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May-June-2015

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40 PalletCentral • May-June 2015 palletcentral.com ost people think of wooden pallets as simple, functional, uninteresting commodities used to transport everyday goods across the country and around the world. But in the eye of a visionary designer or the hands of a gifted artisan, ordinary used pallets can become magic carpets that transport people from the Earth to the farthest corners of the cosmos. Rome-based architectural firm Beyond Architecture Group (BAG) created a stunning astronomical observatory out of upcycled wooden pallets for the Frammenti Music Festival, an annual cultural event that brings various forms of art and expression together for multiple days of music, theater, cinema, and literature in an Archaeological Park in Tusculum, Italy. The 2014 festival theme of "Space as a Desired Place," invited artists to consider the universe as a friendly, welcoming and desirable place. The BAG project team modeled their entry after the existing, but much larger, real-life Observatory of Tusculum. And with the creative use of recycled pallet materials and an imaginative inner space design concept, the installation offered visitors a unique opportunity to reflect on outer space, to enjoy the night sky and stars, and to consider commonplace pallets in an entirely new and different way. The BAG space observatory, entitled Looking (C) Up, was constructed from 120 wooden pallets, each one of which had been completely dismantled. Every plank of wood and nail from the pallets was reused in the installation. The project team, headed by BAG founder and principal Paolo Robazza, together with collaborating architects Cecilia Tognoni and Gilles Mascaro, stacked the wooden boards in an irregular overlapping fashion creating a circular superstructure. Each piece of wood was slightly curved and nailed to the one next to it. The slats were stacked atop one other forming layers that overlapped in an irregular fashion that adhered to the basic curvilinear footprint. As a result of slight surface irregularities in the stacked wooden slats, the interior of the observatory could be glimpsed through numerous cracks and holes. Bright multi- coloured hammocks suspended at varying intervals and levels within the structure invited visitors into to lie down, gaze upwards and reflect on the heavens above. Upcycling is the act or art of turning ostensibly useless old items into entirely new, different, desirable things that have value beyond the worth of their component materials. With the Looking (C) Up project, architects uncovered hidden potential M Nature's Packaging: Soaring High with Upcycled Wooden Pallets

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