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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Jane Perkins Proves One Man’s Junk Is Indeed Another’s Treasure

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British artist Jane Perkins creates beautiful works of art using everyday objects like marbles, toys or buttons picked up from recycling centers, second-hand shops and junkyards.

Jane Perkins worked as a nurse for 17 years, in a London hospital, before she decided to explore her artistic talents and got a degree in textiles in 2006. For her graduation thesis the artist chose a topic that would later be associated with her name  – “Recycled Materials in Art and Design”. She began her successful career by creating stylish brooches mad with discarded jewelry, coins, sea shells and other found junk, but soon moved on to other more complex and impressive works.

Taking inspiration from Ecuadorian artists who take broken pieces of jewelry and implement them in original hair designs, and from the found objects themselves, Perkins creates colorful masterpieces exhibited all around the world. She loves to make art with an element of fun and unexpected and says she will use anything colorful that she can get her hands on. Luckily, Jane doesn’t have to scour second-hand shops and recycling centers as much as she used to, as people in her neighborhood learned about her art and began leaving bags of unwanted stuff on her doorstep.

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Artist Creates Dog Portraits from Recycled Magazine Photos

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San Francisco-based Samuel Price uses pieces of photographs he finds in old, discarded magazines to create intricate portraits of man’s best friend.

Sam Price’s career as a collage artist began when he was too young to afford paints and would tear up magazine and newspaper pages and glue them to a canvas. He did it out of necessity and because he has “always believed in the use of accessible materials as part of the instinctive process of creating art”. Stepping in the footsteps of artists like Pablo Picasso – a pioneer of collage art – Price uses recycled photographs as the medium for his artworks.

Unlike other collage makers, Price doesn’t use a computer as a guide when he creates his masterpieces. He spends several hours looking through discarded magazines, in the search for just the right color and shape that would fit his needs, and then glues every strip of paper himself.

Samuel Price takes great joy from creating something new and special from materials other people simply throw away, and says his work has helped him create a strong connection with many dog lovers. Through his collage portraits he tries to capture the special relationship between a dog and his owner.

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Artist Makes Imperial Walker Sculpture from Recycled Computer Parts

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Etsy artist TGNSmith has created a realistic replica of the iconic Imperial Walker out of various recycled computer parts and other scrap metal pieces.

The main body of the Star Wars AT-AT is made of power supply boxes from old computers, its head is made of floppy disk shelves, and the legs and feet from other scrap metal components. The one-foot-high and over one-foot-long sculpture was covered with two coats of galvanizing primer, followed by a coat of gray paint and finished off with two layers of protective gloss. The walker was also “attacked” with a welding arc that gave it those nice battle scars.

Weighing about 15 pounds, this miniature Imperial Walker has some sharp edges and corners and should not be used as a plaything for children. Star Wars fanboys can take it off TGNSmith‘s hands for only $450.

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Vietnamese Artist Turns Recycled Timber into Intricate Mosaics

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Nguyen Van Vien is a talented artist who collects all kinds of discarded piece of timber and uses them to create incredibly beautiful wooden mosaics.

The Vietnamese village of Khuc Toai has long been famous for its traditional carpentry, but a local artist is taking things to a whole new level with his original painting-like mosaics made from various types of recycled wood. Born in 1957, Nguyen Van Vien has always had a passion for the arts, and at age 19 he left his home village to study at the Indochina College of Fine Arts, in Hanoi. But it was a very difficult period for the Vietnamese, so after just two years of school, he had to return home and support his family. He turned to traditional carpentry, which barely earned him enough to put food on the table, but everything was about to change for the better.

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Greenpeace Turns Chopsticks Back into Trees

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Can you bring dead wood back to life? No, but you can turn them into trees again! This was the slogan that fueled Greenpeace and Ogvily’s campaign to help people realize the dangers of cutting down millions of trees to create disposable chopsticks.

Two hundred volunteers from various Beijing universities answered Greenpeace’s call and set out to gather 80,000 used wooden chopsticks, from restaurants around the Chinese capital. They cleaned them all up and then assisted artist Xu Yinhai in assembling them into four life-like trees. It was no easy task, but Green peace hopes this effort will inspire Chinese people to be more conscientious about their use of resources.

According to statistics from China’s Forest Ministry, the country produces 57 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks, which require over 1.18 million square meters of forests. Since China’s wood resources are very limited (ranking 139th in the world) its people have to ask themselves if it’s worth sacrificing 3.8 million trees a year, for something they just throw away after a meal.

The chopstick trees were planted on December 20, 2010, in one of the most popular malls in Beijing, The Place, in the Chaoyang district, and are planned to be displayed at universities and art venues around the city.

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The Mechanical Animals of Chris Cole

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American artist Chris Cole uses scrap metal parts to explore the border between nature and industry, by creating unique mechanical creatures.

As a young boy, Chris grew up in the American Northwest, surrounded by an abundance of wildlife that later influenced his art. At the same time, he always had a passion for all things mechanical, and would often take stuff apart, only to put them back together in a radical new way. Nowadays, he creates moving creatures, especially from the avian and aquatic reigns, from various scrap metal parts, connected by heavy bolts and operated by bicycle chains and small motors.

While he is still fascinated by machinery, and was greatly influenced by the visionaries of the industrial revolution, Chris Cole is very concerned with man’s “disconnection with the natural world”, and his work represents a “regression  from mechanism back to organism.”

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The Recycled Collage Art of Derek Gores

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Florida based graphic-designer Derek Gores takes old magazines, labels and other materials and recycles them into impressive collage artworks. The artist hand rips the magazines, maps or schematics and puts them together randomly to create impressive collages focused mostly on women and female fashion.

Here’s what Derek Gores has to say about his collage art: ‘I like my pictures to barely come together with teasing little details. Sort of like how the mind can’t help but wander, even when trying to focus on one thing. In the collages, some of the little bits I use are deliberate, but in most I’m trusting randomness to help build an end result more interesting than I could have planned. One friend calls it a Zen Narrative’.

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Artists Build House Out of Recycled Egg Cartons

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Goldenhen, and Australian art studio, used hundreds of recycled egg cartons to build a colorful house called ” The Original Dream”.

If you liked Eggcubism and are looking for other cool ways of recycling egg cartons, you’re going to love Goldenhen’s project. They built a simple wooden frame, painted the egg cartons in different colors and then simply stacked them in the shape of a house. But it’s not just any house, it’s modeled after Howard Arkley’s famous painting, “Family Home Suburban Exterior 1993″ – a symbol of the Australian dream of suburban living.

Apart from the actual house, Goldenhen also built a brick yard fence, an outdoor clothes drying rack and lots of grass, all made of egg trays.

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Christmas Tree Built Out of Mountain Dew Cans

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If you’re looking for an original way of recycling your old soda and beer cans, a nice Christmas tree is probably your best bet. You can use this Mountain Dew can tree, as motivation.

Back in 2006,  a group of Mountain Dew drinkers decided to put their drinking to good use, for a change. It took three months to gather the 400 cans of soda needed for their monumental project, but it definitely paid off. After four days of drilling holes into a PVC pipe, sticking construction flags in it and attaching the Mountain Dew cans to them, the guys had built quite a Christmas tree, topped off by a big plastic bottle, instead of the usual star.

It’s been four years since the Mountain Dew Christmas tree was built and other unusual Christmas trees were created since then, but it remains very popular, and people seem to remember it, around the holidays.

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The Intricate Book Carvings of Julia Feld

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Using various carving tools, mixed media artist Julia Feld breathes new life into old, useless books by transforming them into beautiful artworks.

A scientist by trade, Julia Feld has always enjoyed the visual elements of science and started carving old books to draw attention to their beauty rather than their outdated content. While most people aren’t interested in the information these books contain, anymore, Julia tries to give them a second chance to be valuable. Making great use of exacto knives, rotary cutters, tweezers, rulers, pliers, files, custom cut panes of glass, and lots of glue, the artist creates incredible carvings that leave you wondering “how did she do it”?

While some people accuse her of ruining vintage books, Julia Feld insists she is actually a book lover, and would never dream of carving up a book that she believes still has valuable content. That’s why she prefers to work with reference books that are several editions out-of-date, and have been salvaged from garage sales or second-hand shops.

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“Read Between The Signs” – Unique Recycled Road Signs Mural

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Situated along side Route 322, near Meadville, PA, this project was thought off by artist Amara Geffen and Arts & Design Initiative Director, in 2002 and has been an ongoing work ever since. It is realized through the collaboration between he Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Allegheny College’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED).

This is a form of community based art project, an original way of celebrating Earth Day. 1200ft long by 9ft tall, this fence is supported by an already existing chain fence around PennDOT’s storage lot and it is entirely made out of recycled road signs, combined as to depict places and people – for example the French Creek watershed, Allegheny Mountains, forests, roads or even PennDOT workers – but also features solar and wind powered kinetic components, thus paying a tribute to the environment.

It’s not only beautiful and original, but it has also managed to bring together the people of the community, having become the pride and symbol of Meadville.

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Waste Monster Is Made of Thousands of Plastic Bags

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A group of Slovenian environmentalists have created a scary waste monster, made of tens of thousands of plastic bags, to raise awareness to the world’s ever growing consumerism and waste problems.

To create their unique Plastic Bag Monster, the group of enthusiasts roamed throgh the streets of Ljubljana, collecting used plastic bags and plastic cups. In the end, they managed to come up with 40,000 plastic bags and 7,500 cups, collected from 12 kindergardens, 21 primary schools, 4 high schools, 3 colleges and 500 passers-by, from around Slovenia’s capital city.

As the waste monster keeps spreading its tentacles across Ljubljana, the message it sends becomes clearer – consumerism has gotten way out of control and that’s what spawned this abomination that has managed to adapt to our environment and is about to replace us at the top of the food chain. It is capable of reproducing at unimaginable speeds and feeds on people’s sloth and irresponsibility towards the environment. It knows no mercy, and unless we find it in ourselves to change, it will destroy us all…

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Ingenious Architect Uses Aluminum Cans as Shingles for His House

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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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Musician Uses Old Records as Shingles for His Roof

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Matt Glassmever, a Nashville musician who doesn’t mind using his hands around the house, has used 350 old vinyl records as shingles for his porch roof.

Using a nail and washer to cover the middle hole in each of the 350 records, Matt managed to create an original roofing that not only looks good, but is also quite practical. As you can imagine, this unusual roof was looked upon with skepticism by people who claimed it would disintegrate in less than a year, from the powerful sunlight, but Matt says he kept another hundred vinyl records outside for two years, and neither heat nor cold did anything to affect their durability. The labels peeled off, obviously, but the records themselves were in very good condition.

I doubt Matt Glassmever cares much about what other say about his roofing project, what’s important is that he managed to recycle some old records in a very original and practical way, and nobody can ever take that away from him.

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