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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Smooth, Reused and Recycled: Marc Sparfel’s Delicate Animal Sculptures

Warrior 1

At first glance Marc Sparfel’s elegant sculptures may not initially look like they fit our recycled theme, however these beautifully crafted animals have been shaped by discarded materials.

Victory of Samothrace

French born Sparfel spent his childhood in the countryside in Brittany, surrounded by nature and animals. He was particularly fascinated by horses and cows, a theme that is evident in his work.

Petite Antilope

After moving to Barcelona in 1999 he was immediately intrigued by the amount of furniture abandoned in the street and decided to do something with it.

Petit Lion

Gradually he began to incorporate these materials in his sculptures, first in a long series of masks, inspired by tribal African artwork, and later he also used these in animals of all types and sizes applying his own unique style.

Homme Femme

He describes how he began accumulating more and more discarded objects “Initially, I found the furnishings by chance during my walks, but later realized that in every neighborhood there is a set day to leave large items in the street. So I started walking around the old town according to the “furniture days” of each neighborhood to recover the material bit by bit. Over time, the neighbors began to leave me chairs in front of my workshop …”

Grand Cheval

He uses the deconstruction of the found furniture to trigger an idea and to gain inspiration “The first step is the design of the piece, the second is its construction. I draw my inspiration directly from the forms I find when dismantling the furniture.”

Girafe

Admittedly this process does not always have the desired outcome and being a perfectionist he is sometimes unable to finish a piece “Sometimes I have the beginning of an idea, and can envision the head, horns, and legs, but some piece that should complete the sculpture is missing, which makes the design process longer. I have used some pieces of furniture many years after recovering them in the street.”

Elephant Mask

However when he does finish a sculpture, the result is an exquisite work of art.

Elephant couple

These delicate, smooth and complex sculptures prove that reused materials can take on many forms, whether it is obvious or not.

Bird

Sparfel currently resides in Spain and his work is exhibited in galleries in Spain, France and Germany, and will soon be shown in the United States.

Anubis couple

Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències – Modern Valencian Architecture

Valencia’s impressive architecture ranges from the quaint traditional old town in the city centre, to the tall imposing grand buildings in the rest of the city. Large bridges link the centre between opposite sides of the river, where long green walkways allow you to follow its course. In amongst the history and the tall apartment blocks and offices that tower across the wide streets, there is an exceptional modern structure that resembles architecture more similar to the Sydney Opera House rather than way you would expect from modern Spain.

Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències

Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències – City of Arts and Sciences comprises an Opera House, an IMAX cinema, an interactive museum of science, a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to the Valencia region and the largest aquarium in Europe as well as a suspension bridge and a covered plaza.

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El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía

The impressive Opera house named after Queen Sofia – El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, appears to be shaped in the form of a fish. The building overhangs part of the bridge and the plants and flowers on the large balcony spill over giving it life and colour at its heart.

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Below the opera house a bridge connects the opposite sides of the river and reaches over the subterranean walkway which is surrounded by fountains and bike paths. The complex is situated at the end of the former riverbed of the river Turia, which was drained and rerouted after a catastrophic flood in 1957. This allows the paths to run along the old riverbed which is now a sunken park.

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This is a beautiful place for a stroll in the shade or even at night stretching along the whole complex.

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The L’Umbracle is a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to the region surrounding Valencia. It was designed as a entrance to the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències. It also contains The Walk of the Sculptures, an outdoor art gallery with sculptures from a number of contemporary artists including Yoko Ono.

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The L’Umbracle

The L’Hemisfèric, the smooth rounded glass structure housing an IMAX cinema, a Planetarium and Laserium, is modelled in the shape of an eye.  Its design resembles an eyelid that opens to access the surrounding shallow water allowing visitors to peer out onto the walkways and over the rest of the complex. The shutters open revealing glass windows a solid round pupil inside the structure. The bottom of the pool is glass, creating the illusion of the eye as a whole.

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L’Hemisfèric

El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe houses the science museum. The impressive structure was designed to resemble the skeleton of a whale. It’s spiky white bones poke out of the side and the suspension bridge resembles its   tail behind it.

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The L’Hemisfèric and El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe

The complex was designed by local Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela another renowned Spanish architect. The first building was completed 1998 and the final structure, the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, was completed in 2005.

Around the World in 80 Chairs: Old Wooden Chair, Spain

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Around the World in 80 Chairs: Wooden Chair, Eivissa – Ibiza

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Tomás Alonso at the V&A

V&A tables and chairs

Tomás Alonso is a craft designer and co founder of OKAY Studio. Originally from Spain, he settled in London after completing his Master’s at the Royal College of Art. His work comprises furniture, lighting, product and exhibition design.

His range of chairs and tables for the V&A were designed as unique pieces for the event ‘One Part Chef Four Parts Design’.

The V&A table and chairs are made out of a single powder coated metal frame and reclaimed wooden boards.

The pieces share a slightly unbalanced appearance which comes from the combination of materials and can be attributed to the asymmetry and the way they are connected.

The sustainable theme as well as the colours and contrast of materials allows the reclaimed wood to be incorporated into the simple functional design.

The range of furniture has a subtle playful feel while still retaining an elegant structure.

Alonso’s furniture is also included in the permanent collection of the Design Museum in London.