Tag Archive | Upcycling

Jean Shin’s Floating Maize at Brookfield Place

jean shin installation photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Fans of this blog will know that I am way into repurposing and recycling items that would otherwise end up in a landfill into both functional items and aesthetically pleasing works of art, so when I read about Floating Maize, artist Jean Shin’s new public art installation at the Brookfield Place mall, I braved the subway to get down there to check it out.

jean shin installation photo by gail worley
jean shin installation photo by gail worley

Known for her inventive works that transform discarded materials into elegant expressions of place and identity, Jean Shin’s art and practice is ingrained with the idea of sustainability. With that in mind, Shin has repurposed thousands of green plastic soda bottles into an elaborate installation that resembles an artificial landscape.

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Eye On Design: Bench IIa by Max Lamb

bench IIa by max lamb photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

The Bench I I a (2017) by designer Max Lamb is one of the first prototypes made from solid textile board, a material composed of waste cotton.  Lamb created this piece for Really, a Danish company that focuses on upcycling discarded textile waste.

bench IIa by max lamb photo by gail worley
Installation View

Really mills used textiles into small fibers that are then bonded together with a special agent. The dark blue color of this bench comes from the cotton material, which is discarded denim. The bench is at once a functional object and a conversation starter regarding the reuse of waste materials. The museum installation includes a video (iPad screen seen above) in which Lamb discusses the making of the Really collection of furniture.

bench IIa by max lamb photo by gail worley

Photographed in the Art Institute, Chicago.

Eye On Design: Nkondi Chair By Francis Assadi Design Studio

Nkondi Chair
Photos By Gail

The word Nkondi means “hunter,” and it’s also the name of an idol (made by the Kongo people in the Congo region in central Africa) that contains an aggressive spirit meant to hunt down and punish wrongdoers.

The Nkondi Chair, which consists of a No 16 Bentwood Chair by Michael Thonet and hundreds of single-use plastic straws, embodies both the spirit and the act of wrongdoing. In the US, 500 million plastic straws are used and thrown away every single day, and with its artful combinations of colorful plastic straws on the legs, backrest and seat, the Nkondi chair brings attention to the massive plastic pollution on our planet. It also references the artwork created with recycled materials in many countries throughout Africa.

Nkondi Chair Detail

Nkondi is part of the the Metamorphosis Series, where designer Francis Assadi takes the Thonet No. 16 chair and transforms it into a new and vibrant work of art and design.

Nkondi Chair

All of the Metamorphosis series chair are one-of-a-kind/collector’s pieces, handcrafted in New York. Find out more about the unique furniture of Francis Assadi Design Studio at This Link!​

Photographed at the ICFF 2019 in NYC!

Eye On Design: Ore Streams Filing Cabinet By Formafantasma

Filing Cabinet By Formafantasma Installation View 1
All Photos By Gail

Seemingly random bits of e-waste make up the Ore Streams collection of office furniture, designed by Italian duo Formafantasma.

Filing Cabinet By Formafantasma

Cabinet (2017)  is a clear glass-encased filling cabinet created from up-cycled aluminium computer cases embellished with a digital print of the surface of Mars, a reference to the extra-terrestrial origins of gold, which is widely thought to have arrived on earth via a meteorite shower.

Filing Cabinet By Formafantasma Front Detail
Cabinet, Front Drawer Detail

Formafantasma’s Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin created cabinet and accompanying furniture series as part of their Ore Streams project, a two-year study into the current state of electronic waste recycling that proposes new approaches for designers working on gadgets. The furniture is designed as a poetic response to the findings.

Filing Cabinet By Formafantasma Detail
Cabinet, Side and Rear Detail

The pastel-hued metallic objects incorporate decontextualised bits of electronic waste, like the casings from iPhones and laptop keyboards. One cubicle features a pigeonhole formed from a microwave, while a rubbish bin is lined with gold scavenged from circuit boards.

Filing Cabinet By Formafantasma

The duo chose objects that were familiar within the office, but made them slightly odd and unfamiliar. In addition to the filing cabinet, the collection includes a table, rubbish bin, two cubicles, a desk, chair, lamp and shelf, all made primarily of dead stock.

Filing Cabinet By Formafantasma Installation View 2

Photographed in the Giustini / Stagetti Booth at the Salon Art and Design, at the NYC Armory in November of 2018.

Eye On Design: Chicken Lamps By Sebastian Errazuriz

Chicken Lamps
Story and All Photos By Gail Worley

New York-based Chilean designer Sebastian Errazuriz is known for thinking way outside the box. Always on the look-out for interesting materials, he aims to strike a balance of artistic and practical qualities of design, and his sense of humor often ends up in the mix. In this case, Errazuriz obtained the bodies of taxidermy chickens (which died of natural causes) to create these fun and unique Chicken Lamps. Who says upcycling has to be dull?

Chicken Lamp with Egg Bulb

In one model, the light bulb is seen emerging from the bird’s hindquarters, just as an egg would.

Chicken Lamp with Shade

In an alternate design, the chicken’s head has been replaced by the light bulb. These lamps stand on the chicken’s two feet, mounted on a plexiglass disc. Available from R and Company.

Photographed at The Salon Art and Design at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC.

Chicken Lamps

Eye On Design: Vista Picture Frames Made From Recycled Styrofoam!

Table Display of Frames
All Photos By Gail

If you are anything like me, framed favorite artwork and photos are not only a huge part of your home decor, they’re also an important part of how you rock your personal style.  I love a nice frame so much, I often pick up one that catches my eye even before I have something in mind to go inside it. Maybe you never considered that a  picture frame manufacturer could be a force in the campaign to sustain our planet, but at a recent IHA Press Event, I was introduced to a collection of gorgeous and innovative modern framing solutions from Vista Frame Company which are all created from one of our most notoriously non-biodegradable, manmade materials: Polystyrene (aka Styrofoam). Unbelievable, but true!

Table Display With Foam Example

Did you know that consumers discard about 5 billion pounds of  styrofoam annually? That’s crazy! The story is that even before Vista became a frame company, they were trying to do anything they could to protect our enviroment. Because of this, Vista created a styrofoam recycling machine, and they have placed these machines all over the world, taking away a portion of the 5 billion pounds of styrofoam that would otherwise end up in a landfill every year. Once styrofoam is broken down in these machines, they ship it to their factory and create Vista Frames from the recycled, pelletized styrofoam.

Frame Recycling Step 1

Pink Accent Frame

Vista Frames are super stylish, and of such high quality you would never guess they were not made of wood, plastic, metal or other traditional materials. I love that this company is making a beautiful, functional products and taking care of the Earth in the process. Vista makes the perfect frame for every photo or piece  of frame-able artwork in your home.

Pineapple Art Print

Each piece even comes with a fun print that you just might want to leave in the frame! Find out more about Vista Frames, and shop the collection, at This Link!

Vista Frame Company Signage

Kenny Scharf, Inner and Outer Space at Deitch Projects

Kenny Scharf Face Painting
All Photos By Gail

Whether you’re seeing his colorful works out on the street, or in the gallery, Kenny Scharf has one of the most instantly recognizable styles in the contemporary art world. Deitch Projects downtown is currently hosting Inner and Outer Space, an ambitious exhibit of Sharf’s newest works which features several distinct collections that provide evidence of Scharf’s enthusiasm for expanding his oeuvre, while staying true to the playful characteristics of his work that his fans love the most.

Deitch Projects Building Exterior

You can get a hint of what you’re in for before you even stop inside the gallery

Drip Faces

The faces are melting in Kenny Scharf’s new paintings. “Things are disintegrating,” says the artist. “I am reacting to our increasingly out-of-control situation.” Scharf’s work continues to be infused by his inexhaustible optimism and his sense of fun, but there has always been an engagement with profound issues beneath the façade. Ecology, the environment, and capitalist excess have long been central themes.

Drip Faces

Kenny Scharf’s work has always combined and contrasted the pop culture he absorbed growing up in Los Angeles with the important innovations in modern and contemporary art. His earlier work fused Dali and Disney. More recently, he has been in dialogue with Pollock and Abstract Expressionism. In the new work, he merges his distinct style with color field and stain painting. “I like to connect with every movement in 20th-century art,” Scharf explains. “I make new hybrids, taking it all in and putting it in a blender.”

Inner and Outer Space Installation View

Drip Faces

Scharf is very enthusiastic about his new “sloppy style” that characterizes the major paintings in the exhibition. Rows of faces disintegrate into colorful drips reminiscent of both New York School painting and the serial imagery of minimal art. In these new works, Scharf is striving to create clear and simple forms that resonate with meaning. He feels liberated and excited, adding that “it is so much fun.”

Inner and Outer Space Installation View

Like his artistic colleagues from his early years in New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Scharf studied cartoons as a way to intensify figurative expression. He makes use of cartoon faces to express emotion with abstract power.

TV Bax Installation View

In the past, Kenny found many of the items integrated into his art in the garbage,and even today he still stops his car when he finds plastic toys and TV sets thrown away on the street. These discarded plastic objects have inspired the two other bodies of work featured in the show, one being TV Bax.

TV Bax Red and Green

The TV Bax are painted on the plastic backs of discarded television sets. Like the toys, the TV backs have a disconcerting anthropomorphic quality. Scharf wonders if their anonymous designers created these plastic covers, which are different for every model, to resemble a face.

TV Bax Red

TV Bax Red Detail
TV Bax, Detail

Scharf finds these thrown-away toys and TV backs to be poignant objects, resonant with emotion. “Each of these objects carries a story,” Scharf explains. He thinks about how people might have struggled and sacrificed to buy these toys and TVs, and about the intense relationship that children and families have with them. Scharf resurrects the lives of these inanimate objects in his work. He also notes that garbage keeps changing with technology. The backs of TV sets used to have large protruding “noses.” Now they are flatter and more similar to a canvas.

TV Bax Purple and Blue

TV Bax Sky with Clouds

Toy Assemblage

Another new collection, his Assemblage Vivant Tableaux Plastiques, inspired by the Nouveau Realistes, are constructed from his stock of recycled plastic toys. These wall sculptures, which mix assorted toy parts with Scharf’s whimsical animated faces, are my favorite items in the exhibit.

Toy Assemblage

Toy Assemblage Installation View
Installation View
Toy Assemblage

Toy Assemblage Detail
Assemblage Vivant Tableaux Plastiques, Detail

Toy Assemblage

Toy Assemblage

Since his childhood, Scharf has been fascinated by outer space. Space travel and the portrayal of infinite space have long been central themes. In his life and in his work, he tries to eliminate boundaries and borders. As he pursues his dialogue with the great painters of the New York School, he is increasingly preoccupied with the inner space of painting. His exploration of inner space creates a dynamic tension with his passion for outer space. With his characteristic exuberance and his moral voice, Scharf reformulates his unique combination of Pollock and Pop to create a vibrant new body of work.

Kenny Scharf Signage

Kenny Scharf’s Inner and Outer Space will be on Exhibit Through December 22nd, 2017 at Deitch Projects, Located at 18 Wooster Street (Just North of Canal) in NYC.

Kenny Scharf and Friend
Kenny Scharf and Friend at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception.

Inner and Outer Space Installation View

Eye On Design: Piet Hein Eek’s Past and Future Found Glass Chandeliers!

Eek Chandeliers
All Photos By Gail

We saw these gorgeous light fixtures at ICFF and just fell in love with their Rococo look! Not only are they beautiful to look at, but the story behind them is also fantastic! Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek’s work embodies the concepts of transformation and reinvention. Spanning furniture design, architecture and fine art, Eek elevates discarded, quotidian and unorthodox materials into pieces that make a strong case for the Design-as-Art conversation. This is likely why Eek was presented by Paris-based glass lighting manufacturer Veronese with a dream job: to give a second life to their found glass pieces.

Eek Chandelier

The project began when Veronese’s creative director Ruben Jochimek came across a forgotten stockpile of spare glass pieces — all hand blown by skilled Italian artisans of Murano — in the basement of their Parisian showroom. Comprised of over one-thousand pieces, the collection had been building up since 1931. These ornate glass pieces — stored on dusty shelves for nearly a century — included crafted cups, drops, rings and flowers.

Past and Future Collection Signage

Piet Hein Eek took  Veronese’s found glass objects and came up with the Past and Future collection of chandeliers! An eclectic feast of styles and colors, the resulting product blends glass parts from different collections, giving a second life to Veronese’s long-forgotten glass pieces. Upcycling at its finest!

Eek Table Lamp

The lamps are made of 40cm glass tubes, equipped with LED lighting into which the spare parts can be slotted.  Each model is 40cm high and 25/30cm in diameter, creating a suspension composed of three modules. The tubes can also be assembled to create longer chandeliers. Visit Veronese online at This Link!

Eek Chandelier
Photographed at the ICFF 2017 at the Javits Center, NYC

Paula Hayes Gazing Globes in Madison Square Park

Gazing Globes
All Photos By Gail

Discovering cool public art in NYC is part of what makes being an art lover in this city so rewarding. Even though they have been up since February 19th, I just read about Paula Hayes’ Gazing Globes installation in Madison Square Park last week, and with less than a month left to check it out, I felt encouraged by the promise of less frigid weather to head over there this past weekend.

Gazing Globe
Gazing Globe
Gazing Globe Interior Close Up

The work features eighteen transparent polycarbonate spheres that hold the remnants of contemporary culture, including up-cycled radio parts, industrial materials, acrylic wands, and other pieces of vintage technology sprinkled with fairy dust made of pulverized CDs. In this way, Hayes is using new materials and adding fresh content to her objects while retaining some of the form of her well-known plant terrariums.

Mad Square Park View

The heights of the pedestals varies, which adds a keen visual dynamic as well. It is like walking into a magical fairy land!

Gazing Globe Gazing Globe Interior Close Up

Each see-through globe lit from within features a mixture of analog radio parts, castoff electronic transistor parts, glass vacuum tubes, micro glass beads, shredded rubber tires, and recycled plastic flotsam. To these mixed remnants of technology and culture the artist added crystals and minerals.

CD Dust

A shimmering fairy dust was made from pulverized CDs and is layered within each sculpture’s interior. Hayes, who typically works with varieties of plant materials, determined that everyday castoffs are indicative of a society’s behavior and value system and symptomatic of the current landscape.

Gazing Globe Pink

The artist states, “I used vintage parts because technology moves at such a fast pace. These play a role in the current landscape and how information is transmitted from one part of the globe to the next. I made an illuminated landscape evocative of the designed landscape of Madison Square Park. Both are born of human imagination and technology.”

Since the Globes are illuminated, the optimal viewing time is at dusk or, ideally, in the dark. We arrived maybe 20 minutes before full sunset, but due to being underdressed for a sudden temperature drop, we were just too cold to remain outside any longer.

Globes

Gazing Globes by Paula Hayes’s will be on view through April 19th, 2015 at the West Gravel area of Madison Square Park, Located on the North East Lot at Intersection of 23rd Street and Broadway, New York City.

Pendant Lighting from Upcycled Plastic Soda Bottles

Recycled Plastic Bottle Pendent Lamps
All Photos By Gail

I found this innovative and gorgeous Pendant Lighting in the gallery / event space of Repoproom in the Chelsea Gallery District. It was my friend Anne who realized the globes are constructed from clusters from upcycled 2 Liter plastic Soda Bottles! What a great recycling idea!

Recycled Plastic Bottle Pendent Lamp Close Up
Globe Detail

I’m not sure how these lamps were made but I’d bet you could do a little Googling and find step-by-step DIY instructions for a similar project. Because, the Internets.

Recycled Plastic Bottle Lamps