Saturday, 29 May 2010

Long and short of it

As many of you may know, I'm fairly obsessed with discovering new ideas for the creative reuse of surfboards. I was browsing Ebay for a VW Campervan, and found this four-wheeled wonder which contains part of an old longboard reborn as a table.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Essential oil

As I become more obsessed by the concept that metal containers can make great seating, I have no choice but to share my findings with you. Atelier Abigail Ahern offers the Drum Chair, made from hammered oil drums. They come in blue or red and cost £365, and it's not wrong to want one.

Reestore meanwhile has all kinds of objects suitable for resting your behind upon. Like a chair made from a shopping trolley, a settee crafted from a car bumper and a loveseat devised from a clawfoot tub. Their oil drum chair goes by the name of Ray, and when you lift up Ray's seat he returns the favour by offering you a hidden storage compartment.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Slippery business

Not long ago we read about the upcycling endeavours of Rafinesse & Tristesse, who make big olive tins into seating and toys. On my visit to Denmark last weekend, every corner held a giant olive tin or two doing double-duty as planters. We don't seem to have such aesthetic containers for our industrial fats in this country. It's just not fair!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Drink up!

The Hotel Ville d'Hiver in the Gironde region of France has many eco credentials, but it's coolest claim to fame might be that it is itself a grand exercise in upcycling.

Its central building is a water plant that opened in 1884 and operated for a century until 1984, when it became the property of Arcachon town council in return for a symbolic fee of one franc.

Though it was ravaged by fire in 1990 and spent several years in a derelict state, it rose up from the ashes last year to be reborn as a luxurious, inventive and atmospheric hotel.

Its former life as a water facility is best viewed from the side of the pool - which was in fact sliced out of the original underground reservoir. Many of its features - including the funnel-shaped Victorian water pipes and smoothly curving ceilings - are in evidence. As you languish here in fluid serenity, these are reminders of its hardworking liquid past.

(Thanks to super shooter Vaughan for the photos, which he took while I was busy snooping around the grounds...)

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Post script

PS - I Made This is a whole new wonderful world where coffee stirrers can be reimagined as necklaces. There are heaps of projects - most leaning toward the fashion end o' the eco invention spectrum - and a weekly newsletter, so get yourself involved. In the meantime, take a gander at the chandelier made from plastic water bottles shown here.

The mastermind behind PS-IMT is Erica Domesek, a writer in New York City. According to the website, her "creative motto 'I see it, I like it, I make it' reflects the belief that one can find inspiration anywhere and transform what one sees into something fabulous to wear, use or look at." To that, we say hooray.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Beach rubbish bingo

Check this out, and maybe check in...

Opened less than a year ago, The Scarlet is a gorgeous hotel not far from Newquay. In spite of its name, it's ultra green. This is reflected in the eco activities on offer - from tree climbing classes to sustainability courses to upcycling workshops. For the latter, read all about it here:

Recycled beach finds workshops with Sarah Drew: Sarah Drew is holding a series of jewellery workshops at The Scarlet. Guests are invited to spend a relaxing day making jewellery from salvaged materials collected from the beach below the hotel.

As well as creating some contemporary jewellery, you can also enjoy a two-course lunch, which is included in the price.

Dates: 8th May, 17th July, 18th September, 16th October and 13th November 2010

Location: The Lower Dining Room

Time:10am - 4pm

Price: £52

Booking is essential. Please contact reservations for more details on 01637 861800.

For more information go to

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Not Ralph Lauren

Once upon a time polo required a string of ponies, a handful of grooms and a whole shed-load of cash. In fact, a castle-load of cash would be preferable. Today, polo requires a fixed-gear two-wheeled vehicle, some scraps, some skills and the ice-cold nerves of a bike courier. There's a playground near where I live where men and women battle it out frequently. I inherited a polo mallet from my grandfather who used it when he was at agricultural college and everyone had to do some kind of junior cavalry business to get their degree. The riders I observed in Elephant & Castle weren't playing with wooden World War I era equipment though. After a bit of reading, it seems today's mallets are made by upcycling ski poles or golf clubs. Find DIY instructions at Hard Court Bike Polo and get swinging.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Canny idea

Basically I've tidied up our balcony, but I still have some issues. Such as: where do I stick a bag of potting soil that I am not particularly fond of staring at? What I would really like is to get an empty container, store the soil inside of it and sit upon it. I'm thinking a gigantimous industrial yoghurt pot would do nicely, or something from a building site that possibly previously contained a vast amount of primer or what-have-you.

I did come across these natty stools over at They're from the good people at Rafinesse & Tristesse, and I think they are really quite clever. Perhaps even more clever though are the kiddie sink and stove made from upcycled olive oil tins. Will they accommodate my potting soil as well, I wonder?