April 15, 2012

Architectural Upcycling

You may or may not guess what the photo on the left is a part of. Pieces of broken crockery and glass are placed in cement. This is just a small section of Watts Towers (below). Simon Rodia was a small man with a large vision. He wanted to build something that would remind him of his native Italy with its tall, spiraling church steeples. It took him 30+ years to build and decorate with found objects including bottles, scrap metal, sea shells, ceramic tiles, even bed frames. He built the framework with scrap rebar and whatever he picked up on the road.

The point of this, besides applauding anyone’s opportunity to re-purpose “trash,” is to underscore the importance of experimenting with new perspectives. Look at what you own. Imagine you’re from another planet and don’t associate any of this with a value or name.  Pretend you’re an important designer assigned to personally re-arrange and eliminate (ie. play with) your possessions. This can help you make decisions that aren’t based on sentimentality or well-worn habits.

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