Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Creative Cartography: 15 Artists Transforming Maps

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Creative Cartography: 15 Artists Transforming Maps: [ By Steph in Architecture & Design & Graffiti & Drawing & Travel & Places. ]


Maps aren’t just two-dimensional pieces of paper depicting the locations and geographic features of the world. They’re the basis for portraits, sculptures and clothing, and are reconstructed or reimagined by these 15 artists in the most curious ways – whether recreated solely with typography, dissected and rearranged or used to illustrate information that can be humorous or disturbing.


Map Portraits by Matthew Cusick



(images via: mattcusick.com)

Matthew Cusick cuts apart maps to create stunning collages and sculptures, including these portraits. The Dallas, Texas artist collects maps and cuts them apart according to color and shade, pasting them into these compositions on a board backing. But the particular maps chosen also have meaning in reference to the subject: “The people I construct out of maps represent certain ideas and moments in time that resonate deeply with me,” he says. “The maps I choose for each work relate to that person’s timeline and history. I’ll use these maps as a surrogate for paint but also as a way to expand the limits of representational painting. Each map fragment is employed both as a brush stroke and a unit of information. The human form acts as a matrix in which inlaid maps from different places and times coalesce into a narrative.”


Head Sculpture by Nikki Rosato



(images via: nikkirosato)

Delicately interwoven like veins, the tiny green, blue and red strips of maps used to create these incredible sculptures are molded around a packing tape form to create a three-dimensional shape. Artist Nikki Rosato removes the land masses, leaving nothing but the roads and rivers behind, reinforcing the paper with wire as necessary. Rosato told Wired UK: “Through the removal of the land masses, the places almost become ambiguous since all of the text is lost. Unless someone really knows the roads and highways, it is almost impossible to identify the place.”


Census Maps of Dating Keywords



(images via: luke dubois)

Touching and, at times, hilarious, these keyword maps by R. Luke Dubois associate each town with the terms most often used by locals to describe themselves and their desired partners on their online dating profiles. Dubois joined 21 dating websites and analyzed the language used in 21 million profiles to come up with the data, which was then displayed on maps. Chicagoans say things like “prankster”, “pizza”, “smoker” and “synagogue” while Central Texans are all about “churches”, “boundaries”, “barbecue” and “Madonna” – the latter presumably referring to the Virgin, not the pop star.


The World by Paula Scher



(images via: 20×200.com)

The names of countries, cities and geographical features like deserts and mountains make up the hand-painted text-based map entitled ‘The World’ by artist Paula Scher. “The World is a painting about information overload. It depicts the world as swirling information that is always changing, often inaccurate, while somewhat illuminating. It is expressionistic information.”


Map Roadways by Matthew Cusick



(images via: lisadent.com)

Also by Matthew Cusick are these beautiful maps of roadways that “go nowhere”, weaving and curving around the world. “Maps provided so much potential, so many layers. I put away my brushes and decided to see where the maps would take me. I think collage is a medium perfectly suited to the complexities of our time. It speaks to a society that is over-saturated with disparate visual information. It attempts to put order to the clutter and to make something permanent from the waste of the temporary. A collage is also a time capsule; it preserves the ephemera of the past. It reconstitutes things that have been discarded. A collage must rely on a kind of alchemy; it must combine ordinary elements into something extraordinary.”


Typographic World Maps



(images via: design ahoy)

Nothing but text – and, in some cases, dreamy splashes of watercolor paint – make up these hand-crafted world maps by Chicago-based designer Nancy McCabe. So minimalist, and yet there is so much to see – you’ll find yourself reading the names of cities which pop out with new clarity against their stark background.


3D Maps of New York Architecture



(images via: ramonespantaleon)

The First Apple series by Ramón Espantaleón is a tribute to New York, particularly in light of the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Espantaleón recreates scale models of the cities in clay, painstakingly constructing each building at 1/65 scale, before using them to cast silicone molds which can then produce recreations made of epoxy resin and polyurethane. Espantaleón, a Madrid native who lived in New York on the day the World Trade Center fell, places these pixelated city blocks onto representations of the Twin Towers.


Maps, Reorganized



(images via: armelle caron)

Like meaningless maps for the obsessive compulsive, these works by Armelle Caron take the components that make up a city and lay them out according to size for a more tidy-looking result. The French artist displays the original maps alongside the decontextualized shapes, also providing wooden cut-outs that can be arranged by visitors.


Map Clothing by Elisabeth Lecourt



(images via: elisabethlecourt.com)

Elisabeth Lecourt of France created this series of children’s clothing called ‘Mapquest’, with vintage styles crafted from folded and cut maps.


Typographic Map of Chicago




(images via: axis maps)


Is it any wonder that some typophiles are so obsessed? Typography, often beautiful and evocative in itself, provides the basis of yet another map, this one of Chicago, created by Axis. Thanks to the colors chosen for various elements, from afar, they look like normal maps, albeit with a bit of artistic flair in the wavy sea.


Crime Rates as Topographic Maps



(images via: dougmccune)

From WebUrbanist: “Who knew that San Francisco had a mountain called ‘Prostitution Peak’? Such hidden ‘landscape features’ are revealed when the city’s crime statistics are analyzed as a 3D topographic map. Data visualization engineer Doug McCune shows how the city’s notorious hills can shift according to the type of crime, from larceny and vandalism to robbery and assault.”


Patterns in Pieces of Maps



(images via: shannonrankin.com)

Maine-based artist Shannon Rankin uses little discs of maps to create installations, collages and drawings “that use the language of maps to explore the connections among geological and biological processes, patterns in nature, geometry and anatomy. Using a variety of distinct styles I intricately cut, score, wrinkle, layer, fold, paint and pin maps to produce revised versions that often become more like the terrains they represent.”


Stunning Transit Maps by Zero Per Zero



(images via: zeroperzero)

This is one transmit map that you’d likely be more than happy to frame and hang on your wall. Seoul graphic designers Zero Per Zero create colorful abstract compositions of the metro systems in Tokyo, Osaka, New York City and other cities around the world.


Map Dresses & Money Maps by Susan Stockwell



(images via: susanstockwell.co.uk)

UK artist Susan Stockwell uses maps to craft stunningly detailed dresses, often with political implications; the dress on the left is ‘Empire Dress’, a Victorian style created with maps of the British Isles, while the right-hand ‘Highland Dress’ depicts a traditional Scottish style made with maps of the Highlands. Stockton also creates ‘money maps’ including ‘America is an Imperial State’, left, made with Chinese yuan, and ‘Afghanistan – A Sorry State’, made with American dollars.


Map Collages & Sculptures by Chris Kenny



(images via: design boom)

Chris Kenny fashions scraps of maps into complex three-dimensional forms, reducing entire continents to strange shapes hung on a wall or turning flat images of the world into globes. Kenny says he replaces “the cartographer’s logic with an absurd imaginative system. The roads float and interact in unlikely combinations that allow one’s mind to ricochet back and forth between disparate locations and associations."

The Bird’s Nest: Fantastic Treehouse Room in a Forest Hotel

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The Bird’s Nest: Fantastic Treehouse Room in a Forest Hotel: [ Filed under Tree Houses & in the Architecture category ]


Remember the amazing floating mirror cube? This is the latest in that same collection, but talk about blending in – it looks like a giant bird nest, complete with a retractable staircase for privacy, security and visual completeness.



Inrednin Gsgruppen used a series of existing trees to support this new cylindrical structure. A healthy helping of fallen forest branches clouds the shape, though, making it appear amorphous and organic.



The sides are pierced with nearly-invisible portholes that allow views out but are obscured by the branch cover to anyone looking up from below (unlike the similarly-named Nest Rest).



So far, so good – the Tree Hotel has 5 rooms and counting … but the best is yet to come: they have another twenty planned for the coming years, so stay tuned.

Inception Chair: Wonderful 10-in-1 Wooden Nesting Chairs

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Inception Chair: Wonderful 10-in-1 Wooden Nesting Chairs: [ Filed under Furniture & in the Chairs category ]


Somewhere between crafty clown cars and artistic Russian nesting dolls sits this uncanny series of seats, each one slotted into the next, titled after a film that probes the depths of the human mind and dizzies us through a ride down into the subconscious.



Vivian Chiu has a notable fondness for abstract patterns, recursive series and other places where physics and math intersect art and design, evidenced by this carefully planned and handcrafted piece.



While the little ones may be a tad small for people to actually sit in, the set taken as a whole is actually stable in structure and able to support human weight (whether comfortable is another question).



“The mechanism works so that the pegs fit into the grooves of the chair one size bigger and slides into place so that the horizontal edge between the chair seat and back line up. The simple mechanism allows the chairs to be taken apart and put together with ease."

Monday, 30 May 2011

Modern Metro: 14 of the World’s Coolest Subway Stations

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Modern Metro: 14 of the World’s Coolest Subway Stations: [ By Steph in Architecture & Design & Travel & Places & Urban Images & Urbanism. ]


Dark, smelly, filthy and crawling with rats – while this may be an accurate description of many subway stations and tunnels around the world, it definitely doesn’t apply to Barcelona’s Drassanes Station, Stockholm’s Tunnelbana, the Munich U-Bahn or 11 other bold, colorful, modern and just plain beautiful stations. Travelers taking these trains can catch a glimpse of a stunning abandoned station in New York, an ancient river under Athens, a nuclear bunker in North Korea and much more.


Kievskaya Station, Moscow, Russia



(images via: bernt rostad, reibai)

No subway station in the world is quite as elaborate as the ornate Kievskaya, a Moscow Metro station in the Dorogomilovo District. The design, which incorporates marble, decorative chandeliers, gold leafing, scrolled details, mosaics and frescos was chosen in an open competition and built in 1954. The mosaics celebrate the unity between Russia and Ukraine.


Drassanes Station, Barcelona, Spain



(images via: the cool hunter)

Bright and open with a futuristic feel, the new look of Barcelona’s Drassanes Station is dramatically different from the dark, aging 1968 infrastructure. Reinvented by ON-A Arquitectura, the station features lightweight white glass-reinforced concrete coverings that were placed right on top of the old surfaces.


Stockholm Tunnelbana, Sweden



(images via: top elegant homes)

Stockholm’s incredible metro tunnels feature stations that make the raw bedrock a bold architectural feature instead of covering it up with artificial surfaces, giving them the feel of a natural system of subterranean caverns. Some of the rock walls and ceilings have been painted with murals, and all 100 stations feature artwork by 140 artists.


Munich U-Bahn, Germany



(images via: jaime.silva, mike knell)

The U-Bahn in Munich is known for its colorful personality, with rainbow hues painted in many of the tunnels and terminals or applied to the walls as tiles. First built in 1972, the Munich subway system has grown to nearly one hundred stations throughout the city, many of which are designed to modern standards with spacious aisles and decorative lighting.


Nuevos Ministerios, Madrid, Spain



(images via: skyscraper city)

The Madrid Metro is mostly notable for two things: massive murals of the city’s skyline that make riders feel as if they’re at an above-ground station, and the giant eyes that stare down ominously from the pillars. Especially paired with a name like ‘Nuevos Ministerios’ (New Ministries), the station has a vaguely dystopian feel.


City Hall Station, New York, New York



(images via: jalopnik)

Passengers willing to take the 6 train all the way past what used to be the last stop in Brooklyn can now get a special treat: a glimpse of the stunning, long-abandoned City Hall station, which has been closed to the public since it shut down in 1945. The train passes through this station on its way back uptown, and while riders used to be forced off at the Brooklyn Bridge stop, they’re currently allowed to stay on.


Bilbao Metro, Spain



(images via: dalbera, laurenmanning, daquella manera)

Designed by esteemed architecture firm Foster + Partners, the Bilbao Metro is is ultramodern yet vaguely organic with glassy, tubular station entrances at street level and lots of steel in the underground stations. Known as ‘Fosteritos’, the glass station entrances have already become an iconic part of the city’s architecture.


Dubai Metro Stations



(images via: ~pyb, petjam)

Dubai’s 47 railway stations were designed by Aedas of Birmingham to combine both traditional and modern architectural elements. “Their uniquely shell shaped roof, while modern, invokes the heritage of pearl diving – this ancient craft that requires skill and bravery brought early prosperity and is an integral part of Dubai’s history,” says Engineer Abdul Majid Al Khaja, CEO of the Rail Agency at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.


Iidabashi Station, Tokyo, Japan



(images via: ventasalud)

Completed in 2000, Tokyo’s Iidabashi station is bright, open and modern with pops of bright green in the form of pillars and a metal web which architect Makoto Watanabe imagines as “interweaving, entangling, expanding, pulsating.” The outside of the station, at street level, features swirling, organically shaped metal and glass designs.


Toronto Museum Station, Canada



(images via: diamond & schmitt architects)

Daniel Libeskind’s addition to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is quite a dazzling sight, so why have an ordinary subway stop just below it? The station was redesigned by Diamond & Schmitt Architects to include columns inspired by artifacts found within the museum. The five column designs represent Canada’s First Nations, Ancient Egypt, Mexico’s Toltec culture, Ancient Chinese culture and Ancient Greece.


Line A, Prague, Czech Republic



(images via: colourlovers)

The tunnels of Prague’s Line A are covered in a colorful patchwork of metallic tiles in flat, convex and concave shapes in hues of gold, silver, green, blue and red; the color scheme differs by station.


Pyongyang Subway System, North Korea



(images via: wikimedia commons, yeowatzup)

Would you expect one of the world’s most beautiful subway systems to be located in… North Korea? The deepest metro in the world at 360 feet below surface level, the Pyongyang metro network is full of colorful murals of propaganda. Thanks to its depth, the system doubles as an emergency nuclear bunker, and could keep many of the city’s citizens safe in the event of nuclear war.


Iridanos Archaological Site, Athens, Greece



(images via: skyscraper city)

In a city as ancient as Athens, it’s easy to imagine coming upon one important archaeological discovery after another if you dig far enough – and that’s exactly what happened when excavators were working on the city’s metro system. The ancient Iridanos River, long lost, was one of those discoveries, found still flowing right where engineers had planned a subway platform. So, this section of the river – still bearing the vaulted construction completed sometime around 200 C.E. – has now become an archaeological display, the largest in any metro station. Visitors to the green line station platform can walk over the exposed river on a glass walkway.


Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, Shanghai, China



(images via: summer park, .curt)

Sure, the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel in Shanghai is a rather cheesy tourist attraction, with what has been described by a Lonely Planet reviewer as “A slow-moving tram, through a comically low-tech tunnel of antiquated 80′s era rope lights, lasers and car dealership ilk inflatables — narrated only by a psychotic stream of random words”. However true that may be, the pictures are still pretty cool to look at, and the tunnel is definitely among the world’s quirkiest and most unusual.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Modular Heat-Free Holders Help Carry Multiple Coffee Cups

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Modular Heat-Free Holders Help Carry Multiple Coffee Cups: [ Filed under Tableware & in the Furnishings category ]


Too hot to handle, most paper coffees-to-go come with rings around them, while cool for-here ceramic mugs are insulted but often awkwardly shaped – neither is ideal if you have to hold more than a few to bring to your friends outside or at the table.



Thus this interlocking series of thermal circles that can help relax your hands rather than trying to balance too many containers of scaling liquid (or lugging around a tray as well as insulating extras). Each slots neatly into the next, forming a group or chain as desired.



There are nonetheless a few apparent problems with this design – how easily, for instance, can one separate the cups upon arrival? If they are to be used for to-go cups, can they be both strong/durable and green/recyclable? And does the barista hand you something else if you only have one cup to carry or not far to travel?



As an idea, at least, it is neat – in practice it could be tricky to implement (and make reusable) with all of the real-world economic, aesthetic and sustainability variables in play. Design by Choi Jungwoo

Hidden Creativity: QR Code Portrait Hides Double Meaning

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Hidden Creativity: QR Code Portrait Hides Double Meaning: [ By Delana in Architecture & Design & Gadgets & Geek Art & Technology & Futurism. ]


Great art is not only beautiful, but deeply meaningful to both the artist and the viewer. Artist Scott Blake has made a name for himself creating art with bar codes: those simple black-and-white stripey codes you find on nearly everything you buy. Now he is experimenting with the bar code’s younger, hipper cousin, the QR code.




(all images via: Walyou)

The QR code (short for quick response) is popping up in the most unusual places these days. It is typically used in advertisements to provide additional information about the product being promoted. Unlike bar codes, no special equipment is needed to extract information from a QR code; they can be read by most smart phones.



Blake’s QR code portrait depicts Amy Goodman, a journalist and host of the independent news program Democracy Now! The portrait features a staggering 2,304 QR codes, all arranged perfectly according to their balance of light and dark to create a surprisingly detailed portrait of Goodman’s face.



The codes take viewers to Democracy Now! videos that span nine years – an impressive collection of art in its own right. The portrait portrays not only the likeness of the person featured, but her life’s work as well.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Verdant Vending: Exceptionally Eco-Friendly Outdoor Kiosk

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Verdant Vending: Exceptionally Eco-Friendly Outdoor Kiosk: [ By Delana in Art & Design & Energy & Fuel & Technology & Gadgets. ]


The EcoKiosk is a self-contained stall for street vendors that relies on clean, renewable energy and Earth-friendly components to make street vending greener than ever. From its solar panels to its rainwater collection system, the EcoKiosk is an ecological marvel from the top down.




Created by Bizarreka Design and a shortlisted entry in the IIDA 2010 World Green Design Competition, the EcoKiosk is a carefully-structured building meant to be used outdoors. Thanks to solar panels that adorn the roof, the small structure doesn’t even need an outside source of electricity. The solar panels can provide power for up to ten hours, allowing the kiosk to be fully operational even after the sun goes down.



The kiosk’s open design makes good use of natural lighting and ventilation, taking advantage of the crosswinds and sunlight that are in bountiful supply outdoors. Even on rainy days, the EcoKiosk works overtime to earn its green cred: it collects rainwater and stores it in a storage tank beneath the main structure. The water will later be filtered and used as tap water or pumped up to the plants that line the sides of the kiosk.



These plants help to soften the appearance of the otherwise-stark and modern EcoKiosk, giving it a look that would be equally suited for food vendors, clothing peddlers and even cell phone providers. The plants are not only there for aesthetics, however; they also help absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide.



The interior design of the EcoKiosk keeps the comfort of both operators and customers in mind. The kiosk is designed in a way that every inch of space is arranged intelligently. The rear part of the kiosk can be extended during working hours so that two workers can move about inside, then retracted during closing hours so that the kiosk takes up less space. A low front counter is meant to provide a comfortable experience for disabled customers who might not be able to see over the counter at a traditional outdoor vendor stall.