By Jenn Ballentine

Founded by photographer and sculptor Dwayne Bass, TWOvital strives to create awareness of environmental issues and promote sustainability through its art. Using reclaimed and found materials, Bass created the first-ever sculpture to receive Innovation points or credits under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program for the Commonwealth Logistics Center in Braselton, Ga., in 2008.

Since then, TWOvital has created additional sustainable sculptures as part of green building projects throughout the Southeast and in Washington, D.C. These sculptures have been crafted from a number of different materials including metal, wood, foam insulation, PVC piping, and recycled rubber, all taken from construction sites and buildings that were being demolished or renovated.

In addition to using materials that would otherwise go to the landfill, Bass uses environmentally sustainable adhesives and fasteners when constructing his sculptures and finds new ways of preparing the materials without using harmful chemicals.

For Bass, the concept of creating new objects from reclaimed materials is not new. “I have been making things from leftover or broken items since I was a kid. I made a car out of a broken tape deck when I was about six. I was always fascinated with taking something that is broken and making it into something it was not intended to be,” he said.

Beyond creating sustainable art, Bass is interested in raising awareness of environmental sustainability. “I have a story to tell. I’m not trying to sell a piece of art and my name, but rather to show people how we can be creative with waste from everyday life,” he said.

To that end, Bass and his partner, Lori Sturgess, an exterior designer and painter by trade, are working to involve other artists in their efforts and to encourage developers, government facilities, private corporations and nonprofits to consider adding sustainable art to their properties. “I’m trying to create jobs for other artists, not just myself. When the government buys art, it creates jobs and goes into the local economy,” said Bass.

While TWOvital has installed several sustainable pieces throughout Atlanta, its hope is to expand into other regions. “It’s much bigger than Dwayne. The vision is to take this idea to other areas in the country,” said Sturgess.

In addition to creating sustainable sculptures, Bass and Sturgess also craft awards, jewelry and other functional items made from recycled and reclaimed materials. In December, they launched their “nuts and bolts” jewelry line. In April, TWOvital will supply the Congress for New Urbanism conference with podiums and awards created from construction waste.

The Home Depot Foundation recently commissioned TWOvital to design awards for its Awards of Excellence program. According to Andrea Pinabell, project manager for the Sustainable Communities Program at the Home Depot Foundation, working with Bass has been a pleasure. “The awards are great. I love that they are made of recycled materials. It fits well with our mission of sustainable and green building. In this time where people are being fiscally responsible, we need to look at innovative ways to reuse and recycle materials,” she said.

Bob Fowler, architect and owner of Fowler Design Associates, who was one of the first people to work with Bass on developing a sustainable sculpture, agrees. “It was interesting the way we were able to employ Dwayne’s sculpture in our building. It was a first for that type of creative point on the LEED certification. While we do LEED projects as an important part of being environmentally sensitive in architecture, sculpture is not a large part of it usually. In this case, it played into it in a new and interesting way,” he said.

To further its commitment to improving the environment, TWOvital recently decided to measure and offset its carbon footprint by making its operations carbon neutral. The offsets support a 64,000 acre sustainable forestry project in Georgia.

For more information on TWOvital and its work, see www.twovital.com.