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Snow Drawings by Sonja Hinrichsen

These huge patterns looks like they’re from a fairy tale, as though they’ve been carved into freshly fallen snow by magic. Designed by San Francisco-based artist Sonja Hinrichsen, these ‘Snow Drawings’ illustrate the beauty of non-permanent nature-based artwork.

With the help of a few volunteers and some snow boots as her artistic tool, Hinrichsen stomps her installations into snow, creating patterns which resemble geoglyphs, large-scale landscape works that pre-date modern history. Although captured in photographs, Hinrichsen's work reminds us how non-permanent art makes for a more sustainable environment, and her designs are more precious as we have a limited time to view them.

To view more of her work, click here.

All image credits: Sonja Hinrichsen

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Interloop, Chris Fox

Above the escalators of Sydney’s heritage-listed Wynyard Railway Station is a sculpture called 'Interloop'. Designed by artist Chris Fox, Interloop references the station’s architectural past, whilst celebrating its heritage.

In 2016, Wynyard Station’s wooden escalators were replaced with modern metal escalators which are less of a safety risk. As part of the $100 million redevelopments of the station, Fox took the station’s iconic timber escalators treads and transformed them into his fantastical design. Interloop took 12 weeks to construct, 48 hours to install and is five tonnes in weight.

To view more about the sculpture, visit Fox's website.

All image credits: Chris Fox.

Waterlitch, Studio Roosegaarde

Highlighting the importance of water conservation and rising sea levels, Studio Roosegaarde’s Waterlicht is designed as a ‘virtual flood’ to remind visitors about the importance, impact and potential of water. Waterlicht's dreamy landscape looks similar to the ethereal structure of the Aurora Borealis and last year, was cast into the atmosphere of cities all over the world, most recently appearing in Toronto to showcase the rising water levels around the city’s shoreline. Made from a combination of lenses and LEDs, Waterlicht floats upon visitors’ heads creating a sapphire layer of light which moves and fluctuates when exposed to the ever-changing elements.

Video and image credits: Studio Roosegarde

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Dieter Cöllen's cork architectural models

German designer, Dieter Cöllen, creates cork-based models of ancient buildings, carving the material in minute detail to illustrate the splendour of ancient architecture.

Carving buildings and ruins of Roman, Greek and Egyptian architecture, Cöllens’s work has been exhibited across the globe in exhibitions, museums and private collections. His detailing of the texture of stone demonstrates how cork can be used to create exquisite models which blur the lines between art and architecture.

To view more of Cöllens’s work, click here.

All image credits: Dieter Cöllens.

Algaculture, BurtonNitta

Algaculture is a speculative design project by BurtonNitta exploring the relationship between humans and algae. The project envisages a future where our biology will be enhanced with algae living inside and outside our bodies, allowing us to be semi-photosynthetic. BurtonNitta envision algae covering the outside of our skin, making our physiology ‘plant-like’ by gaining energy from sunlight. Consequently, humans and algae will depend on each other for survival and develop a symbiotic relationship.

Video and photo credit: BurtonNitta

Matt Shlian's paper sculptures

Matt Shlian designs geometric paper sculptures which are influenced by the detailed forms of Islamic tile patterns, solar cells, music and biomimetics. Shilian uses a variety of papers depending on the project; for his white sculptures he uses an acid free paper called Foxriver Coronado, and for his coloured sculptures he uses Colorplan and Canson. He uses PVA glue and needle point dispensers which gives the paper the ability to fold. Shilan has learnt to make his sculptures by experimentation and takes things apart to then put them together again. “Getting something wrong is way more important to learning that copying something perfectly,” he says.

To view more of his work, visit his website.

Image credits: Matt Shlian

Coal: Post: Fuel at London Design Biennale

At this year’s London Design Biennale, Sweden exhibited Coal: post-fuel exploring a speculative future of coal. The project presented a future alternative use of coal, with the aim to give visitors the opportunity to see and think about the material differently. Designed by London-based designer, Jesper Eriksson, the exhibition exposed the material’s raw beauty, transforming it (from material often thought of as cheap and dirty), into one that resembles shiny black marble. Eriksson’s installation consists of furniture, floor and sculptural pieces all of which are solely made out of coal.

 All image credits: Ed Reeve

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Joshua Abarbanel's wooden sculptures

Exploring nature's ever-changing patterns and the contrast between natural and mechanical forms, Joshua Abarbanel creates wooden sculptures bursting with floral motifs. Using a laser cutter as his tool, instead of water and seedlings, Abarbanel’s curled and curvaceous earth-coloured forms looks as though they have grown organically, sprouting bark instead of petals. Reflecting both the macro and microscopic patterns found in various plant species, Abarbanel’s precisely cut layers of timber reflect the randomness, yet perfect symmetry found in natural forms.

To view more of his work, click here.

All image credits: Joshua Abarbanel

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Tom Hegen’s Ice Pattern series

Taking his photographs 250 meters above the ground, photographer Tom Hegen has captured the detailed patterns of a frozen lake in Germany. The icy blue and white patterns and textures resemble the swirling structure of a marble surface. To photograph his abstract landscape pieces, Hegen uses a self-built drone which allows him to capture a bird’s eye view of the natural landscapes. Hegen’s book Habitat explores the geological age, documenting how humans have impacted the world's atmospheric processes and how climate change has altered the appearance of natural landscapes.

To view more of his work, click here.

All image credits: Tom Hegen

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Interwoven, Diana Scherer

Diana Scherer explores humankind’s desire to control natural systems by manipulating plant roots as if they were yarn. Collaborating with material scientists and biologists, Scherer intervenes in the natural network of plant root systems to construct a textile-like material. I first saw Scherer's work at the V&A's Fashioned from Nature exhibition and I was taken a aback by the detail and originality of her project.

In constructing Interwoven, Scherer designs art nouveau-inspired patterns for plant roots to weave their way through. Scherer tests diverse plant and grass species, researching how well each species responds to her carefully constructed environment. Once the roots have woven through the design, the textile is dried, taking its final form. The natural material can be applied to interior design objects and currently, Scherer is furthering her textile research and collaborating with scientists at Radboud University in the Netherlands.

To view more of Scherer's work, visit her website.

Image credits: Anna Marks

Futurelab: biodesign will save our planet

Atelier Aitken is a design company envisioning how we can re-naturalized the earth. They've created some great projects, from tequila chandeliers to biodesign exhibitions, and their ‘futurelab’ department is developing forward-thinking solutions using biotechnology and virtual and augmented reality to address the future of our built environment. The integration of these technologies will birth developments that don’t rely on fossil fuels while harnessing living materials cultured by tissues and plants. 

Projects include: bacteria activating sandstone and erosion control, living buildings with vertical food cultivation, zero carbon housing, algae processing as a food source, 3D printed modular bio-panels, chemical-free hydrogel membrane, bioluminescent lighting suspension pods. To check out all their projects click here.

Image & video credits: Atelier Aitken

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Origami-inspired sculpture lights up Columbus

Situated next to Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church in Columbus, 'Synergia' is an architectural project made by Professor Jiangmei Wu and the students at IU School of Art, Architecture, and Design in Bloomington. Built as a biomimetic polyhedron with interlocking layers, the installation is made out of translucent laser cut plastic sheets and assembled similarly to the way Lego is slotted into place.

Each of the plastic sheets forms 500 polyhedrons, which are 2-4 feet long creating a hexagonal shape. A frequent aesthetic in natural designs, hexagonal shapes are found in the cells bees produce, and the compact eyes of an insect.

All image credits: Tony Vasquez

Tattooing mushrooms

Theresa Schubert is an experimental artist based in Berlin and I'm particularly interested in her project 'Growing Geometries - tattooing mushrooms.' Here, Schubert tattooed geometrical patterns onto growing fungi, then observed how the patterns changed over time as the mushrooms grew.

The project investigates how imagery can be altered by natural processes and how the tattooed drawings change as the fungi’s membranes change. As Schubert says, "The mushrooms are tattooed when they are still small. While the fruiting body is growing, the shape of the mushroom membrane expands - hence the tattooed image changes as well." The project investigates the growth processes of our changing society- how patterns and imagery change as we do.

Image & video credits: Theresa Schubert

Artist spends 30 days in total darkness

Bryan Saunders just spent the last 30 days totally blind. In his latest art project, he illustrated various abstract art pieces and self-portraits over the course of a month which depict his experience of being cast into darkness and his observations around him. His hearing became fine-tuned, his senses heightened, and his illustrations depict his boredom, frustration and his altered sense of time and space. I interviewed Bryan a while ago about his other experimental projects- check it out here