The Latest in Art, Architecture and Design

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Looking for what's new and cool in the worlds of art, architecture and design? Below, the latest trends, unearthed:

Art

Last year, as fashion types posted pictures on Instagram of their weekends throwing clay, Vogue called the craft “the new yoga."

Certainly there is a growing appetite for beautiful homewares and sculpture, made from organic materials and produced by a talented generation of new ceramists.

Natalie Herrera is one such rising star. The graphic designer has taken the fundamentals she learned at the Rhode Island School of Design and applied them to a new medium.

Her ceramics, wheel-thrown or hand-built, take on an angularity, structuraland graphic quality. “Most of the inspiration for my ceramics comes from architecture,” says Herrera, including Brutalist buildings in Colombia and parallel forms in New York City. Much of her art, created under the brand High Gloss, which she launched in 2013, has a practical use, such as stacking cups without handles that work to conserve cupboard space.

More and more, though, she is being commissioned to create ceramic sculptural pieces. “Many of my friends have objects all over their home, a mini-museum of pieces,” she says.

  "Most of the inspiration for my ceramics comes from architecture"  - Natalie Herrera

"Most of the inspiration for my ceramics comes from architecture" - Natalie Herrera

Architecture

Europe’s Neolithic long house, a timber dwelling built around 6,000 B.C., was a solid home for as many as 30 people. Thousands of years later, the Romans developed timber framing; in China, ancient temples were usually built of wood. Fast-forward to 2018, and architects are bringing back wood for megatowers.

Five times lighter than concrete, but with a comparable strength-per-weight ratio, high thermal performance, and qualities that make it pleasant to work with and live with—nontoxic, calming, organic and inherently beautiful—wood is increasingly being used in creative ways for pioneering construction projects.

New types of engineered timber enable architects to build bigger and higher. Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is produced by layering sections at right angles, while hybrid CLT combines the material with steel. Earlier this year, Sumitomo Forestry unveiled plans for a 350-meter, 70-story hybrid skyscraper in Tokyo, which will be the world’s tallest wooden building.

 Wood is increasingly being used in creative ways for pioneering construction projects

Wood is increasingly being used in creative ways for pioneering construction projects

Design

Designers are coming up with ingenious solutions to recycle what has already been discarded, particularly plastic.

Ocean terrazzo is the invention of furniture designer Brodie Neill, who was inspired to create a new take on traditional marble as a response to the plastic he saw damaging the coastline of his native Tasmania. Fragments of plastic that washed up on beaches are being used to create eye-catching furniture, such as the Flotsam table. And at furniture company Pentatonic, comfortable desk chairs are created using soft Plyfix, a textured felt you would never guess used to be plastic. Even Ikea is at it; its Kungsbacka kitchen doors are made from recycled PET bottles.

 Fragments of plastic that washed up on beaches are being used to create eye-catching furniture, such as the Flotsam table.

Fragments of plastic that washed up on beaches are being used to create eye-catching furniture, such as the Flotsam table.