Matchstick Architecture: From Tiny Sticks, Buildings of His Dreams

Thanks to The Denver Post, we came across this incredible story of Paul Marti, matchstick mastermind:

Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post

The first thing Paul Marti wants you to understand about his odd and wondrous matchstick creations — his delicate cathedrals, soaring castles, luxe mansions — is that they are art, not craft.

He didn’t hone his solitary skill by replicating actual buildings the way other matchstickers do. Those copycats. He designed them in his head, dreamed up their rounded towers and elaborate arches, painted their stained glass, placed their columns and capitals and tiny crosses just so. He solved their construction problems the way an artist would, by conjuring a vision of something beautiful first, then doing whatever it took to make it real.

He’s not a snob about it — in fact, he’s out of work right now. A commission would be swell, he reminds you — but these objects are his life’s work, and he wants you togetthat they are originals. “I would like to see them in a museum,” he says, “That’s where they belong.”

He has contacted several, he says, but it has been a tough sell. He’s not famous, he doesn’t have an agent. And how to even describe his work? Each is a combination of things. Architecture, sculpture, carpentry, masonry. They are fantastical, but real. They are engineered to stand strong, but they have the quaint charm of dollhouses, too.

This is the how he makes them: He bundles together six matchsticks to form a log, then with a scroll saw, he slices the logs into sections about an eighth of an inch thick to make bricks, then he lays the bricks into a wall, using single matchsticks as mortar. The walls come together into buildings, and details — cornices, steeples, domes, parquet floors, flying buttresses — are connected to complete the vision.

And this is how long it takes: 10,000 hours for his giant Swiss cathedral, about 3 feet long and 2 feet high. Maybe seven years of his life on one project. He has been making matchstick buildings since he was about 7 years old, and has completed maybe a dozen, cutting, gluing, rounding corners with a belt sander, whenever he was not working. “This was my life,” he said. “This was all I did.”

What drives him to this kind of perfection? He answers that awkwardly, as if he doesn’t know himself, as if he’s not even sure that all this work was worth it. But he believes he can do something no one can. People make matchstick buildings, but they don’t have his technique, his construction details. “I can create something exactly the way it was built 1,000 years ago. I can say I can do that.”

Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post

Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post

Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post

Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post

Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post

DENY Designs Artist of The Week: Rachael Taylor

Rachael Taylor Organic Retro Leaves Modern ClockThe DENY Designs featured artist of the week is Rachael Taylor. We are loving her bright and beautiful surface designs and patterns – don’t you?

About Rachael Taylor:

Rachael Taylor is a fun, enthusiastic creative designer & textile artist with over several years industry experience in a variety of fields. Since leaving university this young designer has achieved so much in such a small time span working for a number of prestigious clients worldwide.

Rachael likes to bring her own personality to her work & creates fun quirky designs ‘patterns to make you happy’. Her positive & energetic approach was recognised in 2009 as she was awarded the title of ‘the happiest person in Britain 2009′ from her excited & happy twitter posts. Her patterns are spontaneous as Rachael loves to draw with her right & left hand and sometimes even with her eyes closed. This way her patterns are unique & full of energy, she takes inspiration from everything around her & a lot of her motifs come from her own mood & personality.

To see all of Rachael Taylor’s designs on DENY Designs products,

Minimalist Posters of Pixar Movies

via DesignTaxi:

We love this! Melbourne-based designer Wonchan Lee has created minimalist of Pixar’s animated films.

Lee’s reworking of popular movies such as Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc. and so on features simple yet iconic vector graphics.

“Because it has really broad demographics, in terms of age bracket and cultural background, it was very challenging to come up with something that pleases such a wide audience whilst satisfying myself as an artist and as a fan of Pixar, too,” says Lee.


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Button Up: Incredible Art Installations Made From Buttons

Mastermind behind these amazing button installations? Artist Augusto Esquivel. Using only buttons, paint and string, August Esquivel has the ability to create just about anything – from bicycles to toilets to musical instruments – and they look absolutely stunning!

Augusto says, “I am often obsessed with comparisons of reality and potential and the balance between them, in art: the idea of chaos in perfect order: an object seemingly solid to the eye can also be fragile and inconsistent to the touch; a common object used to create a piece of art becomes transformed into something complicated and intriguing.”

“I realize how insignificant and small a simple sewing button can be as it lays in my grandmother’s sewing box, but at the same time how unique and precious it can become as part of a work of art. Like an atom in a molecule, each button serves and shapes the whole. I hold the button to my ear and it whispers to me, “I want to be…..”

He has the ability to even make us call a toilet “beautiful” – that is true talent.

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Coca-Cola Couture For A Great Cause

As the part of its “Tribute to Fashion” charity project, Coca Cola asked some of the best Italian designers to put their stamp on its limited edition bottle, including Moschino, Donatella Versace, Angela Missoni, Alberto Ferreti, Consuelo Castiglioni and Etro, who showcased their creations at the Milano Fashion Centre.

The bottles, dressed in their high-end Italian designer couture even strutted their stuff down the runway to launch the campaign.

“Italian designers revamp Coca Cola Light bottle! It’s thirsty work visiting fashion show after fashion show, but we doubt anyone could drink through a Coca Cola bottle this big, as seen at Milan Fashion Week.” — []

These Coca Cola Light designs initially went on sale September 25, 2011 in Italy, and all profits from sales will help young women from the Abruzzo area find scholarships.




Alberta Ferretti




We love these! Almost too good-looking to even think about drinking though!

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DENY Designs Artist of The Week: Marta Spendowska

The DENY Designs featured Artist of the week is: Marta Spendowska. New to the DENY Designs team this year, Marta brings glamourous, feminine and colorful designs that every stylish fashionista is sure to fall in love with.

What Marta says about her inspiration for her work:

“Every time I reach for a brush, paint, pencil, tablet I feel like this is a time to let go. Every time right before I start, there is this feeling of completeness, joy, a bit of confusion, if I can handle my emotions, and than the time stops. It literally stops. I don’t care about physics anymore. I love almond/rice/soy chais and lattes. I wouldn’t say no to some good Pino Noir.”

To see all of Marta Spendowska’s fabulous artworks on DENY Designs products, visit:

Don’t you just ♥ her work?


Friday Fun: PANTONE Cruiser Bikes

Happy Friday! How about a super stylish weekend cruise on a PANTONE bike? Count us in!

Thanks to Italian Designer ABICI, you can now cruise in some serious style. ABICI has recently launched a super cool collection of bicycles called the ‘Pantone Universe Bicycles’.  The bicycles come in your choice of four PANTONE colors: Green 627C, Ruby Red 186C, Turquoise 15-5519, and Mimosa 14-0848.


The bikes not only look stylish, but feature: fully-enclosed chainguards that display the PANTONE color codes they take after, leather saddles, metal mudguards, back-pedal rear brakes, manual front brakes, and battery-powered lights. The bikes can also be customized for men and women and customers can even choose different speeds and accessories to fit their cruising needs.

The bikes look awesome, but do come with a semi-hefty price tag. The prices for these sweet bikes start at $1,181.  Worth it?

So would you splurge on a PANTONE bicycle for yourself?

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Incredible 360-Degree View Landscapes

Wow, talk about an entirely new way to view the world. Literally, a 360-view of some incredible landscapes.

New York City-based photographer and filmmaker Randy Scott Slavin has stitched hundreds of photographs together to form stunning spherical panoramic projections.
Titled ‘Alternate Perspectives’, his collection consists of surreal images of various cityscapes and landscapes.

“I developed a technique that could realize my desire to turn the real into the surreal,” says Slavin.  “The result is something rebellious, beautiful, and provocative. My series is a collection of the works culled from these photographic explorations.”

Pretty incredible. At least we think so. Check them out:

[via DesignTaxi]

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Craving Sweets: Really Realistic Paintings of Dessert

We could not get enough sweets following yesterday’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, so we thought we would share the increible work of a talented painter.

Mary Ellen Johnson is the artist behind these PAINTINGS – not photography – of the most delicious looking desserts. Can you believe it? Because we did not at first either. Pretty incredible right?

Eat your heart (and eyes) out:

Did these leave you drooling too?

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DENY Designs Artist of The Week: Anderson Design Group

The DENY Designs featured artist of the week is the Anderson Design Group. The Anderson Design Group is new to the DENY Designs family just this past month. We are absolutely loving their colorful retro designs – sure to transform any space into a fun one.

More about Anderson Design Group:

Anderson Design Group, Inc. founder Joel Anderson graduated from Ringling School of Art & Design in 1986. He was recruited straight from college to work as a staff illustrator and designer at Carden & Cherry Advertising in Nashville, TN. While at C&C, Joel won an Emmy Award for his work on a CBS show, Hey Vern, It’s Ernest. Joel worked at C&C for 7 years, learning the art & science of advertising (and how to talk like Ernest.) In 1993, Joel and his friend David Thomas founded Anderson Thomas Design, Inc. The firm focused on CD package design at first, and quickly grew into a diverse print & web design company with a client list that included Universal Studios, DreamWorks Pictures, Golden Books, Thomas Nelson and more.

In 2007, the partners decided to pursue different interests, so Joel reorganized the design firm as Anderson Design Group, Inc., narrowing the studio’s focus to specialize in illustrative design, branding, and product development.

Check out some of their designs on DENY products:

To see all of Anderson Design Group’s work on DENY Designs products, just head over here:

So, what do you think? Pretty fun right?

Edible Art: Cupcake Cherry Blossom Tree Mosaic

This is surely one project that I don’t know I could finish entirely without eating it first. But one group of very dedicated artists from London-based bakery Crumbs and Dollies created the most incredible looking Cherry Blossom mosaic made using only cupcakes. And not just “some” cupcakes – the bakery group got together for Japanese TV show ITTEQ with Laura Hadland and the Morisanchu Group and baked and iced 10,000 whole cupcakes for the mosaic. The installation took place last and was put on display at the Highcross Shopping Centre at Leicester.

How the installation was not eaten upon hours of debut is beyond me, but it looks amazing. My compliments to chefs!


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Too Cool: Giant Furniture

Talk about feeling itty bitty. Artist Robert Therrien created this series of over-sized furniture that measure over 10 feet tall! Robert Therrien is know to recreate everyday objects true to their original material and color, but on an enlarged scale.

Robert explains his inspiration for this series:

“The artist’s point of view – from the small world – could be viewed as a large ges­ture- publi­cally. The prac­tice is cre­at­ing some­thing both large and small. Pub­li­cally, Table and Chairs is per­ceived as a big object, where it actu­ally orig­i­nated from a small detail-a corner bracket sup­port­ing the table leg. Instead of crawl­ing under­neath and pho­tograph­ing an actual table in order to see it, why not shrink your­self and take a normal snapshot?”

This installation was on display as part of the Lifelike exhibition at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Therrien was born in Chicago in 1947; he now lives and works in Los Angeles.

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That’s One Big Bunny

Artist Florentijn Hofman has once again left us in awe with his “Big Yellow Rabbit” art installation that he created last summer in Orebro, Sweden – Floretijn Hofman was the same mastermind behind the big yellow Rubber Duckie that floated its way down the river in France.

The Big Yellow Rabbit was a temporary 13 meter high sculpture.  The rabbit was created as an enlarged cuddle toy made out of swedish products thrown against the statue of Engelbrekt.

Hofman’s work often deals with simplistic happiness – his signature oversized installations serve as diversions that ease the tension of modern life.  His work often gives onlookers a moment of serenity amidst times of economic and political turmoil. We can’t help but appreciate this.


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DENY Designs Artist of The Week

The DENY Designs featured artist of the week is Randi Antonsen.  Randi’s work is so unique, bright and wild – we just can’t help but to fall in love with it. Learn more about Randi and her inspiration:

Randi says , “I have a carefree but fully engaged approach to life and art.I find inspiration in the smallest of things because I ‘see’ with these inquisitive and always looking for magic eyes.My work incorporates many approaches and mediums all in one; but then so doe’s life. I am always willing to flow with new life and change my art with it.Overall I bring to my work one consistent phrase and that is this energy of the mixing of life’s varied forces; as in nature, as in life, as in art.”

Check out a few of Randi Antonsen’s artworks on DENY Designs products:


To see all of Randi Antonsen’s work on DENY Designs products, visit:


Friday Funny: Woody Comes To Life Through Instagram

There is not much to say about what we have recently stumbled across while cruising Instagram, except user @shamwoww has some of the most clever, creative photos that will leave you laughing until it hurts.

Instagram user @shamwoww simply takes photos of a Toy Story doll – Sheriff Woody – in situations (some not so G rated) that bring him to life in the real world. The outcome: some of the funniest pictures we’ve seen in ages.

We had to share these with you – because we all can appreciate a genuinely creative individual when we see one.




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Super Sweet Ride

From DesignTaxi:

New York-based designer and artist Britta Hope created a bike made of candy. Yes, a bike. Dubbed ‘The Candy Bike’, the bicycle is a sure to give you a visual sugar rush—made of all sorts of candy, from the handlebars to the wheels.

Hope created the bike as part of her 3D design class, where students were given Huffy bikes and told to create a vessel that delivers a message.

“I chose the message ‘treat yourself’,” Hope wrote, “and created a bike that is made out of candy and delivers cupcakes out of a giant cupcake carrier on the back! Yum.”

What a sweet ride!

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Lunchbox Awesome: A Lunch Way Too Good To Eat

Graphic designer, Mom (and maybe aspiring chef) –  Heather Sitarzewski made a decision to stray away from the typical “brown bag” boring school lunches,  and create unique ‘bento’ lunch boxes for her son every day. Her ‘bento’ lunch box project is appropriately titled “Lunchbox Awesome”.

However, unlike your usual bento boxes, she manipulates the food into various shapes and patterns to form characters from cartoons, games and movies – which are shockingly recognizable, and look way too good to eat!

Sitarzewski has created over 120 different bento lunch boxes for her son, featuring characters such as Spongebob Squarepants, Harry Potter, Ninja Turtles, Hello Kitty and Angry Birds – we wonder how popular her son must be at school now (he must never want to trade his goods for the coveted Snack Pack).

She keeps a Tumblr account of her masterpieces, which can be viewed here. But here are some of our all time Lunchbox Awesome faves:

Way to go Heather – these are incredible!

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