Wayne Kusy and His Impressive Toothpick Fleet

Chicago-based artist Wayne Kusy uses thousands of ordinary toothpicks and gallons of glue to create impressive-looking models of famous sea vessels.

50-year-old Kusy remembers he built his first toothpick model when he was just a child in the fifth grade. It was an Indian tepee and it got him a B+ in class, but toothpicks were to play a much bigger part in his life. He moved on to build a house out pf toothpicks, then a year later he started working on a ship that didn’t come out perfectly, but wasn’t far off the mark either, so he decided to build another one. And, before he knew it, he was pretty much obsessed with toothpicks.

Wayne Kusy’s amazing toothpick fleet began to take shape when he bought a plastic Revell model of the Titanic, studied the blueprints and deck plans, and spent the next three years recreating it with 75,000 flat and square toothpicks. It was impressive to look at, but it was so big that his small Chicago apartment could barely accommodate it, and there was no way to move it out without hitting the corners of his home and damaging the ship. The Titanic lost a lot of toothpicks on its maiden voyage out of Wayne’s apartment, but it taught the artist a valuable lesson – from there on he designed his ships so they could be reassembled from multiple segments.

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Incredible Key Art ay the Coolest Locksmith Shop in New York

Greenwich Locksmiths, one of the oldest locksmith shops in New York City, stands out with its unusual facade art made of thousands of used keys.

The incredible facade was designed and executed by Phil Mortillaro, owner of Greenwich Locksmith and an expert when it comes to cracking safes. He opened up shop in the West Village back in 1968, and as his shop became famous, he once considered redesigning his common-looking headquarters to look like an impressive classic American building. He got all the approvals he needed, but decided not to go through with the idea, for fear his locksmith shop would have looked more like a Disney World attraction. Instead, he decided to make his workplace unique by decorating it with discarded keys.

Seen from a distance, the patterns on the Greenwich Locksmiths facade look like a bunch of spirals and squiggles, but as soon as you get a little closer and notice the whole thing is covered with tens of thousands of keys, you realize just how impressive it really is. Mr. Mortlillaro created this unique work of art by himself, last October, and his shop – reputed as one of the best in the business – is getting a lot more attention.

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Designer Creates World’s First Rocking Piano

Chichi the rocking piano was designed by Sarah Davenport as a way of strengthening the relationship between the pianist and piano, and is unique in the world. Apparently, the rocking motion creates a perfect harmony that allows the piano player to completely get lost in the music, ignoring the world around. At least that’s how Sarah says it makes her feel, and she’s been playing piano since she was just three years old, so I guess we can take her word for it. At some events, pianists have been known to get so immersed in the music and the rocking that they kept playing for hours on end.

Chichi has been around for three years now, and after being featured in prestigious venues like the London Design Festival and The Nottingham Contemporay Art Gallery, Sarah decided it’s time to find it a proper home. She auctioned it off, at the end of January, and I’m sure it sold for a pretty hefty sum.

Ms. Davenport has already been approached by some of the biggest names in the music industry, to create more rocking pianos, each of which will be custom made, but she says there will never be another Chichi.

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Carpenter Builds the Most Amazing Birdhouses You’ve Ever Seen

John Looser, a skillful carpenter from Toronto, Canada, builds regular wood mansions for birds.

The 46-year-old carpenter used to work on human houses, but he had to retire after 20 years, due to to a serious car accident that left him with a terrible condition – fibromyalgia. The pain associated with it has no boundaries and most people describe it as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting, stabbing and intense burning. The stiffness and pain are worst in the morning and in muscle groups that are used repetitively. Although he had to retire as a house builder for humans, John Looser kept working in residential construction, only his new clients were birds.

“Building birdhouses helps keep my mind busy so that I don’t notice my pain so much,” says John. “As long as I can stay busy, I don’t feel like my muscles are going to seize up and stop moving.” says John, who also suffers from sleeplessness, getting up at 6 am and  working for 8 – 10 hours a day. The small size of his beautiful birdhouses, in comparison with human buildings, allows him to exercise his passion for building houses.

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Unique Matchstick Furniture Made in the USSR

Many people don’t realize it when they first walk into Roman Yerokhin‘s apartment, but many of his beautiful pieces of furniture are decorated with some of the most unusual materials – burnt matchsticks and broken tiles.

But as soon as they sit at the large monolithic table in his kitchen and notice its decorative patterns are actually made from thousands of burned matchsticks, their jaws instantly hit the floor and then the questions start. The first thing that pops into their heads is that his family used these common materials because they were poor, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, Roman says his ancestors were wealthy jewelers before the communists came to power, and even during their regime, his parents made a decent living as graphic artists. The main reason they resorted to matchsticks as decorations is that any other materials were scarce, and having lived under a communist rule myself, I know just what he means. Communism put a roof over your head, provided you with a job and put some food on the table, but it did absolutely no toleration for exercising cultural and spiritual freedom.

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World’s Most Expensive Bed Costs $6.3 Million

Stuart Hughes, one of the world’s most controversial designers, has set out to create the “Baldacchino Supreme“, a handmade bed priced at a whopping $6.3 million.

Everything Stuart Hughes creates has to be over the top, or chocking, and his latest work is no different. The Baldacchino Supreme has a structure made from the finest curving ash wood and chestnut wood with a canopy of cherry wood. It’s inlaid with 107 kg of 24 carat gold, and features various gold leaf decorations, while the headboard can be decorated with diamond buttons or other precious stones.

When it comes to fabric, you’ll have a hard time finding more luxurious materials than those used for Stuart Hughes Baldacchino Supreme. The finest Italian silk and cotton (with no burn certification) will have you sleeping like a king.

Priced at $6.3 million, this bed is so exclusive that only two of them will ever be created. The first one was completed in three months time and has already been acquired by an Italian businessman. And here I thought we had a serious financial crisis on our hands…Just so you know, the former world’s most expensive bed, from Parnian Furniture, was worth “just” $210,000.

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Designer Creates Functional Sofa Out of 8,000 Chopsticks

Sofa_XXXX is the creation of German designer Yuya Ushida, is a unique expandable sofa made from 8,000 wooden chopsticks.

Showcased during the Designers Fair at the IMM Cologne 2011 exhibition, Sofa_XXXX attracted a lot of attention because of the unusual medium Ushida used, and its ingenious folding mechanism. The expandable and retractable sofa was created from 8,000 wooden chopsticks, individually cut to four different lengths and sanded to just the right angle, connected with metal rings and plastic joints. German-based designer Yuya Ushida spent three months working on the Sofa_XXXX project, but the stunning end result was definitely worth the effort.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this one-of-a-kind chopstick sofa is that it can actually support up to three 70-kg-heavy people at any one time.

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The Giant Talking Lamp of Malmö

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Swedish city of Malmö, the giant lamp of Lilla Torg square seems like something taken out of Alice in Wonderland.

First installed in 2006, the 5.8 meters high lamp quickly became a favorite spot for both locals and tourists. Featuring a foot that also acts as a bench, this installation was created with the idea of giving passers-by a chance to sit down, relax and forget about daily stress, if only just for a few minutes. Throughout the year, the enormous lamp tours the various squares of Malmö, but on December 15, just before Christmas, it always returns to Lilla Torg.

It looks cool enough as it is, but it would be even better if someone would build a giant nightstand, and maybe a glass of water, to go with the lamp. And if it wasn’t bizarre enough, the giant lamp of Lilla Torg actually talks, as well. Check it out in the video at the bottom.

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New York Apartment Is Decorated with 25,000 Ping Pong Balls

Known as the “Box Box Project”, this 90-square-meter apartment designed by Snarkitecture is decorated with 25,000 ping pong balls.

Daniel Arsham’s apartment in Brooklyn is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The first time you walk through the door, its walls look like large gray pixelated screens that fade to white towards the ceiling, but as you approach them, you see thew are actually covered with ping pong balls, 25,000 of them, to be exact.

The rest of the apartment is decorated in minimalist  style, featuring only a bed, a few shelves and s built-in dresser, but that just means the ping pong balls get center stage in this decor. Attached to the offices of Snarkitecture, the Box Box apartment can be accessed by climbing a ladder  in the office’s employee bathroom.

This one-of-a-kind loft took two months to complete, at a cost of less than $100 per square foot, almost $50 cheaper than an average apartment. Cheaper is better, of course, but considering ping pong balls are among the most flammable objects on Earth, I hope the residents are non-smoking.

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Fashionable Rubber Band Dresses by Margarita Mileva

Margarita Mileva, an architect working in New York City, is taking the fashion world by storm with her unique dresses made from thousands of rubber bands.

Margarita first captured the attention of the fashion world with her line of rubber band accessories – M2, an offshoot of Milev Architects. The daughter of two artists took things to a whole new level, back in September 2010, when she showcased her first rubber band dress, a beautiful cocktail frock, made entirely from differently colored rubber bands.

Her latest creation, the “RB Dress“, was originally created for “Wear Is Art”, a design competition in Berlin, but it continued to attract attention even after the contest ended. Milev constructed the dress by hand, painstakingly weaving an astounding 14, 235 rubber bands into an haute-couture gown. That’s approximately 4 kilograms of rubber bands.

The practicing architect/fashion designer says she was inspired by the works of German-Swiss painter Klee and the early Bauhaus pioneers: “I was intrigued by the pastel colors used together with the black, darker ones; the black outlines and texture-like “fabric” of his (Klee’s) works. For me also of utmost importance is color theory, which he developed and taught to Bauhaus students.”

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Ultimate Children’s Playhouse Costs $230,000

Built for the children of a Swiss millionaire, the world’s most expensive playhouse cost $230,000 and took over 2,000 man hours to complete.

The Wendy playhouse was built by a small British firm, in North Lynn, Norfolk, and then transported to Gstaad, Switzerland. It was ordered by an extravagant millionaire who wanted to surprise his children for Christmas, by giving them a miniature replica of the chalet he owns in the foothills of the Alps. But this isn’t your average playhouse; this thing has double glazing, underfloor heating, four rooms, including a large living room with a chimney illuminated by LED lights, fully fitted kitchen, and pretty much anything else you’d expect to find in a high-end home.

Before starting construction, Russell Bowlby, head of the Flights of Fantasy playhouse building firm, went to Switzerland to study the building style, and weather conditions the commissioned playhouse had to withstand. With temperatures under -20 degrees Celsius, during the Winter, it had to be thoroughly insulated and heated, so the kids could play comfortably. A team of ten craftsman spent 2,000 manhours building the world’s most expensive playhouse, and an extra 10 days to fit the interior.

Around $155,000 covered the cost of the materials and construction, while the shipping of the house from Norfolk to Gstaad was another $95,000. Bowlby says “you won’t find anything like this playhouse in the world – its is as expensive as it gets.”

While I’m sure this will make an ideal playground for the millionaire’s children, I can’t help but wonder if he isn’t spoiling them just a bit, with presents like this. After all, he could have bought several normal houses in some parts of the world, for that amount of cash.

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The Recycled Collage Art of Derek Gores

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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Young Entrepreneur Makes Shoes from Recycled Billboards

Jimmy Tomczak, a young entrepreneur from Michigan, is taking the footwear world by storm, with his original line of shoes made from recycled billboards, Paper Feet.

Jimmy says he’s an outdoors guy who likes to walk barefoot as much as possible, but he always felt like he needed something to protect his soles from the hot asphalt. So, one day, he decided to create some sort of revolutionary footwear that had to be tear resistant, waterproof and light enough to make people feel like they were actually barefoot.

The first thing he tried was Tyvek, a material mostly used on FedEx envelopes, but even though it was puncture-proof and waterproof, it was way too thin for footwear. But when someone suggested he use an old billboard as tarp for his leaky roof, Mr. Tomczak knew he had found the material he was looking for. Billboards are five times as thick as shower curtains, and just light enough for his revolutionary “foot condoms”

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Fan Builds M.A.S.H. Set in His Own Backyard

M.A.S.H. was one of the best TV series ever, and everybody loved it, but Kraw27 took his passion for M.A.S.H. to a whole other level when he decided to build a replica of the show in his backyard.

Trying to create replicas of the Swamp or Hawkeye’s tent is commendable enough, but he managed to create an almost perfect replica of the 70s series set, complete with an old Jeep and a military ambulance just like the original one. Hawkeye’s tent is exact in every detail, but Kraw27 managed to hide some modern conveniences in the decor, like a TV, mini fridge and CD player, and says it’s the best place to play poker on Thursday nights.

This is simply awesome, and if this guy isn’t already working as a set designer, someone should make him an offer, fast.

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The Giant Mermaid of Cumbernauld

Scotland’s town of Cumbernauld has recently become the proud “host” of a beautiful mermaid statue that seems to be guarding the town’s entrance.

Standing at over 33ft tall, this statue is entirely made out of metal and depicts a beautiful four-armed mermaid, with two of her arms stretched outwards, as if to protect the town, and the other two holding up her mermaid tail.Her name is Arria and she was thought of and designed by English sculptor Andy Scott.

The real spectacle begins at nightfall as the statue features a rig of multicolored lights inside it’s structure that all lit up, putting Arria in a whole new “light”.

The costs for making the statue reached up to around $400,000, but local authorities hope the mermaid will be the town’s lucky charm.

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