About Pallet City

Artists: Katherine Gressel and Jeremy Reed

Pallet City
was an interactive public art project made almost entirely from recycled shipping pallets. Pallet City juxtaposes different common uses of the pallet as an art/building material, and invites participation and feedback, simultaneously raising questions about practicality and aesthetics of pallet use. The city's fluid, linear forms and signage imply different actions that take place within the urban environment: sit (implied by a bench); park (a bike rack); dwell (a shelter); plant (a planter with small garden, which visitors can help water); perform (a stage where visitors can mount and document spontaneous performances); observe (seats accompanying the theater); exhibit (a gallery space with 2-3 different exhibits that the artists will curate during the summer, and a shelf where visitors can curate their own exhibits); play (a playful rolling wave), and learn (an ‘information kiosk’ at one end). Pallet City thus describes the city in terms of active, democratic use rather than passive viewing or restricted areas. The project was meant to spark public dialogue on the notion of city itself and the creation of democratic, sustainable cities. Pallet City was designed for the FIGMENT Terrace season-long sculpture garden on Governors Island in summer 2010.

Pallet City was open to the public at all times Governors Island was open to the public, Friday-Sunday, June 5-October 3, 2010. Please visit the official Governors Island page for directions to the island.

This blog documents the development of the project, and the public's experiences with it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why recycle pallets?

  • Today, over half a billion pallets are made each year and about two billion pallets are in use across the United States alone.
  • Approximately 40% of all hardwood harvested in the U.S. is for making shipping pallets
  • While the sturdier hardwood pallets are built to be reused, the cheaper softwood pallets are meant to be discarded with other packing materials.
  • About two-thirds of pallets are used only once before being thrown out
  • 25% of all wood in landfills is from used pallets
  • Pallets are made to be strong: Most pallets can carry a load of 1,000kg (2,205lb). Breaking down a pallet provides a source of sturdy free lumber.
  • Warehouses, supermarkets, or any businesses that receive large shipments are are often happy to give away old pallets.
  • Common items that typically get built with recycled pallets include furniture, fencing, sheds (and sometimes entire homes), compost bins/planters, and artistic sculpture.

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