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wooden folly 20102 baumhauer s germany 1


Architects: Philipp Baumhauer with Karoline Markus
Location: Southern Germany
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Julien Lanoo


The pavillion, which was commissioned privately, was originally conceived and planned as a tea house. In the course of the planning phase, the project evolved into a decorative and ornamental structure that was given a new purpose.

It grew into a Folly of the kind that populated 18th century landscaped gardens in England and turned into an edifice without a clear definition – a larger than lifesize abstract piece of furniture.

Niches in the facade, the roof as well as the interior, where cushions await, invite reposal. The exterior consists of planed boards of larchwood, whose smoothness contrast with the weathering process.

No flashing (cover sheet), socket or visible attic, detract from the sharp edges and solidity of the structure – in part to ensure that the aging process will appear completely homogeneous.

When not in use, the pavillion is closed with shutters made of highly polished stainless steel. In this way depth is achieved not only by structural means but in an imaginary and illusional way using the reflecting qualities as a mirror.



wooden baumhauer folly 2




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cornwall grotto seat


The Folly Fancier now has a facebook presence where you can read about follies and post your own. Unlike this blog, it is not restricted to modern follies but covers any follies, anywhere, any age. It is a public site, anyone can view. Why not pop over there and have a look and if you like it, drop me a friend request and join us.

Just go to facebook, and type Folly Fancier in the search bar along the top to find us.

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Just put up for sale is a very modern prehistoric monument. Carhenge in Nebraska, according to a recent report by Reuters. In the shape of Stonehenge in England, this one is a tribute to the automobile.

Carhenge near Alliance in Western Nebraska contains 38 vintage automobiles and can be yours for just $300,000.

The Carhenge autos mimic the Stonehenge stones in size, dimension and northeast orientation to the sunrise. The attraction consists of 38 gray-painted autos in a 96-foot circle. Some are buried five feet deep, trunk end down. Some jut from the ground at odd angles. Nine vehicles welded atop some of the half-buried autos form the arches.

Vehicles include a 1943 Plymouth Savoy, 1945 Jeep Willys, 1956 Buick Roadmaster Deluxe, 1957 Cadillac Eldorado, 1965 Ford Thunderbird, 1971 Chevrolet Nova, and a 1976 American Motors Gremlin.

A 1962 Cadillac depicts the Stonehenge heel stone, which is outside the main entrance and leans inward toward the circle.

Carhenge was built by Jim Reinders in 1987 as a tribute to his late father, who farmed the site two miles north of Alliance, a city of 8,600 people on the western Nebraska plains.

Reinders worked in England for a time and visited Stonehenge. More than 80,000 tourists from around the world have visited the site annually. It is a stop for tour buses and some visitors come before dawn to experience the sunrise. Admission to the 10-acre grounds is free.



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OK so they’re not really follies. But there is something very endearing about those giant artificial creatures  which turn up from time to time to enhance our public spaces. And they are after all, quite useless. Here are a few I have come across, to make you smile.


Giant Creatures


This  big fish was on Donegal Quay, Belfast North Ireland.big fish donegall quay belfast aubrey dale geograph          


The largest mascot in Canada is Drumheller’s T-Rex. Four times the size of a real Tyrannosaurus Rex, it weighs 145,000 pounds, stands 86 feet tall and is 151 feet long.


dinosaur-mascot-drumheller vew platfrom in teeth


Iggy the giant iguana has had an interesting life.  In the 1980s he lived on the roof of the Lone Star cafe in New York. Here the 40 foot monster, newly spruced up, is being lowered into his new home on the roof of the reptile house at Forth Worth Zoo, Texas in 2010.




This 7.5 metre high mosaic sculpture, marks the entrance to the town of Erith in South East London, England.

The design was inspired by the old town coat of arms which was adopted from the family arms of the powerful Richard de Luci, supporter of King Stephen, and owner of Erith during the reign of Stephen and Henry II.

It has disconcerted some motorists who stop to gawp and has been run over at least once.


erith fish


Finally this giant puppy sculpted from flowers was located in Bilbao.

It was designed by Jeff Koons, the celebrated pop artist.



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NY cabin01-popup


We take a very liberal view about what makes a modern folly here at the Folly Fancier. If turning the interior of your New York apartment into a fake log cabin is the nearest you can get to realising your own personal fantasy, why not?

And that is just what New Yorker Rob Schleifer has done in a one room fifth floor walk up near 14th Street in Manhattan.

Mr Schliefer was interviewed recently by the NYT which also ran an interactive active photo spread of the apartment http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/22/nyregion/22cabin-panorama.html?ref=nyregion which is truly astonishing.

All of the interior and fixtures and fittings are painted brown or veneered or painted to look like wood and the apartment is filled with a truly extraordinary collection of objects. The bathroom steam pipe has been painted to resemble a tree, complete with curling serpent. If you have ever played one of those computer “hidden object” games you would be right at home although it might take months to identify everything hidden in this room. This is after all the result of 30 years compulsive collecting.

The apartment is stuffed with found treasures: a stuffed cat, a zither bought at auction for 45 cents. an ox yoke turned into lighting.,  a horse skull picked up in the woods in Florida, a World War II radiation detector,  handcuffs. brass knuckles, two sets.  

Collecting on this scale seems to be a chap sort of thing, and there is no Mrs Schleifer to complain about the clutter or the dust. Now however his landlord is buying him out and Mr Schleifer is moving on. Before he does look on his works and wonder. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/22/nyregion/22cabin.html

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bottle house in sultana ca by Matt (mister goletas) flickr


At first glance I thought this must be in North Africa and the top was a small minaret. However it turns out it is in Sultana in California and is believed to resemble a moonshine jug. There is also an asian perfume called Sultana. So the resonances are considerable.

Apparently the fact that it is a bottle shaped house built out of bottles means it has self similarity in mathematical terms, the individual components (in this case bottles) assemble to create the same shape, a larger bottle, like fractals

It is wonderful wherever it is and whatever it is meant to resemble.  I like the banded design and it must be dazzling when the sunlight streams in.

It is in a private garden and first surfaced on Matt mr goleta’s Flickrstream.

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Worlds_Largest_Teapot_Chester_WV rebuilt










In theory follies should be buildings without any practical use. In practice of course many can be used for sitting, admiring the view and enjoying a spot of liquid refreshment.

Taken to its logical extreme therefore (and what are follies if not extreme), why not design your refreshment room to resemble the refreshment you take there.

Hence our collection of cafes and restaurants built to resemble tea and coffee pots, from around the world. Here is a selection

Relax, put your feet up, have a cuppa and enjoy.


Worlds largest teapot in Chester, West Virginia , USA

shown before restoration (see current appearance above introduction)

teapot canoe livery beuna

Coffee pot used until recently for canoe hire and livery stables,

Beuna, Lexington Kentucky, USA


This coffee pot was in Bremen Indiana, USA now gone sadly


Petrol station tea pot in Zillah, Washington USA

This little gas station was built in 1922 by Jack Ainsworth as a commentary on the Teapot Dome scandal involving President Harding and a federal petroleum reserve in Wyoming. It is said to be the oldest gas station in use in the country. Read its unique history here.

It is no longer in use but some City of Zillah staff have formed a group called “Friends of the Teapot Association” and they are raising funds to relocate the structure closer to downtown and possibly convert it into a tourism information center. There, they say, “the Teapot could be watched and cared for in a way that respects the history and artistry for which it represents”.

blackpool 1930s

Mobile teapot refreshment van in Blackpool, UK in the 1930s

java jive teapot

This giant coffee pot is in Washington, USA

Information about this and similar building is on the roadsideamerica website where there are lots of similar goodies


Mystery entry. Anyone know where this giant coffee pot is?
<Thanks to Karen Kocik for letting us know this is a Teapot Museum at Meitan in China>

We are still looking for a wine bar or restaurant built to resemble a  decanter or a wine bottle. If you find one let us know 🙂

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Topiary folly

OK so it is a flight of fantasy rather than a folly but what a flight!

Inspired by a visit to the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya, Brecon resident Gavin Hogg has sculpted the overgrown hedge around his garden into a herd of topiary elephants.

Mr Hogg spent two days crafting the seven adults and three babies with a trimmer, shears – and a pair of scissors for the fiddly bits.

The result is a striking 100ft-long trail of green elephants that stretches around the corner of his family home outside Brecon in Mid Wales

Mr Hogg said: ‘It was just a normal, fairly boring box hedge when I started. I found a picture of a group of elephants and set about shaping it. Time seemed to disappear while I was working on it.

‘I was able to create the appearance of folds in the skin and shadow lines for shoulder blades and hips.

‘I also clipped an eye in some of the adult elephants to give it greater authenticity. It was a lot of work and the ears and trunks were a bit tricky but I am pleased with the end result.’

Father-of-two Mr Hogg and his wife Vina, who visited the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya, farm organic vegetables at their 17th century home.

He added: ‘It’s great to see our own herd of elephants every time we look out of the window, even if they are green. They will need a haircut twice a year to smarten them up. But they will be a permanent feature.’

The topiary elephants are cut out of a hedge of common box (Buxus sempervirens) which was planted about 200 years ago.

(This story first appeared in the Daily Mail on 2 July 2009)

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casa di libri No 1jpg

Case di Libri No 1

Livio De Marchi is a man obsessed with wood. The Italian carver was born in Venezia where, still a child, he worked on ornamental sculpture in the Venetian tradition in the workshop of a joiner and studied art and drawing at the “Accademia di Belle Arti” in Venice.
During his artistic evolution he worked first in marble, then bronze, and eventually in wood. But wood has always been his favourite material because it gives him a vitality which other materials do not. This obsession has enabled him to develop the ability to mould wood with great expertise and sensitivity to create sculptures with fine detail and a feeling for spontaneity and the essence of the material.
In his own words, “After opening his own studio, Livio De Marchi allowed his fantasy to run free, declaring his way of being, his interior world.”
His web site shows a range of wooden carvings, in subjects ranging from women’s underwear to furniture. There is also a video of a wooden car being loaded into the lagoon at Venice and driven across the water with the artist at the wheel.

His latest work is a wooden house built in the shape of books and furnished  at with fittings and furniture also book shaped.


Interior of Casa di Libri No 1


More images of the house can be seen at www.liviodemarchi.com/casauk.htm

The artist’s own web site is at http://www.liviodemarchi.com/ukmain3.htm

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10-crazyhouse-Hand nga geusthouse vietnam

The Hang Nga Hotel in Vietnam

This offbeat hotel in Dalat in Vietnam goes by various names, among them The Spider Web Chalet, the Hang Nga Tree House and the Crazy House, depending on who you ask.

It is in fact a hotel, designed by Dang Viet Na, a former model and daughter of Truong Chinh, the former resident of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. She designed the hotel so that guests could imagine they were staying in a fantasy world. Being the former president’s daughter clearly helped Dang Viet Na, who studied architecture in Moscow, get permission to build her fantasy hotel.

Its official name is the Hang Nga Tree House, Hang Nga was a moon fairy. Features include an Ant Room, a Honeymoon room reached by a minute bamboo staircase and spiders web made out of string waiting to catch the unwary. 

Crazy_House_09 courtyard

You can find more images here Travelogues site with photos of The Crazy Hotel in Dalat, Vietnam

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