A Microcosm for Architecture: From Factory to Home

This is an incredible story of a magnificent home that lies north west of Barcelona, Spain’s cultural and artistic capital.

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Draped in lush vegetation and offering an abundance of open spaces, this building is impressive not only in size but also in style. It’s features are so unusual for a family home and it is almost unthinkable how such a grand project came about.

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

However this was not always a scene of domestic bliss and creative outlet. This towering building once housed the industry that produces the material we use to create most modern structures – cement.

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

This is a story of a visionary architect, Ricardo Bofill, who saw the potential for something beautiful to be created from an old dilapidated factory. The result shows the success of his hard work and the realisation of his dream, to create his dream home from an edifice long forgotten and diregarded.

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Here is a video about the former cement factory that has become an incredible living space. Expansive ceilings and crawling green plants, make this restored factory building an architectural masterpiece with a great deal of charm.


 
More information and photos found here on yatzer.com.

The Lost Gypsy Gallery: Shells, Sculptures and Salvage

Driving along in the tumbling hills of the Catlins on New Zealand’s South Island you can stumble across some ‘curios’ places (sorry for the cheesy wordplay – the bay close by is called Curio Bay). The Lost Gypsy Gallery in Papatowai is an incredible little place.

The Lost Gypsy Gallery

Pretty much stuck in the middle of nowhere on one of the most Southern tips of the world, surrounded by astonishing landscapes and secluded beaches is a little caravan with mechanical sculptures and handmade fountains. Coming closer you realise that most of these objects are made of recycled materials, such as scrap metal, old bottles and Paua shells.

Metal mechanical whale. When you turn the handle the whale moves gracefully as if it's swimming in water.

Metal mechanical whale. When you turn the handle the whale moves gracefully as if it’s swimming in water.

When you step into the small bus housing the Lost Gypsy Gallery, cluttered with fantastic tiny little machines or mechanical toys, it is like entering the world of an eccentric genius which is exactly what it is. The walls are covered in small circuits and retro posters of old cartoons and advertisements.

Photo courtesy of Judie Wells (her blog is available here)

Large rounded pearly shells are connected to one another with wires and suspended over a small dish of water, as you turn them they scoop up the water making trickling sounds as the water splashes out again. There are small machines operated by tiny motors or complex mechanical functions everywhere and a little train track reaches all around the little bus on which you can watch a tiny train whizzing past you.

Steps to the Lost Gypsy Gallery

Steps to the Lost Gypsy Gallery

Outside there is a small aluminium caravan which sells delicious coffee, next to it are seats and benches made of reclaimed wood and decorated with glass bottle parts, shells and other discarded materials.

Small bench made from recycled materials

Small bench made from recycled materials

Next to the old gypsy bus is the entrance to the Winding Thoughts Theatre which is full of fun ‘toys’ for grown ups. The star attraction being the piano – each key is connected to an object that makes a sound.

One is connected to a mannequin head covered in dreadlocks fastened with bells, another to a drum while one is connected to a tape recorder running on a circuit.

The Piano Shooting Gallery. Photo courtesy of My Year On A Whim (blog available here)

The complex structure allows you to create a one man band which screeches along and often triggers moving objects. The whole experience is a lot of fun mainly because of the creative energy the place exerts and all the eccentric and brilliant inventions surrounding you.

You can find the creator Blair Somerville working away in his workshop attached to The Lost Gypsy Gallery surrounded by circuits and small tools building numerous mechanical objects. He has been working on this project for the last 15 years adding more and more ambitious pieces to it as he goes along. Each piece is like a work of art, created from discarded or found materials and brought back to life with Blair’s impressive skill and vivid imagination.

Restore Your Childhood: Recycled Toy Sculptures

If you were wondering what to do with all your old toys why not use them to create art. This is what Robert Bradford did when he came across a box of his children’s old toys. Rather than discarding the collection of tiny plastic figures he used them to assemble colourful sculptures.

Terrier toy sculpture

These have since been exhibited in numerous cities all around the world.

Rhino toy sculpture

Most of his sculptures are of dogs, but he has also sculpted rhinos, ostriches, camels and fairies.

Sniff toy dog sculpture

Bradford has shown the wide range of different styles available when using recycled materials.

Ostrich toy sculpture

Recycling can be the source of inspiration as well as comprising the materials for the art work.

Dachshund toy sculpture

London Design Festival 2012 Best Picks

Since the London Design Festival started last Friday exhibitions are popping up all over the capitol. From over 300 hundred different events to choose from it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are the best picks for recycled related design events and exhibitions.

The V&A, the hub of the LDF has several sustainable design exhibitions, including E-side and the Evolutionary Wall. From 14-23 September at the V&A.

Tent London is regarded as the most cutting-edge and progressive trade exhibition during the London Design Festival. Housed in the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, it has a huge range of independent and fascinating designers exhibiting their work. Tent runs from 20-23 September.

100% Design is the largest and most prestigious single-site design event in the UK, it hosts a huge range of brilliant design talent from all around the world. From the 19-22 September at Earls Court Exhibition Centre 2, Warwick Road, London, SW5 9TA.

Decorex is a huge design show held at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, this is for those with expensive taste, showing high end international interior design exhibits. From 23-26 September at Royal Hospital Road, London, Greater London SW3 4SR.

At the DesignJunction the sustainable exhibition 2nd Cycle  will feature Artek, a Finnish furniture company, which seek to highlight the issue of conscious consuming and authentic design through an upcycling project. Their philosophy promotes traditional craftsmanship with modern interventions. “Nothing old is ever reborn but neither does it totally disappear. And that which has once been born, will always reappear in a new form.” -Alvar Aalto, one of the founders of Artek. A sale of second-hand vintage furniture run by Fernandez & Wells, will be available to buy at twentytwentyone. From 19 – 23 September at The Old Sorting Office New Oxford Street.

Mirror by Joe Gibbs courtesy of Designers Block

Designersblock at the Southbank Centre has a selection of sustainable furniture and lighting, featuring UTREM LUX, Polliander, Joe Gibbs and numerous other great designers. From the 20-23 September at the Southbank Centre.

Sustainable Furniture from LA: Blake Avenue

Joshua Tree Credenza by Blake Avenue

Blake Avenue in LA has a wide selection of tables, shelves and cabinets made from reclaimed wood. The products are simple, elegant and beautifully crafted.

Shenandoah Desk by Blake Avenue

Most of the materials that go into Blake Avenue furniture is recovered from architecture that dates back 80 to 150 years and are hand picked and reworked to a high standard.

Krisel Dresser by Blake Avenue

Blake Avenue seek to preserve precious materials with design and craftsmanship that will allow their pieces to last another lifetime.

Tall Lake Tahoe 3 Drawer Dresser by Blake Avenue

Every piece has its own unique characteristics carrying their own stories showing the  the complex and lengthy lifecycle these timbers, carrying with them a history of use and production that will never be repeated.

Shenandoah Hybrid Cabinet by Blake Avenue

Blake Avenue gives these old and sturdy materials a new lease of life by incorporating them into contemporary designs and restoring them to a quality that is built to last.

Eckso Bench by Blake Avenue

Reclaimed Furniture from LA: MFEO

MFEO is a love story between its founders, Van and Claribelle, and their shared love for great design, vintage objects and the growing desire to lead more sustainable lifestyles.

Industrial Grater pendant lights

Slatted Cyclone side table

The pair from Los Angeles seek to reduce the environmental impact of production by primarily using repurposed materials for their designs.

Slat & Dowel reclaimed coffee table

Stump & Pins coffee table

They have a great selection of coffee tables and side tales as well as repurposed lamps.

Skate Sconce wall lamp series

Factory Task lamp & sconce