Tag Archives: Upcycling

Ceramic Mosaics on East 3rd Street

united we stand mosaic photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Each day in NYC there is something to newly discover, no matter how long it’s been there.  I am rarely on the block of East 3rd Street between Avenues A and B, but I had occasion to walk that block during this past Sunday’s lovely snow storm. Because I always have an eye peeled for things that might be fun for the blog, I made the charming discovery that most of the buildings on the north side of the block (because that is the side I was on) have these cute and colorful ceramic tile mosaics on their facades, mostly around the doorways and near the steps.

letter g mosaic photo by gail worley
It’s a G Thing

I’m not positive, but my guess is that these are the work of Jim Powers, aka the Mosaic Man, since he is responsible for most of the ceramic mosaics in the East Village. The mosaics are made from bits of tiles, marbles, broken china, mirror shards, bottles and other assorted found objects. They are beautiful and amazing works of art.

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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