zayd menk made a mathematically-sound scale model of midtown manhattan out of hot glue

zayd menk made a mathematically-sound scale model of midtown manhattan out of hot glue

this is what midtown manhattan at the .0635 : 100 scale looks like. the meticulous construction of this 165 X 80 cm model took zimbabwe-based artist, zayd menk, 3 months of spare-time-googling and repetitive-calculating, sawing and gluing. in all, it took 263 hot glue sticks, 11 CPUs, an unprecedented number of wikipedia searches, 27 motherboards, 10 CRT monitor motherboards, 15 batteries, 2 clocks, 4 watches, 3 hard drives, 3 graphics cards, 4 audio cards, 7 power supplies, 13 floppy disk readers, a lot of maths, much patience, ‘a few other bits and pieces’ — and yes, before you ask, the empire state building does light up via 4 micro LEDs.

zayd menk
all images courtesy of zayd menk



‘this project was part of my art coursework for school,’ zayd told designboom. ‘the topic was ‘man-made’ and I was exploring how man-made junk can be used to make art.’ zayd menk refers to his art as ‘recyclism,’ in the title of his video, which, as of this writing, has 38 views. the impressive reincarnation definitely deserves more cred’ than that. thankfully, we were able to get ahold of zayd, and he was happy to answer our questions.


zayd menk



designboom (DB): what is your creative process like?


zayd menk (ZM): my creative process usually consists of browsing through sites like pinterest and reddit, saving things and trying to develop and come up with ideas that are interesting and uniquely mine.


zayd menk




DB: what was the technical process?


ZM: I used google maps, wikipedia and a few other sites to research the heights of the buildings. some buildings were particularly challenging to build because of the weird shapes — I remember the bank of america tower took me 2 days to make, trying to figure out all those different angles. after collecting the data and calculating the scale, I used a hacksaw to cut all the pieces, and hot-glue to stick them all together.


zayd menk



DB: why midtown new york?


ZM: usually when you think of scyscrapers, you instantly think of NYC. originally, I was planning on doing a local city here in zimbabwe, but there’s simply not enough information available about the buildings here.

zayd menk



DB: would you be interested in doing a project like this again? 


ZM: at the moment, I’m kind of over making something like this again — but I plan on making more in the future.


DB: understandable, zayd. understandable.

zayd menk



3 months of hot gluing would get tedious, but what’s truly upsetting is that zayd didn’t have the online tools available to construct a city local to him, in zimbabwe. there’s something different when you see art about a place that you know. the piece, as iconic as it is, points out a gaping and surprising hole in online architectural records. less cynically, it is an amazingly crafted work that designboom is located a couple miles from, in good old brooklyn. if zayd ever chooses to pick up the hot glue and motherboards again, we only hope that he will have better tools to create the city that’s most special to him.


zayd menk

zayd menk

zayd menk

  • Diligent work super imaginative well done

    Afaq Arian
  • Beautiful

  • Brilliantly imaginative and relevant!

  • All Praise be to Allah !
    Ma shaa allah tabarak allah , Congratulations May Allah filled your life with endless happy moments, and countless blessing surprises and infinite success !brighter opportunities come your way,your dedication towards work is really inspiring, unique magnificence incredibly outstanding. hard work and focus! it really makes a difference. may allah always bless and mercy on you….

  • great model! terrible video! It’s important to showcase your work better than that, this model is phenomenal and deserves a better video showcase.

  • Brilliant show and use of recycling materials. I guess it also highlights the issue of e-waste globally.

    Moe Khan
  • Amazing work.. Wow.. The time and effort it took is just outstanding. Thank You Sheikh for sharing this. And Congratulations Zayd Menk on this amazing piece of work.

    Aurora Aden
  • Beautiful.


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