The ubiquitous BIC pen is one of the best symbols of modern consumerism—efficient, affordable, and easily disposable, these pens often wind up in the landfill at the end of their lifecycle. A team of designers are protesting that wasteful norm with an experimental pavilion built from 10,000 recycled BIC Cristal pens. AAU Anastas, University of Miami’s Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos, and Yann Santerre constructed the chandelier-like structure for the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) symposium in Amsterdam.
The IASS BIC artwork is a suspended pavilion made from a 24-square-meter mesh of pens. The designers used two algorithms and 3D-modeling software to create the mesh’s geometry. There are three parts to the structure: the hanging cable net, the intermediate bending resistant truss, and the central hump. The outer part of the canopy works in tension, while the central part is in compression.
The suspended pavilion is built from connected glue-free tetrahedron modules. Each module is made up of three BIC Cristal pens connected in place by a vertex connector at the top and a laser-cut plexiglass triangle base with a pyramid base connector at the bottom. “The idea behind the BIC structure was to create a structurally innovative pavilion from elements that were not conceived for structural purposes,” writes AAU Anastas. “Employing modern aspects of the design process such as computer-aided design, engineering and manufacturing allowed us to change the function of the BIC pen in a unique way creating a structural paradigm that reflects our culture of recycling, reusing and transforming and relates to IASS.”
Images via AAU Anastas