Last week, competition organizers announced the winners of Architect’s Eye– a competition for architects that love to photograph buildings. Architect’s Eye is divided into two categories: the first is Architecture and Place, the second is Architecture and People. The winner of the first category is Simon Kennedy, who photographed the ghostly-appearing and absolutely abandoned Heygate estate:
Designed by Tim Tinker, the Heygate was completed in 1974 and was once a popular place to live, the flats thought to be light and spacious, but the estate later developed a reputation for crime, poverty and dilapidation. The sheer scale of many of the blocks also meant there was little sense of community. Subjected to urban decay and now abandoned, the Heygate estate is currently being demolished to make way for 2,500 new homes.
By contrast, the winner of the Architecture and People category was taken by Neil Dusheiko on the rooftop of Unite d’Habitation. Built by Corbusier, the Unite is still vibrant and loved by the folks that live there, even though it’s decades older than the estate now scheduled for demolition. The photo taken by Dusheiko depicts the success of the Unite in drawing people together on the communal rooftop (complete with sculptural mechanical exhaust stacks) but what is in that glassy room that overlooks the pool?
P.S. The lowest photo (taken by Chris Drummond) is the runner up in the Architecture and People category– showing the traces of people on the wall of the underground. To me, it looks a little bit like the traces of sweaty snowmen. Or snowwomen.
It might be winter in the northern hemisphere but today’s wallpaper from Tymn Armstrong is a welcoming, sunny image. Tymn is a Florida based illustrator and designer who’s work is clean, bold and simple. Projects like the logo he did for video artist Pogo are inventive and timeless looking, and the physical stuff he makes are totally rad. I really love his wallpaper because it’s so warm and cheery. I put this as my wallpaper and it literally glows, it’s really, really nice. A big thanks to Tymn for making this!
Trudging around Flickr the other day I came across these wonderfully colorful pieces by Seoul, South Korea artist JunkHouse. Her work is really exciting to me because of her remarkable ability to create it not only in acrylics, but colorful tape as well. The top two pieces are simple strips of plastic tape laid out into these brightly colored shapes which she lovingly calls “mutants.” The last piece there is acrylic on canvas, though you probably can’t tell much of a difference between it and her street pieces.
New Zealander photographer Chris Sisarich took these photographs while on an assignment in Egypt. At the time he was shooting a tourism campaign, but every moment that he had free he would turn his lens onto these incredible empty landscapes. I love how these barren views show the hostility of the desert, as well as the surrealisim of the marks left by man.
Sisarich summarizes these images particularly well:
It was hard to tell whether I’m looking at all that’s left after a futile attempt at taming the desert, or witnessing the first tentative steps towards creating somewhere people can live. These are spaces defined by their negative space, blessed with light – which is sliding in from all directions.
For me, these pictures look more like photos from a science-fiction film then anything on Earth. The complete set is called ‘Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere’ and it can be viewed here.
Tomorrow morning Philip will be posting some photographs very light in nature, so I thought I’d post the opposite. This photo series by Josh Poehlein is called Dark Cities, a series of cityscapes which have been brought to the edge of blackness, yet you can still manage to make out subtle details. It’s a really interesting effect, I’m not really sure how he did it. I’d guess he either took a long exposure of the city and then adjusted it digitally, or the photos were actually taken during the day and then adjusted them in Photoshop and added in the stars manually. Either way the effect is really interesting and these would be great to see blown up to a huge scale.
White Arkitekter has recently completed the Naturum Vattrenriket Visitors Center in the small, scenic town of Kristianstad. Built on the banks of the Helge River, the Swedish town is surrounded by wetlands and nature reserves… so it’s not too surprising that their new visitors center houses exhibits about the surrounding ecosystems. (Red-listed species indigenous to the area include the odd-sounding corncrake along with the great raft spider, which sounds a bit more menacing.)
While digging around the internets, I found this video taken around the town, the visitors center and moving along the elevated wooden bridges, over the water, and toward the later part, wandering around the dioramas, giant globes and shallow tanks that populate the interior of the building. It’s an entirely pleasant project filled with daylight and clad in graying timber. It’s also one of the tallest things around, affording visitors uncommon vistas of their habitat, which might look a little bleak in winter, but when it’s that cold out you don’t have to worry about the great raft spiders lurking underneath those long wooden bridges.
Loretta Lux is a photographer whose work instantly grabs your attention. I was flicking through an old journal of mine when I came across one of her images and it has stuck with me all day. Her portraits of children are as beautiful as they are unsettling, and as mesmerizing as they are eerie.
Lux is originally from Dresden but now living and working in Monaco. She creates her photographs with a combination of techniques including paining and digital manipulation. As times it can take her up to three months to produce a single image. For me, there’s a Norman Rockwell quality in her work and yet where Rockwell imbues his images with humor, Lux’s photographs seem far more restrained.
The way in which each photograph is manipulated means that her portraits fall into the uncanny valley, and from here the viewer begins to question whether or not these children are actually real. Personally I believe that they feed into that sub-genre of horror that plays on a ‘fear of children’. It’s not too hard to draw a connection between the images above and that of say Damien in the Omen or the famous twins seen in The Shining. Then again, perhaps that reading says far more about me then it does of Lux’s work. Maybe judge for yourself and check out the rest of her work online here
I’ve been wanting to write a post about Instagram for a while, as it’s probably the one app I use most. For a long time there were a number of people talking about how iPhone photos, and Instagram photos in turn, weren’t “real”, basically that they held no value. I say bullshit. Instagram has opened up a new world of art and community that couldn’t have existed without the iPhone or app culture.
When I read this article by Nate Bolt over on Techcrunch it was basically all of my thoughts wrapped up into one, concise article. Nate does a great job of outlining what makes Instagram special: Quality, Audience, Access, Immediacy and Constraints. The final point, Constraint, is exactly why Instagram works, here’s what Nate has to say:
It might seem trivial, but showing one photo at a time is a design decision that creates more value for each image, and enhances your viewing experience. Plus it doesn’t hurt to have the images trapped inside a beautiful iPhone screen. It almost doesn’t matter who you follow—their photos probably look better one at a time. From a UX perspective, we keep learning that interfaces with constraints are successful, and it seems like such a straight-forward principle (140 characters, ahem), but it’s kind of worthless on it’s own. Obviously you can’t introduce constraints without other elements, which is why this is the last point. There’s something enticing about knowing that most Instagram photos are created on the iPhone, since it introduces a NASCAR-like equality. That makes it fun to see what other people can create with the same technical constraints you have. Photography has always been all about the equipment, and not at all about the equipment. Knowing millions of people are creating with roughly the same camera and app as you makes it exciting creatively. So constraints, combined with quality and an audience are what makes Instagram so addictive.
Above is a photo I took of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Reservoir. If you look in the back you can see a thin white line, which is actually the Pacific Ocean. The camera is on the iPhone 4 is amazing, and the social aspect of Instagram allows me to share this amazing site with my friends. Be sure to read Nate’s article, it’s a winner, and if you’re not on Instagram, what are you waiting for?
I figured to get your creative juices flowing for the Romeo and Juliet Re-Covered Books Contest I should point you to a guy who’s creating amazing covers. His name is Peter Medelsund and he’s the senior designer at Knopf, making covers both complex and minimal, but always getting the point across. I was introduced to Peter’s work through his Kafka covers, which I posted about back in January. Since then I’ve followed his work, soaking in and figuring out what he does and how he does it.
What I really appreciate about Mendelsund’s work is how effortless he makes it seem. I’m sure he labors and toils while he dreams up these covers, but you wouldn’t know. His work adorns the covers of books from all genres, manga to poetry, but each one looks and feels special. I’d suggest looking over the links below as well as reading this interview he did with design:related to get his backstory.