Twisting tree-like sculptures redefine a public space in Montreal

August 6, 2018 by  
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Giant twisting tree-like sculptures have sprouted in downtown Montreal—and passersby are welcome to climb to the top of its gnarled canopy. The striking art installation is the latest work of local artist Michel de Broin , who was invited by the City of Montreal to help activate the recently developed International Civil Aviation Organization Plaza (ICAO). Dubbed Dendrites after the branched projections of a neuron, the large-scale artworks are clad in weathering steel and are equipped with metal stairs with platforms for an interactive element. Spanning both sides of Notre-Dame Street in downtown Montreal , Dendrites comprises two sculptural stairways that mimic the form of trees and neuron structures. The reddish hue of its weathering steel cladding is a reference to ochre tree trunks as well as the urban site’s industrial past and iron infrastructure. “Dendrites encourages climbing through a network of alternate possible routes,” explains the project press release. “When a passer-by ascends the stairs they consistently face a bifurcation, and a decision must ensue. An apt metaphor is found in the way thoughts are formed in the human brain through the transmission of electrical impulses within a larger network of neuronal dendrites; much like the climber in the sculpture discovering the structures of his surrounding environment. From one end of the work to the other — like a neural impulse traveling across the brain — the walker climbs the stairs and ventures into the sculpture, emerging on the other side with a new perspective.” Related: Whimsically windswept cabin-like kiosks are designed to soothe urban stress The emphasis of walking ties into the redevelopment of site, which was formerly a car-centric area that was displaced as a new pedestrian-friendly and cyclist-friendly space. Dendrites’ twisting branches culminate in a series of independent viewing platforms of varying heights, allowing multiple visitors to climb and enjoy the sculpture simultaneously. + Michel de Broin Images by Michel de Broin and Jules Beauchamp Desbiens

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Twisting tree-like sculptures redefine a public space in Montreal

This 3D-printed device could help its users breathe underwater

August 6, 2018 by  
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Japanese designer and material scientist  Jun Kamei has invented an underwater breathing device constructed with 3D printing . Kamei foresees complications arising from higher sea levels, which he believes will affect up to three billion people globally. Thus, he has designed Amphibio , a 3D-printed garment that he hopes will help those people affected by rising seas to work with nature in submerged portions of the Earth. “By 2100, a temperature rise of 3.2 degrees Celsius is predicted to happen, causing a sea-level rise affecting between 500 million and three billion people, and submerging the mega-cities situated in the coastal areas,” Kamei explained. He believes Amphibio will become essential to our next generations, who will be forced to spend much more time in water as a result of a “flooded world.” Amphibio replicates the method that aquatic insects use to trap air, forming a gas-exchanging gill. The breathing apparatus’s microporous, hydrophobic material thus enables oxygen extraction from surrounding water while also removing carbon dioxide . Kamei, a graduate of the Royal College of Art , returned to his alma mater with a team from the RCA-IIS Tokyo Design Lab to construct the two-part accessory, which features a respiratory mask attached to the gill assembly. Related: MIT’s mind-reading AlterEgo headset can hear what you’re thinking The working prototype of Amphibio does not yet produce enough oxygen to sustain a human being. However, Kamei is optimistic. He developed the 3D-printable material filament himself, and, in the future, he hopes people can buy it themselves. As 3D printing becomes more common and readily available in society, he envisions a future in which people can print garments tailored to their own body shape – and in which Amphibio is one of their options. + Amphibio Via Design Milk and Dezeen Photography by Mikito Tateisi

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This 3D-printed device could help its users breathe underwater

A massive five-ton plastic waste whale breaches in a Bruges canal

June 28, 2018 by  
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Five tons of plastic waste has been pulled from the oceans and transformed into the Bruges Whale, a gigantic sculpture that highlights the staggering amount of trash floating in our oceans. Designed by Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang of the Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary practice StudioKCA , this massive environmental artwork was created for the 2018 Bruges Triennial with the theme of “Liquid City.” The Bruges Whale, also called the Skyscraper, was positioned to appear in mid-breach in a canal opposite the city’s iconic Jan Van Eyck statue. Installed in the UNESCO World Heritage City Center of Bruges, the Bruges Whale was created to draw attention to the unrelenting flow of plastic waste into our oceans — with an estimated eight million tons added every year. Teaming up with Hawaii Wildlife Fund and Surfrider Foundation, StudioKCA collected more than 5 tons of plastic waste from the ocean in four months. After cleaning and sorting the trash, the team also launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring the project to life and to fund fabrication of the steel and aluminum structural system created in collaboration with Thornton Tomasetti. “Skyscraper is a physical example of why we need to change how we use and dispose of plastic in the world today,” said Lesley Chang, Principal of StudioKCA. Principal Jason Klimoski continues, “[The sculpture] is 5 tons of plastic waste that we’ve pulled out of the ocean to create a four-story tall whale to help raise awareness about the other 150 million tons of plastic waste still swimming in our oceans. The more people know about a problem, the better, as it takes all of us working together to change the way things are done. This is a real opportunity to help bring awareness to a large audience about this global issue.” Related: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate Located in the historic Jan Van Eyck Square, the Bruges Whale is one of 14 other installations selected for the 2018 Bruges Triennial , a free event that’s expected to welcome more than two million people. The art and architecture event is held from May 5 to September 16, 2018. + StudioKCA Images via StudioKCA

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A massive five-ton plastic waste whale breaches in a Bruges canal

Shimmering Solar Arch to generate power for a post-industrial Connecticut town

April 25, 2018 by  
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A giant gleaming arch clad in solar panels is set to transform the waterfront of downtown Willimantic. This spectacular energy-generating artwork, called Rio Iluminado, was revealed today as the winner of Land Art Generator Institute’s most recent design competition. Designed by Pirie Associates Architects in collaboration with architect Lindsay Suter and sculptor Gar Waterman , the public artwork is capable of generating 25.5 MWh of clean energy a year for a 3.4-acre remediated brownfield. Developed as part of an initiative to reclaim and beautify the Willimantic waterfront , Rio Iluminado aims to reconnect the community with the river and generate renewable energy in a beautiful way. Located on the riverbank, the site-specific Solar Arch will be covered in a 900-square-foot solar array while the underside is finished with polished stainless steel panels. The artwork’s curvature was designed to follow the path of the sun and to reflect its surroundings. In addition to the Solar Arch, the Rio Iluminado will include a River Well in the Tree Copse that demonstrates the daily sun cycle with a solar-powered pump that only draws underground water during the day; an interactive Spiral Channel that moves the water from the River Well to the River Platform; and the 3,400-square-foot River Platform, decorated with murals and other art, that gradually fills with water while overflow is channeled into a two-stage bio-swale system. In the winter months, the River Platform will be transformed into an ice-skating surface. Related: Land Art Generator Initiative Santa Monica winners address California’s energy needs and drought Rio Iluminado was developed in close collaboration with the community, whose comments helped inform the final design. “Rio Iluminado cleverly addresses how to bring the river closer to the community—and vice-versa,” says WWP President James Turner. “We are thrilled to have a project design that will result in such an intricately conceived and strikingly executed work of art for the community to enjoy and be inspired by for years to come.” The project will now enter the next phase, where the winning team will focus on design development, cost estimates, and prototyping, followed by the final design fabrication and installation. + Land Art Generator Institute Images via Land Art Generator Institute

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Shimmering Solar Arch to generate power for a post-industrial Connecticut town

Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for plastic binge awareness

April 24, 2018 by  
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Design collective Luzinterruptus worked their artistic plastic magic last month with an illuminated plastic bottle installation at Singapore’s I Light Marina Bay , dubbed “Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival.” The massive glowing artwork, called Transitable Plastic, comprised seven movable walls hung beneath the Esplanade Bridge, one of the busiest transit areas in the bay. Designed to raise awareness about the “plastic binge,” the interactive artwork required visitors to physically move the plastic walls out of the way in order to get to the other side. Installed for approximately four weeks, Transitable Plastic was created with over 20,000 recycled plastic units collected from the community and local businesses including hotels, restaurants and shopping malls over the span of a month. Luzinterruptus vacuum packed the plastic bottles to create larger panels that were then strung together to form seven large walls. These makeshift walls were hung from metal scaffolding. The installation took 10 days to complete. Related: Historic French building stuffed with plastic bags looks ready to explode “We [lit] the piece with a cold, neutral light which enhanced the glint of the plastic material and brought out the color of the labels allowing to easily guess which are the city’s most popular beverage brands,” wrote the designers. “As visitors entered the piece, landmarks disappeared so they had to get the plastic out of the way in order to avoid getting stuck in the corridors and to get to the other side, a healthier, more open place where they could breathe fresh air. A more-than-a-minute-long walk among plastics which could bring about a bit of asphyxia and inevitably the thought of plastic and its related problems.” Transitable Plastic was fully disassembled at the end of the event and the materials were sorted and recycled. + Luzinterruptus Images by Colossal Pro

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Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for plastic binge awareness

Thousands of plastic bottles transformed into an inspiring tower of hope in South Africa

July 25, 2017 by  
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A million plastic bottles are purchased worldwide every minute, with annual consumption set to top half a trillion by 2021 . In a bid to bring awareness to the problem of plastic bottle use and pollution, artist r1 led a project to transform over 7,000 plastic bottles into an incredible sight to behold: a 20-meter-tall permanent art sculpture. Created in collaboration with the local community, the environmental art piece, called the iThemba Tower, symbolizes hope and inspiration in Troyeville, Johannesburg. Artist r1 used a redundant communications tower as the base of the iThemba Tower, which derives its name from the isiZulu word that means trust or hope. The diverse local community was involved in all aspects of the design process, from plastic bottle collection to construction. Locals were also invited to fill each bottle with a “message of hope,” thus creating a symbolic communications tower that “broadcasts” the community’s diverse hopes and dreams. Related: 1,000 recycled CDs transform an abandoned farmhouse into a shimmering work of art “It is estimated that in South Africa alone, nearly over 250,000 plastic bottles are dumped into our environment every hour,” says the narrator in a video about the iThemba Tower. “One plastic bottle will take up to 700 years to completely break down in a landfill. The iThemba Tower project raised awareness the importance of recycling through workshops and various community activities.” LEDs were also inserted inside the bottles to turn them into “lights of hope.” The lights bring the tower alive at night and create a magical twinkling effect. The iThemba Tower is a permanent art piece at the Spaza Art Garden, a safe haven for creatives in Johannesburg. + r1

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Thousands of plastic bottles transformed into an inspiring tower of hope in South Africa

Giant animal faces take over Mexico Citys forest for environmental awareness

May 26, 2017 by  
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Thousands of visitors to a Mexico City park were treated to an eerie sight in the treetops last weekend. Giant ghostly animals heads peered down from the canopy, fixing their intense gaze on the public in an environmental video installation for Marvin Festival 2017 . Designed by studio Maizz Visual , the ephemeral intervention, called Animal Watching, was created to raise awareness about the destruction of ecosystems and animal species. According to the WWF , almost half of the world’s wild animals have disappeared due to habitat destruction since 1975. In a bid to raise awareness about animal habitat loss , Maizz Visual transformed the forest into a canvas for art. The team, which has created similar interventions in the past, used a video projector of 15,000 lumens and tele zoom optics to project 3D animations of animals onto the canopy. The animals’ giant 3D images appear startlingly lifelike with their animated movements and the depth experience of 3D created through the mix of light and tree leaves. A total of eight different animal faces appeared and disappeared in a continuous seven-minute loop put on between the evening hours of 8:30 and 11. Related: Pre-Hispanic Corn Gods Protest Genetically Modified Maize in Mexico City “The animals had intense eyes that watched and followed the public passing by,” wrote the designers. “Animal Watching positively surprised thousands of viewers while, at least, for a brief moment, made the public thinking about animals with respect and admiration.” + Maizz Visual Images by Revista Marvin

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Giant animal faces take over Mexico Citys forest for environmental awareness

Cloud House makes it rain on demand with creative water harvesting system

March 23, 2017 by  
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You won’t have to do a rain dance to make it rain at the Cloud House—sitting in one of its rocking chairs should do the trick. Artist Matthew Mazzotta created the Cloud House, a gabled pavilion with a cloud-like sculpture that releases collected rainwater whenever someone sits inside the building. Crafted from reclaimed materials , the art installation was commissioned in Springfield, Missouri to bring attention to our dependence on natural systems, like the water cycle, that grow the food we eat. “Located at Springfield , MO’s largest farmers’ market, CLOUD HOUSE is a poetic counterpoint to the busy market, inviting visitors to a meditative space in which they can slow down, enjoy the fresh edible plants, and listen to rain on a tin roof,” writes Mazzotta. Topped with a cloud-shaped resin sculpture attached by a pipe, the gabled structure is built of barn wood and tin reclaimed from an abandoned Amish farm. Edible plants grow on the windowsills and the building’s two ends are left completely open to reveal a sparse interior decorated with two rocking chairs and a small table. https://vimeo.com/189592923 Related: Open House Renovates an Abandoned Building into a Transforming Open Air Theater Rainwater is collected with a gutter system that funnels the water into an underground storage tank. When someone sits on the rocking chair, a pump is triggered to bring the harvested rainwater up to the artificial cloud where it’s released as droplets onto the roof. The rainwater simulation waters the windowsill plants and creates a “warm pleasant sound of rain on a tin roof.” During periods of drought, however, the cloud will not rain to illustrate man’s dependence on the natural world. + Matthew Mazzotta Via Dezeen Images by Tim Hawley

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Cloud House makes it rain on demand with creative water harvesting system

Mesmerizing photos show faces of indigenous Brazilians projected onto the Amazon rainforest

November 8, 2016 by  
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In spring 2016, Surui Chief Almir Surui Narayamoga invited Echaroux to his village, where the street artist photographed the natives for “The Crying Forest” project. The faces are enlarged and carefully projected over the trees to create a seamless and striking composition. The installation was created to help the Surui people raise awareness of the dangers of massive deforestation and the impact it has on the ecosystem and their lives. Related: Gigantic Leafy Faces Light Up a Forest in Wisconsin Chief Narayamoga was appointed by the Brazilian government to help replant and protect his tribe’s section of the rainforest. Over 300 truckloads worth of illegally logged trees are estimated to leave the Surui area everyday. “Victims of massive deforestation and gold washers who did not hesitate to violate the Surui’s territory to seize deposits of precious stones, the Surui people want to raise awareness of this horrible and greedy slaughter that endangers a territory and its people,” Echaroux says. “The Crying Forest” photographs will be on display at the Taglialatella gallery in Paris from November 10th through December 15th, 2016. + Philippe Echaroux Via Colossal

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Mesmerizing photos show faces of indigenous Brazilians projected onto the Amazon rainforest

Martin Roth makes indoor lawns by growing real grass on aging Persian rugs

October 21, 2016 by  
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Now based in New York, Roth tends to his installations like a careful gardener, watering the grass seeds regularly until tiny grass roots take hold of the tough fibers of the rugs, which are often arranged in a patchwork covering an entire room. Over the course of the exhibit, the grass grows taller and the patches spread wider, covering more of the rugs as time wears on. Eventually, at the end of the exhibit run, the grass dies, practically consuming the rug’s fibers in the process. This is precisely what will happen at the Riptide show in London. Related: Living grass walls completely cover the interior of London’s Dilston Grove gallery Roth also works with other forms of plant life and animals in unusual ways. Many of his installations involve releasing animals into environments where you might not expect them (such as the 50 crickets he let loose in an industrial building) or back into the wild, as he did with six ducklings he rescued and cared for in his studio in 2010. In 2012, he turned an art gallery in Austria into a shallow aquarium by flooding the space and introducing several fish. There, at least, stepping stones were installed so visitors could still keep their feet dry, if they walked carefully enough. + Martin Roth Via Colossal Images via Martin Roth and Korean Cultural Center UK

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Martin Roth makes indoor lawns by growing real grass on aging Persian rugs

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