We'd like to welcome aboard our new Hipcycle Blogger, Danielle DeSoto! Stay tuned for weekly posts by Danielle.
We're all familiar with upcycling, the hip and eco-friendly art of taking old stuff and making new stuff with it. Anybody who's ever melted a bunch of candle stubs into a glass jar with a new wick is familiar with this concept. If you've pieced together a make-shift ribbon dispenser during the holidays, you can consider yourself an upcycling adept.
But while anyone can try a fun upcycling project on the weekend, it takes a true master to turn upcycling into a bona fide art form.
- Dining at a Bank in Amsterdam: As part of its committment to sustainability, Starbucks transformed the historic Amsterdamsche Bank into the largest Starbucks in Europe. "Using local people and local materials, the crew paid homage to Dutch trade and local history. The space features a floor-to-ceiling ‘tattooed’ mural celebrating the history of Dutch coffee traders, repurposed Dutch oak throughout the space, antique Delft blue tiles, a ceiling sculpture created from 1,876 hand-cut wooden blocks, and a wall clad in recycled bicycle inner tubes."
- Intricate Cardboard Columns: Using laser cutters, relatively simple designs, and lots of brain power, architect Michael Hansmeyer uses his "computational architecture" to create insanely intricate columns out of recycled cardboard. Hansmeyer's method of fabrication makes the column very easy to transport: just unstack the slices.
- Gigantic Glowing Fish: The scales of these amazing sculptures were made by lining up hundreds of empty clear plastic bottles, giving the fish a shimmer day and night. The sculptures were created for the UN Conference of Sustainable Development (Rio +20).
- AmazingTape Sculptures: Street artist Mark Jenkins transforms packing tape into stunning sculptures he then installs in cities around the world.
- Bike Chain Sculptures: The powerful nude sculptures were created by artist Seo Young Deok from thousands of bicycle chains for an exhibit called "Dystopia" at the INSA/Arka Art Center in Seoul.
- Cutting Edge Cardboard Furniture: The IMISS Collection was designed by the Fabrizia Zorzenon Workshop, transforming recycled, corrugated cardboard into sturdy, gorgeous modern furniture and accessories.
- The Paper Chair: Slovenian architectural students Peter Plantan and Nusa Zupanc won first prize at the Architecture Workshop AWR Awards with this chair made from old newspapers, expired flour glue, and recycled foam board.
- Phone Box Fabulous: Artists in London use smart design to upcycle the city's iconic red phone boxes. The project was launched to honor the 25th anniversary of children's charity ChildLine - a service that provides advice for young people. Perhaps they haven't gotten as far as this upcycled phone box, but they have a really good start.
These clever upcyclers have transcended the practicality of sustainable reuse, finding the romance and artistry of a new art form. While you may not be the next green Michaelangelo, why not try your hand at upcycling? You never know what you may create.
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