Green & Eco-Friendly

The World’s First Shipping Container Bridge

Shipping containers. Is there anything they can’t do for the environmentally-conscious architect?

Shipping containers can be stacked and arranged into all manner of cool buildings. They’ve been fashioned into a shipping container amphitheater. They’ve been melded into a shipping container office park. Outside of Seattle, you can even order an extra-hot half-caf double-tall non-fat extra-dry cappuccino from a shipping container Starbucks.

The problem is: all the world’s shipping container buildings aren’t near enough to make use of the estimated 800,000 containers that are abandon by shipping companies every year. Which is why Spot Cool Stuff was thrilled to learn about the ECOntainer, the world’s first bridge to be constructed out of used shipping containers.

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3 Creative Materials for Making Your Own Chairs

Looking to construct a home chair using reclaimed materials? Three things you’ll need:

1) The proper equipment. If you don’t have that already you can hire tools here.

2) A sufficient quality of whatever material you are working in.

3) Inspiration.

To help out with the third item on that list, we’ve found three examples of chairs made from upcycled materials: skis, jeans and traffic signs.

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Converting Billboards Into Gardens

Spot Cool Stuff scours the world, virtually and in-person, looking for places, products and concepts with a WOW! factor. We do that professionally. We do that constantly. And we’re still surprised how often we come across ideas that are incredibly cool yet seem incredibly simple. Like this one: Taking billboards and converting them into bamboo gardens.

The project is called Urban Air and it is the work artist Stephen Glassman.

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Hipcycle’s Best Selling Upcycled Products

Time was that products and materials were either recycled or not. These days, “upcycled” products are becoming increasingly popular. The difference between “upcycling” and “recycling” being that the former involves reusing a material without degrading its quality or composition. So, used beer bottles being turned into jeans or asphalt or new beer bottles are examples of recycling (because the old beer bottles are melted down into cullet before being reused). But used beer bottles being turned into, say, a Thai temple is an example of upcycling.

In the increasingly diverse (and, some would say, nutty) language around eco-friendly concepts, other terms for reusing material emerged. One can not only recycle or upcycle but also downcycle, freecycle, precycle and e-cycle. But there’s only one other -cycle we’re concerned with for this post: Hipcycle.

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Cool Art Made From Used Toys

Art made from used toys needn’t be visual. Conceptual music group Beatrix*JAR uses old Speak & Spells to create their sound.

The world is awash in broken and discarded toys. But not all of them need end up in landfills. Several designers have found ways to upcycle old toys into cool works of art. Four of our favorites:

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Fern and Moss Wall Art

The fern and moss don't need to be watered. But keeping this artwork out of a house cat's paw reach is highly suggested.

It’s common practice for people to decorate the walls of their homes with pieces of art. And it’s common for people to decorate the interior of their homes with plants. But doing both of those with the exact same item—now that’s unusual.

And that’s exactly what you can do with Fern and Moss Wall Art.

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Fingerprint Rings

Here’s a creative idea that’s part artsy, part CSI and all cool: fingerprint rings. That is, a ring with a fingerprint implanted into the metal.

Each person’s fingerprint is unique. So incorporating the fingerprint of your special someone on an engagement ring or wedding band is a way of making the jewelry equally as unique. (Insert a pun about fingerprint rings possessing a “personal touch” here.)

For such an unusual sounding idea, a surprising number of jewelers offer fingerprint rings. Here’s a rundown of our four favorites:

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The Building of 65 Shipping Containers

What can you make with 65 old, used shipping containers? How about a huge building with an amphitheater, offices and a sustainable development educational center.

Spot Cool Stuff has previously reported on creative shipping container architecture. We’ve had dinner with a prominent shipping container architect who designed Rhode Island’s Box Office. Yet the scope of using 65 shipping containers for such a multi-use structure surprised even us.

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