Not Photoshopped: Distorted Images are Actually 3D Objects

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[ By Steph in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

Robert Lazzarini 2

This skull is a three-dimensional object that you can hold in your hand, not an image that has been stretched and distorted in Photoshop. It’s one of many visually confusing sculptures by Robert Lazzarini, created in his Brooklyn studio after hours upon hours of research. Lazzarini often smashes objects to see how they change and fall apart before he goes about the process of distorting them with computer modeling and fabricating them anew.

Robert Lazzarini 1

Robert Lazzarini 4

Using bone dust to create his skulls, wood and steel to produce hammers and other materials that are appropriate for recreating the originals, Lazzarini painstakingly crafts each item in an altered form. Previously working with more free-form alterations manually, he now sticks to math for the most accurate results possible, with every detail in scale.

Robert Lazzarini 4

Robert Lazzarini 5

Robert Lazzarini 3

“In terms of subject matter, it’s representational, so people think it’s a type of Pop art,” Lazzarini told Blouin Art Info. “In some ways it is, but I think it really hinges more profoundly on the aftermath of Minimalism… One of the main problems of sculpture for me is its static nature. This kind of animation” [when the object changes as you walk around it] “for lack of a better word, gives the sensation that there’s activity where there really isn’t. It relates back to corporeally navigating something to understand it.”


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Touchable Memories: 12 3D-Printed Aids for the Disabled

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[ By Steph in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

3D Printing Disabled Touchable Memories 1

Increasingly affordable and accessible, 3D printing is enabling the creation of everything from simple straw holders to prosthetic hands for people with disabilities, whose quality of life can be greatly enhanced with a little technology. These 12 creations help the blind visualize memories, allow kids with muscular dystrophy to play video games, and even restore brain function after devastating accidents.

Touchable Memories: Tactile Photos for the Visually Impaired

3D Printing Disabled Touchable Memories 2

An affordable home printer called the Buccaneer can be used in conjunction with ‘Touchable Memories,’ a software by Pirate3D, to turn photographs into tactile 3D-printed objects. The project allows people who have lost their eyesight or been blind from birth to visualize the memories that were photographed, whether in relief form or as freestanding sculptures.

‘Magic Arms’ Exoskeleton

3D Printed Disabilities Exoskeleton

A little girl suffering from a rare congenital disorder that limits her ability to use her arms now has a ‘magic’ exoskeleton that aids her movement and enables her to lift objects. A team at the duPont Hospital for Children created a wearable 3D-printed plastic jacket that’s lightweight enough to be used by small children. Heavier, larger versions of the robotic exoskeleton are hard to use and expensive to replace as the children grow, but using 3D printing means it’s as simple as adjusting the dimensions on the 3D model and printing a new one.

Q-Ramp Modular Access System for Wheelchairs

q-ramp

Most cities aren’t exactly built with wheelchairs in mind, but for a few ramps here and there. Raul Krauthausen of Berlin, who uses a wheelchair full-time due to a genetic bone disorder, had trouble getting around Berlin on his own. Having purchased a 3D printer just for fun, he started envisioning how he could use it to improve his quality of life. The result is a portable, printable wheelchair ramp that’s easy to carry on the back of his chair. Krauthausen put the design up on Thingiverse so others can print their own.

Custom Game Controllers

3D Printing Disabilities Game Controller

Conditions like muscular dystrophy can weaken the muscles to the point that even using a game controller is too tiring. Tinkerer Caleb Kraft noted that the special controllers marketed to the disabled were grossly overpriced, and decided to come up with his own solution. His 3D-printed creation is not exactly robust enough for most of today’s more complex games, but it allows a child to play Minecraft.

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Variations on Normal: Book of Absurdly Brilliant Inventions

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[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

dominic wilcox sleeping bed

The work of Dominic Wilcox is a wonderful blend of out-of-the-box design inspiration that, finally, you can get shipped to your door (in a box, no less!).

cost saving fence designs

duel use coffin workstation

Often intentionally impractical and definitively theoretical, the ideas found inside this 128-page book (as on his blog) are nonetheless extremely compelling. Presented as something between sketches and comics, they will challenge you to look at the world from fresh new angles, not to mention their pure entertainment value.

variations on normals

ladder escalator playful design

From mobile fences and motorized ladders to square peas and coffin workstations, there is always an element of functionality (hence design, not art) but also a playfulness to each piece.

square peas genetically modified

yoyo bungie system design

About his inspiration: “I’ve convinced myself that within everything that surrounds us, there are hundreds of ideas and connections waiting to be found. We just need to look hard enough. Some of my ideas develop from observations on human behaviour and I express them through the objects I create. I also experiment with materials to try to find surprises that can’t be found simply by thinking with a pen or a computer.”

scarf with integral propeller

variations on normal static

Wilcox lives in London but was educated at the Royal College of Art (Design Products MA) and the Edinburgh College of Art (Visual Communication BA).  More about his book and other recent works can be found on his website.


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Transparent Home: Glass Dwelling Puts Urban Life on Display

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

see through house japan

A beautiful and boldly open design, this see-through structure uses glass to reveal (and staggered layers to conceal) different parts of the everyday lives of its occupants.

see through transparent house

see through ome facade

Designed by architect Yuusuke Karasawa for a medium-density city lot in Tokyo, the snakelike S House relies on upper layers, underground areas and limited walls to create privacy where required or desired.

see through floor plates

see through ome interior

The split-level approach replaces corridors with staircases and serves to section off parts of the interior without creating excessive walls, all reinforcing the overall openness of the design (reminiscent of Modernist masters including Mies van der Rohe, Philip Glass and Le Corbusier).

see through house design

see through kitchen area

see through exterior view

Primarily white, limited wood accents are added and the neighborhood becomes a kind of passive decor, its textures visible from almost any area of the interior.

see through japanese urbanism

see through night view

see invisible house detail

Partly, the design plays on a cultural element of respect for personal space found in Japan – prying eyes are not something to be worried about.

underground bedroom japan house

see through master bath

see through rooftop deck

Nonetheless, the master bedroom and bathroom are located on the level below ground, and a rooftop deck also affords a higher degree of seclusion when needed.


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Eye on the City: Visitors Dangle from Urban Art Installation

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[ By Steph in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

Eye Installation 1

Take a seat, fasten your seatbelt and allow an usher to wheel you into a giant eyeball dangling outside of a building so you can take in all of the sights without anyone else present. The exhibit, entitled EYE, asks you to look first at the city, and then at yourself. Installed in five different buildings throughout the city of Den Bosch in Holland, the project by Belgian artists Pascal Leboucq and Lucas De Man features enlarged reproductions of the real pupils of local residents.

Eye Installation 2

Eye Installation 3

EYE is currently installed in a theater, a modern hospital, an old factory that’s about to be redeveloped, a monument and a corporate business. Billed as “an extraordinary audio-visual theatrical experience,” each eye seats one visitor at a time. After taking a seat and entering the eye, they’re invited to relax and take a look. Then, the guide asks them, “What do you see?”

Eye Installation 4

Eye Installation 5

“A city with eyes is a city that looks and shows itself,” says De Man. “No closed doors or shut windows, but open. We gave the city eyes so you can hang in the air above the world and look. Just look.”

Eye Installation 6

The installation will remain in place until November 1st, with tickets available online, and will tour the world in 2015.


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Apps for Architects: 12 Handy Digital Tools for Home Design

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[ By Steph in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

Architect Apps Photomeasures 2

Remodeling your house, decorating a room or designing an entire structure gets a lot easier with a range of mobile apps that let you draw to scale, save measurements on top of photos, access thousands of inspirational images and more. These 12 handy tools will ensure that you ever buy a piece of furniture that’s too big for your space, lose the ideas you scrawled on paper or stand around staring at bedding wondering whether it’ll clash with your drapes again.

Photo Measures
Architect Apps Photomeasures 1

Save measurements right on your photos with the Photo Measures app. Snap images of rooms or objects and immediately save their exact dimensions so you can be sure whether furniture will fit in a given space, or give contractors all the info they need for a renovation.

Phaidon Design Classics
Architect Apps PHaidon Design Classics

Architect Apps Phaidon Design Classics 2
You can buy the 10-inch-thick Phaidon Design Classics book for $175, or just get the iPad app for $19.99. Either option will give you access to 1,000 iconic design projects, but the app is definitely more portable. It’s a handy reference for anyone trying to style an interior, providing visuals for everything from Eames chairs to antique glassware.

Remodelista
Architect Apps Remodelista

Sort through thousands of inspirational interior design images, save them to your own customized folders and share them with the Remodelista app for iPad, iPHone and Android. It puts the entire archive of Remodelista.com posts at your fingertips, along with a list of products featured in each post.

Penultimate
Architect Apps Penultimate

Architect Apps Penultimate 2

Want the ease and comfort of writing on paper, with the search functions and shareability of digital? The Penultimate app is a replacement for your physical notebook, allowing you to write and sketch with a stylus. Even better, you’ll never lose another important note again – everything you create in the app is synched to your Evernote account automatically so you can view, search and share them across a range of devices.

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Micro Metros: Abstract City Models Carved from Wooden Scraps

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

wood art on pavement

With the eye of an architect and hand of street artist, James McNabb blends urban inspiration with a fast-paced creation process to make these amazing sketch-like sculptures of all sizes.

wood sculpture offcut art

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woold sculpture james mcnabb

wood art in gallery

His latest series, dubbed Metros (opening at the Robert Fontaine Gallery), follows in the footsteps of Long Nights, Big City Lights, taking exotic and beautiful wood offcuts then chipping, chiseling,, cutting and sawing them into buildings and towers to form abstract skylines.

wood art new piece

wood sculpture urban woodworking

wood sculpture table design

wood sculpture above below

The results reflect a combination of architectural and artistic sensibilities, seeming much like pieces of furniture or sculpture but intentionally crafted without the same slow detail-oriented care we normally associate with those arts.

james mcnabb various woods

jaames mcnabb closeup detail

Seen at a distance, the structural details seem to blur into skylines – up close, like trees in a forest, individual buildings take shape, highlighting differences in form, color, grain and materiality.


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Looking Grave: 12 Spooky & Scary Abandoned Funeral Homes

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[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

abandoned Ward's Funeral Home Opelika 1
Funeral homes are mortal, much like their clients. When funeral homes are abandoned, however, they’re left to decay, deteriorate and decompose in public.

Built in 1870 during the difficult era of post-Civil War Reconstruction, Ward’s Funeral Home in Opelika, Alabama has long since surrendered to the inexorable march of time. Flickr user Jessica Williams (JessicaNicholex) brings us these images of the former funeral home that, like the neighborhood it still resides in, has seen better days.

abandoned Ward's Funeral Home Opelika 2

abandoned Ward's Funeral Home Opelika 3

It’s not known exactly how long Ward’s Funeral Home has been abandoned; long enough for it to become an eerie urban legend at least. Some Opelika residents claim to have seen haints (haunts, or ghosts in the local parlance) peering through the windows at night. Those brave enough to enter the building itself will find a few caskets in what may have been the business’s showroom. Opening them isn’t recommended… especially to anyone who’s seen a certain scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

Dark Undertakings

abandoned funeral home undertaker Aquasco Maryland

This abandoned “undertakers” establishment can be found in beautiful suburban Aquasco, Maryland – or at least it could be back in mid-March of 2009 when Flickr user ZOOPMON captured it for posterity. Check out the window on the upper left (embiggened view here)… if you weren’t planning on enjoying a sound sleep tonight.

Bodie’s Bodies

Bodie ghost town funeral parlor 1

Bodie ghost town funeral parlor 2

Bodie ghost town funeral parlor 3

Bodie, a California desert ghost town founded in 1876 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961, had a working funeral parlor for much of its history – and like most Wild West mining towns, the resident undertaker had plenty of regular business. The funeral home has deteriorated somewhat since the last few Bodieans abandoned the town but enough remains (pardon the pun) to distinguish it as such.

Little Rock Of Ages

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abandoned Miller's Funeral Home Little Rock Arkansas 1

Abandoned funeral homes don’t need to be photographed on gloomy overcast days to bring out their essential creepiness. Just check out these photos of the abandoned Miller’s Funeral Home in Little Rock, Arkansas, snapped by Flickr user Terry Williams (IM2_OCD) on July 25th of 2010. The images cast the business’s decay in gritty focus while bringing out the essential beauty of the sun-washed subject. Especially poignant is the top photo, contrasting the timeless dereliction indoors with the soulless flyover banality glimpsed through the window.

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Hoverboards are Here! Design Floats Above Metal Surfaces

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[ By Steph in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

hendo hoverboard main

Twenty-five years after ‘Back to the Future’ convinced an entire generation that we’d soon be able to zoom around the city on wheel-less floating skateboards, it looks like we might finally get our wish: a working hoverboard actually exists. The Hendo Hoverboard, currently blazing past its funding goals on Kickstarter, features four disc-shaped hover engines that create a magnetic field to levitate the board off the ground.

Hendo Hoverboard 4

Hendo Hoverboard 5

Naturally, there’s a catch: it only works on certain metallic surfaces. The creators are currently using non-ferromagnetic conductor sheet metal, but are working on new compounds that could increase performance while minimizing cost. The magnetic field created by the board levitates it an inch above the ground, offering an ultra-smooth ride that you just can’t get on wheels.

Hendo Hoverboard 3

“While one day we expect to have hoverboards that can effortlessly float over any medium (even water!), our current technology requires special types of surfaces,” says Hendo. “Therefore, we need a hoverpark to go with our boards, and have been busy designing a park befitting the awesomeness of our technology.”

hendo hoverboard 7

In addition to snagging a ‘Whitebox’ developer kit that enables you to play around with the technology yourself, Kickstarter rewards include reserving a brick-sized piece of the eventual Hoverpark with your name engraved onto it. The first 10 production Hendo Hoverboards have already been snagged at $10,000 each.

gizmodo hoverboard gif

After all the hoaxes, it’s understandable that people are skeptical – but Gizmodo got to actually give it a try, confirming that it works. Check it out in the video above, and get all the technical details at Kickstarter.


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Chinese President Calls for End to “Weird Architecture” Trend

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

oma strange shaped building

After years of both importing famous designers and copying strange structures from abroad, Xi Jinping, the leader of China’s Communist Party has declared an end to offbeat construction projects going forward. Translated from a two-hour speech on the subject, he was recently quoted as saying: “No more weird architecture.” As yet, it remains unclear whether this is a statement of official policy direction or a tacit warning to developers to play it safe.

headquaters china penis shaped

Iconic buildings in the country have been coming under attack for quite some time, but the phallic look of the 500-foot headquarters of the Chinese state newspaper, the People’s Daily, sparked particular outrage, likely leading to his more vocal objection. Crasser comparisons aside, various spheres, donuts and other shaped deemed odd by the party leader have also been critiqued both domestically and on the international social web.

donut shaped structure

bridges river china

Other designs prompting problems for the government in the press include the CCTV headquarters in Beijing by Rem Koolhaas. Still, the theme of genitalia shape comparisons in paritcular, as in the case of the bridges (above) in Chongqing, have caused state media to start censoring search results related to some projects. They are also not fans of advertising their surreal replicas or ghost cities, also unusual byproducts of the recent construction boom.

cctv tower headquarters

cctv tower china

Speaking recently, Xi maintained that Fine art works should be like sunshine from the blue sky and the breeze in spring that will inspire minds, warm hearts, cultivate taste and clean up undesirable work styles.” Sadly for some, his response comes at a time when architecture in China is also drawing a great deal of positive attention, some copycat scandals aside.


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