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Chandelier Made of Plastic Bottles Shines in World Financial Center

By Julie Shapiro | April 17, 2012 1:54pm
The recycled
The recycled "Chandelier" sculpture glistens in the sunlight at the World Financial Center Winter Garden.
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Flatbush Gardener @xrisfg

BATTERY PARK CITY — It may be trashy, but it's still classy.

The sparkling new 400-pound chandelier hanging in the World Financial Center Winter Garden is not made of glass or crystal — it's made of garbage.

Called "Chandelier," the environmentally friendly art piece by Katharine Harvey features thousands of discarded plastic water bottles, takeout containers and egg cartons, all meticulously strung together in the shape of a lavish light fixture.

"The chandelier is a symbol of opulence and wealth," Harvey said Tuesday. "From a distance, [the sculpture] looks like a beautiful chandelier — it looks like it's made of glass.... But then it's ironic [because] when you get closer, you see it's made out of plastic bottles."

The enormous structure took five people about a week to assemble and measures 21 feet in height and 15 feet in diameter. It is hanging over the Winter Garden staircase for the next three-and-a-half weeks, where it catches the sun that pours in through the arched skylights.

Brookfield Properties, which owns the World Financial Center, first commissioned Harvey to create "Chandelier" in 2009 for a Toronto office building. A similar chandelier by Harvey was also displayed in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Harvey said she was glad to have the chance to reprise her sculpture in New York in time for Earth Day, which is April 22.

"We use too much throwaway stuff in our society," Harvey said of the message she hopes to send. "There should be a stronger recycling program so plastic doesn't end up in landfills."

There is one advantage to working in a medium that most people see as garbage, Harvey added.

"I can make huge things out of the material," she said, "and it's free."

"Chandelier" is on display at the World Financial Center, 220 Vesey St., daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. through May 11.