An unemployed Irish artist, Frank Buckley, has built a ‘billion euro home‘ from the shredded remains of decommissioned banknotes as a statement against the “madness” the single currency has wrought upon Ireland.
The artist constructed the home using 1.4 billion euros ($1.82 billion) of useless notes. Buckley first began by creating mixed-media works of art using the paper medium, before progressing further and creating an entire apartment.
It currently contains a living room, bedroom and bathroom — and the artist is currently working on adding a kitchen and hall.
Each feature is constructed through ‘bricks’ made purely of compressed former currency, and as the artist notes, ‘it’s just paper’. Buckley hopes that the project will spark discussion within a country that has suffered high expectations for the single currency, only to face a housing slump that has created severe repercussions for many and crippled the economy.
“I’m sitting in my studio with my feet up on a box of €4 million of shredded notes and I thought, ‘God, this is just paper’,” Buckley explains. “I just felt there needs to be a debate on this. Kids in school need to come down and see and get talking about it. What does currency mean?”
A cheap flood of credit at the introduction of the single currency caused an extensive property bubble in the early 2000s. However, following its rapid decline, the euro has left Ireland amassed with derelict and empty building, and faced with a deep recession which forced it to accept a humiliating EU bailout last year.
Frank Buckley built the apartment in the lobby of an abandoned Dublin office building, left vacant since its completion in the Irish construction boom. It remains as a sad reminder of what the euro crisis has left in its wake. “It can’t be a hold on everything. It’s ruining people.” He said of the currency.
“It’s a reflection of the whole madness that gripped us,” Buckley indicated. “People were pouring billions into buildings now worth nothing. I wanted to create something from nothing.”
Mixed-media artworks line the walls, and coins decorate the apartment further — made from Irish 5 pence pieces — perhaps a poignant reminder of what the country once enjoyed. However, at the least, this unemployed artist doesn’t go cold at night.
“Whatever you say about the euro, it’s a great insulator.”