Category Archives: materials

Bodys Isek Kingelez at MoMA

Bodys Isek Kingelez. Kimbembele Ihunga. 1994. Paper, cardboard, polystyrene, mixed media, 51 3/16 × 72 13/16 × 126" (130 × 185 × 320 cm). CAAC - The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva. © Bodys Isek Kingelez. Photo: Maurice Aeschimann. Courtesy CAAC - The Pigozzi Collection

Image Credit: MoMA

A full retrospective of Zaire-born artist Bodys Isek Kingelez will be featured at the The Museum of Modern Art in New York through December 2018. He is best known for his Utopian models of buildings and cities, constructed from everyday objects, the themes of which envision less tumultuous environments than those he experienced in his hometown.

Following Zaire’s independence from Belgium, its cities saw rapid urban growth unsupported by infrastructure investments, which led Kingelez to question and reimagine a better urban life through his art. He addresses many societal issues through his works and ponders the potential of architecture and the built environment to heal and support its citizenry.

The exhibition, City Dreams, runs from May 26, 2018 until January 1, 2019 and is accompanied by a catalog complied by curator Sarah Suzuki.


Brutalism Balls

Image credit: Louise Samuelsen

Are you the type of person to stop and ogle a mid-century structure or admire the stark brutalism of a concrete wall? If you also have a sweet tooth, these Danish sweets might be just the thing for you.

Danish born designer and goldsmith Kia Utzon-Frank is not a baker by trade, but she began making  flødeboller because she could not find the treat in the UK. As an artist, she couldn’t help but elevate them. The meringue and almond paste balls are covered in cocoa, and decorated with ingredients including charcoal, black sesame and cocoa butter to mimic the texture of concrete, granite or marble. She now runs a Kufcakes Geometric Flødeboller Masterclass at the London-based art center Barbican, and will be hosting a brutalist-edition on March 3rd, 2018.

Source: Mashable and KUF Studios.

Preserving the Art of Japanese Indigo Dyeing

Photo Credit: Photograph by Anjora Noronha, CC BY-SA 3.0 (no changes made), wikimedia

Indigo production has been a long-standing part of Japan’s history. The artisan group BUAISOU is dedicated to preserving ancient indigo dyeing techniques. Indigo dye comes from the leaves of the indigo plant, which are harvested, dried, and then fermented in a vat of ash lye, wheat bran, and calcium hydroxide to create the dye. Sukumo—the type of dye that the group uses—has properties that prevent the dye from bleeding onto other fabrics and materials.The intensity of the dye is dependent on how long the fabric is dipped into the vats of dye. The indigo color only appears when the dye is oxidized after the fabric is dipped into the vat and exposed to air.

Source: Spoon and Tamago

The Mystery of Roman Concrete

Photo Credit: Colin Knowles

Modern concrete on seawalls will eventually erode and need repair after only a few decades, yet the Roman pier at Portus Consanus in Orbetello, Italy has withstood the sea for millennia.  The secret to this concrete’s longevity is a mineral growth after the concrete has cured. When Roman engineers mixed volcanic ash, lime, and seawater to make mortar, the combination also created a pozzolanic reaction. This reaction, named after the city Pozzuoli in the Bay of Naples, caused the formation of crystals in the spaces of the concrete mixture making the concrete incredibly strong.

Source: Archinect

Growing Zero-waste Structures

Photo Credit: dezeen

Aleksi Vesaluoma, a student from Brunel University, has discovered a way to grow a living structure out of a mushroom called mycelium. The mycelium grows on an organic material and binds the material together like glue. Velsulumoa mixed mycelium and cardboard to create a tubular form that could grow and strengthen over time. The structure is biodegradable and the fungus that grows on the structure is edible.

Source: dezeen

Future Crack-Free Concrete

Image Credit: CNN

Researchers at Delft Technical University in the Netherlands are developing a self-healing concrete. Its cement paste has been infused with harmless, dormant bacteria that becomes active when in contact with rainwater. This would cause cracks in the concrete to be filled. Reportedly, the most complicated part of developing the technology was ensuring that the “healing agent particles” were not disturbed during the initial concrete mixing process.

Source: The Future of Things