Most of us shy away from work that involves words like "tedious" or "painstaking," but not architectural artist Peter Root. Born in Britain, Root has found worldwide recognition for his ability to build magnificent replicas of giant things on a minute scale. Using bits of surprising materials like potatoes or flour, Root likes to spend days constructing vast structures and landscapes in miniature form. His latest triumph, Ephemicropolis, is an enormous urban landscape constructed of carefully stacked staples -- 100,000 of them to be exact. The entire project was executed on the floor of a financial building in the Channel Islands.
“I like making things that are intricate and time-consuming,” Root admits in an interview with Umbrella Magazine. “As with any person creating things, my work is influenced by the things that have somehow entered my head: toys I’ve played with as a kid, films I’ve seen (science fiction), places I have been, people I’ve spoken to.”
In building Ephemicropolis, there was no short cut or special technique employed. Root actually got down on his hands and knees, and placed each individual stack of staples into place. Each uniform shaft of staples had to be broken into the right size, meaning that Root had to be constantly re-evaluating the entire landscape to make sure each stack was appropriate for the shape and scale of the project.
In this time lapse video, you can see that he often decided on impromptu revisions, demolishing a mini city block with the sweep of his hand and taking the topography in another direction.
The entire process of building Ephemicropolis took Root about 40 hours. The largest stacks of staples are about 12 cm high, while the some “buildings” consist of only a single staple. The whole installation takes up a floor space of about 6m x 3m. The staple city’s sprawling topography creates an interesting opportunity to reflect on the way our own mega-cities come into being, usually with organized growth and ease-of-use as an afterthought.