Architecture & Design Travel

Mirrored ceilings at Zhongshuge bookstores, China

Zhongshuge Bookstore is a popular book chain in China. Each of its stores leverages mirrors in its architectural design to give off a kaleidoscope effect on the interior. 

However, one of its stores in the city of Chongqing features a magical and elaborate bookcase. The location features a ceiling mirror that creates an optical illusion of intertwined staircases, a magnified room, and an infinity of books. 

Designed by architecture firm X+Living — Zhongshuge bookstores are mind-boggling for readers and viewers alike. Can you imagine if JK Rowling wrote her next book in one of these inception-like wonders?

Photos: Feng Shao/Arch Daily

Architecture & Design Travel

Impossible heights: Lighthouse of Thridrangar, Iceland

Want to get away? There’s a lighthouse off the coast of South Iceland that sits 120 feet upward on the highest of three steep rocks. It is possibly the most isolated lighthouse in the world.

Built in 1939, the Thridrangar (Þrídrangar) Lighthouse is undoubtedly one of the most challenging lighthouses ever built. Given the swirling winds and crashing waves, climbing the precarious pillar must have been one Herculean task.

Today, Thridrangar lighthouse is only accessible by helicopter.

Architecture & Design Nature

Xavi Bou: If birds left tracks in the sky

Barcelona-based photographer Xavi Bou turns bird flight into art in a project he calls Ornitografías.

Using his degrees in geology and photography and experience as a lighting technician in the fashion industry, Bou extracts high-resolution photos from video stills to illustrate the path of birds in motion.

The result is a spectacular piece of art hinged on the physics and mathematics of flight.

Xavi Bou's 'Ornitografías': If birds left tracks in the sky...

Architecture & Design Space Travel

Mysterious metal monolith found in remote Utah desert

As if 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, the Utah Department of Public Safety stumbled upon a mysterious shiny monolith among red rocks in the remote Utah desert. 

The crew spotted the “unusual object” during a routine flyover to survey the area for bighorn sheep. 

In a public statement issued on Tuesday, Utah officials announced that they’re keeping the exact location of the 12-foot-tall silver monolith a secret. 

“The exact location of the installation is not being disclosed since it is in a very remote area and if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue. We are encouraging anyone who knows the location of the monolith to not attempt to visit it due to road conditions.”

Photo: Utah Department of Public Safety
Mysterious metal monolith found in remote Utah desert
Photo: Utah Department of Public Safety
Mysterious metal monolith found in remote Utah desert
Photo: Utah Department of Public Safety

Note, however, that the object purportedly existed on Google Earth for more than five years. It is firmly planted in the ground with “human-made rivets,” after all. 

While the artist behind the sculpture remains unknown, the David Zwirner Gallery claims its the work of the late minimalist sculptor John McCracken.

Though McCracken never mentioned anything about the avant-garde piece to his family, friends, or business partners, he was an avid science-fiction fan. It’s no surprise that internet sleuths have already proclaimed the installation alien and compared the monolith to the scene depicted in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey

Animals Architecture & Design Travel

Topiary sculpture of a sleeping baby bird

Here’s a bird you’ll never get tired of looking at.

Children’s author and illustrator Claude Ponti’s gigantic topiary named Poussin Endormi or Sleepy Chick resides in Jardin des Plantes’ botanical garden in Nantes, France.

The outdoor installation relaxes nearby Ponti’s zany other works, the sleeping koala. Who wouldn’t want these in their front yard?

Check out some of Ponti’s surrealistic books below. What a wild imagination!

Architecture & Design Photography

Long exposure traffic lights in the night

Photographer Lucas Zimmermann’s long exposure photos of traffic lights in the fog are mesmerizing.   

The images appear as part two of the German fine art photographer’s Traffic Light series

“The unknown hue of blueish light is hidden for the human eye, but the photography shows us things we otherwise overlook, such as a simple traffic light on the street. An all known object which produces a strong graphical effect in an unnatural situation with a simple photographic setup,” writes Zimmerman. 

Simple yet beautiful, Zimmerman exposes the rainbows that hide in the dense mist at night, turning traffic lights into art.

Long exposure traffic lights in the night
Long exposure traffic lights in the night
Long exposure traffic lights in the night
Architecture & Design Nature Travel

Daisugi: Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees

The Japanese forestry technique for growing trees, daisugi, goes as far back to the 14th century.

The 600-year-old technique involves pruning a tree’s branches to construct a stable platform that supports producing perfectly straight lumber on top.

The ancient method, therefore, creates wood without cutting down trees. However, the ingenious forestry technique is no longer in use.

Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/TaganiPH 
Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/StevenGParker
Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/HooaFury 
Architecture & Design Travel

Jatayu: The world’s largest bird sculpture

Jatayu Nature Park in Kerala, India, holds the largest bird sculpture on Earth.

Opened in 2018 as a tourist destination, the 70-foot tall giant sculpture pays tribute to the famed divine bird, Jatayu, from the Hindu epic Ramayan.

According to the mythology, Jatayu once fell and injured his left wing at the location in an attempt to save Sita from the clutches of evil Ravana.

Photo: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru

The stone cut statue now serves as a symbol for the protection of womankind. View more of the sculpture in the videos and images below.

Architecture & Design Nature Science Travel

Photographer captures rare Devil Horns solar eclipse over the Persian Gulf

On December 26, 2019, amateur photographer Elias Chasiotis captured an incredible ‘red devil horns’ sunrise over the Persian Gulf during a rare solar eclipse. 

The Athens-based photographer was vacationing in the coastal city of Al Wakrah in Qatar just before the new year when he snapped the rare spectacle of the moon blocking the sun. The sun appears to rise in two pieces amid the cloudiness. 

“Astronomy has attracted me since I was a kid,” Chasiotis said in an interview with Bored Panda. “I’ve been an amateur astrophotographer for the last 15 years as well. I took these photos in the coastal city of Al Wakrah, Qatar, on the morning of December 26, 2019, when an annular eclipse was in progress.”

“I was worried that nothing would come out of the eclipse. However, when the sun finally began to rise, it looked like two separate pieces, some sort of red horns piercing the sea. It soon took the form of a crescent, with the so-called ‘Etruscan vase’ inferior mirage effect visible. Due to its shape, the phenomenon was nicknamed the ‘evil sunrise.’”

Interestingly, images of the red crescent sunrise emerged a few days before the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. Make of that what you will.

See more of Chasiotis’s photos on Facebook.

Architecture & Design

Yarn artist Liisa Hietanen makes human embroidered figures

Knitting is a popular hobby in Finland. But 30-year-old artist Liisa Hietnanen takes the practice to a whole new level.

She uses wool to create life-size crocheted sculptures of the neighbors in her village.

“The slow handcraft techniques work as a counterforce to the accelerating pace in different areas of life,” says the
artist, who uses photographs and face-to-face meetings to help create these fiber people.

“To me the more important values in my works are not likeness or resemblance.

“The works are rather about encountering someone very concretely, seeing the other for real and getting to know them slowly. I see these as relevant values and balancing actions especially in contrast to quick stirs and thin encounters in social media.”

Check out more of Hietanen’s creative vision below.