Park Groot Vijversburg is a beautiful park located in the small town of Tytsjerk, in the northernmost province of The Netherlands named Friesland, which has been open to the public since 1892. Throughout the year, the park hosts events such as art exhibitions, musical performances, church services and excursions. With a rich history of inhabiting a variety of flora and fauna, the heart of Park Groot Vijversburg has always been a neoclassicist mansion in the center of the park. With the number of visitors growing significantly in the last two decade, six years ago Tokyo-based architect Junya Ishigami and Marieke Kums of Rotterdam practice Studio Maks were given the assignment to design an accommodation next to the villa that would enable Park Groot Vijversburg to host the bigger crowds.
Last May was the official opening of the new addition, next to other significant changes and additions to the park, resulting in an inspirational new face for the public area, having become one of the more beautiful spots in the country. But above all, what stands out within the reinvigoration Park Groot Vijversburg is the extraordinary vision that was materialized by Ishigami and Kums, which consists of three intersecting glass corridors that grow out of a sunken, triangular-shaped visitors centre — forming a deeply inspirational structure that, in the words of Ishigami: "melts into the environment," and is among the most impressive we have seen erupted in The Netherlands in a long time. [ Continue reading ]
A psychedelic-rock musician turned ultra-runner
We became big fans of Satisfy’s 'subversive movement in athletic gear' after last years interview with its founder Brice Partouche. His mix of cultures reached a new hight with the release of a new film called 'Possessed’. Shot in one of our most favourite places in the world, Joshua Tree National Park, California, the film is directed by Pierre David and Gabriel Novis. It follows Joshua Garrett Grubb, a psychedelic-rock musician turned ultra-runner. [ Continue reading ]
We recently encountered the work of Berlin-based photographer Dirk Müggenburg, who is best known for his remarkable still lifes and series of isolated shots from nature — all with a distinct cinematic quality and brooding mystique to them. His still lifes in particular are of an extraordinary beauty and predominantly the result of Müggenburg's obsession with flowers: both their inherent natural (decorative) beauty and the cultural position they hold. People use them as symbols to make statements of affection and mourning, which also means that people avoid them as they stand for vulnerability and doomed promises. It is very hard to view flowers as culturally neutral objects, for their vulnerable natural beauty arouse either admiration and desire or loathing due to cultural overexposure and negative connotations of kitsch. Müggenburg has explored this widespread hate-love relationship through a critical engagement with attraction, melancholia and sentiment in different series, all showing his extraordinary eye for detail and talent to create a distinct mood in his imagery.
The most diffuse series in his portfolio, aptly named 'Flowers of Delusion', is the one we love the most. As if taken behind a foggy window, the ensembles of flowers in vases are for the most part washed out over the frame, creating a photographic abstraction in the natural, pastel-like, color palette, without ever taking it beyond recognition. It is still very clear that this are flowers, but Müggenburg creates an atmosphere as if he is searching for a way to free them from their wide cultural affect — restoring what in our eyes is still the essence: extraordinary beauty. [ Continue reading ]
Last month, American photographer Jonathan Levitt, together with Los Angeles-based publisher Snail Press, released a new beautiful printed gem named 'Mawooshen: Life and Landscape of the Maritime Archaic', featuring over 100 carefully selected film photographs taken over the last 10 years. The name of the book refers all the way back to 1605, when British Captain George Waymouth explored what we now know as Midcoast Maine, in an expedition that included a certain gentleman named James Rosier, who wrote a detailed account that was published in England. During this exploration Waymouth and his men kidnapped five Natives and took them to England. The captives reportedly called their homeland Mawooshen. With his book, inspired by Paleolithic animism, western natural history, and shadow archaeology, Levitt creates and alter-world, named after the original native moniker of the lands, through deeply fascinating photographs of geography, plant and animal life, people, and built objects. All of the images are unstaged, analog, and accompanied by fragments of description. The photographs are arranged according to the seasons in which they were taken and span three cycles. The effect is cumulative and modal like a chant. By telling the story of 'Mawooshen' cyclically and ending with the ellipsis of a third spring, Levitt’s cosmology pushes against the linear, eschatological myth of western culture. [ Continue reading ]
Frederik Vercruysse, Clarisse Demory and Mark Colle for The Plant Journal 09
Last month marked the release of already the ninth issue of the inspirational The Plant Journal. Full of flowers this time around, it honors one in particular — not the most trendy flower, but definitely a classic of some sort; the geranium. Seamlessly fitting the changing weather of the last weeks (at least in The Netherlands and Belgium), the magazine celebrates the summer, which for instance also perfectly matches life like artist Roberto Burle Marx, one of the protagonists of the issue. Legendary German illustrator and artist Tomi Ungerer shares his beloved piece of land in Ireland while Elein Fleiss shows her knowledge on herbs and Antoni Arola details his passion for seeds. Kuba Ryniewicz focusses on Conrwall’s mighty marine flora, Mark Borthwick the lush of Jamaica. Formafantasma and Ethel Baraona meditate about the meaning of borders and Mercedes Villalba explores desire paths. Furthermore, one learns about the linen process, how to preserve dandelions into paperweights and the tastiest ice-cream recipes by Kitty Travers.
In all, the new inspirational issue is packed with some of the most beautiful flowers one finds on this earth, captured by talented people like Brian Kanagaki, the always great Scheltens & Abbesses and one of our favorite photographers around; Yoshinori Mizutani, who captured the park life in London like only he can, as is also portrayed on maybe the most beautiful cover created for the magazine. Yet, there is one series, even above Mizutani's, which is our clear favorite, coming from two Belgian inspirators in their particular field: the collaboration between photographer Frederik Vercruysse, who teamed up with stylist Clarisse Demory and no less than flower grandmaster Mark Colle, for a series of bouquets in which they honor six deceased pop cultural icons (Whitney Houston, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson. Minnie Riperton, Nina Simone and David Bowie) in bespoke arrangements and settings created for these individuals. [ Continue reading ]
We recently became familiar with an interesting new project which combines a love for both photography and flowers remarkably. Given the name OVERGROWTH, Portland-based photographer Parker Fitzgerald and floral designer Riley Messina present a new limited edition art publication conceived and produced from their hometown in the United States. Created over the course of two years, the book is comprised of nearly 120 original images that elegantly blur the lines between humans and nature. Photographed primarily in Portland between March 2013 and February 2015, the book features a large cast of friends posed with Messina's striking floral arrangements. Shot entirely on Kodak film by Fitzgerald, and styled by Messina, the images have a soft, painting-like quality that gives the project a timeless aesthetic. In the elegantly composed still lifes and real-life collages (reminding of the extraordinary work of Rocío Montoya), the two artists juxtapose and merge the lines of the flowers with the human body remarkably in different contexts, always succeeding to engage us as the spectator. [ Continue reading ]
Many modern skincare brands label themselves natural, but if you look closely at their ingredients almost none of them actually live up to the claim, mainly to guarantee a long shelf life. Motivated by how empty the signifier 'natural' has become in modern cosmetics, the newly launched Danish cosmetics brand NUORI has made it its mission to actually deliver what it claims. The brand only uses ingredients of natural origin and when they add actives to their formulations, only naturally occurring compounds such as vitamins and amino acids are chosen - resulting in a maximum shelf life of 12 weeks after which one has to start using new products. With its bold approach - which we love - of only using natural ingredients, the NUORI products are fresher than any other and form a unique addition to the market, available in Amsterdam at 290 Square Meters and in Paris at colette amongst others. [ Continue reading ]
During last week's London Design Festival the super fascinating Plants Out Of Place initiative curated an exhibition with a selection of inspirational projects to introduce its mission to the public. The London-based initiative seeks to engage with the world to re-consider the value of wild plants and how we may utilize them to design for a better future - a vision through which they created a sensory event aiming to trigger the public on an experiential level to question the values and approaches to sustainable practices. The exhibition showed an overall high standard with work by inspirational names like Studio Drift and Drink Factory, yet we are most impressed by the work of our favorite; Coloni which combined forces with Studio Aikieu, resulting in some of the most beautiful imagery we have seen in months. [ Continue reading ]
The Japanese photographer Yoshinori Muzutani released the incredible series 'Tokyo Parrots' in 2013 and since then it has left an unforgettable impression on us. The escaped parakeets - not actually parrots - have flourished in the city of Tokyo for some decades now, and likewise fascinated photographer Yoshinori Mizutani, who upon his first encounter with them was struck by apprehension and fear, as if he had walked into Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’. Unnatural as they seemed in the urban environment, he followed the flocks and watched their daily patterns, eventually locating one of the largest nesting places in a certain ginkgo tree. After some resesarch Mizutani found out that these parakeets were brought to Japan in the 1960s and 1970s from tropical regions in India and Sri Lanka to be sold as pets, but which have been roaming the city after the owners lost interest. The result of his bird watching study is a highly remarkable, aesthetic series of surreal photographs revealing a tropical urban world inhabited by parakeets. [ Continue reading ]
After writing about Virginie Khateeb's visit to the marble quarries of Carrara and sharing the incredible 'Il Capo' documentary that was shot in the area, we found a new inspirational artist - Belgian photographer Frederik Vercruysse - who has explored that fascinating place on earth and returned with some impressive work named 'Temo Polveroso' or 'Pulverised Time'. The project which Vercruysse initially had in mind when embarking on his residency at Villa Lena was a new series of still lifes, but he soon felt compelled to capture his inspirational surroundings in images rather than remain within the four walls of his studio. His photographs of the marble quarries reveal a similar dynamic as Khateeb's images - showing a mixture of an utmost raw beauty and solitary melancholy, which could be seen as a metaphor for the embodiment of the area: the creation of beauty at the expense of nature. Without any human beings in the frames, it is impossible to fathom the larger-than-life scale of this totally unique form of landscape exploitation/architecture. The series of 16 stunning images over which a cloud of mysterious, powdery mist appears to be suspended, will be on display at the inspirational gallery/store Graanmarkt 13 in Antwerpen until Saturday 30 May. [ Continue reading ]
Today marks exactly the fourth year since the east coast of Japan was devastated by the so-called Great East Japan earthquake and the tsunami that it caused. To remember the disaster and pay his respects, writer and photographer Lee Basford travelled to the area only 70 kilometers away from the epicenter - named Tohoku - where after four years the locals are still rebuilding. One of the cities in the region most affected was Rikuzentakata. The ruthless waves destroyed basically everything, and what remains now is an overwhelming emptiness. The city was noted for its tree-lined coast - regarded as one of the most beautiful landscapes in Japan. But after the disaster, only 1 of the 70.000 trees remained. It became known as The Miracle Pine. A year after the disaster took place, in 2012, Rapha Continental shot a film in the devastated area, and there’s been an annual ride in Tohoku since, organized by Daisuke Kitayama, the film’s director, and Seiichi Watanabe, a Continental rider. These outtakes of Basford and his friend's experiences of riding through the area show both the beauty and hardships of riding, one never really disconnects with the surrounding you are riding in - which in this case resulted in an unfiltered perspective on the struggles of the area. [ Continue reading ]
Last year we were very impressed by the beautiful debut publication of independent publishing house Zioxla named 'Strange Plants', which will have a just as impressive follow up at the beginning of next month. The new book features the work of 30 artists, 5 more then than the first edition, and explores what these artists think about plants and how they portray them in their work. The very talented editor of the book, Zio Baritaux, brought together a new selection of artists, including names like Allison Schulnik, Misha Hollenbach, Francesca DiMattio, Zin Taylor, Katarina Janeckova, Stills & Strokes and Ren Hang. Schulnik, for example, used her own garden as a character in one of her short films; Stills & Strokes projected colors and geometric shapes onto the leaves of plants in botanical gardens; and DiMattio filled the sculptures in her exhibition with dramatic and unruly flowers. Each artist’s work is accompanied by an insightful article or interview that delves deeper into the relationships between plants and people, resulting in another inspirational book. [ Continue reading ]
After yesterday's feature we continue to stay in the fascinating Carrara area, with its marble quarries where men and machines dig the mountains, this time moving to Monte Bettogli. Last year in October, Nowness shared this excerpt of the highly inspirational documentary “Il Capo” (The Chief) by the italian visionary Yuri Ancarani. It continues to be one of the best things we've seen in a long time, portraying a maestro quarry manager at work. The extraordinary craftsmen coordinates or even conducts his quarrymen and heavy-duty machines, using a language consisting solely of gestures and signs. Conducting his dangerous and sublime orchestra against the backdrop of the almost surreal landscapes and peaks of the Apuane Alps, The Chief works in total noise, which create a paradoxical silence. The result is an utmost poetic video, finding extraordinary beauty in an extraordinary craft. [ Continue reading ]
Virginie Khateeb is a French photographer, currently based in Paris. Her main inspirations lay in the wilderness, raw materials, body shapes and the stillness of chaos. This results in a longing for change and new experiences, constantly pushing her to find unspoiled beauty, whether that lays within a person or at a particular place. One of those discoveries, which she found and captured in a tremendous manner, are the marble quarries of Carrara in the North of Italy, just under Genoa, where the talented photographer shot the series named 'Deconstruction' for Yet Magazine. The subject matter of her series is an area full of constantly evolving landscapes, characterized by their surreal architecture and sculpted structures built from gutted mountains. Khateeb portrays this tour de force of nature's beauty in incredible clean frames, which at first glance may even appear to be paintings, with the extraordinary marble, full of hard lines, almost becoming tangible. We just plainly love the raw beauty of these images, underlining the great talent of Khateeb. [ Continue reading ]
We have written about the incredible Athens-based webstore named Daphnis and Chloe when we found out about it in July of this year. The elegant and exquisite project was founded by Evangelia Koutsovoulou who divides her time between between Athens, Milan and Barcelona. The webstore which was funded through Kickstarter focusses on culinary herbs and spices for chefs and home cooks who are looking for Mediterranean ingredients of the finest quality. Last week Evangelia and her team released an all new offering in the form of their caffeine-free alternative to normal tea which they named ‚The Office Blend’. Next to the new premium tea, which comes in a colorful all new container, the store has released this new packaging for all its herbs ensuring the best possible use for their fine herbs in the area where it matters most: the kitchen. [ Continue reading ]
We love this project by prestigious Oslo-based multidisciplinary studio Snøhetta named The Vulkan Beehive. Set atop the roof of the Mathallen food hall in central Oslo, the honey-colored wooden cabins became home to 160.000 bees this past July, which shows that the little ingenious insects continue to inspire in the creation of great projects. The shape and natural geometry of the honeycomb were key-elements in this project, as the highly inspirational studio created these sculpturesque urban hives in real bee style with a multi-faceted form and hexagonal-patterned façade. Constructed entirely out of a light-colored wood finished with an intentionally honey-reminiscent hue, the hives were designed with an appearance that reflects their purpose of bringing back bees to the city environment of Oslo in an utmost elegant manner. [ Continue reading ]
We really like the first publication by Independent publishing house Zioxla named 'Strange Plants'. The book is a celebration of plants in contemporary art featuring the work of 25 artists: from oozing paintings of rotting cacti to eerie, mesmeric photos of the leafy kudzu vine, and discusses the role plants play in the artists’ personal lives. For the book, editor Zio Baritaux brought together eight artists whose work focuses on the natural world: Erik Parker, Helene Schmitz, Paul Wackers, Lee Kwang-Ho, Taylor McKimens, David Axelbank, Stephen Eichhorn and Aiyana Udesen. In-depth interviews and articles are presented alongside images that showcase the instinctive and unique ways plants are represented in the artists’ works. [ Continue reading ]
Recently we came across the inspiring Athens-based Kickstarter funded webstore named Daphnis and Chloe, founded by Evangelia Koutsovoulou, which focusses on culinary herbs and spices for chefs and home cooks who are looking for Mediterranean ingredients of the finest quality. Local varieties of Mediterranean herbs are sourced from the areas of Greece where they naturally perform better, making their products of the highest quality. In the seasonings and infusions one finds at Daphnis and Chloe, city cooks can smell and taste the genuine bounty that can only be encountered in the natural state of things, without having to visit the remote islands and valleys where each herb has chosen to grow. Around these exquisite products a distinct aesthetic was created online and in the packaging, making Daphnis and Chloe by far the most elegant choice when looking for the finest herbs and spices. [ Continue reading ]
We absolutely love the new collection by Sweden-based gardening house, and one of the most elegant companies worldwide; Coloni. For Spring/Summer 2014 the company has explored the field of species for growing on balconies and other small spaces. By focusing on these species with a wild character, such as meadow flowers and different kinds of grasses, and combining them with species that have a graphic and dramatic character the aim is to create seed mixtures with a natural and less structured feeling. Inspired by the rhythm of day and night and its different moods, the collection named From Dusk Till Dawn consists of the seed mixtures Early Shades, Harvest Noon and Into the Night. [ Continue reading ]
The Garden Edit is a beautifully curated collection of products for, and inspired by, the garden. Founded by English gardener John Tebbs, the platform redraws the traditional boundaries associated with shopping and the garden by bringing together a modern collection of products that embody functionality, timelessness and beauty. A gardener for over 15 years, John creates and maintains private and commercial gardens across London. Working under the title Finch Gardening, he has a client base who love the personal touch and appreciate the garden as an evolving space. [ Continue reading ]
To celebrate their this year introduced Highlander Honey whiskey Dewar's collaborated with Sid Lee and The Ebeling Group for a campaign in which 80000 Highlander honey bees play the lead role, producing the key ingredient for the new liquor. Dewar’s Highlander Honey is the first modern honey flavoured whisky to come out of Scotland and was created by Dewar's master blender Stephanie Macleod. The campaign is both aesthetically and technically impressive and shows a fascinating variation on the swiftly expanding 3D printing technology as it focusses on the process of bees creating honeycombs in the shape of a whiskey bottle. [ Continue reading ]
We really like this Kickstarter project which envisions a new direction for plants in an urban environment. Plant-in City is a collaboration between architects, designers, and technologists who are building new ways of interacting with nature. The sculptural Plant-in City terrariums combine modular architecture, basic laws of physics, embedded technologies, and mobile computing to construct a Plant City where the aesthetic meets the pragmatic. [ Continue reading ]
For my fourth Curated gift I present a signed and numbered edition of: An Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds by photographer Luke Stephenson. London-based design studio YES collaborated with the photographer for this project which documents the fascinating (British) culture of show birds.
What attracts me to the book in the first place is it's explicit quality of exposing the wonderful aesthetic of nature. Stephenson succeeded in creating a series of photographs catching the essence of the depicted birds in color and form like it was done in formal portraits of monarchs during previous centuries. The birds are depicted on mono colored backgrounds resulting in a great contrast with the many visible colors and shapes of the birds, creating an overall aesthetic reminiscent of fashion photography. Stephenson made nature into fashion. [ Continue reading ]
The amazing gardening set by Coloni at Miscellaneous Store that takes gardening to a new and conceptual level. [ Continue reading ]