Sweet Structures: Art & Architecture Made of Sugar

Dating back hundreds of years to elaborate sugar-paste sculptures that graced the dining tables of the ultra-rich, sugar art can be as simple as a tower made from sugar cubes or as complex as glass-like, gravity-defying edible sculptures. These 12 sugar sculptures, including sugar architecture, murals, landscapes, complicated chef art and even busts of Greek gods with ice cream cone hats, show just what’s possible with this sticky sweet substance.

16-Foot Sugar Cube Tower by Brendan Jamison

(images via: brendanjamison.com)

It took sculptor Brendan Jamison an astonishing three years and over 250,000 sugar cubes to create the 16-foot TOWER, an installation jointly funded by the Towner Museum and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The TOWER will be on display at the Towner Museum in Eastbourne, England from Friday, July 1st through Saturday, September 10th 2011.

18th Century Pavilions by Ivan Day

(images via: the magazine antiques)

Elaborate sugar work was often found on the tabletops of the wealthy during the 18th century. “Master of antiquated cookery” Ivan Day recreated a table from 1740 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, building a pair of sugar-paste pavilions using sugar molds and sculpting tools from that era. “Sugar paste, a mixture of confectioner’s, or powdered, sugar and gum tragacanth, and porcelain paste are remarkably similar,” says Day, who explains that these pieces were often placed alongside real porcelain on the table.

White Landscape: Spires by Lionel Scoccimaro

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French sculptor and photographer Lionel Scoccimaro used 400 kilograms (about 882 pounds) of sugar to create a display of architectural spires for his 2008 series, White Landscape.

Helen’s Tower by Brendan Jamison

(images via: brendanjamison.com)

Jamison, whose work is collected and displayed around the world, created the incredible Helen’s Tower in 2011, a replica of a real tower on an estate in Bangor, Northern Ireland. Carving some of the sugar cubes to create spheres, columns and other shapes, Jamison achieved extraordinary detail, particularly in the banister at the top of the tower.

Sweet Street Art Mural

(images via: vancouver sun)

Delicate and transient, ‘Stained’ by Shelley Miller is a work of art that is meant to deteriorate quickly; good thing, because sugar doesn’t last long when exposed to the rain. Miller created the lovely blue-and-white public mural in Waddington Alley, Victoria entirely out of sugar and other food ingredients like meringue icing. Based on the look of traditional Portuguese tiles, the mural depicts the history of sugar as a commodity. Just hours after it was completed, it already had tongue marks from tempted passersby.

Water Towers by Lionel Scoccimaro

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Lionel Scoccimaro photographed his 2007 series, Water Towers, showing structures that seem to be precariously balanced on delicate legs.

Edible Busts by Osamu Watanabe

(images via: who killed bambi)

Though not solely made from sugar, these sculptures by Osamu Watanabe are entirely edible, made from carved sugar, berries, cakes, ice cream cones and a fondant-like creamy sugar mixture that can be molded into sharp detail. Nobody actually eats them, however; they’re made for art exhibits.

Tate Modern & NEO Bankside by Brendan Jamison

(images via: brendanjamison.com)

Jamison sculpted the Tate Modern Art Museum and the surrounding NEO Bankside for the 2010 London Festival of Architecture at the new NEO Bankside Pavilion in London. At a scale of 1:100, the tallest structure tops out at just over three feet in height.

Edible Art Book Made of Sugar Paste

(images via: fastcodesign)

With pages resembling stone tablets that you can actually eat, the book ‘Design Criminals’ was made by Andreas Pohancenik for an art exhibit at the Vienna Museum of Applied Arts. Handed out to visitors as a guide to the exhibit’s works, the 15 sheets of the book were enclosed in a pure-sugar slipcase and printed with edible ink.

Sugar Walk by Brendan Jamison

(images via: brendanjamison.com)

This architectural commission, created by Brendan Jamison on a 1:100 scale, is a model of a proposed structure at Great Patrick Street in Belfast. Toy cars and tiny little human figures give an idea as to the actual scale. It’s certainly a creative way to present an architectural model, to stand out from the crowd.

Cooked Sugar as Arctic Landscape

(images via: matthew albanese)

Artist Matthew Albanese, who creates stunning miniature worlds of the most unexpected materials, explains that he created the above landscape out of 25 pounds of sugar, blue food coloring, flour and a handful of other food ingredients. It took three days of cooking and two weeks of building to complete.

Sugar Leopards in Sydney

(images via: roving I)

Chefs take food presentation to a whole new level when they incorporate incredibly complex sugar sculptures into buffet displays, table centerpieces or cake toppers. This example of chef sugar art, of two leopards lounging on tree trunks, was in competition at Fine Food in Sydney in 2005. By heating sugar to very high temperatures and molding it while it’s still hot, chefs can achieve a translucent glass-like effect and gravity-defying delicacy.

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