Breathing new life into the printed page, creating buildings more sensitive to their context, and moving toward maximalism
Artists are using their eyes to read books in a different way, architects are building residences that mirror their environments, and interior designers are rediscovering the finer points of magnificent details. Here are the latest trends in art, architecture, and design.
Using bound books as their base, artists are creating page-turning sculptures.
London-based Claire Brewster transforms atlases from the 1930s to the ’70s into flights of fancy by fashioning light-as-a-feather birds from their pages, allowing them to wing their way over the maps. “I create the birds flat and pin them so they are raised up and have a feeling of movement,” she says.
Her works, which are in the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and the Bury Art Gallery in England, sell for US$1,100 to US$20,000. She also produces paintings that are collaged with images from books and magazines.
Jodi Harvey of Colora, Md., takes a literal approach to book art, recreating key scenes of stories in 3-D by breaking the printed pages into basic shapes and sometimes adding special effects like motors and lights.
Her Peter Pan has page-paper children soaring over rooftops and her Tom Sawyer shows the boy floating down the Mississippi River on a raft. Her works have been exhibited around the world.
Seamlessly integrating buildings with landscapes has long been a guiding principle of architecture. Now, some architects are taking the tenet further, creating buildings with different sides that reflect each environment they face.
“It’s part of a movement to make architecture more sensitive to context, even if the context is only one street or one block,” says architect Don B. McDonald, whose namesake firm is based in San Antonio. For this reason, McDonald’s award-winning luxury apartment complex in San Antonio, Cellars at the Pearl, is two-faced.
Part of a larger cultural and culinary campus with 19th-century roots, the Cellars, an L-shaped, two-winged concrete structure of 200,000 square feet, has a forward-facing classical front-street side and an industrial facade along the riverfront, the one-time hub of the city’s commercial district and site of a former warehouse.
“Architecture communicates just like books communicate,” McDonald says. “The Cellars at the Pearl is talking to two different audiences, two different communities.”
Minimalism has maxed out, and rooms are reveling in the multilayered look.
“Interiors often follow trends in fashion,” says Los Angeles-based interior designer Natasha Baradaran. “Fashion houses like Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana have started to push the limits of patterns, multiple colors, and textures, and my clients are more willing to take risks lately, such as playing with patterns and colors in a single space.”
In the master bedroom of one such client, Baradaran paired a purple and white marbleized wallpaper with large-scale Venini sconces and contemporary furnishings, and juxtaposed them against a 1970s-style slanted-wood ceiling and wall-to-wall shag carpeting.
Designer Kirill Istomin, who has offices in Moscow and New York, says maximalism’s “courageous mix of colors and textures and luxurious finishes, along with great art” allows people “to celebrate their unique personalities with confidence” and “to help tell their story.”