November 19, 2012

Recycled books make for eco-friendly art


This desk at the Delft University of Technology was constructed of old books after a fire devastated the architecture building.

Eco-Artware, a store dedicated to environmentally friendly gifts, has posted a series of photos on its website, Eco-Artware-Notes, of several projects that recycle discarded books. It features a couple installations that are functional or in public spaces, as well as a few art exhibits—but all of them are really creative ways of displaying books that would have otherwise been thrown away.

The first one featured is at Brunswick Bound, an independent bookstore in Australia, near Melbourne. The store has a gallery space that displays works by local artists, and the desk at the checkout counter is built with books from charity shops and old library stock. The books are stacked two sides of the custom-built desk, spines facing in, which on the one hand is too bad, since it might be interesting to see which ones have been used—but on the other hand, it’ll stop curious shoppers from trying to take books that catch their fancy, leading to a Jenga-style catastrophe. The Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has done something similar (featured on the website Inhabitat) in its architecture library in 2010, after a fire tore through the architecture building and destroyed a chunk of the library’s reserve.

In Georgia, the Savannah College of Art and Design has used unwanted and out-of-date law reports to adorn the columns in its Ex Libris Bookstore, built in a reclaimed industrial space. The SCAD columns are also featured on Legal Blog Watch, where you can also see the Tower of Law exhibit at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center. The Tower of Law also puts old law reports to new use, in a series of impressive, spiraling towers that reach the ceiling, which Stephen Colbert visited and, noting the resemblance to DNA, described as “the building blocks of boring.”

On the strictly aesthetic end of the spectrum, Eco-Artware features Dutch artist Job Koelewijn, who built a figure-eight bookcase in 2006, part of a four-section project that won a Heineken Prize for Art. And in 2007, he created a piece called “Sanctuary,” a life-size model of a gas station made entirely of book covers. Check out all the projects in the slideshow below!


Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.