Sometimes I forgot how beautiful simple things can be. I think that is one of the best things about art; it can really remind you of the beauty that exists in the simple things and the mundane parts of life. That’s what I love about this series by the German-born photographer Michael Wolf. Shot on the streets of Paris, the work shows little more than the shadows of trees set against the buildings of the street. Yet in his composition and his high-contrast black-and-white he manages to find something effortlessly beautiful in something so banal.
Wolf’s work is frequently interested in contemporary city life. His images of modern cities often feel far less inviting than the work shown here. Through his lens buildings reach near abstraction as they dominate everything around them and themes of voyeurism, privacy and detachment are often seen throughout his practice.
Wolf doesn’t offer an explanation to the meaning behind this work. Considering his previous projects one might view it as an exploration of natures challenged role within the city, or perhaps it could be seen as a study into the small traces of the natural world that remain within our busy cities. Personally I prefer to take a more romantic view of it and see it as a simple celebration of the mundane. For me, these images serve as a reminder that there exisits simple pleasures in the world and its important to take the time every-now-and-again to stop and appreciate these simple things.
You can see more work from Wolf on his website.
Modulorbeat’s One Man Sauna is a wonderfully strange construction found near the German city of Bochum. The work forms part of a research lab project called Borderlands which the architects have been working on since 2012. Borderlands examines the border and transit spaces of the city and attempts to see what role architecture can play in the development of these spaces.
This One Man Sauna is located on the site of an old abandoned factory and stands at nearly 25 feet. Built from old building shafts, the sauna consists primarily of three stacked pre-cast concrete parts. These form three different unique layers on the inside: a plunge pool at the bottom, a sauna on the middle level and a relaxation room and viewing area at the top.
Go check out Modulorbeat’s website for more exciting work.
I sometimes feel that there’s a tendency for blogs to just focus on what the latest thing is. For some reason there seems to be a need to focus on the thing that’s just been released. While I enjoy new things just as much as the next person I also feel that the internet is so full of amazing things that there’s bound to be some stuff that passed us by the first time around. That’s why I thought I’d share this excellent short film from 2011 with you. Called The Runaway (or La Huida in its original Spanish), this 10 minute short looks at how life moves fast and – rather fittingly – it highlights the things that might just pass us by.
Shot on 35mm and directed by Victor Carrey, the film has won 77 Awards and has had more than 200 festival selections. It’s a story told in two-halves, with the first setting the stage for an event to play out in the second. The narration comes from actor Joaquin Diaz, who does a wonderful job of stringing together a seemingly-endless array of apparently unconnected objects and situations. His rapid-fire delivery rattles through a great array of stories, anecdotes and observations before bringing us to the ‘runaway’ of the title in the second part. Here Carrey slows everything right down and wraps it all together with an excellent slow motion sequence that demonstrates the directors finely honed skills as a music video director.
It’s a great little romp and one which, if you didn’t catch the first time around, I’m sure you’ll enjoy!
UK-based illustrated Stephen Smith has been working under the name of Neasden Control Centre for almost 15 years. One of his most recent projects has been illustrating the menus for Artisan; a hip restaurant and bar in the Northern-city of Manchester. NCC’s approach here has been to serve up a delicious selection of hand-drawn type; presenting a great choice of ‘A’s’ that no doubt echo the variety of choices found within the menu.
This is not the first time that NCC has worked with Artisan. When it opened last year he worked on the overall identity for the space. Bringing site specific artwork, illustrations, installations and murals to every corner of the Spinningfields located space. The restaurant covers a vast 12,000 square foot area, so it must have been a massive undertaking for the one-man studio. You can see more shots from the interior on his website.
I also think that his work for the set-menus is just as strong and, while I was going to put this down to his excellent choice of a bold black-and-white palette, it’s clear to see that the lunch and kids menus work just as well in color. His choice of bright primary colors add just the right amount of cheerfulness for day-time dinning. I think they look great.
More work from Neasden Control Centre can be viewed on Stephen’s website.
I had never heard of Jerko the Gowanus Water Vacuum until discovering these excellent photos of it. Taken in 2011 by the LA-based photographer Elizabeth Weinberg, these images show the Jerko on its madden voyage. The vessel is an incredible two-story houseboat which boasts its own homemade rain-harvesting system as well as solar panels and a composting septic system. It’s a pretty incredible construction! I hope the city still continues to make space for people and projects like this!
Weinberg’s photographs capture the energy that this vessel seems to have brought to the area; despite it sailing on one of New York’s most environmentally disturbed waterways – Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. While I can’t seem to find any information about the Jerko after 2011, I think it’s great to see people making a real effort to be energy efficient in a city as large and as polluted as New York.
You can view Elizabeth Weinberg’s full series of images on her website.
The South African artist Peter Eastman has been living and working in Cape Town for a number of years. While working primarily as a painter, it is Eastman’s prints that I find the most appealing. Produced digitally, Eastman creates these by working over photographs. He subtly alters forms, tones and colors and he views this process as an opportunity to explore color.
As a painter, Eastman’s work is typically monochromatic, so these images are quite distinct from what he normally creates. I find his use of color very interesting and each image has a unique atmosphere and mood to it. Despite being created digitally, I feel that there still remains quite a painterly quality to how these images are rendered and I love the way he captures light.
More work from Eastman can be viewed on his website.
Architectural firm Bates Masi + Architects LCC have had roots in New York City and the East End of Long Island for over 50 years. Recently they completed this stunning family home in Amagansett, New York. If anyone knows the area, they’ll know that it’s a popular destination with tourists and features a bustling resort town as well as a number of celebrity homes.
One of the key considerations for this property was to shelter it from the noises of the near-by village. The architects say that their interest in the building’s acoustics was what drove the form, materials and detail of the house. From the outside, it initially looks windowless, with large concrete walls that are nearly 20″ thick. These provide excellent insulation as well as great protection from the sounds of the village.
Inside the home looks bright and spacious with a particularly beautiful living-and-dining space. Its use of different woods makes this area feel relaxing and comforting and its large window opens up to the rear of the property to reveal a garden and pool.
“The research of sound and how it affects our perception of space informed the details, materials, and form of the project” say the architects. “This approach to the design led to a richer and more meaningful home for the family.” I think the finished house looks beautiful, and I’d happily except an invite to come stay-over from whoever its new residents are!
More work from Bates + Masi Architects can be seen on their website.
Just a little north from Copenhagen you will find the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Currently it’s home to a solo exhibition by the Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Best known for his sculptures and large-scale installation art, Eliasson often works with elemental materials such as water, light, air and soil. For this, his first solo show at Louisiana, the artist has decided to turn the entire south-wing of the museum into a riverbed; transforming the galleries into a giant unfolding landscape of rocks, stones and water.
Described as a “stress-test of Louisiana’s physical capacity”, the installation is a surreal and beautiful sight. Visitors are encouraged to walk on the rocky surfaces and spaces are entered through semi-submerged gallery doorways. I think it looks terrific and I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to hear the trickle of water running through the small galleries of the Museum.
The exhibition is due to open to the public on 20 August, more details can be found on the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art website.