Environmentalist Builds Floating Island with 100,000 Plastic Bottles

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Eco-pioneer Richard “Rishi” Sowa designed and built an artificial island kept afloat by 100,000 plastic bottles.

Spiral Island II is actually Rishi Sowa’s second artificial island. He built the first one in 1998, near Puerto Aventuras, using 250,000 plastic bottles to keep it afloat. Sadly, his recycled island was destroyed in 2005, when Hurricane Emily passed through the area. Most of Spiral Island was washed up on the beach, but Sowa decided to build a whole new island, in a safer area.

And that’s how Spiral Island II came to be. With the help of volunteers, Rishi Sowa gathered around 100,000 plastic bottles and hand-built his second recycled island, in a lagoon that offers protection from bad weather. The new island features a house, beaches, 2 ponds and a solar-powered waterfall, but its creator says Spiral Island II is and always will be an eco-work-in-progress. Although smaller than its predecessor (only 20 meters in diameter), you can expect the new Spiral Island to increase in size, significantly.

One of the most impressive DIY projects ever attempted, Spiral Island has inspired volunteers to come to Mexico and help Rishi Sowa improve his creation. But while some believe it a perfect environmental design, built entirely of recycled materials, there is some controversy surrounding Spiral Island. There are those who believe that if the island gets destroyed by a hurricane, again, the materials used to build it (mainly plastic bottles, sand, mangrove plants) will litter the waters of the Atlantic.


Book Desk Is the Perfect Piece of Library Furniture

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I don’t know no one has ever thought about making a desk out of recycled books, before, but having one in a library seems natural enough. The lovely book desk you see below is located in the TU Delft architecture bibliotheek, which is a library in the Dutch city of Delft. Made of what looks like thousands of recycled books, this incredible looking desk stays true to its origins as well as its purpose.


Cyckisk – The Bicycle Obelisk of Santa Rosa

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California-based artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector used around 340 bicycles and a tricycle to built the Ciclysk – a 65-foot-tall version of the Washington Monument.

The newly installed Ciclysk may be perceived as a monument that encourages people to ride bikes instead of driving cars, but its funding actually came from the “1-percent-for-public-art” that Nissan paid to open a big car dealership just south of where the odd obelisk is now located. Santa Rosa currently has a law that requires one percent of every major construction project be donated towards public art.

Although the Cyclisk looks like it’s made of brand new bicycle parts, artist Mark Grieve says he only used parts that beyond being used on a functional bike. All he did was cover his creation in a special coating that will keep it looking nice and colorful for a long time. The bicycle parts were all donated by members of the Santa Rosa community who were excited to contribute to the creation of their city’s newest landmark.


The Suitcase Architecture of Yin Xiuzhen

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Chinese artist Yin Xiuzhen creates her Portable Cities by carefully arranging discarded clothes and other pieces of fabric, in suitcases.

One of the most original artists of our time, Yin Xiuzhen says she first got the idea for her amazing Portable Cities while she was traveling. Looking at the conveyor belt, in an airport, waiting for her baggage, she felt like she was actually traveling with her home, and decided to use this idea in her art. According to Yin Xiuzhen, her Portable Cities represent the ease with which the modern man is able to travel from one city to the next.

In the expert hands of Yin Xiuzhen, old clothing articles worn by everyday urban citizens become unique pieces of architecture. So far, the artist has created some of the cities she’s visited throughout the years, including Berlin, Vancouver, Seattle and her home city of Beijing.


Yet Another Awesome Iron Man Suit

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I’m a huge fan of cosplay, and although I’ve already featured a few home-made Iron Man costumes on OC, I just couldn’t help share the metal suit made by Ted Gorzkowski.

Ted is a carpenter by trade, but a talented blacksmith at heart. And since he’s always been a fan of superhero movies, he decided to put his blacksmith talents to the test and create a metal replica of Tony Stark’s famous suit. He spent months molding the pieces of metal, painting it in just the right colors and creating the arc reactors out of hundreds of LEDs, but the final result was totally worth the effort.

This Iron Man suit made by Ted Gorzkowski may not be as detailed as the War Machine replica created by cosplay master Anthony Le, but it’s definitely worthy of our praise. For more photos of this cosplay masterpiece, check out Ted’s MySpace profile.

Thanks a lot, Ted!


The Bottle Cap Jewelry of Yoav Kotik

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On a quest to change the way people think about trash, Yoav Kotik uses plain bottle caps to create beautiful pieces of jewelry.

The 52-year-old Israeli artist used to work as an industrial designer, and also tested the waters in the insurance industry, before focusing all his attention on the art world. Though many might be tempted to think Yoav Kotik was inspired by environmental issues, he confesses he was simply inspired by the urban environment that surrounds him.

His unique jewelry sets from his “Precious Metal” collection are part precious (metals like silver and gold, as well as precious stones) and part junk (mainly useless bottle caps, bent or carved into unique artworks). The bottle caps are collected from various places and cultures around the world, and moulded into unique masterpieces.

Apart from his jewelry collection, Yoav Kotik has also created various bottle cap artworks, from flowers to chandeliers.


Epic Gundam Statue Made from Left-Over Plastic Runners

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If you thought those plastic grids that come attached to most plastic model parts were just a bunch of useless junk, prepare to be amazed. A group of Gundam fans used a whole lot of these frames (usually called runners) to build an awesome RX-78 replica.

As if you needed any more proof that nothing even remotely related to Gundam is junk, a group of Gundam fans managed to build a 10-foot tall statue of the RX-78 model almost completely out of left-over model runners. It took over 250 man-hours to complete, over the course of 95 days.

The photos below offer a pretty good view of the RG (recycle grade) Gundam model, but if you’re in Tokyo these days, you can check it out first at hand, at the Dengeki Hobby booth, at the Chara Hobby Show.


Ghosts of a Dream – Recycled Lottery Ticket Art

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Lottery tickets don’t mean much after you’ve scratched away the glittering layer only to see your hopes go up in smoke, but that doesn’t mean the little paper slips can’t serve a brand new purpose.

Ghosts of a Dream is an artistic duo made of Adam Ecksrom and Lauren Was, two talented graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design. They take the used lottery tickets and recreate what people usually dream of winning when they buy them. You could say the tickets go from dreams to complete garbage and finally turn into something (sort of) real.

Everything Ghosts of Dreams creates is made of various salvaged objects and thousands of discarded lottery tickets.  Among their most impressive projets are the Dream Home, a make-belief home made from $70,000 worth of lottery tickets, the Dream Car, a Hummer mockup made with $39,000 worth of lottery tickets, or the Dream Vacation created with $29,000 worth of tickets.


Now This Is Real Advertising

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A bike shop owner in Germany attached over 100 bicycles to his shop’s façade in order to draw attention to his business.

Alreadythe owner of  one of the most popular bike shops in Atlantsberg, north-east Berlin, offering over 1,000 bicycle models from both children and adults, Christian Petersen came up with an original advertising idea to get even more exposure. Somehow, he managed to get 120 bicycles attached to the front of the shop. Now, bike lovers can spot his business from a mile away.

It’s a good thing this bike shop is in Germany, if someone did something like this in my country, those bikes would probably get stolen in one night.


The Soon to Be World’s Longest Bench of Littlehampton

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With a capacity to seat up to 300 people, the bench of Littlehampton Beach is already the longest bench in Britain, but is preparing to snatch the title of longest bench in the world.

Designed by the guys at Studio Weave, the 324-meter-long bench of Littlehampton is definitely a sight to behold. It was made from tropical hardwood, salvaged from landfills and old seaside groynes, thus making it a monument to modern recycling.

Built along the promenade, the unique bench twists and turns, bends around trash bins, meanders around lampposts, and even goes into the ground to allow easy passage between Littlehampton’s Blue Flag Beach and the green that surrounds it.

The project may have been executed by the designers of Studio Weave, but it was initiated by locals and entrepreneurs of Littlehampton, who wanted something special for ther beloved venue. Students from a local school provided valuable insight about what makes Littlehampton Beach unique, and offered ideas about the color pallet used on the bench.

With its one-of-a-kind design and color scheme, the Littlehampton bench is already a famous British landmark, but the residents of the seaside resort have their sight set on a place in the record books. They are preparing to extend Littlehampton bench to 621 meters, and make it the longest bench in the world.


The Architectural Experiments of Terunobu Fujimori

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Some of his works may not even look like real houses, but Terunobu Fujimori is one of the world’s most acclaimed architectural designers. His unconventional works have been displayed all around the world, and, believe it or not, people actually want to live in his houses.

A historian by trade, Terunobu Fujimori started designing buildings late in his life, when he was 44. He was asked to design a history museum for a family from his local village, near Nagano, who had ancient ties to that place. He decided to build something completely uncobventional, in order to avoid being criticized for lack of originality, and his creation was a success.

Since then, Terunobu Fujimori has been delivering one fascinating house after another, at a rate of a house per year. Using his knowledge of Japanese architectural history and his designer talents, Terunobu Fujimori manages to create unique buildings that are ecologically sensitive and energy efficient.

The way Terunobu Fujimori designs and builds his houses is as unconventional as they look. He simply takes a tree stump and starts hacking away at it with a chainsaw, until he gets a rough model of what he plans to build. Then he invites his clients to his Too-High Tea House, standing 20 meters into the air, on two forked tree trunks, and shows them his designs. If they don’t like them, he simply shakes the house until he gets a positive answer. Galleries have offered to buy his tree stump models, but he always refused to sell them.

Although he relies on professionals for the structural and electrical installations on his houses, he handles most of the interior design, with a team of friends. He never pays them for their work, as that would be labor.


Robert Thierren Creates Furniture for Giants

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Robert Thierren is an acclaimed American artist who transforms ordinary household items into extraordinary works of art by increasing their scale several times.

Thierren was born in Chicago, grew up in San Francisco and later moved to Los Angeles. He first entered the attention of the media during the 1980s, when he began creating common items like doors, coffins or pitchers out of various mediums like copper, wood and bronze. But it wasn’t until he started creating his overgrown furniture series that he became truly famous.

His larger than life artworks are inspired by childhood games and fairy tales, and it does seem to suggest they were taken out of the story of Jack and the Bean Stock. Robert Thierren’s creations aim to provoke an interaction between the viewer, the object and the surrounding environment.



Artist Creates Wearable Dress Out of 1,000 Newspapers

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Complete with a nice neckline and long peacock train, the newspaper dress of designer Yuliya Kyrpo is definitely one of a kind.

Being a guy and all, I’m not very big on dresses, but I did feature quite a lot of them on OC. We’ve had the cake dress, the coffee-filter dress, the LED dress, and eve a dress made from human hair, but never one made of 1,000 old news papers.

Yuliya Kyrpo wrapped every one of the old Metro newspapers into cranes, by herself, and positioned them to create this amazing piece of art. What’s even more interesting is the way she managed to arrange the different texts and images to make her dress actually nice to look at.

The newspaper dress of Yulia Kyrpo is now on display at the London Museum of Art.


Shed of the Year Is a Regular Pirates’ Den

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Inspired by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, Reg Miller transformed his old shed into a pirate themed retreat that earned him the title of winner in the Shed of the Year 2010 contest.

Reg Miller, or Jolly Reg, as he’s come to be known, built his impressive pirate shed from scratch. He has some old muskets and swords, and since his partner didn’t want them in the house anymore, he figured the best place to store them was the shed. After seeing his first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, he decided he was going to build his very own pirates’ den.

Jolly Reg did it all himself, using anything from recycled pieces of wood to fixtures and fittings he found at car trunk sales. He spent years working on it, but his pirate shed is still a work in progress, as he is always adding new things. So far he has set up a Koi fish pond, complete with palm trees, and decorated the shed with barrel seats, pirate flag pole and even a real life parrot.

The 65-year-old would-be pirate managed to beat over a 1,000 other candidates and snatched the grand prize at  UK’s Shead of the Year 2010 competition. He’s now 1,000 pounds richer and has a hefty supply of wood-maintenance products from the contest’s sponsor.


Bruce Munro’s Shiny CDSea

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British artist Bruce Murno made use of hundreds of thousands of CDs to fulfill a childhood fantasy and create a real CD sea.

Named CDSea (original, I know) the adventurous art project was set up on Long Knoll field, near Kilmington. To realizes his dream, the famous artist appealed to the general public, through the UK press and BBC radio, and asked everyone to send him any unwanted CDs they may have lying around. He received a massive response, and thousands of CDs began arriving from as far as California or Brazil.

Last weekend, the natural ‘canvas” at Long Knoll field was mowed and the time consuming task of arranging every CD by hand, got under way. With the help of 140 friends and colleagues from the art world, Murno created his inland sea out of 600,000 old CDs.

CDSea is just the first of a series of self-funded art installations made from discarded and recyclable materials, and will be available for public view over the next two months. Aftre that, all CDs will be sent at a recycling plant.

If yo happen to be in the area, don’t miss the chance to see the mirror-like CDSea reflect the sunshine and moonlight.


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