A brilliant greenhouse suffused with a rich spectrum of color stands at 25 Porchester Place in London. Bathed in sunlight by day and illuminated by LED bulbs at night, the translucent structure is lined with a disorienting collage of Christian iconography and folkloric imagery: saintly figures sprout insect wings and wildlife occupies spaces usually dominated by humans in a melange of spiritual symbols.
Titled “Sacré blur,” the greenhouse is a 2015 project by horticultural artists Tony Heywood and Alison Condie, who originally created the piece to house psychedelic plants at the Oxford Botanic Gardens—this part of the project never materialized over fears that students might misuse the hallucinatory specimens. The intention for the sculpture revolved around the idea of sacred light, the foremost example being stained glass, and creating a transcendent space complete with a mirrored infinity floor. “We are gardeners,” Heywood shares with Colossal. “The greenhouse is an architect’s equivalent of a temple. It’s where life begins and the ritual of caring and nurture take place.”
The London-based pair, who work as Heywood & Condie, began by dismantling hundreds of panels, some of which dated back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and following the patterns and grisaille to splice new creatures. They then glued the layered works to the existing frame of a greenhouse. “The idea is nature transforming and using the stained glass as a medium to visit a (time) when we worshiped plants, insects, and animals, as opposed to the Christian line of thinking that humans are above animals, above everything,” Heywood says.
This connection to the earth alongside an interest in the broad reaches of spirituality influence the pair’s practice, particularly those relating to creation myths and about bringing new life into existence. “Church is about shifting our consciousness and making us think of where we lie in the world and likewise, whether it’s a psychedelic experience or a meditative experience, it’s about shifting our attention,” he shares. “Gardening is an act of creation.”
“Sacré blur” has been exhibited in multiple locations in recent years and will be at its current spot for the coming weeks. Heywood & Condie have a few works in progress at the moment, including an alphabetical labyrinth on a northwest U.K. beach and an obelisk collection mixing religious stained glass along with pieces from early pinball and gambling machines that will be on view at Vigo Gallery. You can also see their works as part of The Poetry of Trees, which opens at The Atkinson in Southport on June 4, and on June 11, a series of jewel-encrusted marine microorganisms will float across The Water Gardens at Marble Arch in London. (via Steampunk Tendencies)
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It’s estimated that before 2050, we’ll generate 43 million tons of waste worldwide from one of the most promising clean energy producers alone. Wind turbines, while a cheap and carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels, are only 85 percent recyclable or reusable, and their massive fiberglass blades, which are so large that they span the length of a football field, are notoriously difficult to break down and often end up deteriorating in a landfill for 20 to 25 years. Until a high-volume solution for recycling the structures becomes viable, there’s a growing trend in repurposing the pieces for maze-style playgrounds, construction materials like pellets and panels, or pedestrian bridges as proposed by Re-Wind Network, a group devoted to finding new uses for the unused parts.
A long-time proponent of wind energy, the Danish government is receiving attention for its own initiative that tasked turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa with upcycling the blade. The company transformed the long, curved component into an open-air shelter at the Port of Aalborg, where it protects bikes from the elements. Although Siemens Gamesa doesn’t have plans to launch a large-scale initiative for installing similar designs, it recently released new fully recyclable blades that can be turned into boats, recreational vehicle bodies, and other projects in the future. (via designboom)
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Following the same route of the long-running Skunk Train that thrums through California’s Mendocino County, a new contraption from the historic rail brings cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts through the pristine redwood groves with a smaller carbon footprint. Railbikes are two-seated, four-wheeled designs that run along the centuries-old tracks through the ancient forests just outside of Fort Braggs. Made with lightweight materials, the upcycled rigs are largely pedal-powered, although they have an electric component for hills and more difficult stretches of the miles-long route.
The new offering marks a growing trend in eco-tourism and a shift toward outdoor activities that leave little impact on the environment, with similar offerings cropping up along rails in Carson City, Sacramento, and Las Vegas that have been entirely or mostly abandoned. Skunk Train has plans in the works to expand its routes in the coming months, and you can follow its developments on its site and Instagram. Until then, watch the video below to tag along on a trek through the towering redwoods. (via swissmiss)
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A Short Documentary Explores the Life of the 'Artifact Artist' Who's Been Excavating New York City's Trash for Decades
Descending into old privies, scouring landfills, and sneaking onto construction sites in the middle of the night are habitual activities for urban archaeologist Scott Jordan. For nearly five decades, he’s been excavating the trash and forgotten artifacts buried deep underneath New York City’s residential areas and fast-growing developments. His findings are diverse and revealing of the area’s past, offering a glimpse into the consumption habits and lifestyles of previous generations that date back to the 18th Century.
A new documentary produced by Kaleidoscope Pictures chronicles Jordan’s lifelong practice that involves digging and uncovering items that he then transforms into new artworks. Dubbed “The Artifact Artist,” the short film by the same name follows the archaeologist and historian as he pulls glass bottles, Civil War-era garments, and small toys from the earth. While Jordan cleans and restores much of the pottery and well-preserved items, he utilizes the rest to create jewelry and assembled, sculptural works that nestle into shadowboxes, which he then sells at flea markets.
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On a global scale, we collectively consume a staggering number of chopsticks each year—80 billion pairs to be exact—many of which end up discarded in landfills and other waste sites. Since 2016, though, a Vancouver-based company has been upcycling the disposable utensils into a modern, minimal line of furniture and home goods.
A new video from Business Insider goes behind-the-scenes with ChopValue to chronicle the entire production process, which starts with collecting the free, raw material from about 300 restaurants around the British Columbian city. When they’re brought back to the plant, the utensils are sorted, coated in a water-based resin, and baked in a 200-degree oven for five hours to kill all germs. They’re then broken down and loaded into a massive hydraulic machine that compresses the individual sticks into a composite board, which finally is sanded and fashioned into countertops, tiles, and dominos, among a variety of other products. Since its inception, the company has saved nearly 33 million pairs of chopsticks from entering a landfill.
With three microfactories in Canada and retailers across North America, ChopValue’s footprint is growing, and the company is currently offering opportunities for franchises. Shop coasters, shelving, and other goods on the site, and follow product launches on Twitter and Instagram. (via The Kids Should See This)
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Those looking for an alternative to cars or reprieve from public transit can thank Aldekas Studio for a new set of wheels that’s both stylish and environmentally conscious. The Mexico-based designer repurposed the fenders and headlights of a Volkswagen Beetle— which officially is the Type 1 model that was released originally in the 1930s—into a miniature vehicle named “Bugkart Wasowski.” The kart’s curved body is attached to a bright red frame, which contrasts the olive green exterior. It has chrome handlebars and mirrors that mimic those on the original car, maintaining the integrity of the classic model.
Aldekas Studio shares many of its designs on Facebook, including a 3D rendering of a rustic version of the kart shown here. You also might enjoy this similar, two-wheeled project, aptly named the “Volkspod.” (via designboom)
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