Polish pavilion designed for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai
Thank goodness DM (www.builtsound.org) alerted me to the post on BLDG blog (bldgblog.blogspot.com) about the Polish Pavilion for Expo 2010 (www.polishpavilion.pl). Designed by Wojciech Kakowski, Natalia Paszkowska, and Marcin Mostafa the Polish pavilion is based on traditional folk art cut-outs of Poland. As BLDG blog makes clear, 'this "paper cut-out" theme has been taken quite literally: the outer envelope of the building is actually a kind of incised wrapper, capable of unfolding to form a flat surface again (albeit one in which the patterns do not always match up)'.
Polish paper cut-outs (Wycinaki) have a distinctive graphic style that combines a variety of colours in each design. Traditionally Polish cut-outs were made with sheep shearing scissors and would often adorn ceiling beams in country cottages. The current exhbition at the Łowicz Museum, Poland (muzeum.low.pl/english.htm) presents the three groups of paper decorations popular in the region during the 19th century; circular (gwiozdy) featuring peacocks and other birds, vertical stripes of flowers (tasiemki), long horizontal cut-out landscape scenes (kodry), as well as paper or wool "spiders" - which were suspended from rustic ceilings like chandeliers.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
6 vintage honeycomb tissue paper bunnies, made in Japan, one missing red nose
Amongst other bad news of this week, I was outbid on eBay for the above honeycomb paper bunnies. Made in Japan, these bunnies stand approximately 2" tall. All are in good condition, no damage. One is missing his red nose.
Things may be looking up in 1 day 22 hours, if I retain my status as top bidder on the 11 vintage mini chicks pictured below.
11 vintage honeycomb tissue paper chicks, made in Japan
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Detail: Buckminster Fuller building construction plans for the first Geodesic Dome Patent, 1951
Source: The Buckminster Fuller Reader, 1970
Meredith Carruthers, Study for Buckminster, 2008
On December 12, 1951, Buckminster Fuller filed building construction plans for his Geodesic Dome Patent. The drawings showed plan and elevations for a rational and fantastically beautiful new construction method that resembled spun sugar, a paper snowflake or festive doily. Buckminster's experiment did not linger long in the realm of paper-architecture but popped up at the south pole, above the arctic circle and at world fairs in Kabul, Poznan, Casablanca, Delhi, Rangoon, Bangkok and Tokyo (Paper-board domes made for the Tenth Triennial Design Exhibit at Milan won the gran primo). The "skybreak bubble" that Buckminster Fuller designed for Montreal's expo67, was "pure fallout" of his love for his wife Anne. In a monumental valentine in the year of their fiftieth anniversary, Fuller dedicated the structure to her and named it "Anne's Taj Mahal".
Anne's Taj Mahal, the Expo '67 Dome- 1976 fire
Meredith Carruthers, Study for Buckminster Fire, 2008
On May 20, 1976, a welding operation caused a fire that consumed the entire acrylic shell of "Anne's Taj Mahal" in just half an hour. The structure itself remained intact, to remain more or less abandoned for fifteen years. In 1992 a process of restoration began to re-purpose the sphere as a museum and environmental observation centre dedicated to water, the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes ecosystem, and sustainable development. (www.http://biosphere.ec.gc.ca/)
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Alexander Calder cutting metal, ca. 1955
Source: Smithsonian Archives of American Art
Meredith Carruthers, study for stabile, 2008
Meredith Carruthers, study for stabiles, 2008
Meredith Carruthers, study for many stabiles, 2008
Alexander Calder (1898-1976), "drew" in space (www.calder.org) by bending and twisting wires to float delicate shapes on air currents in his mobiles and by joining flat planes to create three dimensional forms in his stabiles. He is well known not only for his monumental public art works but also for his miniature circus performances, book illustrations, stage sets and cut-out maquettes.
Posted by Meredith Carruthers at 11:02 PM
Epiphany crown, Première Moisson Bakery produced by Prime fleur d'argile, 2007
I was pleased to be invited to celebrate epiphany this afternoon with friends and a "galette des rois". The galette des rois or king cake, is made of buttery, flakey pastry layers and is filled with an almond cream frangipane. Buried deep within all of this buttery deliciousness is the fève, a hard dry bean or tiny ceramic figure.
The lucky recipient of a galette slice including the fève is the bean king or queen. Along with this title comes a golden paper crown as well as the responsibility for hosting the next epiphanous event. In other Twelfth Night myths and fictions the bean king might be named the Bishop of Fools, Abbot of Unreason, or Lord of Misrule and be called upon to perform the role of the human scape goat, enacting obscure rights to encourage favourable weather or gain the dubious honour of 30 days of riotous fun followed by a sacrificial death.
I however was content to wear the flashy die cut crown offered this year by Montreal's Première Moisson bakeries. The Moisson crown was commissioned from Prime fleur d'argile of Faverney France (www.prime.fr). Prime designs a new collection of fève charms and paper crowns each year and has been producing holographic epiphany crowns since 1994.
Posted by Meredith Carruthers at 8:36 PM
Friday, January 4, 2008
Eames Office staff wearing cardboard mock-ups of the toy masks
Source: Eames design, John Neuhart, Marilyn Neuhart, Ray Eames, 1989
"Take your pleasures seriously" was an underlying constant in the Eames office, an asterism of design interests focused on making connections between art and science, life and art, work and play. In 1950, Charles and Ray Eames began a series of paper toys. Their first project was a series of masks. The masks, in the shapes of birds, fish and animal heads, were mocked up in cardboard and paper and were intended to be manufactured as die cut shapes to be assembled by the buyer. The project was not put into production but did feed into various other toy experiments.
Ray Eames with an early prototype version of "The Toy", 1951
Source: Eames design, John Neuhart, Marilyn Neuhart, Ray Eames, 1989
"The Toy", was completed in 1951. The Toy was made of a newly developed water resistant, plastic coated paper product. The kit included square and triangular panels, thin wooden dowels with pierced ends and pipe cleaner connectors. The Toy was designed for children, adults and teens to be used as room decoration, to house other toys or to create temporary pavilions for events, parties and amateur theatrics. According to the label The Toy was, "Large-Colourful-Easy to Assemble-For Creating A Light , Bright, Expandable World Large Enough To Play In and Around".
Other paper toys produced by the Eames Office include: the "House of Cards" released in 1952 (still in production by the Eames Foundation: www.eamesoffice.com) a building game of slotted cards printed with nostalgic photographs, textile details and paper patterns, "The Colouring Toy" produced in 1955, a kit that included a series of die cut shapes, butterfly clips and coloring crayons.
For more information on the Eames Office see the monograph "Eames design" edited by John Neuhart and Marylin Neuhart, and overseen by Ray Eames as her last project before her death in 1988. This book is a considered and complete catalogue of the work of the Eames Office. The aim of the book was to establish a, "definitive factual record of the work of the office", in a chronology of projects both major, minor, proposed and incomplete.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Kurt Wiese, A walk on the bottom of the sea, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1946
In the introduction to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1946 edition, general editor Mary Lamberton Becker asks us to imagine the tall and handsome Jules Verne, "sunburnt as a sailor" hunched over various volumes on mathematics and science at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, 1870 (www.bnf.fr). In the hushed light of the National library, "Verne began to write a new kind of novel, blending make-believe and reality as no one had done before". His imagination peopled the future with fantastic machines in never before seen landscapes, combining meticulous research and make-believe in "the perilous trip on paper" of the Nautilus submarine.
Underwater paper plant studies, Meredith Carruthers, 2008
A light network of marine plants, of that inexhaustible family of sea-weeds of which more than two thousand kinds are known, grew on the surface of the water. I saw long ribbons of fucus floating, some globular, others tuberous,; laurenciae and cladostephi of the most delicate foliage, and some rhodomenaie palmatae, resembling the fan ofa cactus. I noticed that the green plants kept nearer the top of the sea, whilst the red were at a greater depth, leaving to the black or brown hydrophytes that care of forming gardens and parterres in the remote beds of the ocean.
- Jules Verne, A walk on the bottom of the sea, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1870
It is telling that the work of Peter Callesen (www.petercallesen.com) came to my attention via both my mom and urban designer/ architecture curator James Kirkpatrick (www.99asterisk.org/celeb/about). Callesen's paper cut-out sculptures and performances are appealing to appreciators of imaginative narrative and to the structurally minded alike. Like many artists who work with paper, Callesan's works hover between two and three dimensionality, the real and imagined- flights of fantasy firmly bounded by the limits of reality. Some of his most evocative projects emerge from the ubiquitous european paper format, the blank white 80gsm A4 sheet.
Peter Callesen, Looking back, Acid free A4 115 gsm paper and glue, 2006
"I find the materialization of a flat piece of paper into a 3D form as an almost magic process", says Callesen of his own work, "or maybe one could call it obvious magic, because the process is obvious and the figures still stick to their origin, without the possibility of escaping. In that sense there is also an aspect of something tragic in most of the cuts".
Peter Callesan was born in Denmark and studied at Goldsmith's college in London. His upcoming exhibition "ALIVE, BUT DEAD" at Helene Nyborg Contemporary, Copenhagen, opens April 17th, 2008.