Few objects epitomize the disposable mind-set of modern consumerism than the ubiquitous, crystal-clear BIC pen. Since its creation during the middle of the last century, over 100 billion have been sold -- and discarded -- true testament to previous ideals of early modern consumerism as fast, cheap and expendable. But today's environmental reality necessitates a deep paradigm shift of this antiquated way of thinking. To reflect this, this hybrid mesh installation, made completely out of 10,000 recycled BIC Cristal pens, was recently constructed at International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) symposium in Amsterdam.
Created by Palestinian firm AAU Anastas, in collaboration with Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos from the University of Miami and Yann Santerre, this experimental pavilion uses computational design tools to transform these discarded pens in a variety of ways, forming a suspended, chandelier-like structure.
It's a subversion and re-interpretation of the pen's original design intent, to reflect contemporary design culture's gradual integration of ecological imperatives, the designers say:
Today, the challenge is fundamentally different. Carbon footprint, Life Cycle Assessment and natural resources exploitation are new criteria that often drive the design process. [..] The BIC Cristal pen was obviously not designed to be implemented structurally. However, it has mechanical and aesthetic properties that could change its function. The reflections and diffractions it creates because of its geometry are unique. This project is not about the object itself, but more about the process transforming its initial function. It is about designing with components rather than norms. Thus, we designed the BIC pavilion and truly believe in this way of thinking.
The 24-meter-square (258 square feet) mesh of pens is formed with a network of tetrahedra, coming in three distinct formal portions, which are connected with a series of laser-cut, "butterfly"-shaped and triangular plexiglass modules, to enhance cost-effectiveness, lightweightness and transparency.
Elevating this humble pen into a work of art and skillful engineering, the installation creates something all together unexpected, suggesting that with a bit of creativity, the relics of yesteryear's mass consumption can be transmuted into something new and relevant. More over at ArchDaily and AAU Anastas.