Metropolis II – The World’s Coolest Miniature Car Circuit

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Every little boy who has ever owned a Hot Wheels miniature car remembers how fun those things were to play with, whether you owned a circuit track or not. Artist Chris Burden has spent the last four years working on Metropolis II, an awe-inspiring miniature car circuit that will spark the interest of even the most mature grownup.

It’s called Metropolis II because Chris built another cool Hot Wheels circuit back in 2004, but compared to his first one, this latest project is superior in every way. It really lives up to its name, measuring an impressive 10-feet-tall by 28-feet-long and featuring 13 toy tracks and a gigantic car circuit with 18 lanes, winding around in a loop, around 30-40 skyscrapers. There are a total of 1,100 modified cars moving around Metropolis II, at any given time. Chris and his team inserted a small magnet on the underside of each car, so when they reach one of the circuit’s three conveyor belts, which also have magnets placed underneath, they get picked up and transported to a high point from where they are released and flow away.

According to Chris Burden, Metropolis II is ten times bigger than the original Metropolis and was conceived as a miniature representation of Los Angeles. Just recently completed, Metropolis II has already been sold for millions of dollars, but Burden says is also cost millions to complete and refine. Over the next few months it will be taken apart and properly packed in steel cages, where the parts shouldn’t move more than a 32nd of an inch, in order to keep everything running smoothly.

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Designer Gives Dollar the Pop-Culture Treatment

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James Charles is not the first artist to use currency as inspiration for his original art, but his works are the geekiest I’ve seen in a while.

While some items of the “American Iconomics“series might have ou think that Charles simply manipulated the faces on genuine dollar bills, it’s just an illusion. The artist kept the original outline of the bills, but replaced the faces of former American presidents with those of famous pop icons like Jimi Hendrix, Master Yoda, Mr. Spock, Sarah Palin, and many others. In sone cases he simply drew over the faces of the presidents to give them a whole new look, but every one of his pop-culture dollars comes with a sarcastic and funny line of text.

The “American Iconomics” collection is currently on display at San Francisco’s Shooting Gallery, where pop-art fans can purchase their favorite artworks for anywhere between $600 and $1,000.

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Designer Creates Couture Fashion from the Remains of Dead Animals

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I know what you’re thinking, so do those fashion companies making real fur coats, but Jess Eaton only uses the remains of animals that died of natural causes, have been hit by cars, or that have been killed for food.

Jess’ Roadkil Couture collection features weird items and accessories, like a necklace made from with the skulls of 12 dead pheasants, a bolero jacked made from the furs of 50 white rats eaten by her friend’s reptile, or a hat made from four magpie wings, but the designer claims she’s not out to shock the world. Sure, some of her pieces look like something only Lady Gaga would dare wear, but Jess Eaton says her creations are only meant to be beautiful, not outrageous.

While other women would probably flinch at the sight of a dead animal, Jess is more than happy to pick it up, skin it herself and use its various body parts in her unique fashion item. She recently received a dead horse’s head, which she carved and used in various pieces, proving she’d definitely not squeamish when it comes to working with her material of choice. Her seven-year-old son, Norton, however is sick of the smell of flesh-eating bugs in their Brighton house, and can’t wait until Jess finally opens her own studio, away from home. If there is an advantage to working with dead animals, is that the “fabrics” for her works are always free.

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Man Decorates His House with 180,000 Wine Corks

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Miroslav Svoboda’s house, in Mutenice, the Czech Republic, has become a regular tourist magnet after he decorated it with 180,000 wine corks.

The idea of using wine corks to make his house more appealing came to Mr Svoboda two years ago, There was an empty circle space on one of the walls, and he decided to fill it with a drawing, but when he noticed his friends were pretty unimpressed he decided to fill the space with wine corks. The small town of Mutenice is located in the South Moravian wine region of the Czech Republic, so wine corks were fairly easy to come by. A passionate red wine drinker, Miroslav Svoboda saved his own corks, but also got them by the thousands from friends and neighbors.

The experienced bricklayer developed an entire process to clean the wine corks and make sure his decorative work passes the test of time. First he placed them in a disinfectant bath that removed the smell of wine and killed any germs that could have caused mold to appear. He then dried them in nets made from onion bags and cut them in half. Using cement, he fixed each piece of cork into place, by hand, into various shapes. Svoboda says his house is very old and has extremely thick walls, so he didn’t cover his house in corks for padding, but purely for aesthetic reasons.

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Man Builds Impressive 250,000 LEGO-Brick Mega-Structure

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Inspired by fantasy buildings featured in sagas like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings , LEGO fan Gerry Burrows has built an awe-inspiring giant structure called the Garrison of Moriah.

Ever since he was just a kid, Gerry Burrows dreamed of building something big using LEGO bricks, but it was only after finishing college that he realized he finally had the freedom to pull it off. He began thinking about how he finally had the space and financial freedom to fulfill his childhood dream ‘without a little sister to rampage through my Lego creations’ so he called his realtor and told him he needed a LEGO room. As soon as he bought his first house he unpacked a box of his old LEGO bricks.

Even more impressive is how this LEGO master managed to create his Garrison of Moriah with very little planning. He made no initial plans, on paper or computer, but simply started assembling the bricks, focusing on individual structures. As he kept building he got inspiration on what direction to take to make his masterpiece looks as cool as possible. Amazingly enough he suffered no disasters during the entire building process.

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The World’s Coolest Website Made Entirely from Real Chocolate

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This is something you don’t see every day – Portuguese beer maker Sagres has recently released a chocolate flavored beer and decided to celebrate by creating a launch website entirely out of chocolate (and I don’t mean the flash kind).

Sagres is Portugal’s no. 1 beer brand, so when they launched the new Sagres Preta Chocolate, a stout beer with chocolate flavor, they really went all out. With the help of a web design company and master chocolatier Victor Nunes, renown in Portugal for his amazing chocolate sculptures, they managed to create the world’s most awesome interactive website made entirely from chocolate. I really can’t think of a better way to launch a chocolate product online.

As you can see in the ‘baking of’ video at the bottom, every element of the Sagres Preta Chocolate site, except the actual beer bottle, was first crafted from chocolate, then photographed and put together into a functional, delicious-looking website. When they were done, they offered their first online visitors pieces of the real chocolate site, and sent them directly to their homes together with a six-pack of chocolate beer. How awesome is that?

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Pimple Popper Ring Is One Disgusting Piece of Jewelry

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I’ve seen some pretty bizarre jewelry since I started writing for OC, from rings made from human teeth and hair, to insect accessories, but this Pimple Popper ring is the most disgusting one yet.

For reasons I cannot understand, some people just love to pop pimples, and Etsy user Winona Johnson is one of these crazy types. Disgusting as it may sound, she admits to popping zits, pimples, black heads, white heads, for pure pleasure and this gave her the idea for this unique Pimple Popper Ring. Made of sterling silver, copper, enamel and a white pearl, this bizarre piece of jewelry is one of the grossest pimple recreations I’ve ever laid eyes upon, and it’s just the first piece of a skin related jewelry set. Who knows what “wonders” Winona will create next, but i wouldn’t be surprised to see stuff like a wort necklace or bunion brooch.

If you’re big on pimple popping, you can buy the Pimple Popper ring for $163.

 

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The Wooden World of Levi van Veluw

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Dutch artist Levi van Veluw has recently 3 rooms covered with over 30,000 wooden blocks, balls and slats, as part of his last installation. Absolutely everything in the rooms, including every inch of the floor, walls, ceiling, even himself are covered in the same material – 4 square centimeters dark brown wooden blocks.

Every one of the 30,000 wooden blocks was made and glued in place by van Veluw, who also covered himself in them for his signature formal approach to self-portraiture. This unique installation, called Origins of the Beginning, is inspired by various aspects from the artist’s childhood bedroom, where he apparently spent many hours alone, between the ages of 8 and 14.

In case you’re wondering why van Veluw is burning the desk, in the video below, it’s because he had an obsession with fire, as a child.

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Modern Tower of Babel Made of Books Appears in Buenos Aires

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Popular Argentine artist Marta Minujin has created a 25-meter-high spiraling Tower of Babel made from 30,000 books written in various languages.

This modern version of the Tower of Babel was designed in celebration of Buenos Aires’ designation as World Book Capital 2011, by UNESCO, and local authorities say it represents the ideas of pluralism and diversity which also characterize the Argentine capital city. This isn’t Minujin’s first experience with book installations; in 1983, when democracy was restored in Argentina, she built a replica of the Parthenon from books banned by the former military dictatorship.

The tower consists of a spiraling metal frame and around 30,000 books written in most of the world’s languages and dialects. You can find all kinds of books, from dictionaries and encyclopedias to software manuals and classic novels, arranged on six levels. The bottom level features a collection of books from around the world, the first and second levels are for American books, the third and fourth are reserved for Europe, the fifth for Africa and the sixth for Asia. 16,000 of the books were donated by 52 embassies in Buenos Aires, while the rest were provided by Argentine readers.

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Halo Fan Spends Six Months Making a Life-Size LEGO Master Chief Costume

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Ben Caulkins, also known as Benny Brickster, spent the last six months working on a life-size costume of Halo’s Master chief, made from thousands of LEGO bricks.

Although he had some LEGO building experience, Ben admits he thought long and hard before taking on the task of building a real Master Chief costume. He was inspired by a fellow brickster’s awesome Boba Fett costume and by some of the works he admired at his first Brickworld LEGO convention. That’s when he really started thinking about it, and while it seamed only a dream at the time, but after a while he realized it was doable.

He decided to dedicate himself to the project, and started off by building Master Chief’s iconic helmet. He figured that if he could pull this off, he could build the rest of the costume as well. Benny spent a lot of time planning the building process, finding the right resources, getting its size just right so it would look proportionate with his body, and then he finally got to work. It turned out great with that golden motorcycle visor, and his work was picked up by sites like the Wall Street Journal and Gizmodo.

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Young Crafter Makes Original Prom Dress from 4,000 Pull Tabs

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16-year-old Maura Pozek, from Reed Springs, Missouri, created her own prom dress from 4,000 pull tabs and 400 yards of pink ribbon.

Looking at the beautiful gown, you wouldn’t guess it was created by a high-school junior, let alone that she did it using only ribbon and aluminum pull tabs. But it’s true, Maura actually spent 100 hours working on her unique prom dress, surrounded only by her laptop, cellphone and a Netflix subscription. I bet there was a lot of sweat and tears involved in all that intricate weaving, but the final result is truly mind-blowing, and she can rest assured no one else will be wearing the exact dress on prom night.

For last year’s prom, Maura made herself a dress from around 60 bags of Dorito chips. You can check out a couple of photos of it, at the bottom.

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Designer Turns Garbage into Green Couture Garments

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Designer Nancy Judd uses recycled trash to create various clothing items for her Recycle Runway collection, which she showcases in airports, class rooms and other media outlets around America.

“I love taking garbage—something that people want to push away from and not think about—and transform it into something elegant,” Nancy Judd recently told CNN. She started the environmental education entity known as Recycle Runway in 2007, and began creating beautiful fashion garments from recycled stuff, thus capturing the attention of millions of people. Each of her works is a unique piece of wearable art that takes between 100 to 450 hours to complete, but lasts at least 100 years and inspires the public to reduce their impact on the environment.

Ms. Judd grew up in Portland, Oregon, and although she’s been sewing and designing clothes and jewelry ever since she was a child, she doesn’t feel attracted to the fashion industry, as “it creates a tremendous amount of waste, and there are a lot of social justice issues.” In fact, she turned down a spot on Project Runway because she is perfectly happy with her own project, Recycle Runway. Nancy has worked in the recycling field for a long time, but it was fashion that helped her attract attention and deliver important environmental messages to the world.

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Karl Lagerfeld Designs Chocolate Hotel Room

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Someone decided to give fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld 10 tons of chocolate so he could create a chocolate hotel room complete with a chocolate model eating a chocolate ice-cream.

The photos speak for themselves, but if you need some context, here goes: Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld has apparently designed a chocolate hotel room, as part of a deal with Magnum ice-cream. Its creation required around 10 tons of Belgian chocolate, and the chocolate guy on the bed eating an ice-cream was apparently inspired by Baptiste Giabiconi, the designer’s favorite male model and muse. The edible chocolate room is currently housed by an unnamed Paris Hotel.

Chocolate living spaces seem to be very popular these days, I remember a Lithuanian shopping mall created a similar chocolate room for Valentine’s Day.

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Polish Woodcarver Makes Functional Bicycles Exclusively from Wood

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Slawomir Weremkowicz, a 59-year-old former plumber from Poland, creates functional bicycles using only wooden components.

The talented woodcarver from Biala Podlaska says he had always wanted to be an artist, and since God gave him the talent of carving wood, he he thought he should do something amazing with it. So he decided to go greener than green and create a series of wooden bikes for which he didn’t use a single gram of metal or plastic. Simply looking at a piece of wood, Slawomir can already envision how he’s going to turn it into one of his bicycle parts, and using simple woodcarving tools like chisels and saws he does just that.

The seat, steering, even the pedals and chain are made only from a variety of wood (oak, ash, beech and plywood) and if you’re looking for screws holding them together, don’t bother, as Slawomir Weremkowicz only uses wooden pegs. Carving an entire wood bicycle is a lengthy process which takes about a year, but when he looks at his completed “wooden dinosaurs”, as he likes to call them”, Slawomir doesn’t regret the time he puts into his work.

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Chinese Pavilion Made Entirely from 668 Abacuses

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Showcased during an abacus-themed exhibition held in the Chinese city of Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, this large pavilion model is made from 668 different-size abacuses. Used as a calculating tool centuries before the adoption of the written numeral system, the abacus is a big part of Asian culture, and is still widely use by merchants and clerks around Asia and Africa. Apart from the impressive abacus pavilion, visitors at the exhibition could admire over 100 abacuses, from the simplest to more complex versions.

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