The Joy Of Cooking: Miniature Food.

These are amazing, and wonderful to watch.

There are books on the wall, a table in the middle of the room, a plant, maybe a floor lamp or two. But something doesn’t feel right in this room, like it’s a set. Suddenly, a gigantic hand reaches into the frame, revealing that the room was indeed a set built entirely in miniature form. The chopping board is maybe the size of a pinky; the knife slightly smaller. This is the world of Japanese miniature enthusiast and YouTuber ‘Joken’ aka AAAJoken, or triple-A Joken.

Currently a member of the YouTuber management agency UUUM, Joken got his start by introducing toys for kids and creating stop motion animations using those toys. But since 2014 he’s created over 200 videos on a YouTube channel called Miniature Space. In it, he creates all kinds of miniature Japanese meals like tempura and okonomiyaki, but also everyday foods like spaghetti carbonara and corn dogs.

You can read and see more at Spoon & Tamago.

Cool Stuff Friday: Octobot!

Harvard University Octobot.

Researchers at Harvard University have designed a soft 3D-printed robot that can move on its own, powered by a chemical reaction, instead of electricity or batteries.

Shaped like a cartoon octopus, the Octobot contains no electronics or other hard parts, relying instead on a silicone body that houses a fluid-filled circuit.

Previously, soft-bodied robots had needed to rely on rigid components for power. But the Octobot uses hydrogen peroxide as fuel.

The liquid flows around a network of pre-printed hollows in the robot’s body, and creates a reaction as it passes over platinum embedded inside. This produces gas that inflates and moves the arms, to propel the robot through water.

You can read and watch more here. Do I need to say I want one? I want one.

No-To-Scale Studio.

Malaysian design office No-To-Scale Studio has issued a satirical proposal to President Trump, suggesting a radical means of representing the US-Mexico border: a 1,954 mile-long dining table.

Citing “logistical, financial and nationality” limitations, the studio’s design claims to be cost-effective in taking a domestic item and scaling it to massive proportions.

While the proposed slab of “continuous polished marble” may prove costly, diners will bring their own chairs in order to participate.

You can see and read more here.

Neri Oxman, Lazarus Mask.

Neri Oxman and the MIT Mediated Matter group have unveiled their latest collection of 3D-printed death masks, designed to contain the wearer’s last breath.

The Lazarus masks, described by Oxman as “air urns”, are modelled on the facial features of the deceased individual.

Each 3D-printed structure encompasses colourful swirling patterns that have been informed by the physical flow of air emitted from their last breath.

“Traditionally made of a single material, such as wax or plaster, the death mask originated as a means of capturing a person’s visage, keeping the deceased alive through memory,” said the team.

You can read and see more here.

4/20 Five Top Designs.

Dezeen is not neglecting 4/20, they have an article up with their 5 top picks in the burgeoning weed business. Just a few here, click on over to see them all, and read about them!

Snoop Dogg’s Leaf Collection.

US rapper Snoop Dogg launched his Leafs line of edible cannabis products with packaging designed by Pentagram to skirt around US laws on controlled substances. The collection encompasses a variety of products containing cannabis, including chocolate bars, drops and gummy sweets, as well as boxes of flowers from various strains of the plant.

Jamie Wolfond.

Canadian designer Jamie Wolfond designed this simple glass pipe for smoking accessory brand Tetra. Crafted from borosilicate glass that doesn’t conduct heat, the pipe features a short stem pointing downwards, a long stem from which the smoke is inhaled, and a shallow chamber to hold the user’s substance of choice.

Printabowl.

Seattle startup Printabowl intended these water pipes for smoking pot to be put on display rather than be hidden “in a shoebox under your bed”. Each 3D-printed bong features a designs that references organic forms, such as angular crystals and rippling liquid.

See more, and read all about them at Dezeen!

The Amazing World of AMKK!

Azuma Mokoto and Shiinuke Shunsuke.

Need to brighten up your universe and recapture a sense of wonder, delight, and glee? Look no further than AMKK, a world of intense, joyful artistry and botany. They are featured on The Creators Project, where you can see so much, and read all about these magical artists, then you can go and wander over to their website, and get absolutely lost in the most amazing, oh, well, just have a wander, it will do your non-existent soul so much good!

Handsome Devils.

Pictured is a handmade puppet, Bastet. Exquisite work by Han, and there’s much more to see at Handsome Devil Puppets.

Puppets are infinite. If you know love, they do. If you know sadness, they do. If you breathe, they do. You give them steps and they make them strange. They are sometimes silly, sometimes serious, always honest little vessels. I started making puppets when I felt I didn’t have a voice. I sculpted powerful, magical women to dance and sing and cry and give me that voice. When I feared death, they showed me it could be beautiful. When I feared life, they showed me it could be weird and wonderful. The Handsome Devils are each hand-sculpted, piece by piece, and decorated in everything from remnants from the bottom of granny’s jewelry box to bones from a field in my hometown.
“The terrors of living, the joys and the revel, alive in your misfit, misguided young devil”

Han is also featured at The Creators Project, but go have a wander over at Handsome Devil Puppets, there’s much to see!

Gothic Boxwood Miniatures.

Pure amazement and awe here. If you have the chance to take this in, take it!

Gothic Boxwood Miniatures.

Gothic Boxwood Miniatures.

In the video, Pete Dandridge, conservator and administrator in the Department of Objects Conservation, reveals the wizardry behind the creation of a miniature boxwood prayer bead. Through his collaboration with Lisa Ellis—conservator of sculpture and decorative arts at the Art Gallery of Ontario—the techniques of the 16th-century carvers are fully understood for the first time.

Produced in conjunction with the exhibition Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, on view at The Met Cloisters from February 22 through May 21, 2017.

Featured Object:
Prayer bead with the Adoration of the Magi and the Crucifixion, early 16th century. Netherlandish. Boxwood, Open: 4 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 1 1/8 in. (11.2 × 8.1 × 2.7 cm); Closed: 2 3/8 x 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 in. (5.8 x 5.5 x 5.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.475)

 

That’s not all! There’s a virtual reality tour of these tiny wonders, too.

In Small Wonders: The VR Experience, now at Met Cloisters in New York City, visitors are presented with one of these boxwood carvings—created some 500 years ago by an unknown artist—that is blown up to a much larger proportion. It can be exploded and collapsed, and participants are free to walk in and around it. The incredibly small details are now large enough that viewers can see just how this artwork, which depicts Heaven and Hell, was carved and assembled into a sphere that opens like a locket.

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2017/small-wonders * Small Wonders: The VR experience.

Cool Stuff Friday.

spirited

Spirited Away. Chihiro eats an onigiri.

If you’ve never been to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, out in the Western suburbs of Tokyo, now would be a good time to plan your trip. The museum is planning an upcoming, year-long special exhibition that will focus on the many food-related scenes from all of Studio Ghibli films.

Meals and food play an incredibly important role in almost every Studio Ghibli film. In Laputa, Pazu splits his egg on bread in half and shares it with Sheeta. By doing so, the two become closer. In Spirited Away, Chihiro eats an onigiri and gains the courage to face her uphill struggle. In Howl’s Moving Castle, the characters become like family when they surround a dinner table over a meal of eggs and bacon.

Taberu wo kaku (which roughly translates to Drawing Eating) begins May 27, 2017 and will be on view through May 2018 so you’ll have plenty of time to see it. The exhibition will be largely separated into 2 sections – one on eating and one on cooking – and will detail the many ways Studio Ghibli animators brought their foods to life.

Via Spoon & Tamago.

Designer Mark Noad.

Designer Mark Noad.

The triggering of Article 50 last week means that Brexit is a certainty – and that the UK will need a new passport. Luckily last week also saw the judging for our unofficial Brexit passport design competition… here is a look at the nine proposals shortlisted by our judges.

We received over 200 entries from 34 different countries. The youngest entrant was 12 years old and the oldest was 83. Most submissions were from architects and designers but there were also entries from non-designers, students, retired people and unemployed people. Below are the nine designs that most impressed our judges ahead of the announcement of the winner on 11 April: [Click on over to see all the finalists, or watch the video below.]

Images are by Achilleas Souras and Alessandro Paderni.

Images are by Achilleas Souras and Alessandro Paderni.

Images are by Achilleas Souras and Alessandro Paderni.

Images are by Achilleas Souras and Alessandro Paderni.

Artist Achilleas Souras used hundreds of discarded life jackets to assemble an igloo for Moroso’s SOS Save Our Souls installation at Milan design week.

The 16-year-old, who has already shown a similar igloo at the Maritime Museum of Barcelona, used jackets collected from the shores of Lesbos – the Greek island that has become a regular landing place for refugees entering Europe.

While his first igloo used 52 jackets, his SOS Save Our Souls structure is made from 1,000 abandoned garments. Souras cut and folded the jackets to resemble blocks of ice before assembling them together.

The resulting waterproof structure is intended as both a shelter and a welcome point for arriving migrants.

“The refugee crisis was simply a set of numbers on the news,” said the artist, who was born in London and now resides in Barcelona.

“But when I picked a jacket up, it stopped being just material. When you hold the jacket in your hand and you smell the sea, you look at things through a different prism and you realise that every jacket represents a human life.”

“The refugees, the homeless, and the less privileged cannot be ‘out of sight, out of mind’ anymore,” added Souras, who hopes his igloos could eventually be used in rescue operations.

“These are global issues that affect us all, and we must try to solve them for everyone’s sake.”

You can see much more here.

The Hat’s Limitation.

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A collaborative project between architect Kosaku Matsumoto and Japan Braid Hat Mfg. Co., ltd.

Japan Braid Hat is known for making blade hats (or Sanada hat) woven with fabric tape and natural grass straw in a swirl-like pattern. Unlike hats made by sewing, they are woven seamlessly together and completely jointless. The hat has an elegant simplicity of shape and form that made feasible to increase the hat’s scale to the limit. How big can a hat really be?

The outcome of this experiment was a hat five times larger than the standard, stretching the technical limit of the craftsman, and extending the very definition of we can see as a hat. It has been expanded so much that the brim cannot bear its own weight, draping toward the ground to cascade and wrap the whole body of who wears it. Like a coat, a veil, or a small, sculptural tent, the hat gives various fluid impressions according to the way it is worn.

By challenging the very definition and the limitation of a hat, the work attempts to discover a scale of new functions and design possibilities in what we understand as a blade hat.

Photo by Nobutada OMOTE.

You can see much more at Kosaku Matsumoto. Via Spoon & Tamago.

Conservation Lab: Renaissance Cabinet.

French Renaissance Cabinet from Burgundy, dated 1580 (minor additions in late 1850s), from the J. Paul Getty Museum collection.

French Renaissance Cabinet from Burgundy, dated 1580 (minor additions in late 1850s), from the J. Paul Getty Museum collection.

Conservators look through microscopes to gather information about an object’s composition and construction—and on a regular day in the lab, knowing such things is an end unto itself. “It’s just interesting, that’s all,” one conservator once told me. When an object’s history is uncertain, however, those scientific results take on layers of meaning, each a potential bit of evidence that can help solve the mystery. In 2001, conservators at the J. Paul Getty Museum undertook a thorough reexamination of a massive French cabinet long believed to be a fake: a 19th century piece designed to resemble Renaissance-era handiwork. Zooming in on a single brass tack turned out to yield important clues as to the cabinet’s making, and helped prove its authenticity.

When J. Paul Getty purchased the cabinet in 1971 for $1,700, curators warned against the acquisition. The cabinet’s pristine condition aroused suspicions, as did the coating of colored wax on its surface, which suggested someone had tried to make it appear older than it was. Experts concluded that the piece was likely produced in the 19th century, when Renaissance-style furniture was all the rage among American industrialist tycoons—prompting many fakes to voyage across the Atlantic. Even the cabinet’s excessively florid style worked against it: “A present-day tendency to associate heavy forms, sharp carving and dense decorative detail with neo-Renaissance cabinetry perhaps explains why further suspicions arose. The decoration almost suggests 19th century horror vacui,” noted curator Jack Hinton and conservator Arlen Heginbotham in a 2006 article about the object.

Heginbotham looked past all that noisy decoration and zeroed in on the science. Dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, showed that the oak tree used in the object’s construction was harvested in the mid-1570s, and the surface wood and interior silk lining were carbon dated to the 15th and 16th centuries. Conservators then focused on the brass tacks used to attach the silk lining, whose appearance under the microscope—centuries later—would determine the date of their making.

You can see and read much more about this at The Creators Project.