heath nash: plastic bottle roof shade heath nash: plastic bottle roof shade
jul 25, 2011

heath nash: plastic bottle roof shade

working on one of the shaded structures made from transparent blue water bottles all images courtesy of heath nash

south african designer heath nash was invited to produce a public light installation with local zibabwean / hararean artisans as part of the 2011 HIFA performing arts festival.

the starting points for the sculptural project came from harare, zimbabwe in which the event is held. walking around the city, nash observed the shaded areas below trees where many people often congregate to sit, relax and talk with one another, while public kiosks are found throughout, selling flowers, coca-cola etc., generally existing as trade hubs. he also recalled the strong 60s and 70s architectural elements which are a dominating part of the urban landscape…

drawing on the way in which public space is used in harare, nash decided that it was probably more beneficial to produce a structure of shade rather than a lighting installation, which would realistically only be used at night. he worked with five skilled artisans from the area, each skilled in different craft practices and specific materials to execute his vision. continuing with his exploration and utilization of waste materials through the design, the final structures were based on repeat patterns from the city of harare’s architecture which were formed through the use of plastic bottles of all shapes, sizes and colors. 

detail of one of the roofs

working on a short time line, the first few days were spent introducing the project, sorting out  budget and acquiring the right waste materials to build the structures. with a lot of plastic waste collected, one of the issues that needed to be resolved was how and where all this raw material would be cleaned. the crew obtained scrap metal and wood from harare’s famous market ‘siya so’, which translates to ‘leave it like that’ – in short, ‘don’t complain – what you see is what you get’, which became the name of the installation. the result is a colorful and vibrant use of local resources combined with local craft traditions.

raw materials cleaned and ready to go

the participating artisans were: booker sipeyiye, tinos marimira, martin mhlanga, kay dirau, and aaron masaka, who were assisted by five other crafters including clever mucheru, ngonidzashe gono and tichaona maledadi.

a roof construction made from a metal frame with wire used to keep the plastic bottle components intact

assembling one of the shades

a colorful green and yellow roof

wood and metal scraps were used to build the structural frames

aluminum cans were cut and woven creating textural coverings

production in progress

installation in progress

colorful raw material

cutting and assembling plastic containers

more raw material…

found metal and wood parts used as structural components

designer heath nash with some of the artisans

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