When used bicycle parts get a second life as something beautiful, the term ‘upcycling’ couldn’t be more apt. Although an advocate of all things eco, I am one of the few Londoners that doesn’t do cycling – in fact, you couldn’t pay me to get on a Boris Bike. But I can appreciate the imagination required to turn something as clunky as a bicycle chain, seat or inner tube into something aesthetically elegant. Read on for some of the best examples of bicycle part repurposing.
Hunting trophy hangers
Austrian designer Andreas Scheiger created a series of hangers called ‘Upcycle Fetish’ inspired by Picasso’s ‘Bull’s Head’ sculpture from 1942. Reclaimed bike parts are mounted on to a wooden plaque – a play on the taxidermy hunting trophy and can used to hang a plethora of items, including an actual bicycle.
Bicycle chain chandelier
The ‘Connect’ series of chandeliers is made of recycled bicycle chains by LA-based Carolina Fontoura Alzaga. The multidisciplinary artist often explores socio-political themes in her work and says, “The traditional chandelier is seen as a bourgeois commodity, a cachet of affluence, excess and power. The recycled bicycle parts become a representation of the dismissed, invisible and powerless, but are also an affirmation of self-propelled movement.”
Carolina also sells some of her chandelier designs via Etsy*
Bicycle wheel clock
A brilliant gift idea for cycling and upcycling fanatics alike. This clock* was created from a recycled, Carbon Fibre HED bike wheel and tyre. Check out more upcycled clocks from Etsy seller Pixelthis here*
Bicycle chain sculpture
Young-Deok Seo‘s awe-inspiring sculptures are made from welded metal chains, including roller chains. The human form and emotions are captured at varying scales and are so life like, it’s hard to believe they are made from a material so closely associated with the mechanical.
The artist says,
“We are interlocked and running like parts of a giant machine. Just as components are, we hang in there day after day as a grey man living in the periphery. And we are not allowed to be a protagonist of even our own life. The chains in my work means fetters. The fetters are all about our contemporaries’ complicated, forced relationships and cravings for materials. I want to show, through my works, the portraits of our time where personal thoughts and lives are ignored. We are shutting our eyes, ears, and mouth and suppressing our feelings. We are doing this because we think there is no place where we can express our feelings and take comfort. Just lump it and endure it… I hope my works can console us a little.”
In 2013, under a gloomy Texas underpass, Ballroom Luminoso was installed by artists Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock. The work comprised six chandeliers made from structural steel, custom LEDs and recycled bicycle parts. By night, the underpass was cast in a beautiful play of circular shadows which incorporates the iconography of La Loteria, a Latin American board game, drawing on the Hispanic heritage of the community.
Bicycle feature wall
Here, bikes mounted onto the exterior of a bicycle shop is an effective alternative to shop signage. The shop in Altlandsberg, Germany started their collection with 40 bikes that were brought in as trade-ins and it has since increased to about 120. That scene from E.T brought to mind?
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