A massive whale, constructed out of five tons of reclaimed plastic waste, is currently leaping out of a canal in Belgium as part of the 2018 Bruges Triennial. Developed by architecture and design firm STUDIOKCA, the impressive sculpture is designed to bring attention to the immense volumes of plastic waste swimming in our oceans.
StudioKCA collaborated with Hawaii Wildlife Fund to collect all the plastic used in Skyscraper over a period of 4 months. After sorting the plastic by size and color, as well as working on the engineering of the internal steel structure, the firm ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for the fabrication and shipping of the enormous installation. The massive whale installation was made using 10,000 pounds of plastic waste found from the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans.
“Right now there is 150 million tons of plastic swimming in the ocean, our oceans, the oceans we share,” says Klimoski in the video. “Pound for pound that is more plastic waste swimming in the ocean than there is whales. So an opportunity like this to show the type of plastic and the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans is really important.”
“Our first thought led us to thinking about the biggest liquid city on the planet (the ocean), how it connects us all, and how the waste produced and consumed in our cities, specifically plastic waste, ends up in the ocean,” explains StudioKCA. “So, we proposed collecting as much plastic waste out of the oceans that we could in 4 months, and shaping that waste into Skyscraper, an almost 4 stories tall whale pushing out of one of Bruges’ main canals, and arching over historic Jan Van Eyck Square at the city’s center.”
“A whale, breaching from the water, is the first ‘Skyscraper of the Sea’, and as the largest mammal in the water, it felt like the right form for our piece to take in order to show the scope and scale of the problem,” adds the studio. “Also, we were able to pull over 5 tons of plastic out of the ocean in a very short period of time, which means we have material for something large.”
The studio, founded and directed by Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang, wanted to show how cities around the world are working to help dispose of the waste that is killing our oceans.