Luminous LEDs transform Pragues historic Mirror Chapel into an interactive art space

November 6, 2018 by  
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The lavish interiors of Prague, Czech Republic’s Mirror Chapel were recently transformed into a psychedelic art space thanks to New York-based design studio SOFTlab . Commissioned by the 2018 Signal Festival that concluded last month, the designers inserted an interactive and circular art installation made of responsive mirrors and LEDs . Dubbed Iris, the luminous artwork reacted to ambient sound and the movement of people through the rotation of mirrors, creating vertically fragmented images for a dream-like effect. Built in the early 18th century, the Mirror Chapel has long drawn visitors for its sumptuous interiors dressed with marble, mirrors, gilded stucco decorations and frescoed and painted ceilings. In the 1930s, the beautiful chapel — which belongs to the historic complex of buildings in Prague called Clementinum — began being used for secular purposes such as concerts and exhibitions. The building has also been a popular destination for the Signal Festival of Lights , the largest cultural event in the Czech Republic that unites art, urban space and modern technology and has drawn crowds of more than two million people since it was launched five years ago. One of the many invited international design practices, SOFTlab crafted a site-specific artwork for Mirror Chapel that takes inspiration from the building’s many mirrored surfaces. Arranged as a circular array, the Iris art installation reacts to sound and movement to create a bewildering display of light and reflections evocative of a ‘mise en abyme’ — a French term describing the technique of putting a copy of an image within itself — that mixes elements of the chapel, viewers and light into a series of recursive and panoramic images. Related: MAD reactivates an abandoned Japanese tunnel using surreal immersive art “Both the intricate nature of the Mirror Chapel’s architecture and its use as a classical concert hall drive the design of the installation,” the designers explained. “A mirrored object in the round reflects the ornate surroundings externally while reflecting the viewer infinitely on the interior of the circular enclosure. This reflective enclosure is disrupted as people approach for a closer look. In this way, it is curiosity and sound that activate the installation. A closer look has the potential to produce a delightful bewilderment as the exterior leaks in while space and sound become multiplied in unexpected ways. In that sense, Iris is not an object, image or artifact on its own, but relies on the existing space as the medium. As it bends, multiplies and conflates light and sound, it calls into question the lenses (both mechanical and cultural) that limit or expand our spatial experiences.” + SOFTlab Images via Signal Festival of Lights / SOFTlab

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Luminous LEDs transform Pragues historic Mirror Chapel into an interactive art space

Hydroponic gardens and a mini mountain promote fun and well-being in this creative office

November 6, 2018 by  
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A running track, elevated hydroponic gardens and a miniature “mountain” combine in this fun, new office headquarters for the non-profit Leping Foundation in Beijing , China. Designed by the prolific local design practice People’s Architecture Office (PAO), the mostly open-plan office landscape was created to foster health and wellness. Covering an area of 1,100 square meters, the Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation Headquarters unites four of the company’s departments with a suspended vegetated loop and a running track underneath. Known for its social innovation work, the headquarters of the Leping Foundation covers four distinct fields: job training for migrant workers, agricultural research, preschool education and microfinance. To cultivate a sense of community among the different fields, the People’s Architecture Office created an office that fosters collaboration and interaction. The activity loop track that snakes through the various departments encourages office workers to take breaks and walk laps around the office. In addition to the open kitchen, dining area and lounge, the architects also added a “mini mountain” integrated with stairs to give workers a way to “hike” up to the mezzanine level. The office also includes a separate gym, a meditation space and a meeting room. “The wall design reminds users of the importance of staying active and changing positions,” the architects explained. “Gradating bands of blue span the height of the walls and columns at 60-cm intervals. Recommended periods of time spent at each height are given and each of these correspond with certain postures and activities, which include laying down, sitting, walking and climbing.” Related: China’s rival to AirBnB opens new Beijing office with cutting-edge interior design The suspended hydroponic gardens that are filled with edible plants and aromatic herbs not only add beauty and a source of food for the office, but they also help clean the indoor air. The gardens are complemented with an advanced air filtration system — an important addition given Beijing’s notoriety for severe air pollution . Indoor air quality data is regularly collected, monitored and displayed in real time above the running track. + People’s Architecture Office Photography by Jing Weiqi via People’s Architecture Office

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Hydroponic gardens and a mini mountain promote fun and well-being in this creative office

Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires

June 22, 2018 by  
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Over 15,000 plastic bottles were temporarily given a new lease on life as a glowing labyrinth in Vatican Square, one of Buenos Aires’ most celebrated public spaces. Designed by environmental art collective Luzinterruptus , the Plastic Waste Labyrinth calls attention to the staggering amount of waste generated everyday in a thought-provoking installation. Commissioned by the Department of Environmental and Public Areas of Buenos Aires City Government, Ciudad Verde, the immersive artwork was installed for one week and open 24 hours a day as part of Global Recycling Day. Previously installed in Madrid and Katowice, the Plastic Waste Labyrinth is a site-specific piece constructed from waste collected from the surrounding area. To show which beverage brands generate the highest amount of waste in Buenos Aires, the architects left the bottle labels on. More than 15,000 plastic bottles were collected from the city with the help of several urban recycling cooperatives. After the plastic bottles were cleaned and sorted into clear plastic bags , Luzinterruptus built a labyrinth that stretches over 650 feet in length and covers an area of 1,550 square feet. “We created an immersive labyrinthine piece where visitors would feel disoriented and anxiously look for an exit,” explained the arts collective. “This experience intended to beget a thought, a conversation, or perhaps an intention to improve our way to use or get rid of plastic. We want to take the opportunity here to bring attention to the uncontrolled use of bottled liquids which is causing great problems in poor countries while reservoirs are being privatized and bought by large corporations and their selfish interests, thus owning water, Earth’s most important resource and a fundamental right of all its inhabitants.” Related: Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for “plastic binge” awareness The labyrinth is illuminated with cool white LEDs that turn the labyrinth into a glowing space at night. At the end of the event, the Plastic Waste Labyrinth was dismantled and all the plastic was recycled. The bottles, cleaned and sorted by color, were sent back to the city’s recycling cooperatives, while the bags were returned to the manufacturing plant, where they would be melted. + Luzinterruptus Images via Luzinterruptus

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Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires

This giant inflatable dome is made of hundreds of tiny pinhole cameras

February 8, 2018 by  
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Artists often try to get viewers to appreciate different perspectives, but Rhode Island-based design collective Pneuhaus is taking the task literally. They’ve created a giant inflatable “Camera Compound” made of 109 tiny pinhole cameras. The innovative camera obscura – which takes the form of a 20-foot geodesic dome – invites guests to wander inside to get a different perspective on the world they live in. Each hexagonal piece of the dome structure contains a tiny pinhole, which, like a camera obscura , projects an inverted image onto the translucent interior. In this case, the pinholes were covered with a single magnifying glass to focus the incoming light in a way that produces a crisper image than most camera obscuras. The installation’s flexible opaque fabric lets visitors create their own images by distorting the images as they wish. Related: Colossal Camera Obscura frames the picture-perfect Dolomites According to the artists behind the creation, (Levi Bedall, August Lehrecke, Matthew Muller, Zachary Weindel), the interactive photography installation is designed to provide people with a sense of changing perceptions, “Compound Camera offers a more analog perspective on how our surroundings can change the way we perceive the world.” The art installation was recently on display for the Pawtucket Arts Festival in Rhode Island, but its just one of their many pneumatic architectural installations. In 2015, they unveiled an inflatable RGBubble pavilion on the Brown University campus and later, they created a crazy Bubble Dome made up of hundreds of TPU balls . + Pneuhaus Via Core 77 Images via Pneuhaus

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This giant inflatable dome is made of hundreds of tiny pinhole cameras

FEMA contractor failed to deliver millions of emergency meals to Puerto Rico

February 8, 2018 by  
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Millions of meals never made their way to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria , according to Reuters . United States Democratic lawmakers recently said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded a contract of almost $156 million to a one-person company – which delivered 50,000 of an anticipated 30 million meals. The Atlanta-based FEMA contractor Tribute Contracting reneged on their commitment to deliver millions of meals to Puerto Rico after the island faced its “worst natural disaster in 90 years,” Reuters reported. House Oversight Committee Democrats referred to documents revealing the company delivered just thousands of meals. They were terminated for cause 20 days after they won the October 2017 contract from FEMA. This, the Democrats say, led to a “massive food shortage for weeks.” Related: $30M contract cancelled by FEMA after supplies to Puerto Rico fail to arrive Documents show Tribute had issues handling government contracts under $100,000 in the past and were barred from government work until 2019, according to Reuters. Elijah Cummings, representative for Maryland and top Democrat on the committee, and Stacey Plaskett, delegate for the United States Virgin Islands, wrote, “It is unclear why FEMA or any agency would have proceeded with a contract worth $156 million in light of this company’s poor contracting history and these explicit warnings.” Plaskett and Cummings sent a letter to chairman Trey Gowdy, Republican representative for South Carolina, asking him to subpoena FEMA for documents they say it has withheld for over three months regarding the failure to provide millions of emergency meals. They said in the letter their staff spoke with Tribute Contracting owner Tiffany Brown, who “explained that FEMA awarded the contract ‘because I was able to submit a proposal to supply 30 million meals at the cheapest cost.’ She stated that she ‘worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to try and provide these emergency meals.’ She also explained FEMA knew she could not independently finance the production and delivery of this many meals in such a short time frame.” Gowdy spokesperson Amanda Gonzalez told Reuters although a subpoena was premature, they will continue to review hurricane recovery efforts. FEMA didn’t comment on Tribute but told Reuters when the contract was terminated, the distribution of food on the island “was not affected.” + House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Democrats + Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Letter Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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FEMA contractor failed to deliver millions of emergency meals to Puerto Rico

Memorizing light installation is powered by visitors’ collective heartbeat

December 28, 2017 by  
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Artist Pablo González Vargas  created a massive light installation that reacts to the collective heartbeat of its viewers. Ilumina is a 37-foot tall art sculpture that invites spectators to plug into a heart monitor and meditate while they watch the tower. As the viewers’ individual heartbeats begin to merge into a “collective state of coherence,” the tower’s lights begin to shine as they rise up the structure, resulting in a vibrant majestic glow. Working under the ethos that “We are all Connected. We are the Universe,” Ilumina – which made its debut this year at Burning Man – invites the viewer to connect to themselves, each other and the universe. A series of hi-tech lounge chairs surround the immense art installation . Once seated, each participant is asked to connect the heart monitor to their earlobe as they join in the three-minute meditation exercise. Related: Entering this mind-blowing mirrored room is like walking inside a diamond Using a unique algorithm technology, the individual collective heart rhythms are then measured to find the state of coherence, at which point, the lights, and music begin to react. The deeper the state of collective coherence, the brighter Ilumina shines. + Pablo González Vargas + Ilumina Images via Ilumina

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Memorizing light installation is powered by visitors’ collective heartbeat

Dande-lier: Everyday objects transformed into stunning art in Singapore

November 27, 2017 by  
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Umbrellas and PVC pipes might not mean much to you, but in the right hands they can be turned into a stunning work of art. That’s what happened in Singapore earlier this year with the unveiling of Dande-lier, a temporary art installation and public space crafted from everyday objects. Design collective Colours: Collectively Ours used dozens of transparent umbrellas and PVC pipes to create an unusual dome-shaped pavilion that lit up at night like a glowing lantern. Created for Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival i Light Marina Bay in Singapore, Dande-lier was constructed to wow visitors at night, yet appeal to passersby during the day. Built for easy assembly, the pavilion was constructed from seven layers of triangular PVC pipe modules held together with metal pipe clamps. The resulting dome-shaped structure supported a canopy of tied translucent umbrellas . “Dande-lier conveys a feeling of weightlessness by using lightweight umbrellas, transforming an everyday object into a device to change the visitors’ perspective of their surroundings,” wrote the designers. “The umbrella spans across scales, individually as a chandelier, and collectively as a dandelion – hence, “Dande-lier”. Within, the view of the outside world is warped, transporting visitors into an alternate world, with a smart lighting system that responds dynamically to the visitors’ position in the sculpture.” Related: Mesmerizing Cube Pavillion Made from Mundane PVC Pipes While the installation provided shelter and respite from the sun during the day, at night it was transformed into a dynamic art installation illuminated by a smart lighting system. Motion sensors triggered changes in the colored lights and projected animations. + Colours: Collectively Ours Via ArchDaily Images © Oddinary Studios

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Dande-lier: Everyday objects transformed into stunning art in Singapore

SF Wave Organ captures the sounds of the sea to make haunting music

September 29, 2017 by  
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A symphony of strange and haunting music made from the waves can be heard at the tip of a jetty in San Francisco. Part sculpture, part musical instrument, the Wave Organ is an unusual land art installation that harnesses the rhythms of the water. Created by Exploratorium artists Peter Richards and George Gonzalez, the wave-activated sound sculpture is set atop the salvaged remains of a demolished cemetery and is one of the city’s best hidden gems. Installed in 1986, the Wave Organ is a somewhat obscure landmark, often overlooked due to its hard-to-find location at the end of a jetty east of the St. Francis Yacht Club. Making the trek out there, however, is worth it. Surrounded by stunning 360-degree views of the San Francisco bay, the environmental artwork harnesses the pulse of the sea through 25 PVC and concrete pipes located at various elevations that transmit the sounds of crashing waves and gurgling water to elevated openings for listening. Related: Incredible ‘Sea Organ’ uses ocean waves to make beautiful music The Wave Organ is best heard during high tide, but can still be enjoyed at other times of the day though the gurgling rhythms will be much quieter. The music of the bay, which is made by waves slapping against and pushed through the pipes, is relatively subtle. Visitors will need to sit and let their ears attune to the environment to fully enjoy the performance. Carved granite and marble salvaged from the demolished crypts of the city’s former Laurel Hill Cemetery provide plenty of seating. Times for high tides can be checked here . Via Exploratorium Images via Wikimedia , Shutterstock

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SF Wave Organ captures the sounds of the sea to make haunting music

Artist wraps vintage steam locomotive in 39,000 square feet of aluminum foil

June 16, 2017 by  
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All aboard! Polish artist Piotr Janowski made waves a few years ago when he covered an entire Florida home in aluminum foil – and his latest work is equally massive and just as shimmery. The artist just unveiled “Get Off Lodz Fabryczna,” a vintage 1953 steam locomotive covered in 39,000 square feet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Built in 1953, the steam locomotive Px 48 is over 42 feet long and weighs 30 tons. Working with 14 local art students, Janowski covered every inch of the massive vehicle in just four days. The art installation was created to mark the opening of the new Train Station ?ód? Fabryczna and was carefully unveiled at the front of the station, where it’s been on display since December 2016. Related: Why did this Florida man cover his entire house with aluminum foil? According to the artist, the shiny installation is meant to inspire people to find new ways to look at common objects that often go overlooked in our daily lives: “It is very important for me to involve the urban and the natural environment into my art and to open new perspectives. Aluminum as a medium gives me the chance to gain great depth and vibrations of colors and tones mirroring the surrounding space.” + Piotr Janowski Images via Piotr Janowski

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Artist wraps vintage steam locomotive in 39,000 square feet of aluminum foil

Gargantuan lace sea urchins light up the night along Singapore’s marina

June 12, 2017 by  
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A swarm of gigantic, glowing sea urchins recently appeared on Singapore’s waterfront for the iLight Marina Bay Festival. Choi+Shine Architects constructed the larger-than-life creatures as “lacy rooms” that invite visitors to walk inside and enjoy their intricate structure and visual effects. The structures are inspired by sea urchin shells, which are elnclosed yet lightweight and porous. The architects recreated the intricate patterns of urchins using white double-braided polyester chord woven in 20 segments and attached to a metal frame. It took 50 people to assemble the structures by hand over a period of two months. Related: Robots helped build and sew together this amazing sea urchin-inspired pavilion Each sea urchin measures 56 feet in size and weighs around 220 pounds. The lacy pavilions are illuminated by white spot lights, creating the illusion that they glow in the dark. The calming effect and simplicity of the installation visually contrasts Singapore’s skyscrapers and celebrates the city’s cultural diversity. + Choi+Shine Architects Photos © 2016, 2017 Choi+Shine Architects

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