BIC ballpoint pens are everywhere—a whopping 100 billion have been manufactured since the 1950s. But while most people wouldn't argue against calling the office staple functional, few would describe it as “beautiful."
A team composed of AAU Anastas, Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos from the University of Miami, and Yann Santerre recently challenged that assumption by building a canopy sculpture composed of 10,000 recycled BIC Cristal pens. The installation, created for the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures symposium in Amsterdam, went on display at the Muziekgebouw last month.
So what's the reasoning behind the pointed creation? According AAU Anastas' site, the team quotes Umberto Eco, who described the BIC pen as such: “Intentionally ugly [it] became beautiful because it is practical, economical, indestructible, and organic, the BIC Cristal is the only example of realized socialism. It cancels any right to property and any social distinction.”
It’s not the first time BIC pens have been repurposed in the name of design. A chandelier garnered attention a few years back, and you can find everything from sculptures, to lamps, and even an amalgam of both, which raises the question: what other office supplies are art supplies waiting to be discovered?
To read more about the design and see more photos of the pavilion, click here.