Abandoned Desert Buildings On Creepy Lunar Landscapes

Abandoned Desert Buildings On Creepy Lunar Landscapes

These photos by Ed Freeman all elicit a deep sense of alienation and a weird sort of fascination. They underline questions that we want answered. What happened here? Who lived here? How did these places fall into disrepair? Through the atrophy of the material world we can get this uncomfortable sense that we're all destined for…

Welcome to the most remote island in the world...Bouvetøya

Welcome to the most remote island in the world…Bouvetøya

Bouvetøya, also known as Bouvet Island is definitely a contender for the most remote place in the world. I discovered Bouvetøya via an excellent Tumblr with the understated title of Map Design. This is a treasure trove of cartography. Another is the seminal book The Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky.  This is a…

Historic Jukebox: Henry David Thoreau & Fleet Foxes http://wp.me/p41CQf-9V

Thirty great medieval epithets for people and beasts

Why do we say a gaggle of geese, a flock of sheep, a pride of lions or a swarm of bees? Well it harks back to medieval times when sportsmen grouped together collectives of beasties to refer to them in movement or attributing a quality to them - presumably while the poor creatures ran away…

Here be the Viking Hoard: The Mystery of the Lewis Chessmen http://wp.me/p41CQf-ItW

Here be the Viking Hoard: The Mystery of the Lewis Chessmen

The Lewis Chessmen were likely to have been made in Trondheim in Norway from walrus ivory. This kind of bone was hard to come across at the time (1150-1200 A.D), as it required hunting during a brief window of time per year in the Arctic Circle, using primitive hunting tools of the time and in…

Try out these scintillating, interactive Gustav Klimt paintings

Push the slider from left to right to see the Klimt paintings come alive... View slider Inge Prader is the photographer responsible for this highly stylised and sensual ensemble of beautiful models languidly posing in such scintillating and baroque surroundings. Inge has perfectly paid tribute to Klimt's legendary works. View slider View slider The occasion for…

Poetry and music from the film 'Wings of Desire' (Der Himmel uber Berlin)

Poetry and music from the film ‘Wings of Desire’ (Der Himmel uber Berlin)

One of my favourite films of all time is the Wim Wenders film The Wings of Desire known in German as Der Himmel uber Berlin. It won the Best Film at Cannes in 1987. Some of the magic  of this film comes from the music (Nick Cave, U2), the acting (Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin) and…

The Most Exquisite Tiny Books in the World

For all of the bookworms, here are some of the most exquisitely rendered miniature books in the world. As a warm up, here's a picture of the bombed-out Holland House library in London during WW2. The message was loud and clear. Readers won't be perturbed from doing what they love, no matter what else is…

The beautiful poetry of the Maori/Polynesian Star Compass - Atea a Rangi

Atea a Rangi: Star Maps of the Maori and Pacific Peoples

In the past, I've written about Maori sea navigation by the stars and the legend of Matariki. Although nothing prepared me for the utterly beautiful Maori star compass which has been carved and placed on a remote and wild beach in the Hawkes Bay, between Hastings and Napier. The Star Compass - Atea a Rangi…

Five rare and awe-inspiring mountain and river maps

Five rare and awe-inspiring mountain and river maps

When it comes to design - the Victorians did it better. Nothing quite matches these 19th Century comparative river and mountain maps for exquisite hand-drawn detail, meticulous scale and luminous beauty. It makes me wonder, how can anyone not love old maps? A New Cartographic Convention One of the forerunners for this kind of map…

B4-XVI: Why Renaissance Art and Rappers Are Cut From The Same Cloth

Renaissance Art/Rapper Mashup

In the past I've showcased Scorpion Dagger's Renaissance era GIFs. This takes the classical art mash-up one step further with hilarious results. B4 XVI (Before Sixteen) explores the often overlooked visual and cultural similarities between hip hop poseurs and medieval aristocrats. Hey it's all got to be referenced from somewhere, right? One from the deep…

Bas-relief depicting a banquet in the palace of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal

Cooking 4,000 year old Babylonian recipes, how do they taste?

This is one for all the history nerds out and anybody who likes cooking and eating, which probably means you. When you try to recreate an ancient recipe, you may end up with a stinking cesspool of inedible muck or a culinary wonder. Two very famous US universities Harvard and Yale collaborated together to cook…

An Exquisite Model Book of Calligraphy, 1560

An Exquisite Model Book of Calligraphy, 1560

Have a look at the exquisite pages in Mira calligraphiae monumenta or the Model Book of Calligraphy, which was crafted by Croatian-born mastercraftsman Georg Bocskay, and Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel. This is a real work of art and shows beautiful attention to detail with the gold leaf writing and sublime illustrations of flowers, insects and…

The challenge of ruling a diverse nation never changes

The challenge of ruling a diverse nation never changes

This very weighty and important subject is as relevant right now as it was in the 16th Century. That was when a Dutch engraving by artist Pieter van der Borcht the Elder managed to capture the complexity and challenging nature of geopolitics and ruling in a country with many different ideologies and in the midst…

Dni Głogowa

Every Picture Tells a Story: Dni Głogowa

One day while walking along the lovely Odra river in Głogow on a hot and sunny day, I came upon the Museum of Archaeology and History in Głogow. Teenagers were reenacting some kind of WWII scene. This was done in conjunction with a yearly festival they have in the town called Dni Głogowa or Days…

Enchanting floating ships by Italian Architect Luigi Prina

Enchanting floating ships by Italian Architect Luigi Prina

Italian architect Luigi Prina has been interested in aircraft modelling since a very young age. However, it was only after he met Venetian painter and boat builder Eugenio Tomiolo that he started to create flying ship models from ultra-thin paper and balsa wood inspired after Roman, Greek and Viking designs. His collection (or fleet) of…

The terrace houses of Sevilla, Spain

Travel: The Beautiful Terrace Windows of Triana, Sevilla

Back in 2010 during a particularly sweltering summer, I visited Andalucia and soaked in the beautiful architecture in Sevilla. The best way to see all of the charming neighbourhoods and historic monuments was going the tourist routes with an open-top bus. This also afforded me excellent views onto all of the terrace houses with their…

Retro TV Channels from the 70's, 80's and 90's are on the internet for all posterity

Retro TV Channels from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are on the internet for all posterity

Want something a little bit different for your next party? Here's  a novel idea for entertaining guests. A modern browser version of vintage TV channels featuring soaps, ads, comedy, drama, music and even news from particular decades! Find it here The only requirement is that you use a PC for this app rather than a touchscreen…

All About Amazing Op Art

All About Amazing Op Art

Op Art descended out of geometric art of the 50's and the Bauhaus movement in Germany, which I have previously written about in the Origins of Flat Design. The 60's was a period of discovery in science, psychology and new technology. This type of art reflects the experimental mood of that era. The pieces normally…

Forgotten Pop Art Pioneer Dorothy Grebenak's Rugs Are Awesome

Forgotten Pop Art Pioneer Dorothy Grebenak’s Rugs Are Awesome

Dorothy Grebenak was born in Nebraska in 1913 and was a self-taught rug maker who originally made rugs stocked in a Brooklyn museum. Although these weren't rugs in the folk style, they are designed to be displayed on walls as art. These rugs were depictions of humble and everyday objects, which brought them into the…