Thursday, April 29, 2010

Salvo Fair in Period Living magazine

Period Living's June issue includes a three page round up of last year's Salvo Fair by Caroline Wheater, with comments from Peter Watson of Cox's Yard and Angela Rose, who sells vintage lace, quilts and blankets. This year's fair is on Friday 25 June to Sunday 27 June.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Concept demolition robots

This conceptual Cynomy remote controlled demolition robot is not available yet but could be soon. We are looking forward to seeing the Dismantling Cyborg some day. Electric motors run its wheels, with the ability to move in opposite directions for easy maneuvering in tight spaces.

Treehunter Magazine

Kamelot salvage auction results

Philadelphia, USA
Kamelot Auctions in the US held their annual architectural salvage auction last Saturday (24 April 2010) consisting of 757 lots.

Lot 10: A lifesize marble garden statue of a young woman watering flowers circa 1860 estimated at $ 6,000/$ 8,000, sold for $ 8,750.

Lot 145: A pair of antique Continental Neoclassical cast lead garden urns with rams heads and vitruvian scroll circa 1850, raised on socle and stepped base. The high bidder must take both, therefore the final purchase price will be two times the hammer price. Estimated at $ 2,000/$ 3,000, sold for $ 5,750 each.

Lot 263: A very fine antique bronze clad cast iron garden urn attributed to Colebrookdale circa 1870. With winged dragon form handles and an ornate fluted top over an acanthus leaf garland. Estimated at $ 3,000/$ 5,000 and sold for $ 5,750.00.

Kamelot Auctions

RIBA believe press are to blame over low pay row

Although no formal complaint has been made by the institute over BD’s coverage of the issue in recent weeks, letters from two senior staff have emerged claiming the paper’s coverage was “misrepresentative” and “skewed the facts”.

It comes as a Facebook group set up three weeks ago to highlight the issue reached 1,000 members this week. Keith Tomlinson, the architect who resigned his membership in protest and set up the Facebook page, revealed he had received letters from Janine Chasmer, the RIBA’s head of membership services, and executive director Richard Brindley blaming BD’s coverage for the row.

He said, "The idea that the storm was cooked up by the paper was laughable and patronising. If they think that this furore has been entirely manufactured by BD then they are living on a different planet from me. That’s very far from the truth." He argued that BD's story was 'just the straw that broke the camels back' following reports weeks ago that London practice Parritt Leng were advertising jobs below the minimum wage.


Spring greening contest!

Inhabitat are calling all designers, crafters and creative-types who create things out of old junk. Would you like to get your products seen by millions of Inhabitat readers , including the most influential people in the design world? Inhabitat are challenging you to pick an obsolete object that’s been collecting dust and morph it into something shiny, new and useful using your ingenuity and imagination.

The finalists of our Spring Greening Competition will have the opportunity to get their work displayed front and center of the Inhabitat site, plus some other prizes.

Inhabitat competition

Habitat for Humanity Silent Auction

Stuart Florida, USA
Habitat for Humanity are hosting a silent auction of rare finds and architectural salvage items form the residence of singer and actress Frances Langford. Items are on display and available for bidding at the Habitat for Humanity of Martin County ReStore, 255 S.E. Bonita Street in Stuart which is open to the public Tuesday through to Friday 9am to 4pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm. Bidding begins April 16 and ends may 5.

All proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity's mission to eliminate substandard housing in Martin County.

Habitat for Humanity

Manchester Confidential browses at InSitu

Hulme Manchester, UK
Reporter Melanie Mingas of Manchester Confidential has a browse around InSitu. 'InSitu has been trading in the South Manchester and Trafford area for over 25 years. Run by Salvo Code dealer Laurence Green, it's an “architectural salvage” enterprise, aiming to pair customers with the period, unique and antique items their restoration project or simple home furnishing idea requires. “It's a bit of a schizophrenic business of sorts. People come here looking for certain things from the past but then other people are looking to re-imagine the future," said Lawrence.

Recently it's undergone a bit of a transformation and is now part of an antique cooperative of sorts, based in an old warehouse on Chester Road. Laurence said, "InSitu is part department store, part gallery and part market.” In total, four business trade from the premises: Planet Vintage Girl- interior design with an environmental conscience where post war influences are applied to practical objects. Silverleaf- antique mirrors and lighting. FE26 – sculpture and design from scrap materials.
Kyran Hall- stained glass creation and restoration.

Manchester Confidential

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chandelier from recycled bottles

South Africa
South African designer Heath Nash unveiled a colorful, eclectic chandelier made almost entirely from recycled PET bottles at this year’s Milan Design Week. Dubbed Bottleformball, it is crafted from multicolored pieces of salvaged bottles attached to a hand-made wire structure. The artfully arranged bottle pieces look almost like colored ceramics when illuminated from within.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Zero carbon house

Birmingham, UK
Architect John Christophers has completed a project to make his early Victorian two-bedroom semi-detached house more energy efficient as well as extending it to more than double its size. Retrofitting existing housing stock is becoming an increasingly important way of helping the UK meet its carbon emission targets. The development features more than 14 reclaimed materials such as treads made from reclaimed 200-year-old Canadian honeydew maple, once a floor to a silk factory. 100% recycled waste newspaper Warmcell 500 insulation has been used to line the inside of the existing front elevation of the house. Other sustainable aspects include: 36sq m of photovoltaics to generate electricity; the presence of vacuum tube solar panels to provide about 70% of the hot water used; a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system; a wood burning stove; and a rainwater harvesting tank.

The Building Research Establishment has awarded the house level 6 or zero carbon of the Code for Sustainable Homes. “The code rating is based on the whole house without differentiating between the new and the old,” explains Mr Christophers, “The old house has reached the same very demanding standard as the new.”

Since its construction, Christophers and his family have held nine open days aimed at raising awareness and an understanding of sustainability and “to evangelise and inspire enthusiasm”, he says.

Above: Treads made from reclaimed timber.


bd online

Sworders Spring Country House Sale

Essex, UK
Sworders Spring Country House sale will take place on Tuesday 27 April at 10am, viewing is from Friday 23 April until the morning of the sale. A fully illustrated catalogue is available at

Above: A Victorian Coalbrookdale cast iron garden bench, with fern leaf back, 51cm wide. Estimate d at £700 to £900.

Above: A mediaeval stone bracket, in the form of a mythical dog, 57cm long, estimated at £1000 to £1500.

Above: A Johnson's improved perambulator, with original fittings and coachwork, labelled to the rear. Estimated at £400 to £600.

Above: A 19th Century Barouche by Wyburn & Co. A quality London builder, coaches and carriages were manufactured in the name of T Wyburn up to 1870 and subsequently Wyburn & Co, Long Acre after that date. Royalty were not unfamiliar with the coachbuilder. King Edward VII rode in a state coach by Wyburn & Co. which survives in the coach house at Powis Castle. The top of a barouche is really what sets it apart from other carriages, since it is collapsible, making the barouche into a hooded carriage that can be used in a variety of weathers and the seats face each other. This fine original example is reputed to have belonged to Louisa Ruth Lowe (d.1939) of Gosfield Hall and appears to bear the coat of arms of the Duke of Buckingham who owned the hall from 1784. Subsequent owners of the hall appear to have adopted the crest in matters relating to the hall and its contents. Within living memory, Mrs. Lowe loaned this coach for the weddings of brides who were married in the church at Gosfield and the splendid scene can be imagined. Sale at Gosfield Hall 1950. Sold to Marks Tey. Stood behind a garage for some months. The vendor's father saw it from his cattle lorry and bought it for £25. Length Width 5' 6" Height 7' 4" Wheel 4' 3" BUYER'S PREMIUM CHARGED AT 15% + VAT ON THIS LOT. Estimated at £15000 to £25000.

Above: An Ordinary Bicycle Colloquially known as a 'Penny-farthing', This is an 'Ariel' model, by Haynes and Jeffries of Coventry. 4' front wheel. Central bar tightening of spokes. Rare - only 10 in the country BUYER'S PREMIUM CHARGED AT 15% + VAT ON THIS LOT. Estimated at £1200 to £1800.


£5,000 bottles saved from the bin!

Andover, Hampshire UK
A set of wine bottles dating back over 200 years, have sold at auction for nearly £5,000. Veronica Smith discovered the 11 bottles on top of a wardrobe when she was clearing her relatives bungalow after his death. Mrs Smith had assumed they were worth nothing and put them on a windowsill ready for recycling. Luckily an auctioneer who had come to carry out a probate valuation of Mr Cowlard's possessions realised they were valuable.

They were split into two lots and sold last week by auctioneers Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury, Wiltshire, for £3,000 and £1,600. Clare Durham, of Woolley and Wallis, said, "One of the bottles is dated 1788 and the others are from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The bottle market is strong at the moment and there is always interest in sealed bottles with monograms or initials on them. Many of the bottles were Cornish, which is also popular."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Secret Garden Spring Sale

Wisbech, Cambs, UK
- The Secret Garden is having its first sale of the year on Saturday 24th April 7.30am to 3.30pm and Sunday 25th of April 10.00am to 3.30pm. Antique, vintage and unusual garden ornaments, architectural salvage and garden features. Well worth a visit, lots to see. We are located next to Asda and FT Nixon Ltd, North End, Wisbech, Cambs. PE13 1TH.

All items are priced and are available on a first come, first served basis. Please quote salvo to obtain a discount.

Tel: 0794 769 8989 for details

Spring is in the air at Diss

Diss, UK - Super sale, great atmosphere, sunny skies. New faces, some friends missing due to natures way of lowering carbon foot print – including stuck in Las Vegas. York stone, need I say more, £128 per sq yd (incl. premium) for 50 yds and that wasn’t the top price. Reconstituted stone figures and urns going well. Top wheel barrow £710 (incl. premium), galvanised tanks galvanised trade. Stone troughs back in vogue. Floor bricks £2+. Fireplaces and surrounds subdued. Terracotta pots, garden furniture and conservatory items really hot.

Bioregional's Jonathan Essex standing for Green MP in Reigate

JONATHAN Essex, who has campaigned tirelessly for the government to encourage greater reuse of reclaimed, is to stand as MP for Reigate for the Green Party.

His daytime job is reclaimed building materials manager for BioRegional Reclaimed in Surrey, but he has also been a staunch member of the Greens for a while, helping them with policy especially on reuse. In 2008 he called for Surrey district councils to act on climate change and commit to the 10:10 initiative. In 2009 he supported a campaigns to revitalise town centres and reduce new out of town superstores, to tax plastic carrier bags at 10p, to reduce speed limits to 20mph outside schools and in residential areas, and to stop a third runway at Gatwick airport. On the airport he is quoted as saying, "A government report argues that aviation is important to the UK economy but that Gatwick will always be a low-cost carrier-dominated leisure airport. How can exporting our tourism overseas be good for the economy? Research by Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign shows that airport expansion actually destroys at least four times as many UK jobs through exporting tourism than are created."

Jonathan has campaigned for increased recognition of the value of the salvage sector in terms of the economy, jobs and embodied carbon. It is tragic that in the last ten years around a quarter of a million less tonnes of timber have been reclaimed and reused in the UK, losing irreplaceable products like rosewood mahogany and elm floorboards. The amount of energy generated when these are burnt in 'energy from waste' plants is far less than the embodied carbon wasted by failing to reuse.

The Green Party is calling for zero waste without incineration. This requires a shift from investment in downcycling to value-added reuse, creating around 60,000 jobs in reuse, recycling and remanufacturing in the UK.

Jonathan was beaten by 20 votes when he stove as Green candidate in local elections in 2008 in Redhill East, and was beaten by 170 votes in 2009 in the county elections. He has also stood as a candidate in European elections in 2009.

Origines sale makes €3m but not without controversy

Sotheby's 600 lot sale of the stock of Samuel Roger's Origines on 31 March and 1 April totalled a creditable €3m but not without controversy over three of the lots which attracted some sniping by the French press who are still smarting over the disarray of their own auction houses (some of which were arrested in a scandal last year) and the takeover by Sotheby's and Christie's. Le Journal Des Arts, Le Monde and Liberation all carried stories about the sale, saying that one figure of a bather by Buxan was withdrawn after the sculptor's relatives denounced it as fake, the top lot of an Austrian chimneypiece estimated at €400,000 (allegedly bought for €10,000) was withdrawn after an Austrian newspaper said it was made for Vienna City Hall and should not have been exported, and a statue by Emilio Zocchi of the young Michelangelo was apparently said by some to be a Chinese copy.

5 important ancient bricks discovered in China

Shaanxi Province, China - Bricks discovered by an archeologist in China have proved that the Chinese were making bricks more between 1,000 and 2,000 years earlier than previously thought.

2,300 square metres of ground were excavated before a new highway was to be built. The five bricks were discovered in an ash-pit, and are believed to be 5,000 - 7,000 years old. The oldest bricks are from the Middle East and date back 10,000 years.

A taste of the orient in garden statuary sale

Above: Part of rare collection of Japanese garden ornament on offer at Summers Place forthcoming auction

Above: An 1877 John Adams-Acton marble statue est: £50k - £80k

Above: Sale also includes a ‘Duck House’ so you can live like an M.P

Tues 26 May 2010, Billinghurst, Sussex - A rare collection of antique Japanese garden ornament will be offered for sale in the auction of Garden Statuary and Fossil Decoration at Summers Place Auctions (in association with Sotheby’s), which will take place in the landscaped grounds and walled garden of Summers Place, Billingshurst, West Sussex on Tuesday, May 25, 2010. This will be complemented by a ‘sealed bid’ auction that finishes on Friday, May 28.

Japanese Gardens became popular in England at the end of the 19th century. The opening of the Japanese ports in 1854 gave rich, curious and intrepid Europeans and Americans the chance to travel. They returned home with stories, photographs and souvenirs of art styles and culture that was startlingly different from what they had seen before. The Universal Exhibition in London in 1862 followed by the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867 saw an explosion of interest in all things Japanese.

Among a selection of granite lanterns which are always popular, are two large Meiji period (1868-1912) examples, over ten foot tall which are being offered for £3,000-5,000 each, together with a selection of bronze cranes estimated from £500 upwards.

The sale comprises nearly 600 lots and is the largest ever staged by Summers Place Auctions. James Rylands, one of the experts in charge said. “We are lucky to be able to offer a really good selection of statuary. From 17th century classical Dutch gritstone figures to over 60 lots of contemporary sculpture, there really is something in this sale for everyone!”

For buyers interested in ambitious architectural schemes, the sale also boasts a large selection of 18th and 19th century stone columns and architectural fittings together with a marble balustrade which originally stood at Easton Neston, Northamptonshire. The formal gardens were originally laid out in the late 17th century when the house was built by Nicholas Hawksmoor with some collaboration from Sir Christopher Wren. The gardens were restored that the end of the 19th Century by Sir Thomas Fermor Hesketh, when it is likely that the balustrade was installed. It is estimated at £6,000-10,000.

Also on a grand scale is a massive Portland stone seat removed from Park Place, Henley-on-Thames, which was the most expensive house outside London when it was sold for £42 million in 2007. It carries an estimate of £5,000-8,000.

For those who were fascinated by the recent M.P’s expenses scandal; the sale will include a painted wood and lead duck house - identical to the one bought by the Tory M.P. Sir Peter Viggers for his constituency home in Hampshire in 2006. It subsequently achieved a degree of notoriety when it was discovered that the M.P. had tried to claim the purchase cost as part of his parliamentary expenses. Sir Peter's garden purchase has been endorsed by television property guru Kirstie Allsopp in a message on Twitter. In response to the revelations in the Daily Telegraph she wrote: "Wow...floating duck islands are a winner, they protect ducks from foxes, does this mean we can all have one now?" The floating duck house is based on an 18th century building reconstructed at Skansen, in Stockholm and is estimated at £1,800-2,500.

Elsewhere in the sale, two interesting sculptures will be offered. An important carved white marble group of Miss Holden and a deer by John Adams-Acton, dating from 1877 and exhibited at that year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is estimated at £50,000-80,000, while a late 18th/early 19th century carved white marble figure of Asclepius - the Roman God of healing, is estimated at £8,000-12,000.

An unusually large terracotta bowl on stand designed by Archibald Knox for the famous Regent Street retailer Liberty & Co will also be offered. Dating from the early 20th century, it was made by the Potters Art Guild (Compton Pottery), based just outside Guildford (Est: £2,500-4,000).

The items can be viewed in the Walled Garden, Stane Street, Billingshurst, West Sussex, RH14 9AB


Live Auction

Friday, May 21 through to Monday, May 24: 10am – 4pm (plus the morning of the sale)

Sealed Bid Auction

Friday, May 21 – Tuesday, May 25: 10am-4pm

NEXT SALE: Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For further information on the auction,

Please visit or Call 01403 331331

Election letter from eSalvo reader

A reader has asked each of their prospective parliamentary candidates to reply to this email:

In considering my vote in the forthcoming election I would be grateful if you could tell me your views on encouraging the reuse of building materials. there has been much emphasis on recycling but reuse would help to reduce global warming and reduce the amounts sent to landfill. For example reusing old bricks saves both the direct cost of making a new one and the energy needed to make it. So I feel reuse should be a policy priority of any future government. Yet every year we continue to just throw away huge amounts of building materials - just look in any skip!

Looking forward to hearing your comments

We will keep you posted with their replies.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Miniature architectural surfaces

Berlin, Germany

EVOL is a berlin based street artist that transforms banal urban surfaces, into miniature architectural surfaces through pasting. using pasted paper, EVOL transforms electric boxes, small planters and other geometric city forms, into miniature apartment buildings and other structures. each piece of paper is printed with a repetitive pattern of flat gray walls dotted with plain window frames. once applied to a surface, the paper transforms the form into small building that EVOL often adorns with small characters. EVOL performs this process within different cities and has even been commissioned to do installations in galleries, where he was created entire blocks of miniature buildings.


'Missing' Moses statue is found

Burnley, UK
Onlookers had questioned the disappearance of a 10-foot tall statue of Moses, which stood outside a former Burnley Baptist chapel. The site is currently under construction to be turned into a dental super-center. Lancashire Telegraph managed to track down the 'missing' statue of Moses to Ribble Reclamation.

The question of its disappearance was Unbeknown to anyone at Ribble Reclamation who received a call from the developers of the Baptist chapel site asking if they wanted to have a look at it. Under planning conditions, the health trust was not required to keep the statue in situ. Ribble Reclamation are now offering the Moses statue for sale.

Ribble Reclamation

A-Z to election 2010 for architects

Building Design (bd) discuss an A-Z of the forthcoming elections in relation to architects and how each candidate would effect architectural practices. 'Which party opposes Heathrow’s third runway and which would scrap Arb?,' follow the link below to find the answers to these questions and get help in distinguishing policies for the build environment.

bd The Architects Website

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kelvingrove Museum to kitchen worktops

Falkirk, Scotland UK
Hargreaves, based in Central Scotland, are reclaiming specialists. Since January 2009 they have expanded the business to include bespoke (reuse) kitchens, worktops and furniture made from reclaimed timber and flooring.

Proprietor Neale Hargreaves' discusses one reuse project - "We removed the solid Teak flooring from Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow, installed 115 years ago, during its refurb 5 years ago. I'd kept the flooring and intended to use it as decking, it couldn't go back down as a floor as 90% of the tongue and groove was damaged, I was too busy and never got round to it.

A client from Edinburgh came to our showroom in Airth, after he'd noted we built kitchens from reclaimed materials on our website Once we had discussed the kind of thing he and his wife were looking for, namely Teak, I reluctantly suggested we could use the Teak flooring from the museum to make the kitchen. In the end we used reclaimed Douglas Fir flooring for the carcase and the reclaimed Teak for the doors and worktops, splashback and kickboards. The kitchen was successfully installed after only 3 weeks from date of order at Inverleith Row in Edinburgh. The client told me it was "exactly as they had envisaged it" and although I was sad not to have used the Teak myself, I was delighted they were so happy with the end result and to see the flooring being re-used: from Burma, to Glasgow, to Edinburgh, its life so far!!"

Above: The flooring as lifted from Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow.

Above: The kitchen in the process of being made.

Above: The finished product


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Passionate about antiques/salvage, want to be on TV?

We recently received an email from Ife Okwudili the Co Executive Producer at Cineflix Productions (see below), if you are interested in participating please respond directly to Ife Okwudili, whose details are given below;

My name is Ife, and I work for a TV production company called Cineflix Productions. We make a huge range of shows for major networks across the world. You can see more about our company and shows by visiting www.cineflixproductions.com_shows

Why am I emailing you?
One of our most recent successes has been American Pickers for the History Channel. Because of that, we've been asked to look further into the world of antiques, estate clearance and architectural salvage etc here in the UK. If you want to have a peek at that show, you can do so here:

What do we want?
I am looking to find people spend their lives immersed in the world of antiques and collectibles. Maybe you have a shop; perhaps you're a runner for lots of different traders; ideally you'll have more than one string to your bow, perhaps you'll do valuations, architectural salvage or estate sales as well. We are interested in people who come across and trade in a wide range of items rather than solely specialist markets. We're looking for interesting and outgoing characters, who are passionate about the subject and can communicate that to others. Ideally you'll work with a colleague or a spouse - or have a regular cast of characters you interact with as part of your business.

What do you need to do next?
Just drop me an email to with a few lines about yourself. It would also be great if you could send a photo or any video footage you may have (just a short clip - no more than 2 mins). NB attaching these files can cause the email to fail - so if you're able, the best thing to do is upload it to a Facebook page or free You Tube account and send me a link.

Alternatively, you can call 07947 042626 / 0207 193 8669 and we can have a quick chat.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reclaimed wood is this years trend, says Linda Barker

In an interview featured in the May edition of Period House magazine, interior designer Linda Barker was asked what the new trend were for the coming season. She replied, "I've seen lots and lots of reclaimed wood, it looks set to be a big trend. Think reclaimed timber finishes on tables and cupboards and wood that has printing on it still and is half sanded. It's a very strong and beautiful look and goes wonderfully with the other key trend, the eclectic look and in the last year it has evolved to look not so polished."

Blaze destroys 50 per cent of a Cradley Heath Business

Cradley Heath, West Midlands UK
A severe blaze has caused tens of thousands of pounds of damage and destroyed 50 per cent of a wood-working operation at Oldfields Reclamations Ltd. The blaze was believed to have been started deliberately by vandals who broke into the premises and torched he building at around 11.30pm on Monday 5 April. Joint owners Brian Smith and Keith Shaw said the fire-revaged building would have to be demolished and two wood working machines that were destroyed alone came to £50,000.

Mr Smith said, "The single storey building and its contents, including antique fireplaces, were not insured and the fire signalled the death-knell for the wood-working side of their enterprise."

Halesowen News

Monday, April 12, 2010

Win-Win for kitchen removal program

San Francisco, USA
TRP Kitchen Deconstruction and Removal Program has been launched in San Francisco and will soon go throughout all TRP regions. The scheme is targeting kitchen designers and remodelers and homeowners. For the same cost as traditional smash-and-discard demolition, TRP will remove kitchen cabinets and appliances, leave the project in broom-clean condition and provide a tax-deductible receipt for the donated reusable items.

The ReUse People

USGBC 2010 Federal Summit puts its greenest foot forward

Washington DC, USA
From May 18-19, Washington will be hosting the USGBC Federal Summit which boasts the theme, "Leadership in Sustainability from Coast to Coast." The Federal Summit provides the USGBC, government officials, industry leaders and non-profit community experts the opportunity to learn from one another, discuss policies, and network.

Keynote government speakers will include Director of U.S. General Services Administration Office of Federal High Performance Green Buildings Kevin Kampschroer, U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program Manager Richard Kidd, Urban Land Institute Senior Research Fellow Tom Murphy, U.S. General Services Administration Commissioner of Public Buildings Bob Peck, Office of Management and Budget Deputy Associate Administrator for Procurement and Senior Budget Analyst Cynthia Vallina.

Among the many educational sessions to attend is 'Building Material Reuse, the Purest Form of Recycling - Successful Models and Future Tools.' The focus of this session shall be, "how practitioners and clients have addressed challenges and opportunities around reuse, including how they dealt with government infrastructure to accomplish their goals."

If you wish to attend the USGBC Federal Summit, early-bird discount rates will be available until May 4th for both government and non-government workers, visit the link below. . .

USGBC 2010 Federal Summit

Armadiature by Robi Renzi

Milan, Italy
Designer Robi Renzi of RenziVivian will present a series of cabinets assembled from a patchwork of salvaged wooden components in Milan later this month. Called Armadiature, the pieces will be presented as part of an exhibition called Let It Shine at new exhibition space Skillart. Skillart is a new exhibition space located in Milan and dedicated to the universe of design and applied arts.

design magazine

Rosslyn Chapel an ancient haven for bees

Roslin, Midlothian Scotland

Builders renovating the 600-year-old Rosslyn Chapel, which was made famous in The Da Vinci Code, the Holy Grail and the Knights Templar, has thrown up another unfathomable puzzle: what lies behind the secret of the bees?

The discovery was made when two pinnacles, which had been made unstable by nesting jackdaws, had to be taken down stone by stone and rebuilt. At this time builders discovered two beehives carved within the stonework of the roof, these are thought to be the first man-made stone hives ever found. Allan Gilmour, from Hunter & Clark stonemasons, the main contractors on the chapel, said: “I’ve never heard of man-made stone beehives. What I have seen is bees creating hives in stone. When we restored the Irvine Town House we found that bees had burrowed into the sandstone and created honeycombs. They had weakened the stone. Maybe at Rosslyn the monks had the same problem in the past and created the hive as a sanctuary.” It is hoped the bees will return once the renovation works are complete.

Several unusual findings have been made during the project, including two skeletons.

BBC News

How not to get reclaimed bricks off a 14 storey building!

A ditty sung by the duo The Corries one of which, Robin Williamson, composed the Scots national anthem - The Flower of Scotland. This song is known as The Sick Note and was written by Irish singer songwriter Pat Cooksey in Coventry in 1969 based on an earlier music hall yarn of the 1920s.

Government scraps plans to increase incinerator ash tax

The government has decided to drop plans to increase the rate of landfill Tax paid on bottom ash from incinerators, as it fears that it would alter the economic model for developing technology. It had been proposing to tax this at the higher rate for active waste, which currently stands at £48 per tonne. This is significant because, for every five tonnes of waste combusted, around one tonne of ash is produced, meaning that substantial volumes of waste would have been subject to a higher levy.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

'Outdoor room' from salvage

Check out Greenopolis for ideas on how to make an inexpensive outdoor room using garden and architectural salvage.

Crackdown on Lobbyists

Chancellor, Alistair Darling, is expected to crack down on the hiring of lobbying firms by quangos which are paid by the taxpayer. Conservatives are putting the pressure on, after attempts to quash their criticism of WRAP, the Government funded Waste Resources Action Programme, by external lobbying firms.

Also in the Daily Mail, chief of WRAP, Liz Goodwin, who was alleged to have been paid more last year than the Prime Minister.

Salvo is not anti-WRAP and has indeed worked as consultants on two WRAP projects in the past 10 years. But WRAP has not exactly endeared itself to the reclaimed building material sector due to its historic encouragement on recycling - which means destroying reclaimable building materials - instead of reusing them.

Everything going up

Oil hit an 18 month high this week, and the oligopoly of three iron ore suppliers pushed through a 90 per cent price rise last week which will see prices of steel increasing by more than 20 percent this year. Scrap iron rose from £100 to £120 per tonne in March. Landfill tax rose to £48 per tonne due to the budget's £8 per tonne annual escalator, with inert sticking at £2.50 per tonne. WRAP's budget is increasing from £81m to £91m as it takes over sole responsibility for delivering Defra's resource efficiency programme absorbing CRWP, BREW, Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse, Envirowise, NISP, and seven Scottish bodies, and promoting energy from waste as a priority. Copper wire cable rose by £100 per tonne to £1,500, and mixed brass rose from £2,700 to £2,800 per tonne.

Traditional timber framers from Europe and Japan

This is a new comprehensive French website in English too with a mass of info about timber frames, beams, converting and fellling wood.

What a corker!

How about a bath mat from from old wine bottle corks?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Leighton House reopens

London UK - THERE is no doubt that Frederick Leighton, or Lord Leighton as he became for just one day before he died, was a great artist with an eye for design and style. His Kensington house, minus the original furniture but with many of Leighton's paintings and drawings, has just reopened after a major clean-up and refurb. Leighton was a friend of the Gothicists, Preraphaelites, Aesthetics and the Arts & Crafts. His own house smacks of Mackintosh's cheerful individualism with a touch of Harold Peto's penchant for architectural salvage. It was supervised by George Aitchison

His life, written in 1900 by Ernest Rhys, puts his style succinctly:

We must remember the condition of things architectural in the sixties to do justice to the independence of employer and architect. It was a time when the Albert Memorial was possible, and when men tried to guide their steps by the light of "The Seven Lamps of Architecture." A sentimental fancy for Gothic based on irrational grounds was all but universal, and it needed courage to avow a preference for the classical. The compromise in favour of quaintness and capricious prettiness which began under the name of the "Queen Anne style," and has contributed so many picturesque and pleasing buildings to our modern London, had not yet budded. Nor would it ever at any time of his life have thoroughly responded to Leighton's taste. So long as he could detect a defect he was dissatisfied, and extreme nicety is not what the Dutch style pretends to. It depends upon a picturesque combination of forms of no great refinement in themselves, but which give a varied skyline and a pretty play of light and shade. It amuses at the first glance, and as it rarely demands a second, it is well suited to turbid atmospheres, which blur outlines, and a chilly climate in which people cannot loiter out of doors. Moreover, the old-world memories it evokes, although in a minor degree than was the case with the Gothic, contribute to its facile popularity. But the classical taste is a love for form and delicate beauty of line as such, quite irrespective of any associations which may accompany them, or lamps, be they seven or seventy times seven. And to build his house in this style was the natural thing for a sculptor and fastidious seeker after the ideal in form.

The most fanciful part of the house is the contemplative turquoise 'Arab Hall' built 1877-81 which is crammed with wall tiles, many Persian antiques bought in Cairo, Syria and Turkey, and the rest mostly supplied new by William de Morgan with the help of Walter Crane. The marble is a mixture of Serpentine from Levanto, Connemara Green, Cork Red and Kilkenny Black.

On the left, down a short passage, is the Arab Hall. It is so unlike anything else in Europe that its reputation has withdrawn all attention from the rest of the house. It certainly is a most sumptuous piece of work. Elsewhere Leighton satisfied his love of chastened form; in this room and its approach he gave full scope to his delight in rich colours. The general scheme is a peacock blue, known technically as Egyptian green, and gold, with plentiful black and white. Here and there tiny spots of red occur, but they are rare. The harmony begins in the staircase hall. The walls, except in the recessed part, where there are genuine oriental tiles, are lined to the level of the first floor with tiles of a fine blue, from the kilns of Mr. De Morgan, and the soffitt of the stairs is coloured buff, with gold spots. In the passage the tone increases in richness. The ceiling is silver and the cornice gold, while the walls, except for a fine panel of oriental tiles over the drawing-room door, are lined with the same tiles as the staircase. Then between two grand columns of red Caserta marble, with gilt capitals modelled by Randolph Caldecott, we pass into the Arab Hall itself, and we come upon the full magnificence of the effect. It is made up of polished marbles of many colours, gilt and sculptured capitals, alabaster, shining tiles, glistening mosaic of gold and colours, brass and copper in the hanging corona, and coloured glass in the little pierced windows, in fact, of every form of enrichment yet devised by Eastern or Western Art. From the floor, which is black and white, the tone rises through blue to lose itself in the gloom of a golden dome, sparsely lit by jewel-like coloured lights.

In the centre a jet of water springs up, to fall back into a basin of black marble. The form of the basin which deepens towards the centre in successive steps, is an adaptation of the pattern of a well-known oriental fountain. All is equally black in this pool, and the border unfortunately is barely distinguishable from the water. After a dinner party at which Sir E. Burne-Jones, Mr. Whistler, Mr. Albert Moore, and many others were present, I recollect how, when we were smoking and drinking coffee in this hall, somebody, excitedly discoursing,stepped unaware right into the fountain. Two large Japanese gold tench, whose somnolent existence was now for the first time made interesting, dashed about looking for an exit, and there was a general noise of splashing and laughter. The dark, apparently fathomless pool was rather a mistake. Mishaps like that just mentioned occurred, I believe, more than once. There had been at first a white marble basin, but it did not give satisfaction, because, being in several pieces, it leaked, whereas the black one is all cut out of one block, at great expense, of course. But the white had the advantage of lightness where light is none too plentiful. In our winter, when days are dark and cold, black pools, with marble columns and floors, tiled walls, and dim domes about them do not fall in with English notions of cosy woollen comfort. The season to do justice to this hall is when summer comes round. When the sun breaks through the lattice work of the musharabiyehs, and the light is thrown up on the storied tiles, and up the polished columns to the glinting mosaic, to die away in the golden cupola, the effect is indeed superb, and to sit on the divan, by the splash of the fountain, and look from the glories within to the green trees without, is to live not in London but in the veritable Arabian nights.

The hall is square. On one side is the entrance. In the centre of each of the other sides is a lofty arched recess. Those to the north and south are windows, shuttered with genuine musharabiyehs bought in Cairo and having deep cushioned divans. The recess to the west has only a small pierced window high up. It has a raised step, and in it used to stand certain bronze reproductions from Pompeii, with pots, vases, etc., now gone. Some of the tiles were bought in Damascus in 1873. The price paid was £200 for the complete tile surface of one room. What would they be worth now? Others, particularly the great inscription spoken of below, were bought later in Cairo, and the rest at odd times. Here and there are single tiles, but most of them are in sets forming fine panels. An interesting one, in the south- east corner, represents hawks clutching their prey, cheetahs and deer, a hunter, etc., and another has herons, fish, tortoises, deer, etc. Set into the woodwork in the western recess are four tiles with female figures. These are either Persian or come from the neighbourhood of Persia, for the Anatolian or Egyptian Mahommedan tolerated no representations of life. The rest repeat in pleasing variety the usual motives of oriental design, viz., vines, cypresses, pinks and vases, doorways (? the entrances of mosques), with hanging lamps, and conventional floral designs. Above the entrance runs the chief treasure, the grand series of tiles bearing the great inscription. It is about sixteen feet long. According to Mr. Harding Smith it may be translated thus:

"In the name of the merciful and long-suffering God. The Merciful hath taught the Koran. He hath created man and taught him speech. He hath set the sun and moon in a certain course. Both the trees and the grass are in subjection to him."
It cannot be said that there is anything very new in that. There rarely is in such inscriptions. There are three others, but so far as they have been deciphered they appear to be incomplete, and in two cases, at any rate, to much the same effect as the big one. Just pious reminders. The real interest of them lies in the decorative effect of the imposing procession of letters across the wall, and the splendour of their colours. For beauty and condition this great inscription is said to be without a rival in any collection in Europe.

Let into the woodwork panelling in the west bay there are two small lustred Persian tiles of the thirteenth century. They have been mutilated as to the faces of the figures by true believers. The rest belong to the sixteenth or early seventeenth centuries, a time when artistic production was stimulated by the commercial wealth brought by the trade of Venice and Genoa with the East through Anatolia, Damascus and Cairo.

Round three sides above the tiles runs a decorative mosaic frieze, by Walter Crane, of an arabesque design on a gold ground. It is a beautiful and fanciful piece of work in itself, and it serves moreover to blend the prevailing colour of the tiles with the gilding of the upper regions. But it does not continue round the fourth side, because over the entrance, above the great inscription, an oriel window of musharabiyeh work looks down into the hall from the first floor of the house.

The pierced windows, or at least eight of them, were brought from Cairo, and when bought had the original glass in them; but in the east the glass is stuck in with white of egg, and as they were, as usual, ill-packed, the glass all came out and was ground to fragments in the jolting of the journey. Only enough could be saved to fill the window in the upper part of the west recess opposite the entrance. The remainder had to be filled with English imitations.

It is a house worth seeing.

Arab Hall