Architecture

House of wax melts away in London

House of wax melts away in Lon...
A pound of flesh for 50p, by Alex Chinneck (Photo: Tommophoto)
A pound of flesh for 50p, by Alex Chinneck (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The wax will melt over 30 days until all that will remain is a roof sat atop a pile of melted wax (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The wax will melt over 30 days until all that will remain is a roof sat atop a pile of melted wax (Photo: Tommophoto)
Alex Chinneck checking out the wax glass used for the windows (Photo: Tommophoto)
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Alex Chinneck checking out the wax glass used for the windows (Photo: Tommophoto)
Over 8,000 paraffin wax bricks were used in the project (Photo: Tommophoto)
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Over 8,000 paraffin wax bricks were used in the project (Photo: Tommophoto)
Alex Chinneck holding part of the roof (Photo: Tommophoto)
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Alex Chinneck holding part of the roof (Photo: Tommophoto)
Alex Chinneck posing with wax bricks (Photo: Tommophoto)
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Alex Chinneck posing with wax bricks (Photo: Tommophoto)
Chinneck posing with wax bricks (Photo: Tommophoto)
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Chinneck posing with wax bricks (Photo: Tommophoto)
During a process that took 12 months to perfect, the home's bricks were cast in beds of terra cotta sand (Photo: Tommophoto)
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During a process that took 12 months to perfect, the home's bricks were cast in beds of terra cotta sand (Photo: Tommophoto)
The roof will remain once the house has melted (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The roof will remain once the house has melted (Photo: Tommophoto)
The windows are also made from wax and will duly melt as the project progresses (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The windows are also made from wax and will duly melt as the project progresses (Photo: Tommophoto)
Close-up shot of the wax glass used for the windows (Photo: Tommophoto)
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Close-up shot of the wax glass used for the windows (Photo: Tommophoto)
The wax windows melting (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The wax windows melting (Photo: Tommophoto)
The installation will be in place until November 18 2014 (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The installation will be in place until November 18 2014 (Photo: Tommophoto)
The facade begins to melt (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The facade begins to melt (Photo: Tommophoto)
The facade begins to melt (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The facade begins to melt (Photo: Tommophoto)
A pound of flesh for 50p was created for London’s Bankside Merge Festival (Photo: Tommophoto)
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A pound of flesh for 50p was created for London’s Bankside Merge Festival (Photo: Tommophoto)
The festival is currently taking place in central London (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The festival is currently taking place in central London (Photo: Tommophoto)
At first glance, the project appears much like a typical London brick home, but is built from 8,000 paraffin wax bricks (Photo: Tommophoto)
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At first glance, the project appears much like a typical London brick home, but is built from 8,000 paraffin wax bricks (Photo: Tommophoto)
The windows are also made from wax and will duly melt as the project progresses (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The windows are also made from wax and will duly melt as the project progresses (Photo: Tommophoto)
Chinneck and his team are melting the house manually with handheld torches in order to produce the most striking effect possible (Photo: Tommophoto)
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Chinneck and his team are melting the house manually with handheld torches in order to produce the most striking effect possible (Photo: Tommophoto)
The installation will be in place until November 18 (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The installation will be in place until November 18 (Photo: Tommophoto)
Over 8,000 paraffin wax bricks were used in the project (Photo: Tommophoto)
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Over 8,000 paraffin wax bricks were used in the project (Photo: Tommophoto)
A pound of flesh for 50p was created for London’s Bankside Merge Festival (Photo: Tommophoto)
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A pound of flesh for 50p was created for London’s Bankside Merge Festival (Photo: Tommophoto)
If left to Britain's currently chilly weather, the house would take too long to melt on its own (Photo: Tommophoto)
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If left to Britain's currently chilly weather, the house would take too long to melt on its own (Photo: Tommophoto)
Chinneck and his team are melting the wax house manually with handheld torches in order to produce the most striking effect possible (Photo: Tommophoto)
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Chinneck and his team are melting the wax house manually with handheld torches in order to produce the most striking effect possible (Photo: Tommophoto)
The windows are also made from wax and will duly melt as the project progresses (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The windows are also made from wax and will duly melt as the project progresses (Photo: Tommophoto)
The wax will melt over 30 days until all that remains is a roof sat atop a pile of melted wax (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The wax will melt over 30 days until all that remains is a roof sat atop a pile of melted wax (Photo: Tommophoto)
Chinneck and his team are melting the house manually with handheld torches in order to produce the most striking effect possible (Photo: Tommophoto)
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Chinneck and his team are melting the house manually with handheld torches in order to produce the most striking effect possible (Photo: Tommophoto)
A pound of flesh for 50p, by Alex Chinneck (Photo: Tommophoto)
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A pound of flesh for 50p, by Alex Chinneck (Photo: Tommophoto)
The installation will be in place until November 18 (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The installation will be in place until November 18 (Photo: Tommophoto)
The windows are also made from wax and will melt as the project progresses (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The windows are also made from wax and will melt as the project progresses (Photo: Tommophoto)
The artist preparing the wax bricks (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The artist preparing the wax bricks (Photo: Tommophoto)
The roof section, which will not melt (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The roof section, which will not melt (Photo: Tommophoto)
A pound of flesh for 50p, by Alex Chinneck (Photo: Tommophoto)
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A pound of flesh for 50p, by Alex Chinneck (Photo: Tommophoto)
The facade begins to melt (Photo: Tommophoto)
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The facade begins to melt (Photo: Tommophoto)
A can used to pour the wax (Photo: Tommophoto)
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A can used to pour the wax (Photo: Tommophoto)

Though we often hear complaints that modern architecture can't hold a candle to older buildings, few structures have as short a shelf-life as Alex Chinneck's latest creation. Following his Covent Garden-based levitating market building, the artist has returned with another architectural oddity. A pound of flesh for 50p is a full-size two-story home that's primarily built from wax, and is slowly melting away with stunning effect.

A pound of flesh for 50p was created for the Bankside Merge Festival, which is currently taking place in central London. The building is located, fittingly, on the site of an old candle factory and at first glance looks a lot like any other typical British brick residence.

The windows are also made from wax and will melt as the project progresses (Photo: Tommophoto)
The windows are also made from wax and will melt as the project progresses (Photo: Tommophoto)

Some 8,000 paraffin wax bricks were used in the build. Following 12 months of experimentation with various experts and collaborators, Chinneck cast the bricks in terra cotta sand to make them more closely resemble standard bricks.

The windows are also made from wax panes and are also melting away as the project progresses. Chinneck and his team are speeding up the melting process with handheld torches, which also enables them to manipulate the wax to produce the most striking effect possible.

The installation will be in place until November 18, by which time all that will remain is a roof sat atop a pile of melted wax. The video below offer some insight into its construction.

Sources: Alex Chinneck, Merge Festival

Alex Chinneck- Behind the Scenes of A pound of flesh for 50p by Angie Dixon for Merge Festival 2014.

10 comments
Ralf Biernacki
I'm increasingly turned off by the so-called "luxury sports" where records are broken by throwing money at them, i.e. constructing sailboats, cars, and other vehicles that are made very expensively out of high-tech materials for the sole purpose of beating a record (and that are useless for anything else, including research). There is no sport in it that I can see, and no ability, athletic or otherwise, is shown by the participants. But "luxury arts" like this wax house are even worse. Just as there is no real sport in luxury sports, there is no real art in installations such as this. It is only a colossal waste of money and material. Why is it even worse? First, because luxury sports waste is funded by bored wealthy individuals, but luxury arts waste is often funded out of the taxpayers' money; and second, because there is not even the excuse of record breaking involved (unless you are aiming at records in money wastage).
Roger Garrett
If something that an artist makes is referred to as an "installation" then it's highly likely that it's not actually art. Rather, it's just an exhibit of the artist's ego. Here we have exhibit 'A'.
Pacific Oyster
This "Art" is an insult to the tax payers. We urgently need to reel-in these spendthrift politicians.
Ramon Verhoeven
wow how glad I can enjoy this art, in contrary to 3 commentaters above and I am pretty sure many people join me in this. To the critics, in my opinion money is wasted on other things, you might like. What to think about all costs of police around football games for example? For me thats a waste ! But OK we elect politician who make choice. I must say again, the choice for this project was a good one for me.
JPAR
If you want to start talking about waste and extravagance, then lets start with food eating competitions, and world recording breaking recipes (world's largest pie/pizza/cake/hamburger etc). They re far more obscene.
owlbeyou
Bread and Circuses A football match and a hockey game, a good deal of rap/pop music, a big chunk of Hollywood and media output, or an art installation such as this: They are all spectator events and visual. As an artist, I don't care that much for any. There are competitions like hunting, drag racing, fishing and horseback riding that I wouldn't consider as sport. Things like this are not what I would think of as artistic... That's how it is. One's man treasure is another's trash. Whatever turns you crank, floats your boat, or pushes your buttons. It's a lot of baguettes for the spectators... There is so much more greatness worthy of our attention out there than the fluff that's being fed to us.
the.other.will
The Bankside Merge Festival has minimal government involvement as far as I can tell. Art that is specific to a place rather than being portable is an installation. It 's made for the enjoyment of whoever goes by rather than to be sold. I wish I could see it live, it looks like a powerful statement & also great fun.
Bigbrother Iswatchingu
Oooooh, What a stupid waste while others are starving all over the world.
Ralf Biernacki
@JPAR: You are judging by superficial appearances. Food eating competitions and events like jello wrestling waste, at most, several hundred dollars worth of food at a go---typically much less. The money is provided by the organizers out of pocket for advertising purposes, or recouped from ticket sales. Installations like this waste _milllions_ of dollars of (usually) taxpayer money. Think of it in food equivalent, if you must---the waste is outrageous. I do not like eating competitions, but they are merely silly. This is downright criminal.
David Priol
Where is Vincent Price when you need him.... with Valli Kemp as his leading lady, of course!!! :)