.
K: FriendsWithYou expresses their dream of pushing evil out of the world, we love this concept! What’s your game plan on kicking evil out?
FWY: I think we do this in our personal lives. We don’t want to kick out evil. Sometimes it’s necessary. We just want to arm people with power and increase love and magic between all people.
K: Would you consider the TV series Jersey Shore a reality show? or a documentary?
FWY: It’s just awesome
K: FriendsWithYou has copyrights to the term “Magic, Luck, and Friendship. Do either of you practice magic?
FWY: We both do!
K: Who do you like more, your mom? or your dad?
FWY: love them both differently.
K: Do you prefer to read fiction? or non-fiction?
FWY: I like fictional graphic novels depicting factual stories or legends the best.
K: What should we expect from FriendsWithYou next?
Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval, founders of FWY, July 2012
What at first glance appears to be an Avatar-like parallel dimension is actually Nike’s experiential Flyknit Collective installation at London’s 1984 space. Yep, just when you thought the London games couldn’t get any more wild, Nike drops a bomb – materialized in crocheted neon and looking oddly reminiscent of your Grandma’s macramé on acid. We were lucky enough to spend some time last week catching up with Ben Shaffer, studio director for Nike Innovation Kitchen, along with project curator Neville Wakefield, who gave us an awesomely exclusive inside look into the installation.
So – what’s the inspiration behind the woven web of gloriousness? We thought you’d never ask. Turns out that Nike has unveiled a very cool, cutting-edge performance shoe, made out of – yup, you guessed it – Flyknit technology. The revolutionary product allows the upper to be constructed entirely out of precisely engineered yarns, eliminating massive amounts of waste and giving performance athletes a light, glove-like fit.
Cables are built in through a breathable fabric, acting like a skeletal corset and moving with the foot like a second skin. This is the very shoe worn by many of the Olympic runners, comprised from a material that is said to change the way performance footwear is deigned, produced and worn.
Okay, as awesome as that all is, how does the Flyknit technology translate to the yarn-bombed, carnivorous plant-like installation at the London games? Nike Teamed up with leading Brazilian sculptor and artist Ernesto Neto to create the Flyknit Collective – a unique hybrid learning workshop and an art exhibit – all inspired by the Flyknit technology.
Shaffer describes the Flyknit Collective as “a series of events focused around different elements of the Flyknit design; performance, lightweight, formfitting, and sustainability.”
Nike has always been big on collaborations, they operate under the philosophy that when two designers collaborate, the final product would be different than either of them would have created on their own. The man responsible for the collaborations of the Flyknit Collective is Neville Wakefield. “The collaborating artists were chosen because they have a similar approach to their art as Nike does,” Wakefield explained.
It is Neto’s previous work of transforming materials into biomorphic sculptures that captivated Wakefield, and made Neto a perfect choice to join forces with on London’s Flyknit Collective.
Lucky for the rest of the world who were too cheap to pony up for airfare to London, Flyknit Collective events are popping up all over the place from Milan to NYC, London, Tokyo, Shanghai and finishing up in Rio.
With permission of the artist – you can leave the ‘don’t touch the art’ rule at the front door. If you visit London’s Flyknit collective, feel free to take off your shoes and dive right into the nets. Go on, show us your best back flip!
(Exclusive Photography Provided By Nike)
Does the name Choi Jeong Hwa ring a bell? He is the same artist who decorated the 2008 Seoul Olympic Stadium with pieces of plastic garbage brought in by 10 million citizens! Hwa is an artist known best for his over-the-top and extravagant pieces of artwork with the amazing ability to take everyday objects and cleverly assemble them into vibrant large-scale installations. Hwa’s most recent work is title Cosmos, and has been put on display at the Kyiv Biennale in the Ukraine. From Afar, the building appears to be decked out with hanging beads – as if Mardi Gras magically sprouted up in the Ukraine. At second glance, Hwa has masterfully hung strings of colorful plastic balls, connecting chains, knitted flowers. Underneath the strings are rows of Hwa’s custom designed Low Seating Tables where visitors can sit underneath the festive ceiling!
(Photography: Choi Jeong Hwa)
Rewind? If we were the on the National Olympics Committee we’d be wishing we had discovered Italian graphic designer Leonardo Dentico little earlier. Dentico explained that he has been in London right now watching the Olympics and is completely inspired by the current energy of the city at the moment. He converted his inspiration into a stunning graphical piece, which represents the Olympic games. The unofficial logo is a dreamy photograph London with the traditional six connecting circles. Except in Dentico’s version, each circle is carefully details with action shots of the athletes performing their sport. Take a closer look at the amazing detailing on the circles and you’ll find that Dentico transformed the red circle into a track, the green circle into tennis courts, the blue circle into water and the brown circle into a basketball court!
( Photography: Leonardo Dentico )
Fabio Novembre says “drawing a rainbow to connect Heaven and Earth in that constant state of human balance we maintain with our feet in the mud and head up in the stars.” Novembre’s quote is the defining concept for his new exhibition at Milan’s Triennale Design Museum. The “rainbow” is an artistic metaphor for an “intangible pathway ” from Heaven to Earth, which is represented in the colorful exhibition. Novembre explained that creating the exhibition “involved exhibiting something absolutely new compared to previous editions, a selection of carefully chosen items confirming the theory that there is only one Italian school of graphics,” continuing on to explain “even though it has no proper structure, hardly surprising since the same could be said about everything connected with our dear old unpredictable country.”
Novembre was asked to add a third dimension to graphics – which are almost always two dimensional. The third dimension came in the form of a built space: full of color and divided into nine sections consisting of books, letters, magazines, culture and politics, packaging, advertising, visual identity, video and signposting. The clever designer imagined the space as a blank book, then decided to introduce the color spectrum to the empty white pages. “using color as an authentic graphic hypertext to support material, which, nevertheless, require more complex codes in order to be fully interpreted.” There’s some food for thought for ya!
(Photography: Fabio Novembre)
Though he probably wouldn’t admit it, it’s in his nature to push buttons; it must be. Or maybe he is just excited by the provocative and shocking world we live in? We are talking about Milan-based artist Andrea Maestri, whose most recent collection, MAESTRILAND, pokes fun at religion, racism, stereotypes, and iconography. If you’re dining room needs a conversation piece, check out Maestri’s ‘I Love Jesus’ table, a cross shaped wood table that uses upside down Jesus statues for legs. Another humorous piece of art in the collection is the ‘Johnny’ cabinet, a 6′ high white cabinet that has a penis sculpture poking through a small hole in the door – sure to add excitement to any space!
(Photography: Andrea Maestri)
The Armenian Church | Lim Woan Wen
The Peranakan Museum | Michael Lee
Singapore Art Museum | :Phunk
School of The Arts | Grace Tan of Kwodrent
National Museum Of Singapore | whenligtswork+Luke Smith-Wightman
The Custard Factory is a buzzing quarter in Birmingham which is home to a hive of young creative companies, galleries, and fine artists. A new five-story creation called the Zellig Sculpture, which contains three glass bridges and 2000 meters of steel tubing, has been created inside the factory by Nottingham based design firm Philip Watts. The sculpture consists of long white tubes which intersect as they reach from wall to wall in the atrium of the building. The glass bridges run along the same paths as the tubes while creating an awesome moment where visitors can intertwine themselves within the sculpture, and experience it first hand!
(Photography: Philip Watts)
Sometimes the hum of a dusty heating vent just doesn’t cut it when you want to cuddle up and get cozy in the wintertime. Well, until you have the dinero to install a state-of-the-art woodstove feast your eyes on this charming little string of lights. Rafael DeCardena’s Firewood Lights is just what the name describes – a lovely, glowing abstract version of a fireplace. Constructed of angular cut wood, the Firewood Lights are internally illuminated with a warm light. Now all you have to do is download crackling fireplace sound effects on iTunes, grab a mug of cocoa and you’re good to go! Oh, and scroll down, we included more of Mr. DeCardena’s new furniture collection below!
(Photography: Architecture At Large)
The Institute for Computer-Based Design and the Institute for Structural Engineering and Structural Design, University of Stuttgart, have come together again to create a structure which embodies the idea of bionics. The structure is intended to be an “advance of the search for a natural structure,which has an especially efficient and adaptable character: light weight, while capacity and flexibility.” The two teams searched for a reflection of this concept in nature and after some digging, found it at the marina: the Sand Dollar. “Belonging to the family of sea urchins, it returns the prototype, at the skeletal structure of the resulting experimental pavilion ajar.”
The idea behind building the pavilion was an essential and integral architectural lesson to the students, in that the architecture students work closely with the scientists to understand biological pattern formations and how to incorporate that into architecture. The result is a multi-dimensional material system made of connecting facets of birch plywood – a 72-square-foot structural and artistic pavilion with seating for park visitors to stop and enjoy!
Seoul based artist Kang Duck-Bong’s solo exhibition titled Disguise is a series of sculptures constructed out of small PVC pipes covered in urethane paint. The sculptures range anywhere from a man riding a unicycle, superman flying through the air, cars, and a man running, collectively intended to touch on the idea of “time and space dynamics.” Each piece is saturated with color to create an abstract version of it’s reality. Duck-Bong’s solo show is happening right now, until December 23rd at Gallery 4Walls in Seoul.
Akihisa Hirata, architect of the new Bloomberg Pavilion “wondered what would happen if the walls were to keep growing upwards and present an uneven surface like ‘pleats’.” He dug into his imagination to create a white rectangular structure with a plethora of triangular connecting faces protruding from the it in the entry of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. The metal white pieces were connected together using a relatively simple process, by connecting a series of isosceles triangles – even though the structure appears complex, it is actually quite simple in its construction.
(©2011 Takumi Ota Photography)
What happens when a two dimensional QR-code is transformed into a three-dimensional structure? This is the question that German designer Elena Belmann asked herself before she created this wooden QR stool. Then she pondered “Would this change its information content?” only one way to find out! She created a wood sculpture that is part architectural form and part scannable data. This wooden structure is also a lamp. Awesome!
Last week, Art Basel Miami kicked off in it’s usual spectacular form. We’re talking a full week, where art and design lovers flock down to South Beach for glitzy parties, artistic surprises, exclusive shows, oh and the hot Miami sun! The unveiling of FriendsWithYou’s latest creation, “Inner Space, The Secrets Of The Unknown’ has caught our attention in a major way.
The Miami based art collective team has spent recent years poping up in different cities with their larger-than-life community of happy and colorful inflatables called Rainbow City, but their creativity surely doesn’t stop there. FWY, who is spearheaded by Samuel Borkson and Arturo “Tury” Sandoval, designs art, toys, websites, graphics, and apparel. Borkson and Sandoval proudly showed off their new collection “Inner Space, The Secrets Of The Unknown’, which involves colorful wooden sculptures, tiny metal characters, magical inflatable creatures, and and mind teasing prints. FWY Explained that “the pieces on display are figurative self reflective treasures, levitating in a space continuum, revealing something otherwise inaccessible.” These new works have opened up in FWY’s permanent art space in the Miami Design District.
Knstrct had the chance to catch up with Samuel and Tury to get some more insight about the duo, because we had some questions, that couldnt go any longer without answers….
1. If aliens came to our planet, and you could send only one person to be an ambassador, to talk them out of annihilating the human race, who would you send?
2. FriendsWithYou expresses their dream of pushing evil out of the world, we love this concept! What’s your game plan on kicking evil out?
Mmmm I think we do this in our personal lives. We don’t want to kick out evil. Sometimes it’s necessary. We just want to arm people with power and increase love and magic between all people.
3. Who do you like more, your mom? or your dad?
love them both differently.
4. Would you consider the TV series Jersey Shore a reality show? or a documentary?
It’s just awesome !
5. FriendsWithYou has actual copyrights to the term “Magic, Luck, and Friendship. Do either of you practice magic?
we both do.
6. FriendsWithYou partnered up with Pharrell Williams a few years back, how did this partnership spawn? How involved is Pharrell in the actual design process?
We are friends and future projectors. We dream big and love hard.
7. I ran into Pharrell one time in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, he’s handsome in real life, do you agree? (rate 1-10?)
Yeah he is handsome inside and out with a 10
Like a vision straight out of the pages of a fairy tale, Bath’s Holburne Museum covered its grass with 5,000 flowering lights. Lighting designer Bruce Munro is the only talent capable of this glowing garden of blossoming beauty, which he titled Field of Lights. The bulbs are arranged in patches, all connecting to a central unit which dictates their colors. Each patch is a different color which creates a magical atmosphere!
The light bulbs are made of frosted spheres which are threaded with fiber optic cables, lit by a color projector.
The patches change colors throughout the night to a slow rhythmic beat which enchants holiday visitors.
Munro came up with the idea for this field of lights almost 20 years ago while on a trip to Australia. He was inspired by the way the empty desserts would bloom after rainfall, and hoped to recreate it with lighting.
The free exhibition opened to the public this past Saturday, and will stay lit through the holidays.
(Photography: Getty Images)
While windmills have been an outdoor fixture for centuries, they’ve never really gotten their ‘day in the sun’ so to speak. These poor suckers have been mere wallflowers in the landscape, forced to recede into the background like shrinking violets. Well, now it’s their time to shine with Horst Glasker’s Aero Art instillation. Brightly colored wind turbines shellacked in day-glow yellow and lime green pop on the landscape, appearing as bright sculptural objects to be reckoned with. “These big, colorful generators change attitudes, for they will generate not only power but an ‘emotional mantle’ and an enormously positive acceptance in those who live or work near them.”
Stefan Sagmeister is a veritable jackknife of skills. A renaissance man in his own right, the famed graphic designer and typographer’s design repertoire spans the gamut of branding, graphics, packaging and album covers. The Grammy-nabbing designer is also the author of “Made You Look“ and “Things I have learned in my life so far,” a teacher at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, and of course he runs his design firm, Sagmeister Inc. with work featured in solo shows in Zurich, Vienna, New York, Berlin, Japan, Osaka, Prague, Cologne, and Seoul.
We’re exhausted just thinking about it, which is why it’s no surprise that Sagmeister is currently taking time off for a little R&R in Bali. Knstrct caught up with him during his year-long sabbatical and he was nice enough to share some personal insight – his design heroes, inspirations, all-time favorite font and donning lederhosen, among other things.
Q. What is one essential that you always carry on you?
A. My fathers watch.
Q. The Internet… Has it made design better or worse?
A: Better. The audience is much more interested in design now because almost everybody is a designer themselves, – involved in type-choices and formatting questions etc. This technology driven change has not led to the predicted job losses for designers but to a desire for more sophisticated work from professionals.
Q. The iPad… Do you think print magazines can make a successful transition?
A. No. Right now it looks like consumers are not willing to pay for the kind of digital content most magazine’s have to offer in any meaningful numbers. But I am no expert on that at all.
Q. The art of the album cover… What’s next?
A. I always thought its going to be the cheaply producable, small file size graphic music video, one that looks great on the small screen and can be made by a very small team. I was wrong.
Q. Did you ever wear a lederhosen as a child growing up in Austria?
A. Yes. I even wore leatherhosen to work on my first day at a corporate job in New York. It caused a minor sensation (not in a good way).
Q. How many tubes of Neosporin did you go through after having the details of a talk xacto-ed onto your torso by your intern?
Q. What is your favorite part of a sandwich?
A. The cheese.
Q. Did you ever dream of being anything besides a graphic designer?
A. A mountain bike.
Q. Who influences your work?
A. Tibor Kalman was the single most influential person in my designy life and my one and only design hero. 15 years ago, as a student in NYC, I called him every week for half a year and I got to know the M&Co receptionist really well. When he finally agreed to see me it turned out I had a sketch in my portfolio rather similar in concept and execution then an idea M&Co was just working on: He rushed to show me the prototype out of fear I’d say later he stole it out of my portfolio. I was so flattered. When I finally started working there 5 years later I discovered it was, more than anything else, his incredible salesmanship that set his studio apart from all the others. There were probably a number of people around who were as smart as Tibor (and there were certainly a lot who were better at designing), but nobody else could sell these concepts without any changes, get those ideas with almost no alterations out into the hands of the public. Nobody else was as passionate. As a boss he had no qualms about upsetting his clients or his employees (I remember his reaction to a logo I had worked on for weeks and was very proud of: “Stefan, this is TERRIBLE, just terrible, I am so disappointed”). His big heart was shining through nevertheless. He had the guts to risk everything, I witnessed a very large architecture project where he and M&Co had collaborated with a famous architect and had spent a years worth of work: He was willing to walk away on the question of who will present to the client. Tibor had an uncanny knack for giving advice, for dispersing morsels of wisdom, packaged in rough language later known as Tiborisms: “The most difficult thing when running a design company is not to grow” he told me when I opened my own little studio. “Just don’t go and spend the money they pay you or you are going to be the whore of the ad agencies for the rest of your life” was his parting sentence when I moved to Hong Kong to open up a design studio for Leo Burnett. These insights were also the reason why M&Co. got so much press, journalists could just call him and he would supply the entire structure for a story and some fantastic quotes to boot. He was always happy and ready to jump from one field to another, corporate design, products, city planning, music video, documentary movies, children books, magazine editing were all treated under the mantra “you should do everything twice, the first time you don’t know what you’re doing, the second time you do, the third time its boring”. He did good work containing good ideas for good people.
Q. Who is your personal hero?
A. As mentioned, Tibor Kalman, because he had the most guts of any designer I know and understood that spending energy on making sure that a design appears as designed is as important as designing it. Makoto Saito for selling the same photo shoot to different clients. Rick Valincenti for continuously doing ground breaking work. Paula Scher for designing the best project of her career (the type for the New Jersey Performing Art Center), after a 30 year career, last year.
Q. What work are you proudest of?
A. Likely the whole “Things I have learned” series. The individual projects were a pleasure to design and create, lecturing and exhibiting them was a pleasure, I was pleased with how the book came out and even now, 10 years after we started the series, I have a good time talking about it. We also got a lot of positive and steady feedback about it.
Q. Have you seen any of the Twilight saga (be honest here)?
A. No. And I am not quite sure why this question requires particular honesty.
Q. Where did you put your three Grammy awards?
A. Two are on an a book shelf, the third destroyed when my dog sat on it.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure?
A. Including at least one lie when answering interviews.
Q. What does wasted time look like to you?
A. Like a lemon wafer.
Q. What advice would you give up-and-coming graphic designers?
A. Dont take any advice from tried-and-true graphic designers.
Q. What is your all-time favorite font?
A. My own hand writing.
Q. Can you successfully play an ‘Alphorn?’
A. No. But my first design job, when I was 15, was at a magazine called Alphorn.
Q. Ever caught any unsavory shenanigans on the live cam in your office?
A. Only rehearsed ones.
The ‘Atoll’ open plaza at the Mapletree Business City in Singapore needed some sprucing up, and local architecture and design team FARM brought an interesting solution to the table called The Conch. “This particular image keeps playing in our heads : An idyllic stroll along the beach, we chance upon a conch, we hold it to our ears and listen to the sounds of the sea.” The team built a series of outdoor steel sculptures in the plaza pavilion which “presents itself as a highly fluid, wave-like sea of bells – its shape also reminiscent of the trumpet’s elegant sprouting form.” FARM explained. Beyond the soothing and intriguing aesthetics of the sculptures, another cool feature is that The Conch is a poetic wind instrument, enabling one to listen to the ‘sea’, to the slight movement of the air. Each of the ‘Conch’s’ bells comes together to the ground collectively as stalks. They are dotted with funnels where one can put their ears and listen to the wind. Behaving like nature and taking from nature, the Conch is reactive and interacts in its own ways to people.
(Images Provided By FARM Architects)