Architecture & Design Travel

This mythical bird statue in India is the world’s largest

Jatayu Nature Park in Kerala, India, holds the largest bird sculpture on Earth, occupying about 15,000 sq feet and standing at the height of about 1200 feet above sea level. It is five times the size of the Pyramid of Giza.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru

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

It was built over a decade by filmmaker and sculptor Rajiv Anchal, who wanted to make the mythology come alive.

According to the legend, this is the jungle hilltop where Jatayu once fell and injured his left wing at the location in an attempt to save Sita from the clutches of evil kidnapper Ravana.

The stone-cut eagle now serves as a tribute to nature’s splendor and a symbol for the protection of womankind. Visitors must use a passenger ropeway to reach the top.

View more of the sculpture in the videos and images below.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/athulnair
Construction of Jatayu (2013) Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Kumar.kisalaya
Architecture & Design Travel

Impossible heights: Lighthouse of Thridrangar, Iceland

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

Built in 1939, the Thridrangar (Þrídrangar) Lighthouse, Þrídrangar means “three rock pillars,” 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 for service needs. The helipad sits on top of a jagged rock that sticks out to the Atlantic ocean.

Architecture & Design Science Technology

Watch styrofoam dancing to sound waves in a Kundt’s tube

Put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care.

What looks like a dubstep rave of little ghost people is actually styrofoam dancing to sound waves in a massive plexiglass pipe known as a Kundt’s tube.

In 1866 German physicist August Kundt constructed the experimental acoustical apparatus to measure the speed of sound in a gas or a solid rod. Said Kundt, “A physicist must be able to saw with a file and to file with a saw.”

The faux mosh pit is the result of a process called “sound looking” which demonstrates what audible vibrations or acoustical forces may actually look like.

No one can doubt that life moves to fascinating rhythms & vibrations.

Watch the entire video below.

Architecture & Design Culture & Society

Meet Bolivia’s powerful female wrestlers, Flying Cholitas

Photographer Todd Anthony took pictures of Bolivia’s indigenous female wrestlers for his new project, Flying Cholitas.

This unique group of athletes wear more than stylish dresses and beautiful petticoats — they come together to demonstrate pride in their history.

Once colonized by the Spanish and rejected as lower-class citizens, pejoratively known as “cholita,” they have since embraced the name to symbolize their persistent fight against subjugation and hierarchy.

Symbolizing the culmination of strength, power, and beauty, the cholitas will not be denied in activism nor aesthetics.

Architecture & Design Space

What cities look like at night without electricity

In his series Villes éteintes (Darkened Cities), French photographer Thierry Cohen imagines the world’s biggest cities at night without urban light.

Cohen uses a special exposure technique called day for night which enables him to capture the cities in the daytime but increases darkness levels. Then, he combines the city skylines into the backdrop of starry skies captured at the same altitude.

“By combining two realities, I am making a third that you cannot see … but it exists! I am showing you the missing stars,” Cohen told Wired.

“Photography is a way of showing things that we can’t see. Photography is a way to dream. I am not showing you post-apocalyptic cities, merely cities without electricity. I am bringing back the silence.”

NYC at night
New York City

What cities would look like if lit only by the stars

What appears to be an eerie blackout in some of the world’s biggest cities (Hong Kong, LA, New York, Paris, Rio, Shanghai, Tokyo) nonetheless creates a beautiful mirage.

“Photography is about poetry more than it is about reality,” added Cohen. “It is how you see the world. You can show the world you want to show.” See more images on the artist’s website.

Hong Kong at night under stars
Hong Kong
Paris at night under stars
Tokyo at night under stars
San Francisco at night under stars
San Francisco
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 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