Livable Billboard Offers Artists a Temporary Home

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Billboard Artist Residency 1

Artists are taking over billboards all over the world, subverting their messages or dedicating them to fun and meaningful art installations instead of advertisements. But the Scribe Billboard takes the concept of billboard art even further: hidden behind its face is a tiny living space for the artists to stay in as they work. Located in Mexico City, this ongoing urban art project is a collaboration between paper company Scribe and architect Julio Gomez Trevilla.

Billboard Artist Residency 2

An elevated house made of steel and chipboard measuring about 170 square feet provides a sheltered space and meets the basic needs of the artist. It includes a kitchen, bathroom, closet, shower, dressing room and work desk. A barrel mounted into a rooftop tower provides gravity-fed water for plumbing. The only way to get in and out is through a door in the face of the billboard. The house even has a rooftop deck.

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The first resident was Mexican artist Cecilia Beaven, who spent ten days living inside it while working on the hand-painted campaign for Scribe. The interactive project called for ideas from the brand’s fans on Twitter, which Beaven incorporated into the work.

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Another billboard house concept by design firm Apostrophy’s is more spacious, with an open, multi-level design. See more photos of the Scribe Billboard at Scribe’s Facebook page.

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Lullaby Factory: Fanciful Installation for Children’s Hospital

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[ By Steph in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

Lullaby Factory 1

Children at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital can enter a secret courtyard, stand beside a convoluted system of copper pipes and horns, and listen to the sound of soft lullabies. This musical art installation was created by Studio Weave to fill a narrow, otherwise unusable space created by the construction of an adjacent building.

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Inspired by the pipes and drainage systems that already cover the brick facade of the historic hospital building, Lullaby Factory creates visual interest, pays tribute to the 19th century origins of the structure and provides a comforting function for young patients.

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The installation reaches 10 stories high and is made of metal pipes in shades of silver, gold, copper and bronze; some of the components were recovered from a decommissioned hospital boilerhouse. Patients who can’t make their way outside into this magical little world between buildings can listen via radio from their rooms.

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The installation will remain in place until the demolition of the aging building, scheduled for 2028. Say the designers, “Our aim for this project was to re-imagine the Southwood façade as the best version of itself, accepting and celebrating its qualities and oddities; and rather than hiding what is difficult, creating something unique and site specific.”

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Sculpture Showcases Smart Metals that React to Hot & Cold

[ By Steph in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

A heat-reactive metal sculpture at the Materials & Applications gallery in Los Angeles opens and closes according to environmental conditions, ‘breathing’ like human skin. ‘Bloom’ was designed by biologist-turned-architect Doris Kim Sung, who takes cues from our natural biological defenses to develop a zero-energy skin for buildings.

(top & above image via brandon shigeta)

The 20-foot-tall installation is made of thermo-bimetal, a material most often used for the coil in a thermostat. This metal is composed of two sheets of metal laminated together. It expands when heated, curling as the temperature rises and flattening when it cools. Sung says the material could be used as a shading device or for ventilation purposes.

(above & below images via: materials & applications)

The idea is that the canopy can curl shut when the sun is directly overhead, or vents can automatically open to let hot air escape. Sung has received grants to further her research with thermo-bimetal, and is working on ways to integrate it with standard building components. Possible applications include sandwiching it between layers of glass in windows, or incorporating it into bricks.

“For a long time, my work has examined why architecture is static and nonresponsive, and why it can’t be more flexible like clothing,” said Sung, assistant professor of architecture at the USC School of Architecture. “Why do we have to adapt to architecture rather than architecture responding to us? Why can’t buildings be animated? We have to rethink the way we build, and what we build with. If we don’t, our problems will only get worse.  Being a researcher in smart materials and architecture right now is tremendously exciting. This is the time we’re going to change our future.”


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Interactive Urban Light Art Installation Operated by Smart Phones

[ By Steph in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

A five-story ‘veil’ of light situated along the river Main in Frankfurt, Germany billows and contracts according to users’ finger movements on their smart phones. ‘Photophore’ was installed at the Seven Swans restaurant, bar and hotel for the annual Luminale festival of light, inviting passersby to literally change the fabric of their urban environment.

A collaboration between Kollision, Martin Professional and light designers Katja Winklemann and Jochen Schröder, Photophore is an interactive media facade consisting of five illuminated panels mounted on the exterior of the building. It’s named for the light-emitting organ found within certain deep-water marine animals.

Onlookers scan a QR code on the side of the building, which accesses a website enabling them to control the installation. Swiping across the screen causes the ‘fabric’ to be pinched, pulled, pushed, poked and twisted.

See a video of Photophore in action at Vimeo.


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Miniature City Scenes: 21 of Slinkachu’s Tiny Art Installations

[ By Marc in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Slinkachu is a UK-based artist who creates tiny scenes on city streets that are both humorous and compelling. He photographs each scene and then leaves it to be discovered.

(Images via moreintelligentlife, dezeen, ekosystem, mashkulture)

The urban-dweller’s relationship with wildlife is depicted interestingly in Slinkachu’s photos, with a humorous twist. A father defending his child from a bee takes a bit of a heavy handed approach that actually depicts a fairly typical reaction to bees during the summer. Deer struggle to integrate into an environment that’s not quite as clean as the pristine forests they’re known to inhabit, and of course a snail would find itself tagged with graffiti. It’s difficult to say whether the roaches in this photo are depicting protesters, or the actual fight against infestation.

(Images via lenscratch, mymodernmet, streetartutopia, designwars, thisiscolossal)

In the tiny world that Slinkachu inhabits, people do the same thing they do in our much larger spaces. A creative skateboarder uses the environment to create a great half pipe, people visit KFC for a quick lunch, and an outdoor sculpture stands tall with a plaque describing the artist’s intent. There’s work to be done so a man studiously chops wood in one photo. The final photo depicts the hilarious scene of a little girl literally being carried away by the size of her bubblegum bubble.

(Images via demilked, unurth, spankystokes, adore-whereveryouare)

It is fun to imagine how a little world would deal with its limitations. In a comic take on the typical urban dweller, Slinkachu portrays a tiny man struggling with his earbuds, while a family takes a trip to the local waterpark… at a storm drain. No soccer field? No problem – a little chalk solves that problem. In this tiny world, a kid walking around with a bag of Skittles turns into a kid sitting on Skittles.

(Images via adore-whereveryouare, thedesigninspiration, sezio)

It would be really enjoyable to stumble on one of Slinkachu’s miniature scenes. Whether it’s a painter carefully crafting his ant portrait, or a romantic who grabbed a flower for his significant other, it pays to be more aware of one’s surroundings. Even a puddle on a sewer cover could house a mini art installation; in this case, a boy enjoying a summer swim with his floaties on.

(Images via rebelart, richardlittledale, ekosystem, ageofuncertainty, dezeen)

Normal city scenes take on a whole new level (literally) when brought down to a comically small scale. These miniscule urbanites might just be painted railroad props, but they still need to dry out their clothes, mail letters, lose weight, hail a cab, and go to the ATM for some cash. They are not so different.

 


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Transit Transformed: Metro Cars Turned Mobile Art Galleries

[ By Steph in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

What if art were integrated into the most mundane of our daily activities, like riding the metro to work? For just one day each year, Chicago residents see their metro cars transformed into the world’s largest mobile art gallery for ‘Art on Track’. This annual urban art exhibition gives groups of local artists control of the cars for an evening.

The traveling art exhibit takes over six CTA rail cars, each with its own individual theme. Installing the work is a major challenge, since the artists can’t leave any permanent marks on the cars, requiring them to get creative with suction cups and tape.

Passengers in the gallery are encouraged to explore each train car, engaging with the artists and artwork. The trance circles the ‘Loop’ elevated track in downtown Chicago, making stops for people to switch between cars to see it all. In addition to those who come out specifically to see the exhibition, thousands of commuters taking the trains home from work get an up-close-and-personal view of the installations.

Organizer Tristan Hummel told The Huffington Post, “Increasingly, artists have been addressing the space and using it’s natural systems to play into their train car. For example, this year one of the train cars is going to be a mini film festival. The train car has two doors which open to let people onboard the art exhibition. If you enter through one you enter the film festival screening area which has been decked out to look like a movie theater. You can sit down and watch a four-minute film. If you enter through the other train door you enter an area that is partitioned off form the screening area. In this part of the train we are rotating in and out young directors who will be making four-minute films using our audience as actors.”

See more photos at Flickr.


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Giant-Sized Stabbing Scenes: Street Art at Knife Point

[ By Steph in Drawing & Digital. ]

At first glance, these scenes are disturbing: a man and a woman lay immobile on sidewalks, streets and stairwells, pools of red gushing from their abdomens. But then you realize that the weapon that has ‘murdered’ them is absurdly large – and made of cardboard. German-based artists Maria Luján and Wolfgang Krug set out to make murder funny with their street art project ‘The Knife.’

The knife itself is as large as the victim, and no attempt has been made to make it look realistic in any way. The blood is simply paper.

Luján and Krug take turns strapping the knife to each other and laying down in conspicuous places throughout Berlin, where they’ll be seen by lots of passersby.

Whether these onlookers are disturbed, confused or amused, the artists have certainly livened up their day a little.

What’s the point of these cartoonish cardboard crime scenes? There’s no serious commentary on violence to be found here. According to Krug, the pair took on the project “Just for the fun of it.”


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Musical Tree! Installation Creates Sounds from Falling Chestnuts

[ By Steph in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

The ground below an immense chestnut tree in Berlin’s Montbijoupark is aglow with green polymer membranes that produce sound from the impact of falling nuts. ‘Tree Concert’ is a temporary installation that aims to raise awareness of the diminishing stock of trees in Germany’s capital city.

In place through September 24th, 2012, ‘Tree Concert’ is a collaboration between the ad agency Proximity BBDO Berlin and the environmental organization BUND for Environment and Nature Conservation Germany.

Berlin is considered Europe’s greenest city with over 400,000 trees, but that number is shrinking. Each year, more trees are cut down than planted, and the remaining ones are not always treated with care due to a lack of funding. BUND has committed to protecting the trees that are already present in the city, and planting more in the future.

The membranes respond to physical stimuli with both sound and light effects, producing an interactive concert. A live musical performance is planned in which artists from Berlin will accompany the sound of the chestnuts. Visitors who enjoy the display can donate to the cause via text message.


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Urban Living Room: Feel at Home in Public Places

[ By Steph in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

How can we get more people to leave the comfort of their homes to spend time getting to know their communities and appreciating public urban spaces? Artist Eddy Kaiser and the Theatre Group Powerboat have an idea: give them a living room that’s just as cozy and inviting as their own. ‘Urban Living Room‘ is a blue-painted hangout space currently set up in Rotterdam.

Standing out against city settings in its shocking shade of blue, Urban Living Room offers a comfortable, convenient locale for spontaneous small-scale meetings. Moved around the city of Rotterdam, it has hosted school children, random passersby and free performances by local musicians.

Once its time in Rotterdam is up, Urban Living Room will be traveling to Istanbul and Hong Kong as an interactive exhibit of Dutch design. The furniture chosen for the installation is based on research into the archetypal living rooms in the Netherlands.

Kaiser previously collaborated with design office HUNK-design on the Flying Grass Carpet, a pop-up installation that turned large public plazas into greenery-filled parks. See more photos of Urban Living Room at Facebook. [Via Pop-Up City]


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Dead Media: Art Installation Created with 497 VHS Tapes

[ By Steph in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

What do you do with 497 obsolete VHS tapes? Noah Scalin ripped them apart and made them into a giant three-dimensional skull-shaped art installation entitled ‘Dead Media‘. The proprietor of Skull-A-Day has been making a skull a day, every day, since June 4th, 2007.

Scalin was commissioned to create the project by Tidewater Community College Visual Arts Center, which supplied him some of the video tapes. Others came from friends and his own collection. Some of the titles that can be spotted among the destroyed mass are notably obscure, like ‘Valdez Winter Update 10-25-89, Exxon Company U.S.A.’

Says Scalin, “In the spirit of the famous painting The Ambassadors by Hand [sic] Holbein the Younger, the skull was created to only look correct from one point and is actually quite distorted in real life.”

Other skull projects that have been featured on the site were made of turnips, scrap metal, a pile of books, flower petals, bullet holes and grated crayons.


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