vineri, 28 noiembrie 2014

Pixels on Old Masters by Raluca Sturzu

 Raluca Sturzu (b. 1988, Bucharest, Romania) is a graduate architect and designer, living and working in Bucharest. Her education and personal cultural background kept her permanently in touch with art & technology. In her art related work she focuses on perception and how technology could alter or augment reality through programming and digital rendering. Thus, the digital medium affects the object of representation, modifies its content and creates new visual semantics. In this context, the series “Pixels on Old Masters” is a play on perception where images of classical works are translated and eventually altered by computer completely, the computer being an equalizer – an efficiency oriented mechanism and medium of perception where all the inputs are nothing more than pure data. Specifically, oil paintings of the old masters are reduced to RGB fields of pixels to be operated upon by code which reads and eventually renders them as quantifiable results.

INSPIRATIONIST: What influence has Bucharest had on your work? The culture? The people?

Raluca Sturzu: Considering the fact that this exhibition is centred on the idea of beauty to be found in error and imperfection, I could just say that Bucharest is an aesthetically challenging city, full of contrasts and at times quite difficult to be dealt with. But being born and raised here I learned to understand it and even miss it when living for a longer time in more homogenous and posed urbanscapes. The culture and the people here are to some extent the result of this fragmented, dynamic and unpredictable environment. Hence, the influence Bucharest has on me and on my work must be related to this context where beauty doesn’t prevail as such and where forms or traces of beauty have to be looked for in a difficult and maybe even unappealing environment.

I:In how many exhibits (and where) has your work been displayed in the past?

R S: Message (Not) Received was the first public show of a printed version of my works. Until now, they were only featured on some glitch-related groups and blogs. Although I’ve always been interested and somehow involved in art, my work is of recent date, it is something I started over the last year, after my graduation.


I:Is there a specific thematic concentration within your work at the Message (Not) Received show? Is there a thread that ties all your pieces together or do they all have different meanings?

R S: At the Message (Not) Received show two works are exhibited – one is the central piece of the “Polyptych of Misericordia” of Piero della Francesca, representing the Madonna, and the other is “The Fortune-Teller” of Georges de la Tour – both part of a series called “Pixels on Old Masters”. In the series, oil paintings of the old masters are treated as pure data and thus read as RGB image files which are afterwards altered by code. The exercise is a play on perception, in which iconic images of balance and mastery are digitally altered in an attempt of investing their content with new visual semantics. The results are unpredictable and the original images are both radically different and still recognizable.


Pixels on Old Masters by Raluca Sturzu on Inspirationist (17)

I: What are some of the techniques and processes you used for you work ?

R S: The pixels on each column were sorted by a certain value of white, black or brightness; each amount of colour is preserved, which means that the chromatic balance of the original image is kept. The pixel sorting is not complete, so that the result appears to be a still of a process that would eventually erase all trace of representation and only leave behind a gradient of pixels.


I: Glitch art deliberately manipulates a message to deliver an alternate meaning. What alternate meanings were you trying to convey?

R S: The alternate possible meaning would have to do with representation itself, which in the digital environment is fragile, unstable and virtual. Thus, images coming from the real world are nothing more than inputs which can easily be altered and also easily lost. Moreover, this particular process of pixel sorting which makes an image go from figurative to complete abstraction – although leaving intact the mathematical description of the image – acts like an erasure device; hence, this process tells us something about memory as well, about its fluidity and about the difficulty of regain or repair.


I:Glitch art essentially brings out the beauty in mistakes. Did your pieces require a lot of planning to portray these “mistakes” in the best way possible or was your method mostly experimental?

R S: The beauty comes out of the lack of precise control. My method was experimental in the sense that I run a code blindly, meaning that I only see the result, it is not a real-time process – the result of which I may either accept or dismiss and run the code again, altering the code to some degree. But I do know what the code does, I do have some expectations, some representation regarding the possible result, based on which I make my final selection of images.


I: What do you think appeals to people about glitch art in this digital age?

R S: Digital tools were created to produce always better, close to perfection results in a never-ending process of optimization. Glitch art makes us watch the tools of perfection fail, which can have a strong relieving effect on the observer. Then, there is also an important amount of humour inherent to glitch art and humour appeals to people.


I: Do you think glitch art is a social commentary on using an error to break a routine and create a new order that embraces flaws?

R S: I wouldn’t say that glitch art is a social commentary, but I believe that at some level it contains a strong critique on the prevalence of technology and representation, aesthetics. We are living in a world based on the positive progress-oriented idea that technology is supposed to create perfection and perfect products and, by extension, to make our lives and even our bodies perfect – in a way, to make out of ourselves a work of art, an artefact – which is a terrifying thought. Here representation plays a crucial part and I believe that seeing the tools of perfection failing or using them for uncontrolled, imperfect results can act like a mechanism of relief. I see glitch art as a celebration of the failure of perfection, which is invigorating.


I: What artists have influenced you?

R S: I would like to refer here only to painters. I think that due to my choice of input images for the series “Pixels on Old Masters” it is obvious that I have a particular affection for pre-Renaissance and Early Renaissance painters such as Simone Martini, Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo Lippi, Piero della Francesca or for the French Baroque painter Georges de La Tour. But closer to us, Gerhard Richter is the artist – or should I say master – who had a great influence on me. He is to be admired for his mastery, for the intellectual importance of his work or for the fact that through him figurative painting regained its place after a long period of great visual restraint and dull abstraction; but these are nothing compared to the beauty of his works, to the ethereal blur covering landscapes and figures and which reminds Da Vinci’s sfumato. Some of his works could even be regarded as manual, analog glitches.


I: Have you attended any glitch art exhibits yourself? If so, which ones?

R S: No, I haven’t and I unfortunately won’t even be able to attend this one.









 All Images & Text ©  Raluca Sturzu

Pixels on Old Masters by Raluca Sturzu

joi, 27 noiembrie 2014

Her Majesty’s Pleasure by +tongtong

+tongtong: Her Majesty’s Pleasure, is equal parts café, retail boutique, beauty salon and bar, all located under one roof in downtown Toronto. Situated at the base of a newly occupied condominium building on King Street West, the epicenter of where urbanites live, work and play, Her Majesty’s Pleasure is a place for women and men to get manicures, pedicures, and blowouts while socializing and sipping on their elixir of choice – freshly-squeezed juice, lattes or craft cocktails.








All images ©  Lisa Petrole

Her Majesty’s Pleasure by +tongtong

Concept car design by Benedict Redgrove

British photographer Benedict Redgrove has taken a rare look inside the design studio of italian automobile firm Bertone. In a distinct artistic approach that highlights geometry, architecture and engineering, Redgrove has captured some of the company’s most radical concept cars from the 1960s and 70s — some never seen before — including designs for Alfa romeo, Lamborghini and Lancia. The series of images which was originally commissioned by Wallpaper* magazine, exudes a specialty in styling, coachbuilding and manufacturing, with Bertone’s vision categorized by abstract angular frameworks, a use of unique materials for standard auto parts and super-sleek interiors built for luxury and functionality.


‘I was allowed to move the cars into areas I found that worked well with the design of both building and car, they very kindly let me drive the lancia stratos prototype which you stepped into via the front glass panel, fell back into the seat, then pulled the steering column between your legs and then pulled the glass front down onto you. it was an amazing thing to behold and extremely hot, like sitting in a gold mobile greenhouse.’ says Benedict

1970 lancia stratos zero concept parked outside the studio

redgrove takes an exclusive look within bertone’s design lab

1968 alfa romeo carabo

 1967 lamborghini marzal

the lamborghini’s glass doors swing upwards

lamborghini bravo

the lamborghini bravo’s window details

All images © Benedict Redgrove

Concept car design by Benedict Redgrove

miercuri, 26 noiembrie 2014

Paul Smith Flagship Store by _SYSTEM LAB

: ‘Britain`s famous fashion brand Paul Smith is opening its first Asian flagship store in Korea, in Gangnam-a trading center for luxury brands. Considering the fact that the streets here are lined with exclusive stores for premium brands, not to mention that many high-end name-brand designers fiercely compete to open stores in this area, it was quite interesting to see how Paul Smith would make a lasting imprint with its brand of architecture on the local urban environment. We define the main characteristic of Paul Smith`s fashion brand as its ability to draw different responses, depending on the customer`s situation and interpretations.’

‘The Paul Smith Flagship store was created as a vehicle to infuse the above mentioned phenomenon into the urban environment. The specific shape of the building was predetermined, but its interpretation is open to all, depending on the unique perspective of each customer. The suggested figure, intended to create different stories depending on people`s perspectives and interpretations, was actually the result of a design that was constrained by legal regulations.’

‘In fact, it was very challenging meeting all the requests of Paul Smith when we considered the restricted area of about 330 sqm, as well as the high-density commercial district surrounding the area. Some architecture needs to achieve name recognition as a premium brand; the physical beauty of architecture, however, can be achieved by generally reducing the floor area ratio. However, it seemed difficult to solve the problem by simply reducing the floor area ratio; much of this was due to the quantitative weight of the project.’

‘Due to the volume that exceeded the initial floor area ratio, the oblique 30-meter line limitation imposed by the road and the constrictions created by sunlight rights, we had to create a concrete shell with maximised floor area ratio within the legal regulations by rounding, cutting or connecting all the edges. Eventually, we were able to add one more layer. Through this method, emphasising succession rather than completion, we were able to create a relatively spacious building compared to other buildings in the neighbourhood, even after we maxed out the floor area ratio and building coverage.’

‘In order to establish a concrete shell reflecting succession, we held various and intense discussions with a construction company (Geo Hyun Construction) and decided to employ, for the first time, curved Styrofoam blocks using an NV cutter as concrete moulds, compared to manipulating plywood moulds by correction, this method was significantly more cost-efficient. The semi-gloss industrial paint finishes are expected to conceal commercial and structural devices and imbue freer and pleasant feelings to viewers-much like a typical design from Paul Smith.’





Info and images © 

Paul Smith Flagship Store by _SYSTEM LAB

Shop 03 by i29 Interior Architects for FRAME Magazine

Having successfully opened a temporary store earlier this year, Frame Magazine decided to continue at a new location. i29 interior architects where asked again to design their retail environment. At Felix Meritis, the monumental ‘Zuilenzaal’ was transformed into a mirrored universe to reflect and intensify its grandeur. There could not have been more contrast with the new location at Herengracht 178, a serene completely white space.

Again, the Frame Store should offer a three-dimensional experience of the magazine – a creative and innovative universe that surprises and inspires. Working within a totally different context, i29 interior architects proposed a radical concept; two shops in one, two contradictory experiences in one space. One white and rectangular installation versus one black and diagonal; A white museological experience apposing a black shop experience full of products. Frame store works in the intersection between art, design, architecture and fashion. The interior design is based on the changeability of such a diverse shop. Flexibility and being able to change the store identity completely was the architects’ main focus.

Seen from the front, an installation of white panels and black frames floats in the all white space. Hanging from walls, floors and ceiling these panels intend to function as a white canvas. The content of this ‘canvas’ can be changed as all front panels are easily replaceable. Personalized presentations on particular themes can be exposed. The use of text and graphic art linking back to the magazine’s origins. But also enabling artists to be invited by FRAME Magazine to completely make over the environment.

Looking from back to front, the shop offers a totally different experience; triangular shaped display boards in black stained wood show the actual products behind the front panels. The contrast of these two worlds within one shop surprises. In order to enlarge and amplify this contrast, all choices made are contradictory: black versus white, square vs triangular and empty vs full. During the opening party, conceptual artist Niek Pulles presented a series of masks called Future tribes. Detailed portraits of these artworks where also displayed at the front panels. Also the grafic opening installation ‚new’ was displayed over several panels playing with the multi dimensionality. Both presentations clearly show the impact and possibilities of the approach combining 2d and 3d presentation in one store. The new Frame store again offers a sensory experience.

With only a few steps beyond the canal house’s ground level entrance, a two-tone graphic spanning the height and length of an interior wall is exposed as a three dimensional installation. An optical illusion comprised of triangular compartments conceals stacks of magazines and racks of fashion. Illuminated pendant lamps suspended from the ceiling are shielded by the upper tier of the graphic. ‘The interior speaks a totally different language (then the first store) because the interior space is so different. Conceptually, however, I think it’s at least as strong.’ Robert Thiemann, director Frame Magazine.



Info and images © i29 Interior Architects

Shop 03 by i29 Interior Architects for FRAME Magazine