Monday, March 2, 2009

Ice & Snow Furniture Raised From Lake

I am always amazed at the various ways in which the environmental message is passed on. Recently, I received an email from a University of Wisconsin student, Hongtao Zhou. Hongtao is an environmental artist who is trying to raise awareness on sustainability ... in a very unique way. He has graciously shared his message ... and some photos ... with us:

Ice & Snow Furniture Raised From Lake

Human activities have changed the planet dramatically by leaving too many prints along. Below is how Hongtao Zhou, a University of Wisconsin-Madison Artist/Designer, response to make more folk understand sustainable design by his ice and snow art.

Hongtao is creating the icy furniture on frozen Lake Mendota near the UW-Madison Memorial Union Terrace shoreline, making a unique landscape place for visitors to enjoy winter fun. They stop by taking pictures, eating ice cream with snow bowls and trying the cold ice chairs. This furniture set is created in a factory called winter, and they are raised by following the nature using local climate and natural resources to please people in winter. Basically, it is not wise for human to work against the climate. The pieces uses the winter as a huge factory, use the local snow and water as raw material, leaves 0 energy consumption.

This public art/product is functional, connecting the lake, the land (architecture), the air and the people and complete a sustainable life cycle with minimum environmental impact. Comparing with other art or product, the whole life cycle is clean and leaves 0 negative impact to the environment.

Environmental artist Hongtao wants his climate furniture to demonstrate the beauty of sustainable design.

Following the weather changes, the furniture will back into the lake and become a part of the water body again and complete their beautiful green story.

Ice & Snow Furniture Raised From Lake Mendota, Photo by Hongtao Zhou

Snow bowls for ice cream, Photo by Hongtao Zhou

Hongtao Zhou is creating the icy furniture on frozen Lake Mendota near the UW-Madison Memorial Union Terrace shoreline, photo by Susan Frikken,

Cold night working with the weather, photo by Susan Frikken,

Fisherman stop by, Photo by Hongtao Zhou

For another article on Hongtao, click on the following link:

You may contact Hongtao for more information at:

Cell phone: 608-658-0723

Mailing address:
Hongtao Zhou
6241 Humanities Building
455 North Park Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Wasn't that incredible? I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to Hongtao Zhou for this beautiful example of sustainable design.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. Hongtao Zhou's snow sculptures are magical. Thanks to all for sharing.

  2. The next step in sustainable furniture would be to use the things in nature and not change them too much. Ever notice how comfortable a tree or its roots are to sit on?

  3. I do like what he has done with the snow. Have you ever seen the ice hotel?

  4. If anything the talent displayed here is very impressive. It is amazing what humans can accomplish with a little elbow grease and passion.

  5. Ha!! Great idea and fascinating concept. I guess the only downfall could be a cold tush:)

  6. Kelli ... yes, I've seen a video on the Ice Hotel. It looks fabulous!

    Here's the link to a YouTube video if you'd like to see it:

    Take Care!


  7. So incredible!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! :)

  8. Hmm... I wonder how he did it.

  9. This is awesome!
    I just showed these pictures to my local Malaysian interpretors and they're all in awe! They've never seen anything like it...they're passing my laptop around right now!

    Thanks for Sharing!!!

  10. Wow!! The snow sculptures are awesome!!!

  11. Amazing pictures! Reminds me of the sand sculptures I see everytime I go to the beach! Plus the ones I read about and have e-mails sent to me of.
    Truly a talented man!

  12. Love these, very cool!

    And BTW, about those tuna cakes, this recipe is not what I had growing up by any means. My Mom made the tuna patties like you describe, lol.

  13. Having many times found myself wearily exceeding my energy level with kilometres yet to walk across an icy landscape, I would have delighted in finding Hongtao Zhou's snow sculptures!