100,000 Recycled Plastic Bottles Spiral IslandYes, it is real – it not only floats but also has beaches and can be moved as well as docked around the world. Almost like a pirate ship story of old, the tale of this remarkable artificial island that floats on 100,000 recycled plastic bottles is long, strange and does involve tales of adventure and danger. The second of its kind, the newest iteration of Spiral Island is an amazing work in progress.
The first Spiral Island sat upon 250,000 plastic bottles, bundled together in bags and used as the floating base for the bamboo and plywood supporting the entire sand-surfaced area above – over fifty feet in diameter. Remarkably, the original island had a multistory home with a solar oven, self-composting toilet, multiple beaches as well as a variety of lush plants and trees.
Not deterred by the destruction of the original island in a terrible hurricane, Sowa built a second one starting just a few years ago – it was completed last year. Nearly the same size it likewise has beaches, a house but also has a solar-powered waterfall and ponds within the island.
Far from an eccentric individual’s attempt to escape from the world, Spiral Island is a remarkably welcoming place – many people came together to help recreate it when the first one was destroyed. Camera and news crews have also been invited onto the island as it is (naturally) something of an international sensation.
Man-Made, Free-Floating Luxury Beach House
Arguably more amazing than the mere fact of a free-floating private luxury island is the fact that it continues to change over time, forever a work in progress. Second stories have been added, remodeled and replaced throughout the years – featuring a lofted bedroom at one time, a two-person swing set under a solar panel at another (supplemented later with a massage table).
Aside from upcycling trashed plastic to form its very foundation (bottle-filled used tires float the whole island like a huge boat – an upgrade from mesh bags full of bottles), other sustainable moves include growing food on the island itself: there is a “protected garden with beach grapes, tulipans, an edible fruit cactus and an elephants foot palm.” Many of the on-island building materials are locally harvested, donated or discarded and reused by its nomadic inhabitants.
The aesthetic hovers somewhere between campsite and beach front resort, with calculated corral-and-concrete edges (to provide a feeling of safety along the borders) and live palm trees, mixed benches and sandy paths winding throughout. Tropical and rustic ‘island-associated’ themes can be found throughout the architecture and interiors as well. The island welcomes visitors, as well as donations to help keep it afloat (literally and otherwise).
That is not to say that living on this virtual paradise comes problem-free. For one thing, another natural disaster could still threaten its existence – and flexible governments may not remain so forever (though for now the island travels with relative freedom from one place to the next). Moreover, fresh water, security and other issues are always under consideration – after all, there are precedents for outsiders (pirates or privateers) ?invading and taking over micronations by force. Still, the island grows and shifts with the tides, ever more ready for the next source of trouble – and usually floating one step ahead.
Private Yacht as Tropical Island Paradise
Somewhere between crazy and kitsch, this monster of the sea features its own miniature volcano, flowing waterfall, mountain stream, and valley pool flanked by a series of small bamboo huts and shelter-providing palm trees, all set upon (and concealing) a cruise-ship-style deck.
For adults looking for a little more reality on their oceanic voyage, an extendable deck can be deployed belowdecks via a fold-down hatch in the hull; this opening revealing stairs leading to shelters, seating and other detachable smaller sea-faring vessels for short off-ship excursions.
“This view shows the guest cabanas nestled around the pool and highlights the two deck owners’ suites carved out of the front of the volcano and looking out across the bow. The interior features an owners suite located inside the volcano and spread over two decks. The living room balcony affords views out over the front of the yacht from behind the waterfall. Located behind the bedroom is the owners private spa.”
But YI Designs is not quite done yet – they propose to build the ultra-rich vessels they have yet to dream of, if they have the wealth to afford them. Concepts include a remake of the streets of Monaco, a Chinese sailing ship and a kind of abstracted Taj Mahal on the water.
Insane? Perhaps, but if there is a market, who knows – these may actually be constructed some day. “‘The Streets of Monaco’ is our first design proposal. The theme is based around the Mediterranean principality with the primary focus being the famous grand prix circuit.”
“The idea was to recreate the circuit as a fully functional kart track able to accommodate three karts side by side to allow for plenty of overtaking. The Monaco story extends beyond this exterior architecture and into the interior spaces giving a seamless transition as guests move between the various areas of the yacht.”