Imagine a one-of-a-kind 100-foot lighted octopus rising from the sea, its tentacles flashing in the darkness, surrounded by ocean reef and flanked by glowing jellyfish. This amazing sight was on display at JAX Beach Florida’s Deck the Chairs event for a six-week holiday program.
It was a sustainability collaboration made in heaven: Beaches Go Green (‘BGG’), Artistic Contractors (‘AC’), and bFIVE40. BGG brought the vision and funding to create this spectacular green campaign to raise awareness. AC fabricated the impressive Octopus Head metal frame. bFIVE40 created the sustainable fabric covering to wrap the Octopus Head.
We used a lightweight athletic fabric called REPREVE, made from recycled fibers derived from recycled plastic water bottles. We worked onsite at ACs’ facility to fabricate a 6-piece configuration secured together by heavy-duty velcro.
It was an action-packed 4-day fabrication in Jacksonville Beach Florida.
Challenge 1: Size. The metal frame is massive at 20 feet tall, 30 feet deep, and 15 wide, making this structure a challenge to navigate, measure, and configure. There are a total of 8 pieces to wrap. We worked outside day 1 and 2, creating our plan and taking measurements. We worked inside day 3 and 4, creating a total of 6 pieces.
Challenge 2: Weather. The temperature hit 95+ degrees Fahrenheit everyday and it rained every afternoon during fabrication. The weather was very extreme, blazing sun and then the sky opened up to a deluge. It was crazy! We also had to construct the wrap considering the potential weather conditions during the 6-week event. We had to prepare for up to 50 mph winds and heavy rain.
Challenge 3: Assembly. We created a wrap that was easy to assemble and disassemble for storage. We numbered the metal frame with 6 sections in permanent black marker. Each section corresponded with each of the marked fabric pieces. We installed heavy-duty velcro loops throughout the inside of each section to protect against wind. The wrap construction was like a gigantic fitted sheet, tucking in snuggly under each section.
“Our partners and volunteers worked tirelessly all year getting prepared.” – Kurtis Loftus, Executive Director of Deck the Chairs
The sustainability story is beyond impressive. The four tentacles lined with more than 15,000 single-use plastic bottles, spanning 100 feet in all directions. Sixteen 500 ml bottles per yard of fabric, diverting 2,500 single-use plastic water bottles from our oceans. Using recycled fabric instead of virgin fabric resulted in a 30% reduction in greenhouse gases, 45% reduction in energy consumption and 20% reduction in water consumption.
The Octopus Garden is all about promoting awareness and educating the public about the dangers of our overconsumption of single-use plastic and how it impacts the environment, particularly our oceans. It also showcases its own light show, children’s educational displays, and weekend activities for the kids.
Our mission is to execute projects with seamless precision. Mission accomplished!