“All my life, I have loved frames and limits; and I will maintain that the largest wilderness looks larger seen through a window,” wrote English writer and professional contrarian G.K. Chesterton. “To the grief of all grave dramatic critics, I will still assert that the perfect drama must strive to rise to the higher ecstasy of the peepshow.”
Something of Chesterton’s point of view lives on in the rave for miniaturism we see not just in the art world, but in the incredible popularity of terrariums — and each of these crafts are tapped by Amsterdam-based artist Rosa de Jong in her charming series of architectural miniatures.
Previously, we covered Nix + Gerber’s stunning apocalyptic dioramas, which shed new light on the phrase “tempest in a teacup.” De Jong also creates compelling architectural scenes with incredible detail, but these ones are far more placid. In a series she names “Micro Matter,” de Jong builds intricate model houses and landscapes that fit neatly inside of test tubes.
De Jong makes her miniature idylls by hand using ordinary model-making materials before gently lowering them into the test tubes. Some of the models seem to float in the test tubes, allowing us glimpses of foundations and root systems that would usually be buried out of sight. This, in addition to the inclusion of test tubes, gives the impression that the houses are specimens under inspection, perhaps collected by gigantic aliens.
These scientific overtones add a dash of ambivalence to displays that would otherwise be simply picturesque. One wonders whether there is a veiled social critique at work, an exhortation to look more closely at the calm façade of suburbia. Either way, the project is captivating.
See the rest of de Jong's project here.
De Jong’s tools of the trade
For more incredible architecture at a micro scale, check out our selection of “absolute stunners,” and see how Moshe Safdie turns his masterful models into iconic built works. And to discover the best tools of the trade — not to mention a whole range of useful tips and tricks for improving the quality of your modeling — delve into Mike Riscica’s guide to building great architecture models.