Beauty, Design, Smart Ideas.

The gorgeous, giant-sized marbles look just like the cat-eyed beauties we played with when we were kids. A simple concept, executed with great skill by Swiss team Valérie & Jodoc, their project known as kosmosphaera. I imagine they are heavy, and wonderful to hold.
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Reading, alone. It’s pretty much the perfect solo activity. Studio Padron has built a fabulous mini library in the woods of New York state, and we’d like to curl up there for a solid full weekend.  Via BoredPanda:

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Animated GIFs used to be special, quirky, but now they’re everywhere. Thrown around in phone messaging, used as quick memes, etc.

But the art form still has special promise for talented artists like James R. Eads. His work is warm, organic, and psychedelic, but not jarringly so. Indeed, it’s spiritually fulfilling art, beautifully composed and created. The figures in his work exude love and peace. These examples of his art are special. I recommend letting yourself get lost in them for a few minutes. Via DesignBoom:

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Sony has a long running series of high-end adverts that speak to the glorious color (colour) of their TVs. As ads go, they’re pretty fantastic, and some of them have jumpstarted careers of some of our favorite musicians.  Filmed using live action, not special effects, the ads showcase thousands of super balls bouncing down San Francisco streets, apartments being blasted with paint, and Egyptian pyramids cascaded with colored string. The latest in their series takes a lavish, abandoned casino in Romania, and stuffs it with glitter-filled balloons. Using hundreds of pounds of vibrant glitter, the balloons burst in an explosion of color.

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A bright, colorful, lovingly recreated tribute to some of the best known moments in Disney’s catalog, 2veinte of Buenos Aires have taken a modern, minimalist design to scenes from Dumbo, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and several others. Their work displays the efforts that went into faithfully stripping down the original scenes and creating vibrant shape animation out of the characters. Via Behance:

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Fans of mid-century 50’s charm, get ready to wipe the drool from your chin. This time-capsule home on Dallas’ “Disney streets” is a faithful and beautiful specimen, something I’m sure photos don’t do justice.

Every detail of this large and rare home is lovingly, painstakingly upkept, brimming with mid-century, “atomic ranch” style that is highly sought after. Designer Carlos Cardoza purchased the home in the 90’s, and spent considerable time making sure every detail was just right. Kidney shaped pool, with Big Boy sculpture? Check. Vintage modern kitchen, with diner-style details? Check.  It’s available for sale, for a cool $665,000. For some, this would be a steal. For most of us, we’ll just smile and drool a bit. Via MyModernMet:

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Beautifully simple collection of visual recipes, by Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj. Clever and minimal, nice.
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Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture Architectural Photrography

The Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. are some of the finest in the world, and starting this month, there is a large, important new edition. The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens, after 13 years of planning and construction.  The New York Times has a fabulous exploration of the new museum, with some very powerful and poignant examples of the artifacts the space has on display. From the earliest days of the US as a slave trading nation, to the inauguration of the country’s first black president, this museum pays homage to history, to people, to our darkest days, and our brighter future. It’s all part of a huge, beautifully designed building right on the Capitol Mall. We can’t wait to visit.

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POWERFUL OBJECTS The collection includes potent artifacts, including a Ku Klux Klan hood and stereotypical representations of black Americans.

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CAT-O’-NINE-TAILS This type of whip was often used aboard slave ships.

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THOMAS JEFFERSON AND HIS SLAVES A statue of Thomas Jefferson stands in front of a stack of bricks marked with the names of people he owned.

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THE BLACK POWER SALUTE Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black-gloved fists when the United States national anthem was played during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

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CRADLE AND SHACKLES The cradle was made around 1830. These shackles are from around 1845. Both are in an exhibition on slave life and work.

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KING COTTON Bales have been stacked to represent the country’s enormous economic reliance on slavery during the early years of its expansion. The bell nearby called people to and from the fields.

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First off, don’t let the title fool you- we love this. Art should provoke, push boundaries, and inspire. The just-announced “Vessel” on New York’s West Side, by famed British designer Thomas Featherwick, is a jaw dropping climbable sculpture, something sure to make NYC even more enviable, from an art and architecture perspective.  The bronzed steel and concrete structure has an amazing 154 interconnecting staircases (!!) that allow for visitors to climb an impressive 2,500 steps to a number of vantage points. Vessel is being assembled in Monfalcone, Italy, and will make it’s way to New York sometime in 2017.

Designed to be part of New York’s epic Hudson Yards development, Vessel was financed and approved privately, meaning it went through far less design review than other public projects would. The result is exuberant, transfixing, and bold. It also makes us want to jump on a plane and explore it in person, as soon as it’s completed. Props to the billionaire developer, Stephen M. Ross, whose deep pockets allowed an artist to take risks and create something for the public to enjoy for years to come. Make sure to click images to see the structure in detail. Via The New York Times:

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We are becoming more and more familiar with the Red Planet, exploring Mars with robots and flyovers, combing the atmosphere and doing all manner of measurements. But we are still amazed at how terrestrial and familiar it can look, like in these new photos from NASA’s Curiosity rover. These amazing images were snapped by Curiosity’s Mastcam, and they show an area called the Murray Buttes, full of eroded sandstone cliffs. Via NASA:
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