Pattern recognition

Spring Pattern


It can’t be helped – Spring is on our minds. So we were recently drawn to the beautiful, bright, patterned illustrations of Irish designers Poppy & Red. Somehow even their Christmas patterns feels light and spring-y, with great hand-drawn type and whimsical patterned animals. Their designs are nostalgic yet modern, but they obviously take inspiration from the past, with their vintage collection of cute sewing-themed and typewriter patterns.

Water Wear


Young Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen has explored the elements and their interaction with the human body in her work, creating collections inspired by crystallization and lightning, and using 3D-printed techniques. For a new project, she will create a dress from water – sort of. The one-off dress will be inspired by photographer Nick Jones’ photos of water being thrown at artist Daphne Guinnes, and the collaboration will all be documented live on film at site SHOWStudio from April 3-9.

Patched Up


Texan Maura Ambrose is reviving the art of quilting, combining her handiwork with an artfully crafted appreciation of natural dyes. Ambrose literally has her hands in the whole process – creating and fermenting dyes from herbs and plants in her backyard and others’, like indigo, osage, and pomegranates. She then pieces together and hand-stitches beautifully graphic designs for her large quilts, documenting her whole process along the way.

Papercut Story


Artist Rob Ryan creates beautiful, intricate paper-cut works of art to make the pages of his books. Chronicle Books just released his newest, A Sky Full of Kindness, about an expectant couple of songbirds who get help prepping their nest from friends and family. With each page, Ryan composes lovingly illustrated scenes of cut paper, with accompanying poetic text carefully crafted and incorporated into the scenes, to masterful effect.

Shifting Perspectives


Architects Lily Jencks and Nathanael Dorent took an assignment to design a tile showroom, and used the product to literally shift perspectives in the space. Using shades of grey to white in a herringbone pattern, the tile covers the entire room, including built-in benches, and following a sloped floor upwards. Inspired by Op Art, the tile was applied in three dimensions, creating a dramatic, pulsating wave effect. The installation will be on view through year-end, with events and parties taking place there to heighten the experience.

Cave Art

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In an effort to conserve and protect the cave paintings at Lascaux while still allowing visitors to fully experience them, a new museum has been designed for the famed locale. Architects Casson Mann and Snohetta won a competition for the project with an underground complex celebrating and maintaining the 17,300 year-old works. A series of tunnels leads visitors on an experience taken from the perspective of the boys who originally discovered the caves in 1940. Varying levels of light illuminate the protected paintings, some highlighted by shafts of daylight from above, others dimly lit from below. When the museum opens, it will be the first opportunity for public viewing since 1963.

Tiny Canvas

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Artist Klari Reis creates beautiful abstract compositions in petri dishes, combining brightly colored epoxy polymers, then encouraging and manipulating their chemical reactions to produce her artwork. Reis was inspired by watching the beautiful, natural imagery created by fluorescent dyes and cells under a microscope, while in the hospital after being diagnosed with Chrone’s Disease. This year, she is doing one petri dish painting every day, each one a complex mixture of liquid color, which simultaneously look both natural and not.

Kaleidoscopic Wonder


One of our favorite sources of visual inspiration is Kelly Wearstler’s great blog, where she collects striking imagery around themes she’s working on. It’s a great insight into her creative process. A recent post on “Urban Kaleidoscopes” was no exception, introducing us to Marco Hemmerling’s Cityoscope installation in Cologne in 2008 (above), and the vivid facade of the Hotel Megaro in Kings Cross in London. And of course, she included the terrific work of artist Olafur Eliasson, with his kaleidoscopic mirrored tunnel for the exhibition “Take Your Time,” and his giant kaleidoscope in the atrium of the Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum in Berlin.

Fantasy Flowers


At first glance, floral designer Anne ten Donkelaar’s creations may look like well-composed dried and pressed flowers. Incredibly, the designer actually creates her work from a combination of bits of dried flowers and cut-out images of them, collaged together to make otherworldly yet natural-looking and stunning results. She meticulously crafts each fantasy flower, and mounts them on pins raised an inch off of the canvas, providing depth and shadows to the flattened forms. The artist also does a series of compositions called “Broken Butterflies,” an endearingly sweet treatment of found, fallen butterflies.

Wool on Parade

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Tasked with creating objects to help promote textile co. Kvadrat at this year’s Stockholm Design Week, designers Doshi Levien choreographed a wool ballet of sorts. The Wool Parade consists of abstract geometric objects made from wool, which all take on character-like forms. Inspired by Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus work “Triadisches Ballett,” the duo created a lovely animated video in which the colorful, tactile forms dance and bounce across the screen, making for an endearing and mesmerizing scene.

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Really really good. You’ve got talent!

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