Bikes can make your home look wheely cool
Bicycles have become part of hipster culture. Today there are bicycle-themed dining, drinking and shopping establishments. You can find them from Portland, Oregon, to Brooklyn, New York.
The rides themselves are often tricked out with colored tires, swanky seats and vintage baskets. But there are also those who see more to them. Designers and artists are creating furnishings and art. That gives bicycles a whole new way to roll down Cool Street.
Canadian cyclist and metal artisan Gilbert VandenHeuvel turns out all sorts of reworked bicycle art and accessories. He works at his studio in Goderich, Ontario.
The bike parts make for "endless design possibilities," he says. Bikes are "almost begging to be reborn, reshaped into something surprising and beautiful."
His online shop is www.therecycler.ca. It offers wall hooks crafted from gear sprockets and mirrors made from spoked wheels. Clocks are crafted from drive trains and chain rings. And sleek chrome "urban antlers are created with the bike seat as the "skull' and the handlebars as the antlers.
Designer Hilary Nagler of Santa Barbara, California, plays with a similar idea. She makes "bicycle taxidermy." She mounts handlebar "horns" on a basswood plaque. (www.fleamarketrx.com )
In Marquette, Michigan, designer and former bike mechanic Andy Gregg has combined his skills. Now he makes high-style furniture. There's a chair made out of wheels. It has soft rubber tires as arm rests and handlebars as the feet. Seats and backs are padded. They come in black or paint-box-bright yellow, red or blue vinyl. Some versions are outdoor-friendly. They offer great seating for a beachside cottage or city balcony. (www.bikefurniture.com)
Solo Home Design in Chicago has an oversize cotton pillow trimmed in inner-tube fringe. Inner tubes form a great outdoor mat. They are also woven into coasters. Here too is a wooden cutting board. It is fashioned out of a slab of wood and a bike rim. Spokes are reworked into a neat trivet.
"With cycling being a major part of Chicagoans' lives, we feel it's our duty to help with some of the waste that comes from it," says Meg Leese. She is co-owner and designer at Solo (www.solohomedesign.com). "We've been collecting scrap from a local bike shop for a couple of years now.
Critical thinking challenge: Bike parts have seemingly endless design possibilities. Name three materials used in making bikes that makes these designs possible.