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A “Snowflake Camera” that captures the extraordinary details of Snow Crystals

Billions of tiny crystals with individual grooves and feathered offshoots

 

It’s easy to forget that the mounds of snow lining sidewalks each winter actually are comprised of billions of tiny crystals with individual grooves and feathered offshoots. A trio of photographs taken by Nathan Myhrvold, though, serves as a stunning reminder of that fact as they expose the intricacies hidden within each molecule.

 

To capture such crisp images, the Seattle-born photographer traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska, and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, where temperatures plunged to –20 °F. “Water, an incredibly familiar thing to all of us, is quite unfamiliar when you see it in this different view. The intricate beauty of snowflakes is derived from their crystal structure, which is a direct reflection of the microscopic aspects of the water molecule,” he says.

 

Formally trained in physics, Myhrvold spent 18 months building a custom camera with a cooled-stage microscope to ensure that the flakes remained frozen as he shot. Short-pulse, high-speed LED lights reduce the heat the instrument emits, and at a minimum, its shutter speed clocks in at 500 microseconds.

 

Myhrvold says it’s the highest-resolution snowflake camera in existence.

 

 

This content is an article published in Colossal, in November 2020, by Grace Ebert. 

Elegant Eats and Bread-Based Fare Form Quirky Interventions

Elegant eats and bread-based fare form quirky interventions in Jill Burrow’s photographs

 

 

From her home in Kansas City, Missouri, photographer Jill Burrow composes elegant dining tableaus captured in the fleeting light of golden hour. Complete with floral arrangements and unusual additions,  Burrow’s fare distinctly exhibits the artistic potential of a simple meal when presented in unorthodox settings.

 

Her shadow-filled images frame a picnic spread hanging from a washline, a humble breakfast submerged in water, and a quirky still life of bread-based cookware.

 

Although she’s adept at transforming a simple piece of toast into a dandelion-studded canvas, Burrow’s forays into cooking and baking are recent. “I have always enjoyed cooking but never felt a creative connection to it, so when I started creating art and creative sets I realized how diverse and creative food is. Food is already so vibrant and full of life and pleasure, and it is quite easy to transform and change into unexpected works of art,” she says.

 

Ultimately, Burrow hopes her sculpted butters and arranged berries convey an alternate vision for understanding life. “My main goal is to create a world where people who don’t have the typical brain might feel stimulated and inspired. I have always seen the world differently,” she says.

 

 

This content is an article published in Colossal, in October 2020, by Grace Ebert.

Flocks of Starlings Swell Above the Danish Marshlands

Black Sun: Amorphous flocks of Starlings swell above the Danish marshlands

 

 

Captured in the marshlands of southern Denmark, Soren Solkaer’s ongoing project documents one of nature’s most mesmerizing phenomena.

 

BLACK SUN focuses on the quiet landscapes of the Danish photographer’s childhood where nearly one million starlings congregate during the vernal and autumnal seasons. Set at dusk, the photographs frame the migratory birds as they take to the sky in murmurations, amorphous groups that transform the individual creatures into a unified entity.

 

The fluctuating flight patterns swell above the horizon as the birds move from tree to tree or sometimes, in response to an impending threat. “Now and then, by the added drama of attacking birds of prey, the flock will unfold a breathtaking and veritable ballet of life or death,” Solkær says, further comparing their airborne appearance to inky sketches or calligraphy. He expands on the starlings’ adaptability:

 

At times the flock seems to possess the cohesive power of super fluids, changing shape in an endless flux: From geometric to organic, from solid to fluid, from matter to ethereal, from reality to dream—an exchange in which real-time ceases to exist and mythical time pervades. This is the moment I have attempted to capture—a fragment of eternity.

 

BLACK SUN culminates in a forthcoming book by the same name, which will be released November 16 and is available for pre-order in SOLKAER’S SHOP, along with prints and some of his other works.

 

You can follow the photographer on Instagram to keep up with his phenomenological projects.

 

 

This content is an article published in Colossal, in November 2020, by Grace Ebert.

Faux Taxidermy and Anatomical Sculptures

Florals, Beads and Lace Embellish Whimsical Faux Taxidermy and Anatomical Sculptures

 

 

Based in Austria, Natalia Lubieniecka scours Vienna’s markets for antique objects, fabrics, and anatomical posters that eventually inform and meld into her peculiar sculptures. Whether it be a blush-colored heart enveloped in florals, a supine frog with exposed entrails, or a deceased bird covered in a lace bodice, her fantastical works speak to the fragile relationship between life and death.

The sculptor tells that her interest in organs and bodies began after a visit to Naturhistorische Museum Wien, where she encountered taxidermy of birds, insects, and other animals.

 

Her favorite piece, though, is her faux anatomical heart because it pushed her to expand her source material. “I think that human and animal anatomy has something magical about it. Each organ is responsible not only for the functioning of the body, but also for feelings, thoughts, and emotions, and these transport us to another magical dimension,” she said.

 

 

 

Extract published on Colossal, April 2020

Delicate paintings by Lee Me Kyeoung

Delicate Paintings by Lee Me Kyeoung detail the small convenience stores throughout South Korea

 

Peeking through peach blossoms or nestled into a snowy landscape, the tiny shops that Lee Me Kyeoungrenders are found across South Korea, from Mokpo to Jeju and Seoul to Gapyeong.

The artist already has spent decades speaking with the store owners and weaving their stories into her delicate paintings as part of her ongoing A Small Store series. Her most recent works encapsulate the experience of standing in front of the establishments by capturing every detail: the multicolored goods evenly stacked, advertisements posted in the windows, bikes parked out front, and the sloping tiled roofs.

 

Me Kyeoung’s work recently culminated in a book detailing the still-open locations for those interested in visiting the shops in person. The prolific artist also shares updates on future exhibitions, in addition to photographs of the original stores she visits, on Instagram.

 

 

This content is an abstract from This is Colossal, July 20, 2020. Grace Ebert

Dried Botanics pressed into delicate Fauna Compositions

England-based artist Helen Ahpornsiri presses delicate flowers and plants into wondrous artworks that depict the colorful diversity of the natural world

By foraging botanics from her garden, Ahpornsiri pieces the dried natural matter together in a manner that’s similar to constructing a jigsaw puzzle.

 

“I prefer to use fern and common wildflower species as I like the idea of giving something unassuming, or thought of as a weed, a new narrative—and they are relatively easy to grow!” she says. “The marine algae I use is foraged from beaches on the south coast of England.

 

I search for loose pieces of marine algae along strandlines and in rockpools, especially after stormy seas, to avoid being disruptive to the surrounding ecosystem.”

The artist’s collection features mammals and insects from across the animal kingdom—ranging from peacocks and bees to elephants—some of which are aligned with tiny pieces of gold leaf that reflect the sparkling color and vibrancy of the species she creates.

 

Upon close inspection, the flowers’ color appears faded from the drying process, similar to the way watercolors dry and bleed into their canvas. In one of the artist’s most recent pieces, a comet moth is mounted on black board, with its antenna crafted from a minuscule leaf that elegantly depicts the fragility of the insect’s anatomy.

 

 

This content is an abstract from an article published on ThisisColossal, May 2020

Supersized animals take over the city in fantastical images

As people across the world stay at home, artist vadim solovyov imagines our city streets inhabited by larger-than-life creatures in a somewhat dystopian reality. 

With St. Petersburg as the backdrop, all manner of giant animals is depicted taking over the urban environment. from a pigeon as big as a tower block to a monstrous octopus invading a bus, the images range between curiously surreal to mildly disconcerting.

 

Like many things during the COVID-19 pandemic the images take on a new meaning in the current climate. 

 

As mankind pauses from the usual grind, empty streets have seen the return of urban wildlife in different parts of the world. With Solovyov’s fantastically enormous animals, the compositions can’t help provoke thought on our environment.

The collection of creatures can be marvelled at on the artist’s Instagram, where each image is accompanied by a dystopian narration.

 

It was the ‘godknowswhat’ day of isolation. Giant ultra-raccoons began to return to the rivers of St. Petersburg. They quietly make their way through the deserted evening city to the quays and timidly rinse something in the water. Carefully. At least 20 seconds. One day the city will be alive again, filled with people, and the wool giants will have to go back to the forest. This is nature. But for now, we will stay at home. And ultra-raccoons will cautiously wander between our houses, gently lowering their huge paws on the empty avenues.”

 

 

This content is an abstract from DesignBoom, April 2020. All images courtesy of Vadim Solovyov

9 Standout Packaging Designs

This post is an extract of article published on Creativebloq.com, on March 16, 2020.

 

Packaging design surrounds us, wherever we are. Creating an eye-catching packaging design that suits the product, stands out on crowded shelves, and doesn’t cost a fortune to produce is a real challenge.

 

And now more than ever, there’s the concern of environmental impact. Increasingly, ‘excess’ packaging or non-eco-friendly materials will result in a backlash from potential customers. Throw in a challenging economic landscape for retailers, and it’s safe to say packaging design isn’t an easy job right now.

 

However, designers have risen to the challenge. In this post, we’ve rounded up standout examples of packaging designs to inspire you and guide your efforts.

01. Cameron’s Brewing

 

As the beer market grew, Cameron’s Brewing was in decline. It needed a brand-new identity that would grab attention, yet hold onto the existing consumer base. Cactus came up with a solution. First, it decided to ditch the bottles and house its beer in cans (for increased shelf presence), and then went for a new look that’s reminiscent of childhood scout and camp badges. 

 

Each beer style is now unified with a bright colour palette, a different one for each beer, and the iconography and stories highlight the unique products to ‘reinforce overall brand recognition‘. Beer naming was a crucial part of the story, adding personality. The modular design strategy works across its applications in apparel, advertising, digital and social media. 

02. Kololak House Wine

 

This stunning packaging was created by Backbone branding for fusion restaurant Kololak, in Armenia. Kololak means a round shape, or meatball, and the rounded design reflects that. The collection is made up of the restaurant’s house fruit wines, and each wine was given an individual identity that fits with the restaurant concept. This is centered on the rich Armenian tradition of socialising around the table

 

The branding team aimed to represent Armenian ethnic and folk art, in particular the Armenian miniature, manuscripts and calligraphy. The hand-drawn illustrations and calligraphy depict famous toasting quotes and the culture of feasting and wine serving. The bottles have round corks, aiming to unify the packaging and symbolising the ‘Kololak’.

03. Hardy

 

The packaging for this premium smoked salmon is made from raw micro-corrugated cardboard printed in UV colour.

 

Third-generation family business Hardy specialises in smoked salmon. The company turned to Portugal-based studio This is Pacifica to design stationery, packaging and a website that would communicate the premium quality of its product. “It’s a long-lasting process that can’t be rushed. From salting to smoking, each stage is executed to perfection. So we created the idea of Hardy ‘Smoked Masterpieces’,” explains creative director Pedro Mesquita.

 

The identity combines two main elements: an abstract salmon symbol, and a fun, sharp wordmark that could have been cut by a knife. “The packaging was treated as an extension of the brand,” says Mesquita, “and is entirely made of raw micro-corrugated cardboard printed in UV colour.”

04. Thomas Kosmala

 

Looking to break into European and global markets, emerging perfume brand Thomas Kosmala tasked Toronto-based agency Concrete with a complete brand overhaul. The new packaging marries classic with contemporary, unexpectedly wrapping a sophisticated custom typeface around the edges of the perfume box and over a subtle emboss.

 

“The brand needed to appeal to both Middle Eastern and Western audiences,” explains chief creative officer Diti Katona. “Sensuous, provocative and sometimes raw photography conveys the depth and richness of the scents, but is abstracted in the packaging to comply with the conservative sensibilities of the Middle Eastern market. A more explicit use of the imagery is employed in digital media, and it’s more subtle in print experiences,” Katona adds.

05. Stefano Sauces

 

Montreal-based agency Ig2 took an original approach to its branding of the first ready-to-eat products from well-known chef Stefano Faita and his partner Michele Forgione. Featuring a jovial, energetic caricature of Faita, the identity gives each sauce a unique typographic treatment – with nutritional and legal information presented in an unusual vertical fashion outside the shape.

 

“It was a major challenge to differentiate the brand in this type of category, where all brands merge into one,” says David Kessous, creative director at lg2. “The concept’s originality produced a real, appealing identity and packaging that leaps out.”

06. CS light bulbs

 

Everyday products such as light bulbs tend to lend themselves to fairly utilitarian packaging, but these, produced by Belarus electrical company CS, boast beautiful boxes that turn the product into an important part of the packaging design.

 

Designed by Angelina Pischikova, with line illustrations by Anna Orlovskaya, this amazing packaging uses detailed drawings of insects, and the bulbs themselves are paired with certain bugs depending on their shape and size.

 

Long, thin bulbs are stored in dragonfly boxes, while the coiled stripes of an energy saving bulb become the abdomen of a bumble bee.

07. Brandless

 

US company Brandless has taken minimalism to the extreme by trademarking white space in its range of food and home items. Co-designed with Brooklyn agency Red Antler, each product is made up of a single colour with the white box design dropped on top. The text in the boxes is effectively negative space, and is readable thanks to the colour underneath peeking through. 

 

Interestingly, the lack of identity means that the range can dodge a fee known as Brand Tax, which means Brandless is able to sell all the products at a standard price of $3.

08. Onuma Honey

 

This offering from Japanese studio Akaoni Design is a bee-utiful example of ‘less is more’ when it comes to packaging. It consists of a small jar, simple stickers and classic brown paper, with an array of sweet coloured stamps to finish it all off.

 

Art direction and design was taken care of by Motoki Koitabashi and it’s clear he knows what’s he doing when it comes to making a striking impact in the aisle.

09. Poilu paintbrushes

 

This excellent example of packaging design comes from Simon Laliberté and offers the function of assembling two paintbrushes together with only one cardboard piece, which is printed on both sides.

 

The natural hairs of some paintbrushes have been dyed to give the illusion of the moustache and beard combos. The font at the top of the handle is also noteworthy.

Branding the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle

To design the logo and accompanying campaign for Plastic Free Aisle, a new initiative from Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza.

Made Thought has created the logo and campaign for Plastic Free Aisle, an initiative launched in collaboration with environmental charity A Plastic Planet and Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza.

London-based studio Made Thought has collaborated with environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet to create the identity for the “world’s first plastic-free aisle”.

 

The studio has been commissioned to design the logo and accompanying campaign for Plastic Free Aisle, a new initiative from Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza.

Launching at the supermarket’s Amsterdam store, more than 700 food items and other goods with recyclable packaging are included in the aisle – all of which bear the “plastic free” mark.

 

Made Thought’s identity for the initiative aims to bring “much needed clarity and focus” to the growing issue of plastic pollution, says the studio.

The black and white, three-dimensional logotype is inspired by the aesthetic of propaganda, and will be used to help shoppers quickly identify plastic-free products as more items start to be packaged in compostable bio-materials that replicate the look of traditional plastic packaging.

 

The studio also created the mark with the idea that it is simple enough to be replicated in supermarkets all over the world.

Made Thought founding partner Ben Parker, says: “In taking on this challenging brief, we wanted to look beyond the overused lines about environmentalism and altruism. The brief was all about fashioning a new way of looking at plastic and its place in modern life.”

 

The second Plastic Free Aisle will open at Ekoplaza’s The Hague branch in June 2018, before rolling out across its 74 branches in the Netherlands by the end of this year.

This article is an extract of Aimée McLaughlin’s article published on Design Week.