Giant, abstract trees hold up the roof of an experimental Korean home

November 21, 2019 by  
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When designing the House of Three Trees, Seoul-based architecture practice Jae Kim Architects & Researchers (JK-AR) started with a question: What would Korean architecture look like if timber remained the dominant construction material from ancient times until today? To answer this alternate-reality proposition, the architects conceived a project representative of “the rebirth of East Asian timber architecture of the 21st century” that blends digital design and fabrication with traditional Korean architecture. Built with sculptural, tree-like structures that employ the iconic wooden bracket systems of ancient times, the experimental home also relates to the local vernacular with low-cost materials commonly used in rural Korean buildings. During the late Joseon Dynasty of Korea in the 17th and 19th centuries, timber resources were mostly exhausted until globalization led to the import of cheaper wooden materials from around the world. Due to the popularization of reinforced concrete structures and the high cost of timber construction, development of timber architecture slowed. Using algorithmic tools, JK-AR envisions how timber architecture could have evolved had timber resources continued to be readily available with The House of Three Trees. The experimental home features tree-like supporting structures solely composed of wooden joinery — using more than 4,000 timber elements — constructed with traditional techniques and zero additive fasteners. Related: Moon Hoon’s funky new home captures sunlight on Jeju Island “The house criticizes today’s application of traditional buildings that is superficial, merely imitating traditional expressions in architecture, or too abstract,” the architects explained. “Rather, the house redefines the virtue of East Asian timber buildings in its tectonic aspect which is a combination of structure and ornamentation. Moreover, the house serves as an example of how contemporary technology, such as design computation and digital fabrication, can reinterpret traditional architecture. Technology can give East Asian timber construction the potential to evolve in a new direction.” The home takes on a hexagonal shape, influenced by the irregular building plot, with an interior defined by three tree-like columns that support the roof. Covered in asphalt shingles, the butterfly roof is raised to provide a glimpse of the trees inside. Polycarbonate corrugated panels wrap around the home in a nod to rural Korean construction; these panels also create a double-skin around the plywood facade to improve the building’s insulation performance and water resistance. + Jae Kim Architects & Researchers Photography by Roh Kyung via Jae Kim Architects & Researchers

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Giant, abstract trees hold up the roof of an experimental Korean home

This smart furniture features solar-powered charging ports

November 21, 2019 by  
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Budapest-based design studio Hello Wood has unveiled a collection of outdoor smart furniture designed for schools and universities. The furniture is outfitted with solar panels to generate clean energy for charging USB ports. The sleek designs include extra-long, undulating lounge chairs and a funky “fluid cube,” all made out of solid wood. Over the years, Hello Wood has created all types of innovative wooden installations, from LED Christmas trees built from reused wooden boxes to a solar-powered pop-up park to a colossal tiger stature made out of reclaimed timber . Now, the crafty wood artists have created a new collection of outdoor wooden pieces slated for the community spaces at local educational institutions. Related: 14 amazing timber structures explore the future of wood as a building material Already installed in four Hungarian educational institutions, the outdoor pieces add a bit of whimsy to the open spaces found on campuses. The outdoor furniture collection includes two vastly different designs. One is a long lounge chair/bench that stretches out in a zig-zag shape with large curvatures marking the seating areas. The second design is what the designers call a “fluid cube.” The wooden cube is open on three sides, with a built-in bench on the interior. In addition to their unique shapes, the furniture pieces are also sustainable. The wood used in Hello Wood’s latest installation is all certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which guarantees that the timber comes from responsibly managed forests. Both pieces have been equipped with solar panels, which were manufactured using recycled plastic waste . The solar energy is used to generate enough power to charge the multiple USB ports the students can use while they relax in the fresh air. + Hello Wood Photography by Zsuzsa Darab and Hello Wood

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Dramatically twisted timber weaves together in the Steampunk pavilion

November 8, 2019 by  
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In Tallinn, Estonia, a team of designers have merged traditional craftsmanship with digital modeling to create Steampunk, a sculptural pavilion that uses steam-bent hardwood and computer-aided design. Winner of the Tallinn Architecture Biennial 2019 Installation Program Competition, the spectacular artwork uses the laborious process of steam bending timber by hand, rather than by robotic production, to call attention to the merits of traditional craftsmanship absent in machine building. Gwyllim Jahn, Fologram’s Cameron Newnham, Soomeen Hahm Design and Igor Pantic designed the Steampunk pavilion with the help of digital models that were rendered as holographic overlays during construction. Instead of translating their designs into CNC code for robotic production, the team decided to use a hybrid approach and build the pavilion by hand with the help of a holographic guide.  “While computer aided manufacturing and robotics have given architects unprecedented control over the materialization of their designs, the nuance and subtlety commonly found in traditional craft practices is absent from the artefacts of robotic production because the intuition and understanding of the qualitative aspects of a project as well as the quantitative is difficult to describe in the deterministic and explicit language of these machines,” explain the designs in a statement. “We are interested in approaches to making that hybridize analogue construction with the precision and flexibility of digital models .” Related: Otherworldly tree sculpture mimics plant growth with glowing veins Using standardized 100-by-10-millimeter timber boards, the construction team bagged, steamed and then bent each strip over an adaptable formwork while using the holographic model as a reference. The twisted pieces of timber were then assembled to create the appearance of a woven 3D knot measuring roughly eight meters wide and 4.6 meters in height. The pavilion has four distinct spaces framing views towards the old city of Tallinn as well as the Architecture Museum. + Soomeen Hahm Design Images by Peter Bennetts

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Dramatically twisted timber weaves together in the Steampunk pavilion

Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines

October 11, 2019 by  
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Exhibitions of art can, and perhaps should, be thought-provoking, which is exactly the goal of the temporary showing ‘Get Onboard: Reduce. Reuse. Rethink’ by design studio PriestmanGoode at the Design Museum in London. Unlike typical art , though, this exhibit is a concept design that could change the way we travel, or at least the environmental impact when we do. With its eyes on a future of eliminating single-use plastic , PriestmanGoode has focused its problem-solving skills toward airline travel. The studio has looked for ways to eliminate the estimated 2.2 pounds of waste created per passenger per flight, a weighty problem that adds up to around 5.7 million tons of cabin waste annually worldwide. PriestmanGoode has taken a multifaceted approach to the problem, beginning with the meal tray and eating accessories on long flights. Related: San Francisco airport bans all plastic water bottles The designers have come up with functional and surprisingly attractive plastic alternatives for in-flight eating. Some of the plant-based items are washable and reusable: serving trays that are made out of coffee grounds and husks; dishes made from wheat bran; and sporks made from coconut wood. The cups are a two-part design, with a reusable outer layer made from rice husks and a PLA binder. The disposable interior liner is made from algae. Other packaging saw sustainable upgrades, too. The main dish is covered in a bamboo lid, an earth-friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastic. For side dishes, the lids are made out of algae or banana leaves, and the dessert lid has a wafer design that distinguishes it from the other lids to easily identify what is underneath. Single-use condiment containers were tossed in favor of capsules made out of soluble seaweed. For easy composting, everything packs into the main meal lid. PriestmanGoode also presents a refillable water canister designed to fit in a seat-back. It has also worked with airline representatives to design a central water refill station as a comprehensive, sustainable alternative to plastic water bottles. Although the design elements of the concept meal tray are innovative, an equally important goal of the exhibit is to raise awareness about the impact travel has on our environment, and not just in the food consumed. While there are still many steps the airline industry needs to take to lower its environmental impact, PriestmanGoode wants travelers to consider their own consumption habits by only using long-lasting and reusable products that they need. The exhibit will show until February 9, 2020. + PriestmanGoode Via Dezeen Images via PriestmanGoode

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Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines

Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines

October 11, 2019 by  
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Exhibitions of art can, and perhaps should, be thought-provoking, which is exactly the goal of the temporary showing ‘Get Onboard: Reduce. Reuse. Rethink’ by design studio PriestmanGoode at the Design Museum in London. Unlike typical art , though, this exhibit is a concept design that could change the way we travel, or at least the environmental impact when we do. With its eyes on a future of eliminating single-use plastic , PriestmanGoode has focused its problem-solving skills toward airline travel. The studio has looked for ways to eliminate the estimated 2.2 pounds of waste created per passenger per flight, a weighty problem that adds up to around 5.7 million tons of cabin waste annually worldwide. PriestmanGoode has taken a multifaceted approach to the problem, beginning with the meal tray and eating accessories on long flights. Related: San Francisco airport bans all plastic water bottles The designers have come up with functional and surprisingly attractive plastic alternatives for in-flight eating. Some of the plant-based items are washable and reusable: serving trays that are made out of coffee grounds and husks; dishes made from wheat bran; and sporks made from coconut wood. The cups are a two-part design, with a reusable outer layer made from rice husks and a PLA binder. The disposable interior liner is made from algae. Other packaging saw sustainable upgrades, too. The main dish is covered in a bamboo lid, an earth-friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastic. For side dishes, the lids are made out of algae or banana leaves, and the dessert lid has a wafer design that distinguishes it from the other lids to easily identify what is underneath. Single-use condiment containers were tossed in favor of capsules made out of soluble seaweed. For easy composting, everything packs into the main meal lid. PriestmanGoode also presents a refillable water canister designed to fit in a seat-back. It has also worked with airline representatives to design a central water refill station as a comprehensive, sustainable alternative to plastic water bottles. Although the design elements of the concept meal tray are innovative, an equally important goal of the exhibit is to raise awareness about the impact travel has on our environment, and not just in the food consumed. While there are still many steps the airline industry needs to take to lower its environmental impact, PriestmanGoode wants travelers to consider their own consumption habits by only using long-lasting and reusable products that they need. The exhibit will show until February 9, 2020. + PriestmanGoode Via Dezeen Images via PriestmanGoode

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Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines

Breezy home design for artist couple boasts a green roof of succulents

August 30, 2019 by  
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When Seattle-based firm Heliotrope Architects were approached by a couple to create a home that would reflect their passion for art, the architects immediately envisioned a vibrant space that incorporated several features such as natural light to give the space an art-gallery feel. The resulting Artist Residence is a beautifully contemporary, light-filled design that not only features wide open spaces to showcase the couple’s art collection, but also has a strong connection to the outdoors through its multiple gardens, including an expansive green roof . Clad in stained cedar siding , the home’s exterior was carefully designed to fit into the general aesthetic of the Capitol Hill neighborhood. A gabled roof and nice front garden give the home a classic feel— which quickly disappears when entering the home. Related: Tiny prefab timber cabin in New Zealand designed to be serene art studio The interior of the 3,953 square foot residence is bright and airy, with loads of natural light flooding into virtually every corner. Stark white walls and polished concrete flooring give the space its modern feel while the interior design, made up of contemporary furniture with vibrant splashes of color, add a bit of whimsy to the living space. To create a strong connection with the outdoors, the home design was laid out in a checker-board pattern, alternating between interior and exterior spaces. From the entrance, the main living areas, living room, kitchen and dining spaces, stretch out to the rear patio courtyard. Large custom-made windows were installed high up so that the residents could observe their surroundings, but still maintain their privacy. Adjacent to the living space is the art studio , which features a double-height cathedral ceiling. To designate the area as a working space for the couple, the studio was sunk half a level down from the living room. The private spaces are located on the upper floor. The master suite features a large spa–like bathroom with a Japanese soaking tub. From the suite, large windows frame the views of the Japanese garden out back, which is irrigated thanks to a rainwater runoff system built into the roof. Green space was another important feature of the home design. In addition to the front and rear gardens, the home has a flat rooftop garden planted with succulents. + Heliotrope Architects Photography by Benjamin Benschneider

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Artist submerges 24 portraits underwater to raise attention about our plastic waste

August 29, 2019 by  
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It’s common knowledge that our oceans are suffocating because of our addiction to plastics . But there are some eco-warriors, like Austrian artist Andreas Franke , who are determined to bring more visual attention to the burgeoning issue, all in the name of saving our planet. Franke has recently installed Plastic Ocean, a project that saw 24 portraits of various people being drowned in a sea of plastic, submerged into the depths of the actual sea off the coast of Key West. Although the world seems to be on board with reducing our plastic waste , the action to actually doing it is moving at a snail’s pace. To instigate change, Franke decided to create a series of portraits that depict various people being drowned by plastic objects. Related: Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C. Not only are the images provocative for their message about how our oceans are being converted into massive trash dumps, but the collection also features a series of generations. By using images of tiny babies, toddlers and adults, the message is clear: there is an urgency here that cannot be overlooked if we want to provide a safer world for the next generation. The underwater art exhibition was installed on the wreckage site of the USS Vandenberg off the coast of Key West, where divers from around the world were invited to check out the installation. The exhibition ran until late August. Now, the artworks are being prepared for a land-based exhibit (location to be announced). After four months at sea, the artwork is covered with a unique patina, which was left as-is to give visitors to the upcoming exhibition a small glimpse into the beauty of the ocean. Franke hopes this small detail, along with the installation’s overall message, will inspire people to do their part in helping the cause. + Andreas Franke + Plastic Ocean Gallery Via Matador Network Images via Plastic Ocean Gallery

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A new mural in Italy addresses affordable, clean energy

August 7, 2019 by  
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Italian coffee company Lavazza has commissioned artists to paint murals based on sustainability. The latest, by Barcelona-based artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada, now graces a building in Turin, Italy. The eye-catching mural addresses the goal of affordable and clean energy. The United Nations ’ goal of transforming Earth by 2030 inspired Lavazza’s initiative, “TOward 2030 – What are You Doing?” As Lavazza’s website explains, “17 photographic portraits, 17 ambassadors, 17 Sustainable Development goals: the Lavazza calendar becomes an artistic megaphone for the U.N. 2030 planet safeguarding challenge.” Each artist will depict a different U.N. goal . Related: Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C. “I created this mural to bring awareness to the need of ensuring access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all,” he said in a press release. “The girl in the mural touches the icon button for the Toward 2030 goal No. 7 and lets loose a flow of clean energy . The piece alludes to the importance of acting now to assure a positive outcome. We must think toward our world’s future and the environmental conditions that our children will inherit.” The artist notes that three billion people — 41 percent of the global population — still cook with high-polluting fuel . One billion people lack electricity. “Electricity in the first world is still mainly obtained from polluting fuels,” Gerada said. “Our future energy sources must be clean and renewable.” Gerada has been an important artist for the last 20 years. As essayist and curator Ivan de la Nuez put it, “Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada has his own singular space in contemporary art .” De la Nuez has watched Gerada’s work evolve. “His work hasn’t left behind the classical arguments of the urban art practice, but he has moved away from some of its most common mistakes: the egotistical excess of graffiti, the loudness and the invasive aesthetics, to move into a calmer and more reflective space.” Over the last decade, Gerada has completed commissions around the world, from Morocco to Argentina to Texas and now Turin. Other international artists involved in the Lavazza project include Vesod, Zed1, Gomez, The Hula and Louis Masai. + Gerada Art Photography by Alessandro Genitori via Gerada Art

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Experimental design-build festival takes over Californian desert

July 16, 2019 by  
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For the second year in a row, design lab Space Saloon has just wrapped up an exciting avant-garde art festival deep in the Southern Californian desert. Aimed to foster innovative design-build and hands-on education, the art festival , named Fieldworks, is an experimental outdoor campus where young artists can learn new techniques and showcase their groundbreaking designs. This year’s festival took place within the expansive desert landscape in the San Bernardino mountains between Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and Los Angeles. According to Space Saloon, the desert was the perfect place to host the open-air campus thanks to the wide open landscape that offers virtually no physical limits. Related: A magical field of solar-powered lights takes over a California landscape Like the first year’s event, Landing , Fieldworks was a week-long program where teams of students and designers live and work together, collaborating on site-specific installations that seek to question the relation between art and the environment. Led by Office Kovacs + Kyle May, Architect and MILLIØNS (Zeina Koreitem and John May), Fieldworks allowed students to attend various workshops that focus on subjects that differ from traditional techniques and processes in an attempt to broaden the students’ artistic horizons . The workshops showcase a range of experimental material, from coding exercises and sound mapping to performances and interactive installations. Using these workshops as guidance, the students developed new art projects, which could include any number of formats, including performances, videos, interactive coded programs, sound installations or immersive objects. One of the standout designs from this year’s event is DOTS, a pink and white framework with various connected platforms that could be used for an almost infinite number of interventions, especially as a flexible, temporary shelter . Another innovative project is Gymnasium 1, an outdoor communal bathing facility made completely out of hempcrete that aims to show that the carbon-negative material can be used in place of traditional concrete construction. The student projects from Fieldworks will be exhibited in Los Angeles in the fall. + Space Saloon Via Archdaily Images via Space Saloon

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Experimental design-build festival takes over Californian desert

Textile artist Bisa Butler illustrates history by repurposing fabrics into portrait quilts

May 9, 2019 by  
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While the fashion industry continues to take a hit as one that contributes heavily to the pollution of the planet, one Brooklyn-based artist is focused on lessening that impact by repurposing fabrics into quilts filled with cultural and artistic significance. It may not seem like fabric and art directly intertwine, but they do when the artist creates a canvas from vintage and repurposed materials . Bisa Butler, an American textile artist, upcycles the fibers not only to find a use for them, but to tell stories through the people she creates using it. Each quilt is a passionate retelling of history and culture through a portrait frozen in time. The scraps come together in layers of colors and texture that reflect the personalities of the faces she builds. The completed pieces come alive with emotion and a sense of being that demands attention. More than just the resulting picture, the materials she chooses and how she layers them, give each character depth and personality. Related: Ioncell technology creates eco-textile clothing fibers from birch trees Butler’s evolution from classically trained painter to textile artist is evident in the sweeping, fluid motion of the colors as they blend into each other. With her efforts to represent African-American heritage her work has been displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Epcot Center, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and other venues. She is represented by the Claire Oliver gallery in New York and her art has also caught the attention of publishers, resulting in her quilts being featured in several books. “I have always been drawn to portraits. I was the little girl who would sit next to my grandmother and ask her to go through her old family photo albums. I was the one who wanted to hear the story behind every picture. This inquisitiveness has stayed with me to this day. I often start my pieces with a black and white photo and allow myself to tell the story. My stories are told in the fabrics that I choose, the textures I combine, and the colors that create a whole new composition. My portraits tell stories that may have been forgotten over time. When you see vintage lace and aged satin it tells you the story of delicacy and refinement of times gone by. When you see African printed cotton and mud cloth it tells the story of my ancestral homeland and the cradle of civilization. When you see multi-colored organza and netting layered you are being told a story of something or someone colorful and multifaceted,” said Bisa Butler. + Claire Oliver Gallery Via Treehugger Images via Claire Oliver Gallery, Harlem

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Textile artist Bisa Butler illustrates history by repurposing fabrics into portrait quilts

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