Moon Boat Salt & Pepper Shakers by Zhao Liping


 ©Zhao Liping

Moon Boat is a set of salt and pepper shakers by Chinese designer Zhao Liping.

 ©Zhao Liping

Zhao posits that the form of the design was inspired by the curves of the moon and the boat. While she does not state this explicitly, the design harks back to a popular childhood ditty titled “Curvy Moon”:

  In the faraway night sky,                                                                                                         Under the curvy moon,                                                                                                                 Is a curvy bridge.                                                                                                                 Beside the curvy bridge                                                                                                               Is a small curvy boat.                                                                                                             Sailing on the curvy boat                                                                                                             Is the girl from my childhood.[…]

©Zhao Liping

Incidentally, Zhao forwards that the egg-shaped salt and pepper shakers are like two mischievous kids playing on the boat under the moon, and that the design serves to remind people of their childhood times. Like the Cloud Lamp, the Moon Boat mixes playfulness with poetry, in a unique design language that Zhao has developed of her own.

Zhao Liping is a Chinese product designer. 

Reference: Zhao Liping

Thursday Feature: Junya Ishigami [a new generation of Japanese architects]


The works of Junya Ishigami are arguably the most provocative and transcendental (both conceptually and visually) of this intriguing current generation of Japanese architects. Or more precisely, of his contemporaries anywhere in the world today. Born in 1974, he delves into and straddles the ambiguous boundaries between art and architecture.

He takes apart conventional notions of the materiality, scale, structure of architecture. But it is not for the mere vanity of doing so, but rather to create a new scale of architecture that returns to the natural and elemental. For him, “in nature structure and space are not divided. Air is space but it also has a structure. But architecture divides these things.” Thus, Ishigami’s works push the norms of structure and material to the extreme, resulting in almost invisible structures that blur the distinctions between architecture and nature.

Although his built repertoire is currently small with the majority being architectural/art installations and, the depth of experimentation and imagination that his works entail separates him from the rest. Here’s a sampling of his genius:

“Architecture as Air” | The Curve, Barbican Art Gallery | London, UK | 28 June 2011 – 16 October 2011

                                                                                                                               Image: aestheticamagazine.blogspot.com

In this very recent work he presents an oxymoron – a nearly invisible structure. On first glance one merely sees the curved gallery space. Closer scrutiny reveals a sequence of extremely fine vertical “columns” along the length of the gallery. 4 metres in height, these 53 “columns” are a slender 0.9mm thick and hand-rolled from carbon fibre sheet. They stand braced by a series of 2756 diagonal members, and beams run between the columns as well. The entire structure weighs in at a shocking 300g, a piece of virtuoso engineering accomplished with the help of Jun Sato Structural Engineers. Beyond the engineering, it takes architectural possibilities and understanding of scale, structure and material into a new dimension.

It is an extension of his earlier installation “Architecture as air: study for château la coste” which was first shown at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010 where it won the highest prize – the Golden Lion.

“Another Scale of Architecture” | Toyota Municipal Museum of Art | Nagoya, Japan | 2010

The title of the exhibition is self-explanatory.

                                                                                                                                                     Images: Fomal Haut @ Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fomalhaut/sets/72157625119007922/

“Balloon” | Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art | Tokyo, Japan | 2008

                                                                                                                                              Images: http://www.architonic.com

This installation takes the form of an aluminium parallelotope that weighs about a tonne. Filled with helium, it floats freely and randomly within the atrium space, constantly changing the quality and nature of the interstitial space. Ishigami makes allusions to nature again in this installation, essentially juxtaposing the weight of a mountain and the lightness of a cloud. An intriguing interplay of perception, scale and material.

Yohji Yamamoto Gansevoort Street Store | New York, USA | 2008

                                                                                                                                              Images: http://www.architonic.com

Located in the transient Meat Packing district of New York, the angular geometry of the building was informed by the footprint of the brick building that previously sat on the site. Ishigami spliced the architecture into two parts – the tip of the wedge as a product display space; the other part as the shop proper – to create street of activity through the spaces.

                                                                                                                                              Image: http://www.architonic.com

In terms of crafting perception, the starkly acute angles give the impression of a depthless building as if it was a stage set. This is fortified by the break in the facade, which lend views of the urban landscape beyond. Unfortunately, the store has since closed.

Japanese Pavilion | Venice Biennale 2008 | Venice, Italy | 2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                Image: http://www.guardian.co.uk

Essentially a series of ephemeral greenhouses infused with plants, it challenges structural norms and dissolves the stark divisions of architecture and landscape into an environment where the two are nearly miscible. The interiors are filled with Ishigami’s intriguing drawings.

                                                                                                                                                 Image: http://www.architonic.com

Kanagawa Institute of Technology Workshop | Kanagawa, Japan | 2007

His most important architecture work to date, this design workshop presents an open plan sprinkled with random groupings of slender tree-like columns that provide support to a flat floor. Filled with plants and coupled with an overall sense of lightness and transparency, the whole spatial atmosphere is like a “boundless landscape” as Ishigami has described it.

                                                                                                                                                          Images: http://www.iwan.com

                                                                                                                                                 Image: http://www.architonic.com

Dafen Art Gallery by Urbanus


 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Dafen Art Gallery by Urbanus is located at the Dafen Oil Painting Village in Shenzhen, China.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The Dafen Art Gallery is built in the most unlikely of places, within a commercial and residential part of the city. The objective of the gallery is to combine culture and commerce with everyday life.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The Gallery was commissioned by the state in recognition of the commercial value of cultural production. The Dafen Artist Village, famous for its small galleries that produce replicas of oil paintings, generates billions in revenue a year through the export of its products internationally.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The Gallery is to tap onto the synergy of the village and to become a new cultural centre that allows for the co-existence of high and low art, where exhibition and trade occur simultaneously.

In order to achieve this, the connection of the Gallery to its surroundings is of utmost importance. Different pathways at different levels were designed to channel people into the site.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Plaza spaces were also created in front of the gallery for vendors of oil painting replicas to exhibit and sell their artworks.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Besides exhibition spaces, there are also studios spaces for rent within the gallery complex.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Urbanus is a architecture and urban design practice with offices in Shenzhen and Beijing. The firm’s works have been featured in publications such as Abitare, a+u, and Domus.

References: Zhulong, Baidu Library, CAMA

TM Studio Office by TM Studio


Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

Based in Shanghai, China, TM Studio is headed by principal architect Tong Ming.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

In the renovation of their office space, a small residential unit located near Tongji University, all the non-supporting walls were torn down, expended, and merged to create one central space.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

Following that, entire walls and ceilings were cladded with wood. Movable and foldable wooden doors were then installed, to achieve a functional flexibility that equips the studio to deal with different occasions.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

Via: Chinese-Architects

Blur Hotel by Studio Pei-Zhu


Image: studiopeizhu.com

Blur Hotel by Studio Pei-Zhu is an additions and alterations project located in Beijing, China.

Image: studiopeizhu.com

The existing building, a government office described as a “backward looking pastische”, is located next to the Western Gate of the Forbidden City.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

In order to integrate the building into the historic fabric of the area, a continuous and semi-transparent façade was wrapped around the government office.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

Made in the image of a Chinese lantern, the building lights up at night to reveal the activities taking place within.

Image: studiopeizhu.com

Other strategies employed in the refurbishment include the integration of the building with its surrounding architectural typology of the courtyard house. This is achieved through the creation of alternating vertical courtyards by carving into the concrete slab floors of the existing.

In addition, the ground floor is also opened up by assigning to it public-oriented programs.

Image: studiopeizhu.comImage: studiopeizhu.com
Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

Image: studiopeizhu.com

Image: studiopeizhu.com

Image: studiopeizhu.com

Image: studiopeizhu.com

Studio Pei-Zhu is a Beijing-based architectural firm headed by Pei-Zhu. Its designs have been featured on Domus and Architectural Record.

References: Chinese-Architects, Studio Pei-Zhu

Friday Humor: 10 Most Suggestive Building Technical Terms


Base Angle
An angle secured to the foundation and used to attach the bottom of the wall paneling.

Butt Plate
The end plate of a structural member used to rest against a like plate of another member in forming a connection.

Erection
The on-site assembling of fabricated Building Systems components to form a completed structure.

Framed Opening
Jamb, headers and flashing which surround an opening in the wall of a building.

Header
The horizontal framing member located at the top of a framed opening.

Peak
The uppermost point of a gable.

Reactions
The resisting forces at the column bases holding the structure in equilibrium under a given loading condition.

Sag Angle
A tension member used to limit the deflection of a girt or purlin in the direction of its weak axis.

Stud
A vertical wall member to which exterior or interior covering or collateral material may be attached. May be either load bearing or non-load bearing.

Uplift
Wind load on a building, which causes a load in the upward direction.

Pumplight by PEGA D&E


Image: http://www.cngadget.cn

Pumplight by Pega D&E is an interactive lamp that can be inflated and deflated like a balloon.

Image: http://www.cngadget.cn

Pumplight is lighted up by literally pumping air into the balloon, which acts as a lampshade. Setting up a direct relationship between the volume of air and the intensity of illumination, a bigger balloon emits a brighter light.

Image: http://www.p1.cn

To switch off the lamp, air is let out of the escape valve. As the balloon returns to its original size, light also fades out.

Image: http://www.p1.cn

When the balloon reaches a certain size, it will stop expanding. If air continues to be pumped in, the balloon will burst. However, it is replaceable, just like any other lampshade.

All these is made possible by an IR sensor, which controls the intensity of illumination by detecting the volume of air in the balloon.

 

Pega D&E is an independent design consultancy established in 2008 with offices in Taipei and Shanghai. 

Via: CNGarget; Pega D&E