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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Designer Makes Furniture from Discarded Electronics

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Benjamin Rollins Caldwell of BRC Design recycles old computer components by using them to create original pieces of furniture.

Discarded electronics are a major problem for the environment, and there’s no better example than China’s Guiyu electronics waste site, but some people come up with original ideas that make recycling them look easy and cool. Take Benjamin Rollins Caldwell, who’s Binary Collection features pieces of furniture any computer geek would love to have in their home.

For the Binary Low Table, the designer used bent computer tower cases as a basic frame, and proceeded to add various computer parts like motherboards, computer chips, LED displays and hard-drives, until the structure was completely covered. Even the glass panels were salvaged from an old warehouse. For the Binary Chair 01 and Binary Chair 02, Caldwell used a frame made of an old industrial printer, covered with a collage of electronics. Apart from being completely functional and visually appealing, the Binary Chairs also have an interactive quality, as the various buttons and keys can be pressed, the hard-disks can be spun and the antennae raised.

So why dump a bunch of toxic electronics in a landfill when you can create something as beautiful as BRC’s Binary Collection?

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Marker-Wielding Artist Turns Rooms into 3D Installations

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German artist Heike Weber uses dozens of permanent markers to completely transform a dull space into a mesmerizing three-dimensional environment.

The artist starts out by drawing her loopy shapes on sheets of paper, then proceeds to making them permanent by repeating the process on a room’s floor, ceiling and walls, with markers. I can’t imagine how much patience you need to do all the drawing by hand, considering you’re pretty much tracing the same lines over and over again, but I guess that’s just one of the qualities that make Heike Weber a great artist. What’s even more impressive is some her installations are larger than 5,000 square feet.

Apart from using the marker’s colors, Weber’s technique allows her to control the white space between the lines, creating a three-dimensional world that somehow feels alive. I can’t imagine anyone being able to live in a space that seems to be constantly flowing around them, but if you can’t make up your mind about how to decorate your home, maybe you should try a permanent marker and unleash your artistic talent. This guy did it, and it turned out pretty darn amazing.

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German Couple Convert Train Cars into Comfy Home

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Vanessa Stallbaum and Marco Stepniak love trains so much they decided to integrate two old mail cars in the design of their new house.

The German couple met on a train, and their first vacation was a four-day train ride from Berlin to Kazakhstan, so when Marco told his girlfriend he wanted to build their house around two train cars, she immediately agreed. 34-year-old Stepniak got the crazy idea 15 years ago, when he attended a youth club, close to his home town of Herten. It was set up in two old train cars and he remembers thinking someone could actually live in them.

Two new train cars like the two wanted to use for their new house, cost around €500,000 ($725,000), but they were lucky enough to find an online ad for two second-hand mail cars from Switzerland. Built between 1974 and 1975, the two railway antiques were in remarkably good condition, and they cost only €20,000 ($29,000). Unfortunately, transporting them from Switzerland to Germany actually cost more than the cars themselves €26,000 ($37,600), but  Vanessa and Marco spared no expense in order to realize their dream.

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Juan Osborne’s Pictures Really Are Worth a Thousand Words

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It’s said a picture is worth a thousand words and in the case of Spanish amateur artist Juan Osborne that is literally how things stand. Using several hundred thousand words he manages to recreate famous images and icons that have put their mark on the world.

Osborne searches for the most popular words associated with his subjects, then uses his netbook and a custom software to piece them together and recreate the image. “Words are powerful, they go straight into the human mind and really add something to my pictures that you can’t get from a regular picture taken with a camera. Mine have stories behind them that can be read, which is pretty unique,” the artist says about his works.

People usually think he’s kidding when he tells them he only uses a netbook uses a software he created himself to make the images, but to Juan it seems only natural. He feels free without the need to use commercially available software and if he needs something extra he can just create another application. While adding over 200,000 words to a single image is pretty time-consuming, the young artist says he has been doing it for so long that his skills have improved to the point where he can complete an artwork in just a few days time.

The biggest work Juan Osborne has completed so far contained 500,000 words, but he plans to beat that record and reach the 1 million mark. The only problem he faces is finding a place to print an image that big.

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Eggshelland – A Colorful Easter Tradition Made of Eggshells

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One of the world’s most impressive Easter traditions, Eggshelland features a number of colorful lawn mosaics made of Easter eggshells.

Every year, Ron and Betty Manolio, from Lyndhurst, Ohio, create a set of intricate eggshell mosaics right on their front lawn. It all started back in 1957, when Ron’s mother used 750 colored eggshells to make a cross on her lawn, and Ron and his wife carried on the tradition, coming up with different themes and complex mosaics each year after that.

First, the Manolios come up with a fresh theme, one that always includes the symbols of Easter – a fifty-foot cross and the Easter Bunny. Then Betty draws a plan of the display on a special piece of paper covered with a grid of small boxes, colors the pictures and they both count the number of eggs required and colors needed for the project. After they make sure they have all the necessary eggshells, they lay out the grid of the drawings on the lawn and start placing support sticks in the ground. Finally, the colored eggshells are placed over the sticks to create the actual mosaics.

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Retired Farmer Spends 30 Years Building Scale Model of Herod’s Temple

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Alec Garrard, an 80-year-old retired farmer from Norfolk, England, has spent the last thirty years working on a 1:100 scale model of Herod’s Biblical Temple.

Mr. Garrard has liked creating models all his life, but as he was getting older, he began thinking about a single big project that would see him through to the end of his life. Having always been interested in architecture and religion, the retired farmer thought to combine his two passions and create a unique scale model of Herod’s Temple. He had seen one or two other models of the structure during Biblical exhibitions, but he didn’t find them accurate enough, and he knew he could do better.

The expert model-maker started working on the project when he was in his 40’s. He first spent more than three years just researching the Biblical temple and then began constructing the model, exclusively by hand. The retired farmer cut the plywood frames of the temple walls, baked all the clay bricks in the oven and then stuck them together, and even sculpted and painted 4,000 half-an-inch figurines and dressed them in costumes. It looks absolutely amazing, but Alec Garrard says “I have been working on it for decades, but it will never be finished as I’m always finding something new to add”.

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Designer Makes Impressive Gown from Discarded Children’s Books

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Boston-based fashion designer Ryan Novelline has created an amazing fairytale dress using only pages from children’s Golden Books.

If you had any doubts regarding human creativity being endless, this unique creation will definitely make you a believer. Now I’m not very big on fashion, but I know impressive when I see it, and Ryan Novelline’s gown made entirely out of recycled and discarded children’s Golden Books is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

The skirt is made entirely of illustrations from the book sewn together with metallic gold thread, while the bodice is made from the books foil spines. Both have tape backing for reinforcement. The total surface area of the skirt is 22,000 square inches.

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Indian Woodcarvers Give the Skateboard an Oriental Twist

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What do you get if you combine the old fashioned skateboard with the talent of a dozen Indian woodcarvers? The answer can be admired in the photos below.

All commercially-available skateboards are artistically designed, but companies usually opt for spray paint, abstract graphics and prints to personalize the board. German curator Tobias Megerle teamed up with a dozen traditional woodcarvers from Mumbai to give the skateboard a brand new make-over inspired by traditional Indian patterns.

Megerle remembers “The very first time I drove past I was magically attracted to the carved wooden objects in Mahim, all the open workshops, the woodcarvers sitting on the floor with their traditional tools, working on their items, the whole atmosphere”. As an artist he wanted to do something with their work, and after several visits studying their craft, he picked the good old skateboard to undergo the carvers’ artistic treatment.

Tobias Megerle’s art project was named Final Cut, and its main goal was to keep the skateboards functional even after Mumbai’s carvers were done with them. The results are truly amazing, and the German curator hopes his project will lift India’s woodcarvers from the state of craftsmen to that of artists.

These traditionally carved Indian skateboards are currently on exhibit at The LOFT at Lower Parel, in Mumbai, where they will remain until April 12.

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