The General Aesthete


Liminal Spaces: The Photography of Jurek Wajdowicz

Jurek Wajdowicz, Liminal Spaces

Liminal Spaces, a collection of photographer Jurek Wajdowicz’s minimalist, abstract images, is quite the book. The oversized publication, produced by Lars Müller, lends itself to the photographer’s work, and the heavy, matte paper stock beautifully carries the depth of (or often lack of) color Wajdowicz uses to envelope viewers.

Surprisingly, the artist has only been exploring fine art photography for the past few years, but his experience and long career as a leading international graphic artist has clearly informed his grasp of visual impact as it relates to emotion.

Jurek Wajdowicz, Liminal Spaces

Jurek Wajdowicz, Liminal Spaces

$80, available at Lars Müller Publishers.

Sculptures with Glass by Ramon Todo

Ramon Todo, a Japanese-born artist who splits his time between Tokyo and Dusseldorf, creates these striking sculptures that introduce a layer of perfectly cut, polished glass to the most unexpected of materials and objects.

The effect is especially striking when Todo sandwiches glass between the halves of a bisected stone, creating a contrast between the natural texture and the clean, translucent glass. His use of various stones, fossil record, and volcanic rock extends to other objects, including antique books and even pieces of the Berlin Wall. With the glass “slicing” through the material, the artist’s technique results in an entirely new, hybrid object—one that is not only compelling, but with a contemporary personality.

Ramon Todo

Ramon Todo

Ramon Todo

Ramon Todo

More at: Art Front Gallery, Tokyo
Photos: Art Front Gallery

Preparing for the Moon and Mars: Then and Now

A series of photographs was recently discovered at the Johnson Space Center in Houston; the NASA photos feature astronauts and backup crews training in Hawaii for Apollo missions 13 through 17 in the 1960s and ’70s. Hawaii’s terrain and volcanic soil make for a suitable simulation of the lunar surface, and robots for missions to the Moon and Mars are tested on the Big Island to this day.

Apollo training in Hawaii

Apollo training in Hawaii

Apollo training in Hawaii

Here on the mainland, photographer Jim Urquhart captured activities at the Mars Desert Research Station, a facility in the desert of southern Utah, built and operated by a space advocacy group called the Mars Society. The group uses the natural geography for experts and students to study science applications that could take place on the Red Planet, the site also includes a  greenhouse and an observatory.

Mars training in Utah

Mars training in Utah

Both sets of photos are otherworldly, old-fashioned and futuristic at the same time. And while the scenarios may read as advanced role play, perhaps less sophisticated than you might imagine, the research conducted in Hawaii and Utah is undoubtedly valuable for the future of space exploration.

Mars training in Utah

Mars training in Utah

The collection of Apollo photos is currently on display at the Hilo headquarters of The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems.

You can see his striking photographs and read a detailed account of Jim Urquhart’s experience at the Mars Desert Research Station at the Reuters Photographers’ Blog.

Photos: NASA, Jim Urquhart

IN SITU 01 by Förstberg Arkitektur och Formgivning

IN SITU 01

IN SITU 01

IN SITU 01, by Malmö-based Förstberg Arkitektur och Formgivning, is the first in their series of furniture inspired by temporary construction structures at building sites. In this design, the functional form is exposed, but its finishes upgraded and the aesthetic refined: flooring framework used for casting concrete slabs serves as the surface, but smooth and lightly oiled, and the adjustable telescopic supports are lightweight, with a clean white finish.

More at: Förstberg Arkitektur och Formgivning

Six Picks: The Pepper Grinder

Salt and Pepper Grinders

Thought to be invented by Peugeot in 1842 (the French company was manufacturing metal tools before the cars we know today), the handheld pepper grinder has had many incarnations; from the giant thing over your shoulder at an Italian restaurant, to the battery powered device in your gourmand relative’s cupboard, it hasn’t always been pretty. These days, the pepper mill has made its way into almost every household, not only for pepper, but for salt and spices. While the classic Peugeot will always be in style, and you can’t deny the beauty of a vintage Jens Quistgaard for Dansk teak grinder, here is a selection of modernized grinders that bring smart design to the dining table (and a set of laboratory-style shakers, for good measure).

1. Norway Says for Muuto, $62; 2. Par Cork Shakers Set by Nendo for Materia, $50; 3. Tower Grinders by Tom Dixon, $85, $75; 4. Menu Grinder Set by Norm Copenhagen $62; 5. Ori by Hay, $35; 6. Graph by Jens Fager for Petite Friture, $82

LAMP-01 by Carlos Santaella

LAMP-01

LAMP-01

LAMP-01

At the intersection of industrial design and Nordic-inspired cool is LAMP-01, by Carlos Santaella. The wood frame (in beech or pine) features a matte black finish, and suspended inside is a 20-watt fluorescent, flood-style bulb.

Santaella’s Querétaro, Mexico-based design studio works with partners designing residential furniture and lighting, LAMP-01 is his first consumer release.

More at: Carlos Santaella

LAMP-01 is available to order online at Snob Cultural.

Luxury Essentials by håndværk

håndværk

håndværk

Premium materials and craftsmanship make for the foundation of håndværk, a collection of highest-quality staples by NY-based husband and wife team Esteban Saba and Petra Brichnacova. The couple’s shared interest in textiles inspired them to create the handmade and finished collection, based in three generations of small-scale family production. The elegantly minimal pieces perfectly strike a balance between luxury and necessity, and this theme extends to the handsome branding by Savvy Studio.

handvaerk11

In New York, you can find håndværk’s collection at 3×1, at 15 Mercer Street, it is also available online.

More at: håndværk

A Tale of Plant & Pot: Kohei Oda and Adam Silverman

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Oda X Silverman at Chariots on Fire

If you’re in the Los Angeles area this week, be sure to swing by creative studio and boutique Chariots on Fire, in Venice, where a collaboration between plant artist Kohei Oda and LA-based potter Adam Silverman is on display. A Tale of Plant & Pot is a creative collaboration that involves Oda’s full-of-personality specimens aptly complementing Silverman’s ceramic vessels, which take beautiful, unexpected forms and feature peculiar glazing. This exploration of the relationship between plant and pot also serves as a visual conversation between two artists: a potter and a horticulturalist.

Adam Silverman, LA Studio Director at Heath Ceramics, is an acclaimed potter and former architect. His work has been exhibited extensively in the US and Japan, where he has a dedicated following.

At Kohei Oda’s studio in Hiroshima, he composes many of his living sculptures through the practice of tissue grafting, a process that brings two pieces of plant together to grow singularly; the technique is not only an experiment in horticulture, but many of the pieces are salvaged from plants that would be considered imperfect or damaged.

A Tale of Plant & Pot runs through May 7  (extended from May 1) at Chariots on Fire, 1342 1/2 Abbot Kinney.

More at: Chariots on FireKohei OdaAdam Silverman
Images: Chariots on Fire

Hostel in Kyonan by Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects

Built as a private training center, Hostel in Kyonan, located in the Chiba prefecture of Japan, is a complex designed by Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects. The compound consists of five buildings: three containing communal facilities such as dining and tatami rooms, the other two with internally stacked guest accommodations.

Hostel in Kyonan by Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects

Hostel in Kyonan by Yasutaka Yoshimura ArchitectsThe radial arrangement of units allows for views of Tokyo Bay from each. 

Hostel in Kyonan by Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects

Hostel in Kyonan by Yasutaka Yoshimura ArchitectsThe client’s request for a design based around the possibility of future relocation or addition, resulted in the unit’s dimensions being the size of a standard freight truck, ensuring transportability.

Hostel in Kyonan by Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects

Hostel in Kyonan by Yasutaka Yoshimura ArchitectsAn interior clad in unfinished wood, outfitted with just the necessities, makes for a minimalist, snug stay.

More at: Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects
Photos: Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects

Pillow by Snarkitecture

Pillow by Snarkitecture

Pillow by Snarkitecture

What appears to be a soft, phone-sized pillow, is actually a hand-cast gypsum cement sculpture that serves as an artfully minimalist resting place for your iPhone. Thoughtfully designed with a niche on the underside to accomodate the phone’s cable, Pillow comes from Brooklyn-based collaborative Snarkitecture.

$68, available at Snarkitecture