An Igloo of Books

Picture this. You’re an Eskimo (or an Inuit – is Eskimo offensive?). You’re in snowy Alaska and have become lost in the middle of nowhere. You’re on your own. It’s cold. You’re cold. You need shelter. So, you use the skills your misplaced tribe recently taught you and build an igloo. You enter the igloo. You’re not so cold anymore. But now you’re faced with another problem: you’re bored. What do you need to quench your boredom while you hopefully await rescuing? You need some books to read! But you don’t have any books on you, nor a Kindle. You’re in a (admittedly unlikely) rut, aren’t you?

Well, Miler Lagos may have solved your problem. The Colombia-based artist, whose exhibitions have been featured all over the globe, has created an igloo – or a dome – made entirely out of books. Handy, right? The installation, which is called Home and which opened in New York last year, was carefully assembled by Lagos, who painstakingly stacked each individual book (spine facing the interior) to create a self-sustaining dome. Whether or not you can actually remove any of the books to have a quick flick through them I’m unsure – the whole structure may topple down and crush you to death. Just in case, make sure you have a Kindle with you on your next venture into Alaska’s freezing wasteland. [Read more...]

All Tied Up: Stunning Artwork Made Entirely Out of Shoelaces

The surrealist works of Colombia-born artist Federico Uribe become even more surreal upon closer inspection, when you discover his creations consist of awe-inspiring assemblies of nothing other than pins and shoelaces. Uribe, who is based in Miami, is no stranger to thinking outside of the box: he has also created artworks consisting of screws, gardening tools, pencils and shoes, among many other household objects, throughout his art career.

To put it lightly, Uribe’s work is extraordinary, and his “Shoe Laces” collection is certainly no exception. In it, he creates startling, humorous and sometimes quite demented images of people with shoes for hands, with their innards exposed, and with the foot of a live chicken positioned between their teeth, all conveyed through just that trusty piece of string that keeps your shoes from slipping off your feet. Check out some of our favourite pieces below, and check out Uribe’s official site for more. [Read more...]

Mind-Bending Playground Designs by Monstrum

Here are some playgrounds that will make you want to be a kid again, or at least make you wish there wasn’t a social stigma against grown adults gleefully frolicking around a children’s play area sans one’s children. Designed by Monstrum, a Danish firm founded by Ole B. Nielsen and Christian Jensen, these playscapes are by far the most remarkable I’ve ever seen. Located all across Europe, their stunningly imaginative features range from the fantastical (a spider web netscape strung up below a giant spider) to the dreamlike (a blue-and-red-striped playscape seemingly designed by Dr. Seuss) and also to the slightly creepy (the bendy playhouse pictured above looks a bit haunted and/or hungry).

They’re practically art installations just as much as they are play areas, and Monstrum is certainly very enthusiastic about them. “MONSTRUM believes that playground design should be a reflection of the world surrounding us,” says their official website. “We see the world as a place full of colour. We meet boys that like pink and girls that likes trees, so why only play on a monkey frame and a sandbox, when you can play in a moon crater or a submarine or a giant spider or an enormous snail or a Trojan horse or a rocket or an ant or a princess castle. The fantasy is infinite.” [Read more...]

Small Worlds: Absurd Suburban Landscapes in Small-Scale

Take a quick glance at the image above and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it depicts nothing more than a boring, commonplace apartment block, perhaps the kind you pass by every day on your equally boring work commute. Take a longer look and you may come to suspect that the workers who built this drearily designed construction became confused over how exactly a balcony works (a stroll outside the balcony door will surely result in imminent death). Take a closer look and you may come to realize that the logically challenged building depicted in the image above is not a building at all, or at least not one compatible with human use.

This is in fact a small-scale model created and captured by German photographer and artist Frank Kunert. Entitled “Apartment with Balcony,” it is part of Kunert’s satirical “Small Worlds” series, in which he assembles meticulously detailed, ingeniously absurd urban environments and photographs them for our viewing pleasure. Like the rest of the project’s entries, “Apartment with Balcony” was painstakingly modelled with deco boards, plasticine and paint, and was not photographed until Kunert was certain that it was absolutely perfect; as you can see, it looks glorious. If you wish, check out the rest of the series below, which is sure to raise a smile, a giggle and a ton of admiration. [Read more...]

Zhang Yimou Portrait Made of… Socks?

Shanghai-based artist Hong Yi is certainly not the most conventional of artists; while most virtuosos in the world of art construct their creations with paint or pencil or metal or marble, Yi (who prefers to be called “Red”) uses any everyday object she can get her talented little hands on, and does wonders with them. In the past, Red has assembled portraits of Taiwanese actor-singer Jay Chou out of coffee stains, of Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber using Korean chilli paste, and of Chinese basketball player Yao Ming, painted not with a paintbrush but – rather appropriately – with a basketball.

Her latest project is no less peculiar: it is a portrait of famed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou (director of martial arts action flicks “Hero” and “House of Flying Daggers”), made entirely out of bamboo sticks, pins and 750 pairs of socks. Why socks? “When I first moved to Shanghai, I stumbled upon an old residential alleyway and saw bamboo sticks poking out of windows with laundry hanging onto them, waving in the air,” explains Red. “I thought that was an incredibly beautiful sight. And the amazing thing is seeing something so traditional in a modern, bustling city like Shanghai.” [Read more...]