Takanori Aiba’s Intricate, Fantastical Sculptures of Bonsai Buildings

In your wildest vacation fantasies, where do you stay? A posh hotel, perhaps, or under the stars atop a beautiful mountain? Well, the miniature buildings Japanese artist Takanori Aiba constructs — often using materials like vintage pineapple cans and ice cream packages as his base — are more idyllic than anything we could have possibly dreamed up. Although only a few are actually named Bonsai, all of the tiny structures evoke bonsai trees, both in their precise intricacy and in the way they seem to grow out of pots and pedestals. Click through to see a selection of Aiba’s sculptures, which we discovered via Booooooom, and visit his website to learn more about his work. … Read More

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This Miniature Model Helped Bring Down Bin Laden

Yesterday, we looked at some mindblowing miniature versions of cities and landmarks from around the world. While lovely, none of them can touch the historical import of this once-classified model of Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, which was used to help plan the Navy SEAL raid that brought down the terrorist leader. Based on satellite images obtained by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the incredibly detailed 1:84 replica took a special team six weeks to construct, right down to the tiny concertina wire on the styrofoam walls. Crazy, right? Click through to get a closer look. … Read More

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Mind-Blowing Miniatures of Real Places Around the World

When you think of miniatures, perhaps images of old ladies meticulously constructing dollhouses and shut-ins building ships in bottles come to mind. But, whether they’re commercial ventures or individuals’ all-consuming projects, there are quite a few miniatures out there that could actually be described as awesome. A scale model of New York City that reproduces every single building from Staten Island to the Bronx? Amazing. A Mayan temple made out of nine tons of chocolate? Incredible (not to mention delicious). A teeny tour of old Hong Kong? Fascinating. We’ve collected some of the coolest — and one of the most depressing — miniature models of cities and landmarks from around the world. Take a guided tour after the jump. … Read More

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10 Remarkable Models Made by World Famous Architects

Albert Pike, poet, Freemason, and Confederate man about town, astutely commented that “one man is equivalent to all Creation. One man is a World in miniature.” If one man represents the world than the roof over his head, and a mini version of that roof surely has some fundamental universal importance.

We love sensible and profound quotes as much as we love micro architecture, and in discovering Pritzker Prize winner Peter Zumthor’s strangely compelling large-scale models, we’ve found a new means to satisfy our obsession with little buildings. A study in micro representation, the model, as Zumthor explains, is the only way to consider the “atmosphere” of a space. Or, what we like to think of as the best way to design good vibes.

We invite you to get out some construction paper, a pair of scissors, and that old crafty standby, Elmer’s Glue, and be inspired to build your own mini proverbial universe. Made out of wacky materials like organic milk cartons, pepto bismol pink styrofoam and paper dinner napkins, click through to check out our roundup of remarkable models made by some of the world’s most important architects. … Read More

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10 Weird and Wonderful White House Replicas

We all know and love the tradition of the White House Gingerbread House, so in honor of the great George Washington’s birthday, otherwise known as Presidents’ Day, we thought we’d see what other recreations of our favorite symbol of democracy might exist. From Southern mansions (yes, plural) to the Zweifel family’s labor of love to a miniature park in Austria, click through to see where and why so many recreations of our President’s Neoclassical abode have been made. It might have something to do with the fact that the American Institute of Architects ranked the White House second on their survey of “America’s Favorite Architecture“, just behind the Empire State Building. Then again, it might be that people are just plain weird. Be patriotic and let us know in the comments what tops your list of favorite American architecture. … Read More

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Photo Gallery: Barbie Trashes Her Dreamhouse

Barbie’s Dreamhouse: the ultimate aspirational symbol of gender-normative American girlhood. But what happens when reality intervenes, and that shining suburban McMansion is overrun by the very consumerist objects that Barbie (and, in turn, her young fans) fetishizes? That’s where artist Carrie M. Becker comes in. In her photo series Barbie Trashes Her Dreamhouse, the doll’s house is stuffed with clutter and coming apart at the seams: a teenage girl’s bed is almost completely camouflaged by magazines, accessories, and junk; the dining room is piled high with cardboard boxes and trash bags; the bathroom is a grimy mess, the floor completely coated in random belongings and the sink and toilet filled with dirty water. Click through the gallery after the jump to see the American childhood dream transformed into the kind of nightmare you might find on Hoarders, and visit Becker’s website to learn more about her work. … Read More

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No Country for Small Men: Diorama Photography of Miniature Crimes

Florian Tremp is a Switzerland-based magazine editor and designer by day, self-taught diorama photographer extraordinaire by night. His amazing 1:87 miniatures are meticulously staged as bloody crime scenes, police car chases, CSI investigations, shoot outs, and murders in progress. Ah, yes, he makes tranquil little detailed scenes of diners glowing in a rural dusk and steel trailer homes shimmering in the night, but our favorites are those with a sinister edge — the “crime scenes in flower pots” and, of course, the Coen Brothers-influenced No Country for Small Men series. They’re just a little disturbing… to scale. Check out some of Florian’s best in our slide show. … Read More

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Gallery: Intricate, Miniature Models of Old Hong Kong

A few months ago, we took a look at Alan Wolfson’s incredible miniature scenes of old New York. Now, Designboom points us to a set of photos taken at an exhibition called In Retrospect: Hong Kong Zoomed in Miniature, which closed over the weekend at Hong Kong’s CityPlaza. The show brought a number of artists together to make stunningly realistic models depicting everything from shoe stores to barber shops to public housing; foodies will rejoice in the multitude of street food stalls, produce markets, and restaurants. Page through some of our favorite shots after the jump, then visit Juliana Loh’s Flickr for a whole lot more. … Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: Lori Nix

Artist Lori Nix photographs evocative urban and pastoral scenes from a post-human world of disaster and decay — but first she has to build them.

The most astonishing thing about Nix’s magical, melancholy masterpieces is how they are made. Each museum, mountain vista, library, and laundromat is a painstakingly detailed diorama, taking the artist months to imagine and hand-craft — in fully examined ruin. The artist’s obsession with the apocalyptic informs every one, down to the most stunningly executed bits of minutiae. … Read More

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