This Elegant Pavilion Is Made Of 10,000 Recycled BIC Pens

BIC ballpoint pens are everywhere—a whopping 100 billion have been manufactured since the 1950s. But while most people wouldn't argue against calling the office staple functional, few would describe it as “beautiful."

A team composed of AAU Anastas, Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos from the University of Miami, and Yann Santerre recently challenged that assumption by building a canopy sculpture composed of 10,000 recycled BIC Cristal pens. The installation, created for the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures symposium in Amsterdam, went on display at the Muziekgebouw last month.

So what's the reasoning behind the pointed creation? According AAU Anastas' site, the team quotes Umberto Eco, who described the BIC pen as such: “Intentionally ugly [it] became beautiful because it is practical, economical, indestructible, and organic, the BIC Cristal is the only example of realized socialism. It cancels any right to property and any social distinction.”

It’s not the first time BIC pens have been repurposed in the name of design. A chandelier garnered attention a few years back, and you can find everything from sculptures, to lamps, and even an amalgam of both, which raises the question: what other office supplies are art supplies waiting to be discovered?

To read more about the design and see more photos of the pavilion, click here

[h/t Gizmodo]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
arrow
language
New 'Eye Language' Lets Paralyzed People Communicate More Easily
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0

The invention of sign language proved you don't need to vocalize to use complex language face to face. Now, a group of designers has shown that you don't even need control of your hands: Their new type of language for paralyzed people relies entirely on the eyes.

As AdAge reports, "Blink to Speak" was created by the design agency TBWA/India for the NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute and the Asha Ek Hope Foundation. The language takes advantage of one of the few motor functions many paralyzed people have at their disposal: eye movement. Designers had a limited number of moves to work with—looking up, down, left, or right; closing one or both eyes—but they figured out how to use these building blocks to create a sophisticated way to get information across. The final product consists of eight alphabets and messages like "get doctor" and "entertainment" meant to facilitate communication between patients and caregivers.

Inside of a language book.
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

This isn't the only tool that allows paralyzed people to "speak" through facial movements, but unlike most other options currently available, Blink to Speak doesn't require any expensive technology. The project's potential impact on the lives of people with paralysis earned it the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity earlier in June.

The groups behind Blink to Speak have produced thousands of print copies of the language guide and have made it available online as an ebook. To learn the language yourself or share it with someone you know, you can download it for free here.

[h/t AdAge]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
SmithGroupJJR
arrow
Design
Futuristic New Street Toilets Are Coming to San Francisco
SmithGroupJJR
SmithGroupJJR

San Francisco’s streets are getting shiny new additions: futuristic-looking public toilets. Co.Design reports that San Francisco’s Department of Public Works has chosen a new design for self-cleaning street toilets by the architectural firm SmithGroupJJR that will eventually replace the city’s current public toilets.

The design is a stark contrast to the current San Francisco toilet aesthetic, a green knockoff of Paris’s Sanisettes. (They’re made by the same company that pioneered the Parisian version, JCDecaux.) The tall, curvy silver pods, called AmeniTREES, are topped with green roof gardens designed to collect rainwater that can then be used to flush the toilets and clean the kiosks themselves. They come in several different variations, including a single or double bathroom unit, one with benches, a street kiosk that can be used for retail or information services, and a design that can be topped by a tree. The pavilions also have room for exterior advertising.

Renderings of the silver pod bathrooms from the side and the top
SmithGroupJJR

“The design blends sculpture with technology in a way that conceptually, and literally, reflects San Francisco’s unique neighborhoods,” the firm’s design principal, Bill Katz, explained in a press statement. “Together, the varied kiosks and public toilets design will also tell a sustainability story through water re-use and native landscapes.”

San Francisco has a major street-poop problem, in part due to its large homeless population. The city has the second biggest homeless population in the country, behind New York City, and data collected in 2017 shows that the city has around 7500 people living on its streets. Though the city started rolling out sidewalk commodes in 1996, it doesn’t have nearly enough public toilets to match demand. There are only 28 public toilets across the city right now, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

These designs aren’t ready to go straight into construction first—the designers have to work with JCDeaux, which installs the city’s toilets, to adapt them “to the realities of construction and maintenance,” as the Chronicle puts it. Then, those plans will have to be submitted to the city’s arts commission and historic preservation commission before they can be installed.

[h/t Co.Design]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios