15 November 2009
Posted by Paul Anater at 6:38 AM
A couple of weeks ago, I started reading a new (for me) design blog called Doorknob. Like just about everything new and interesting I find any more, I found @doorknobdesign on Twitter. Doorknob is run out of New York and it's the project of a man named Kurt Kohlstedt. He finds some great things, give him a peruse the next time you're looking for some inspiration.
Anyhow, he was tweeting about a fantastic ceiling he'd found the other day and I followed his link back to the story. I was floored by it. Bah dum bum. Yes, I was floored by it. Here are the photos he ran.
Pretty cool, huh? That ceiling is an installation in the Royal Palace in Brussels and it's the project of an artist named Jan Fabre.
It gets better. Here's a close up shot of the ceiling and you can really see how textured it is.
Even closer. Guess what it's made from.
That ceiling is a mosaic, for lack of a better term, made from the shells of 1.3 million jewel beetles. Jewel beetles are members of the family Buprestidae, and the particular Buprestid here is Sternocera aequisignata from Thailand.
S.aequisignata is a food source in Thailand and Fabre set up a cottage industry in Bangkok to gather enough beetle shells to make his ceiling. Beetle shells that would have been discarded get upcycled here in every sense of the word. Along the way, some people who's lives aren't real fun got to make some money from what would have been their garbage. That's what I call a win win and the result is some downright arresting art.
So what do you think? Did Fabre usher in a new era in the decorative arts? Will we see beetle shell ceilings in the US any time soon? I can't wait to find out. Thanks Doorknob!