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Salvaged Jungle Kitchen

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In the jungles of Maui, artist and builder Tom Sewell has built his own oasis. Using discarded materials from the Hawaiian island's sugar mills, he's created his own home and outbuildings as well as his Zen Complex—a residence for young artists who intern with him—on his 17-acre property in Haiku. His most recent work is a 36-square-foot kitchen made of salvaged Cor-Ten steel and corrugated polycarbonate.

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  The Zen Complex features the Zen Guest House (a 96-square-foot sleeping quarter), the Zen Bathroom (a 48-square-foot, freestanding bathroom equipped with a toilet, sink, and shower), and the latest addition: the six-foot-wide, six-foot-deep, 12-foot-tall Zen Kitchen.
    The Zen Complex features the Zen Guest House (a 96-square-foot sleeping quarter), the Zen Bathroom (a 48-square-foot, freestanding bathroom equipped with a toilet, sink, and shower), and the latest addition: the six-foot-wide, six-foot-deep, 12-foot-tall Zen Kitchen.
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  Sewell capitalizes on discarded material from local sugar mills with which to cast his creations. His process is simple, he says: "I salvage, collect, and assemble."
    Sewell capitalizes on discarded material from local sugar mills with which to cast his creations. His process is simple, he says: "I salvage, collect, and assemble."
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  Using a forklift, crane, and backhoe to put the pieces in place, Sewell and assistants welded the form together.
    Using a forklift, crane, and backhoe to put the pieces in place, Sewell and assistants welded the form together.
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  Up on top, the kitchen is capped by two sheets of glass.
    Up on top, the kitchen is capped by two sheets of glass.
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  Inside the small space are a sink, propane stove, and small refrigerator. "The kitchen only needs to function for one or two people so the six-by-six footprint is satisfactory," Sewell says.
    Inside the small space are a sink, propane stove, and small refrigerator. "The kitchen only needs to function for one or two people so the six-by-six footprint is satisfactory," Sewell says.
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  The kitchen looks out to Sewell's house and his art studio. "I am particularly fascinated by the random designs of the metal plates after parts have been cut out," he says.
    The kitchen looks out to Sewell's house and his art studio. "I am particularly fascinated by the random designs of the metal plates after parts have been cut out," he says.
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  A small door lets cooks and hungry interns into the Cor-Ten steel and corrugated polycarbonate tube.
    A small door lets cooks and hungry interns into the Cor-Ten steel and corrugated polycarbonate tube.
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  "I like the drama of such a small kitchen rising up 12’ in the air next to the large palm trees," Sewell says. Up next: another guest house.
    "I like the drama of such a small kitchen rising up 12’ in the air next to the large palm trees," Sewell says. Up next: another guest house.

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