As construction continues amid the redevelopment at Orlando Fashion Square, Canstruction kicked off its 21st year on Oct. 19.
The design competition is held in cities around the world and tasks teams of architects and engineers to build unique sculptures made entirely out of canned foods. At Orlando Fashion Square, structures will be on display for a full week until Sunday, Oct. 26 and by the end, all of the canned food is donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. The non-profit will then distribute the goods to pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, senior programs and low-income daycares.
“People who have never seen it before are amazed at what you can do with canned food,” said David Stone, a local architect and the chair for the city’s Canstruction event since 2009.
It’s impossible not to appreciate the creativity, time and genius these structures required to make. It definitely shows the power of people coming together to design something incredible and, ultimately, help to solve a very serious problem. In fact, registration started in July and teams have been busy since the summer planning their entrant in this year’s event. Participating organizations included Disney; Cuhaci & Peterson Architects; Triangle Reprographics; the Orlando Chapter of the Society for Design Administration; Sound Stage; ATA; Winter Park Blue; and Burke Hogue Mills, Inc.
“[Builders] love to work on a building block and all we’ve done is change the building block from a brick or a piece of wood to a can, and so the sky’s the limit when they think about what they can do with it,” Stone said.
Each year is themed and in 2014, it’s “We can ERAdicate hunger,” with “era” being the key here. According to the Canstruction Orlando website, with the event in its 21st year, “it has brought us all to reminisce about the past and look to what the future may hold.” The site goes on to ponder “what better way to celebrate that than to strive for an era without hunger.”
As a result, this year’s displays encapsulate a different era in time. For those who want their MTV and love the 80s, there’s the MTV logo made entirely out of cans. Or some play on words with Rosie the Riveter’s “We ‘Can’ Do It!” complete with a 3-D effect that has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. And there’s more fun with licensed properties including Nintendo’s “Duck Hunt” and everyone’s favorite detectives, Scooby Doo and the gang, riding along in the Mystery Machine.
For many of the displays, it’s best observed with the camera function on your cell phone as it compacts the image and makes it easier for the eye to see what the designers were intending.
“The creativity has expanded year after year after year,” said Greg Higgerson, vice president of development at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “This year we have some visual tricks that they’ve built into it. … I think this may be the best year ever.”
More than 35,000 food items have been donated to the cause this year alone and it’s not too late to add to that total. Orlando Fashion Square will continue to collect cans of food through Oct. 26, the last day you can see these awesome works of art and heart.
Truly, one CAN make a difference.
“We want them to go ‘Oh wow, this is incredible,’ and the other thing is we want them to realize what it’s here for,” Stone said. “We have a lot of hungry people in this city and that’s we’re here to do — we’re here to raise awareness about the hunger issue and help solve it.”