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Ingenious Architect Uses Aluminum Cans as Shingles for His House

Richard Van Os Keuls has used flattened aluminum soda and beer cans as siding for his plywood house extension, after deciding conventional materials were too expensive.

Van Os Keuls, an architect from Silver Spring, Maryland, first got the idea of incorporating flattened aluminum cans into his trade after seeing a car drive over a discarded soda can. He thought to himself that it would make a pretty decent aluminum shingle, so he began building his own stash of old cans to experiment with, at a later time. That time came around when he finished the plywood extension on his house, and began looking for a cheap material to side it with.

The ingenious architect admits his idea of using aluminum cans has nothing to do with art or the environment, as he was simply looking for a cheap and durable alternative to conventional siding materials. Wearing heavy construction boots, Richard first stomped on the cans and then flattened them even further with a sledgehammer, rounding the corners so people wouldn’t get cut when leaning up against the house. He found that flattening each can was time-consuming, so he started working on several at a time. When they were ready to be placed on the wall, he would place 30-40 cans overlapping each other and secure them with a long aluminum nail.

At first, he wanted to paint over the cans, but as the siding started to take place, the color mosaic looked better and better, and he even made sure that no no two same color cans were put together. He began ordering cheap colorful beer and soda cans from other countries, just because he wanted as many different colors as possible. But he needed a lot more cans than he could buy, if he was to complete the siding, so he tried to collect more from the neighborhood dump. That got him cited twice, and earned him fines for theft of city property and transporting stolen property, so he had to rely on donations from neighbors.

When he finally completed his unique project, Richard Van Os Keuls’ house was covered by around 22,000 flattened aluminum cans. He says they aren’t noisy when it rains, and while aluminum tends to develop a chalky oxidation, the ink on the cans has significantly slowed up the process, so his can-covered home is still a colorful inspiration to architects and designers around the world.

 

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The Plastic City of Bang-Yao Liu

Plastic City” is a colorful replica of Shanghai City out of cheap plastic objects bought by artist Bang-Yao Liu, on the streets of China’s bustling city.

While some may see just a bunch of colorful plastic objects, young Bang-Yao Liu went out of his way to create replicas of Shanghai buildings and landmarks. Scouting the streets of Shanghai for cheap plastic objects to use in his unique project, the artist used his experiences around the city as inspiration. Bins, plastic boxes, buckets, crates and other plastic things were used to create the Plastic City.

The 24-year-old Taiwanese artist created Plastic City as a commission piece for Converse, who wanted something that would show people it doesn’t take much to make the ordinary extraordinary.

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French Artist Sails Around the World in a Sinking Boat

Designer Julien Berthier has been sailing around the globe in Love Love, a weird ship that looks like it’s about to sink.

Created back in 2007, Love Love is one of Berthier’s weirdest artworks. He actually cut a sailboat in half, sealed it with fiberglass and fitted it with two motors, which make it fully functional, despite its capsizing look. The 35-year-old designer says his ever-sinking sailing craft is perfectly safe and easy to maneuver, especially in calm waters.

As you can imagine, passers-by and fellow sailors don’t even know what to think when they first lay eyes on Love Love, especially when they see its captain so relaxed, while his boat appears to be heading to a watery grave. Berthier himself admits he has put the coast guard and harbor masters on full alert a few times, after people alerted them about a sinking ship.

Julien Berthier, who says he “wanted to freeze the moment just a few seconds before the boat disappears, creating an endless vision of the dramatic moment”, has sailed his sinking boat on many trips through famous harbors like London’s Canary Wharf, and France’s Normandy.

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Chinese Student Builds Sustainable Egg House

Daihai Fei, a young Chinese designer, has built himself a sustainable egg-shaped house and spent the last two months living in it.

Originally from Hunan, 24-year-old Daihai Fei came to Beijing to attend the university and make a future for himself. Now, just six months after graduation, he has become somewhat of a local celebrity, after people started noticing he lives in an egg. Rents in China’s capital are very high, so living in a conventional home meant Daihai had to spend most of his income on rent, and that was not an option for this resourceful designer. In just two months time, and with a budget of only 6,400 yuan ($960), Daihai Fei managed to build his very own mobile home.

Daihai Fei built his amazing egg-house on a bamboo frame, covered with various insulating materials, and topped with a layer of stitched bag. The bags themselves are filled with sawdust and grass seeds, which he sprays with water regularly, to help the grass grow faster. Inspired by the grass-covered roofs of Norway, he knows the grass will over greater protection for his home. On the inside, he has all the necessary facilities, including a bed, a small sink, a lamp powered by a small solar panel and even a tiny bookshelf.

Using very cheap materials the designer built his wacky-looking egg house, and after two months of living in it, he says his quality of life greatly improved. He doesn’t have to worry about paying any rent, he has enough money to go out for coffee or a soda, occasionally, and since he’s moved his egg-house right across from his workplace, he doesn’t spend anything on bus fair. If you’re wondering about Daihai’s hygiene, you should know he’s very careful with his earnings, making sure he always has enough to go swimming, every day after work, where also takes a shower.

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If You’ve Ever Wanted to Live in a Church, Now Is Your Chance

Saint Jakobus Church, a Christian sanctuary dating back to 1870 has been converted into a modern townhouse and is now for sale.

Known as “WoonkerkXL” or “The Residential Church XL“, this unusual home is located in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and is the only so-called “plasters” Gothic style church in the city. Once a soberly decorated church, Saint Jakobus became a beautiful, lively home, once the designers of ZECC Architects were done with it. Paying great attention to space, lighting and functionality, they managed to create a living space you’d actually want to live in, without messing with the exterior or the stained glass windows dating back to 1911.

While it doesn’t serve its original purpose, The Residential Church XL is an important municipal monument, due to the relationship to its surroundings. And apart from its unique design, it’s also very close to Utrecht main tourist attractions and nightlife venues.

Check out the wonderful photos below, and if you like what you see and can fork out 2.375 million euros, you can place a bid on The Residential Church XL, here.

 

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Quetzalcoatl Nest – Mexico’s Snake-Shaped House

Quetzalcoatl Nest is an unconventional housing complex created by Mexican designer Javier Senosiain, and named after the Aztec snake/bird god of learning and knowledge.

After designing the amazing Nautilus House a few years back, Javier Senosiain strikes again with an even more ingenious architectural project. Located on an irregular piece of land, lined with oak trees and full of caves, some collapsed and some preserved, Quetzalcoatl Nest proved very difficult to complete. Especially if you consider that the designer wasn’t allowed to touch any of the plant life on the premises (which covered 98% of the terrain), and that the small flat surface had to be used as parking space. Under these conditions, Senosiain found an ingenious way of actually making great use of the ravine and came up with a snake-like design for the house.

While it looks like just an eccentric architectural prototype, Quetzalcoatl Nest is actually somebody’s home. Featuring an original design and sporting some really interesting features that allow its owners to live in perfect harmony with nature, Quetzalcoatl Nest is an architectural example to be followed.

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Real-Life Barbie Suite Is the Ultimate Girls’ Pad

If you’ve always wanted to be like Barbie and live in her pink dream-house, you’re about to get your wish. A hotel in the Italian Alps has opened a series of rooms decorated just like Barbie’s miniature pads.

The owners of the Grand Hotel Savoia, at the Cortina ski resort, thought they’d celebrate Barbie’s 50th anniversary by decorating some of their rooms with real-life furniture and decoration you’d normally only find in Matel’s play sets. That’s right girls, you’ll get the chance to live it up like Barbie for as long as you or your parents can afford it, surrounded by the popular dolls favorite clothes and accessories, including skirts, lace-up dresses, corsets, toy-like chairs and even a sunburst mirror made from Barbie dolls

Italian interior designer described the recently inaugurated Barbie rooms as “the ultimate girls’ pad with details celebrating Barbie’s love of pink.” Barbie fans can book their stay in one of these life-size Barbie homes until the end of next March.

Yesterday the news about a Hello Kitty theme park in Japan, now this…This just hasn’t been my week!

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Designer Turns Old Refrigerators into Beautiful Couches

The Fridgecouch is the original concept of Canadian artist Adrian Johnson, who came up with the idea of combining used leather car seats with old refrigerators.

Adrian Johnson came up with the idea for his Fridgecouches in 2006, while searching for some stylish outdoor seating, for a wedding. It had to be relatively cheap and encourage people to relax and, as the artist puts it: “break free from the typical cliquey wedding scene.” A car enthusiast who’s always been trying to keep old cars running, Adrian went on one of his frequent trips to the junkyard, looking for spare parts. He stumbled upon a two-door BMW coupe, and noticed the cherry-red leather back seat was practically brand new. That’s when he knew back seats were exactly what he was looking for.

With part of his problem solved, Adrian spent that night thinking of something to put the car seat in that would have the same aesthetic look and could be found at a dump. His mind stopped at a refrigerator, and the next morning he rushed to the local dump, with a tape measure in hand. As he kept looking through the junk, his eyes got stuck on an old, almost perfectly preserved green olive refrigerator. The Fridgecouch was already born in his mind.

Fast forward to 2010, Adrian Johnson has only built three of his impressive-looking Fridgecouches, but hopes they will soon turn into a profitable business that will also teach people the value of reusing, instead of contributing to our world’s waste problem, by constantly buying brand new furniture from the store. Fridges and car seats are large scale wastes that are practically un-reusable and take a great deal of energy to crush and recycle. Through his concept, Adrian turns them both into a whole new product without wasting any energy at all.

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The Fat Monkey of Sao Paolo

A giant sculpture looking like a fat, colorful monkey lying on its back, has become one of the most popular attractions of Brazilian city Sao Paolo.

The curious landmark has been featured on many spammy photo blogs around the Internet, in the last few days, but hardly any of them provided any real information about it. Luckily, I was able to find a link to the site of Fat Monkey’s creator, designer Florentijn Hofman.

Fat Monkey is a very interesting art installation simply because it’s made out of 10,000 colorful flip-flops, a true symbol of Brazilian beaches. It was created during the 2010 Pixelshow Design Congress, with the help of local art students. A part of the Obestias art series, Fat Monkey can now be admired on a lawn, close to the Pixelshow venue.

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Sofa Made of Coins by Designer Johnny Swing

Johnny Swing is a very original furniture designer who decided to give literal meaning to the phrase “sitting on cash” by building a series of sofas and chairs out of thousands of coins.

His latest creation, entitled “All the King’s Men” was made out of thousands of 50-cent coins, which makes it not only ridiculously uncomfortable, but also insanely expensive. Each coin was welded to a steel frame, which obviously takes a lot of patience, but considering Johnny has done it a few times before, it probably wasn’t that much of a problem.

While it’s not the kind of comfortable furniture you’d want to slouch on when you get home from work, Johnny Swing’s coin sofa is definitely something to look at, especially knowing that owning it is actually illegal in many countries.

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Artist Creates Weird Igloo from 322 Refrigerators

German artist Ralf Schmerberg has created a bizarre-looking igloo, in the middle of Hamburg, to send a message about the country’s uncontrolled waste of energy.

Entitled “Wastefulness is the biggest source of Energy”, Schemerberg’s igloo aims to raise awareness to the amount of energy people are wasting nowadays. A huge electrical meter set up outside the igloo shows passers-by how much electrical energy the 322 old fridges would consume, and is meant to inspire them to think carefully about how much energy they are wasting every day. According to recent studies, Germany could save up to 40% of its energy, if everyday people would use electricity more efficiently.

The refrigerator igloo was sponsored by a German energy provider and will be exhibited in Hamburg’s Gänsemarkt until November 9th. The bizarre installation is 5.6 meters high and 11 meters in diameter, and was built using 322 old refrigerators and 1,718 meters of wire. On the inside, visitors can admire a funny electrical installations made up of colorful blinking lights.

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China Inaugurates Teapot-Shaped Museum of Tea Culture

At 73.8 meters in height, and featuring a floor area of over 5,000 square meters, this unique teapot museum of Meitan is the world’s biggest teapot-shaped building.

China’s Meitan County is known as the “hometown of Chinese green tea”, and the reputation of Meitan green tea has surpassed national borders, so there was really no better place to build a museum of tea culture. As fascinating as visiting this place may be to tea lovers, we’re more interested in its unique architecture. Shaped like a giant clay teapot, and accompanied by a smaller building shaped like a tea cup, the Meitan tea museum is one of the weirdest looking museums in the world. Seen from a distance, it looks like just a strange teapot sculpture, but as you approach it, the windows give away its true purpose.

With a maximum diameter of 24 meters, and a capacity of 28,360.23 cubic meters, the Meitan tea museum is by far the world’s largest teapot.

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Russian Builds House Shaped Like Noah’s Ark

Nikolay Orekhov, from the village of Kemerovo, eastern Russia, has built his house to look like a miniature replica of Noah’s ark. Not that he’s ever seen the real thing, but we’ve all been blessed with an imagination.

47-year-old Nikolay Orekhov has spent more than a year working on his unusual house shaped like some sort of ugly ship. According to Russian site Life.ru, the reason behind this modern version of Noah’s ark is Nikolay’s fear of floods caused by climate change. He says he’s not a fanatic but he does strongly believe in the possibility of a serious flood.

But according to the livejournal of Viktor Borisov, who also took some photos of Orekhov’s ship-shaped house, the weird craftsman actually dreamed about building the strange structure, and has really no fear of an actual flood. Regardless of his reasons, Nikolay Orekhov managed to create a truly unique piece of architecture, and he did it all without any blueprints. All the plans he needed were all in his head, and frankly, you can tell by the final result.

Located in his backyard, Nikolay Orekhov’s strange house measures 9 meters in height and 14 meters in length, and is three levels high. On the first floor, the Russian builder created a bathroom (complete with sauna and swimming pool) and a small kitchen, the second floor features two bedrooms and a nursery, while the third one is a greenhouse.

Nikolay began building his ship-shaped house on the “sacred” date of July 7, 2007, and is now living in it with his family. His neighbors have started referring to his weird creation as the “Ark of Nikolayev”.

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The Food Packaging Fashion of Katell Gelebert

French designer Katell Gelebert has created a line of clothes, made from various food packaging, that expresses her position as an environmentalist and human rights activist.

By using the packaging of everyday foods like pasta, frozen vegetables, coffee and even cat food, Katell Gelebert has created some pretty amazing pieces of clothing that have great potential for re-use and are also esthetically pleasant. Using only low-tech means, the French artist managed to combine design and reusable materials, without creating more waste.

If you’re interested in more packaging artworks, check out Jason Clay Lewis’ rat poison packaging art.

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Inventionland – Coolest Workplace in the Whole Wide World

I remember seeing a set of photos from Google’s offices in Zurich, and thought that was pretty cool, but Google has nothing on Inventionland’s fairytale workplace.

Inventionland, like the name suggests, is a company that invents stuff, over 2,000 new inventions every year. To come with that many inventions, the Inventionland team must really be inspired by something, but what could it be? Believe it or not, it’s actually everything that surrounds them in their Pittsburgh headquarters.

The 70,000 square feet facility looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before, featuring 15 different fantasy sets, from pirate ships to tree houses and even a house shaped like a giant shoe. And it’s not only the world’s most creative workplace, it’s also equipped with the latest in sound, video and animation technology to help creationeers come up with the best ideas. Oh, that’s right, Inventionland employees are called “creationeers”, they get to wear lab coats and they brainstorm for ideas in a room called “Inventalot”. Now, how cool is that!

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