The Exbury Egg: A Floating Art Studio

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

The Exbury Egg which is now floating in the Beaulieu Estuary, is possibly the first water born artist’s studio. It was designed to combine art, architecture and sustaining a fragile marine environment. Artist, Stephen Turner, who specialises in long term artistic explorations of environmental settings, worked with the designers to create the Egg.

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

He is using the wooden structure as a floating ‘residency’ for a year, to allow him to examine the changing patterns of its marine ecology and to produce artwork that raises awareness of the importance of protecting such fragile places.

“I wanted to intervene in the landscape at a key moment when climate change is already creating new shorelines and habitats. Established salt marsh is being eroded by a combination of rising sea levels and falling landmass and the entire littoral environment is in a state of flux. The implications for wildlife and flora as well as people are challenging and raise awareness of a particularly 21st century sort of tension.”

Steven Turner. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Steven Turner. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

The project is led by the Space Placemaking and Urban Design (SPUD Group). SPUD project manager, Phil Smith explains:

“Everything about this project looks to the value of our environment and sustainability; from the design and build of the Egg, to working with Stephen Turner to raise awareness of environmental change, to creating a cross curriculum education programme for schools and colleges.”

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

The inspiration for the Egg came from nesting seabirds on the shore and was designed by Stephen Turner in conjunction with PAD studio. It was built locally, by boat-builder Paul Baker, the cold moulded cedar plywood sheathed structure is approximately 6 metres long and 2.8 metres in diameter. The ageing of the wood will also be tracked by Turner.

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Stephen explains his pivotal role in the project:

“My contribution to the design concept of the structure itself was its symbolic egg form, that will decay and change during my occupation; turning the egg into a calendar revealing the impact of 365 days of changing weather and tides upon its surface. My idea is to show that nothing is forever and that understanding and welcoming such change should be part of our sustainable relationship with the rest of nature.”

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg showing the bathroom unit Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Interior of Exbury Egg showing the bathroom unit Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Power will be provided from a series of photovoltaic panels which will trickle feed into several domestic car batteries that the artist will change over on a weekly basis. This will allow him to run a computer and charge a mobile phone so that some contact with the outside world is maintained. Monitoring devices will provide daily data readings of the amount of energy being generated and consumed which will be displayed on the project website.

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Exbury Egg. Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Grey and black waste will be fed into holding tanks which will have to be carried by the artist to a local septic tank, and fresh water will be brought on board on a daily basis.

The project architect, Wendy Perring, explains:

“It was our intent to explore the creation of a minimal impact live/work structure, using materials with a low embodied energy sourced within a twenty mile radius, and put together by a team of local craftsmen using centuries old techniques. We want to test the minimum someone needs to live quite comfortably, and how we can minimise the impact on the environment.”

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

Inspired by the estuary and its ecology, Stephen Turner will incorporate the Egg into his artwork; a developing record of his work will be available for the public to see at Exbury Gardens and on the project website.

Exbury Egg Photo courtesy of Nigel Rigden

All photos courtesy of Nigel Rigden.

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Furniture Magpies’ Metamorphosis

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Furniture Magpies create furniture from discarded materials, providing an alternative to adding to landfills. These unique constellations that use a combination of discarded furniture, look more like art than functional objects.

“Furniture Magpies offers an alternative to mass produced furniture, specialising in regenerating old furniture to meet the desires of modern consumers.”

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This coat stand is made with the back of several dining chairs, the design blends different chair styles while retaining the individuality of each component.

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The beautiful visual composition is also surprisingly versatile adding to the atmosphere of a room.

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The ‘Lovely Legs’ climbing wall lamp is made with discarded Windsor chair legs and copper elbows.

Furniture Magpies emphasise the importance of the history and memories carried by the pieces that make up the final product.

“Our work strives to retain the character and story of the furniture we use, allowing the user an insight into their items original identity.”

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‘Hang on to your Drawers’ coffee table made with reclaimed old drawers.

All of these items are also available at moorbi.com.

The Story Behind the Glass

These glasses by Spanish brand Lucirmas are made from recycled glass bottles. The indents in the bottom of the glasses is a bit of a giveaway but also serves as a nice feature adding to their simple shape.

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Discarded bottles are cut and sanded down to make these classic, durable glasses. They are handmade in Barcelona, Spain and are available in clear, green and terra.

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This innovative and functional way of recycling glass, reflects Lucirmas’ commitment to reducing waste and sustainable design.

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Shake the Dust: Sustainable Jewellery

Quazi Design transforms waste paper into colourful accessories, these Tehuti rings are made from discarded magazines.

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Tehuti rings by Quazi Design

“We push the boundaries of our raw material, developing interesting techniques; including layering magazine pages to recreate the impression of wood, as if transforming the material back to its original form.”

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Tehuti rings by Quazi Design

The discarded paper is used to create a wide range of sustainable products, from jewellery to interiors.

“We showcase our innovative paper fashion and each year we offer our customers cutting edge collections which are motivated by new approaches to recycling paper.”

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Tehuti Collection by Quazi Design

Based in Swaziland, the company promotes craftsmanship and sustainability and offers training to designers and artisans interested in ethical design.

Products by Quazi Design are also available at Shake the Dust a design brand which specialises in ethical products and sources, commissions and sells hand-made, luxury homeware and accessories.

Houston’s waterways transformed into a sculpture garden

American artist Jeremy Underwood has transformed Houston’s waterways to showcase his sculptures made from discarded materials.

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The project titled “Human Debris” reflects both the visual and environmental impact of people and urbanisation on the natural world. Underwood describes his work as a reinterpretation of the waste materials left behind “Human Debris is a commentary on what humans leave in the natural landscape.”

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In his hometown of Houston, Underwood focused on reinventing these unwanted materials into something beautiful, while making a statement about the volume of waste channelled into these natural landscapes.

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“The project spotlights the environmental condition of Houston’s waterways through the building of site-specific sculptures assembled out of harvested debris collected from the beach.”

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Through this project he has made a bold statement about recycling and sustainability, he has not only highlighted the amount of waste left by humans, but he has also shown the value and versatility of these objects. “Each found material lends itself to a new creation, encompassing the former life of the debris into each sculpture.”

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“These objects are simply artifacts to support the work, photographed in interaction with the landscape, then left to be discovered.”

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Through his work he seek to challenge viewers to “reflect upon our consumer culture, the relationship we have with our environment, and the pervasion of pollution.”

The Recycled Orchestra

This is an inspiring video about a community that has built instruments from discarded materials from a landfill site in Paraguay. 

Around the World in 80 Chairs: vintage rocking chair, California

Vintage upholstered wooden rocking chair at a yard sale in Northern California near Grass Valley.

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