ela mariska
ugly objects ugly
bas laura

bas laura


Laura, writer for Amsterdam Weekly and former tour guide in the red light district, gave Bas the challenge of “beautifying” this coffee pad holder. Admitting the object was more “boring” than truly “ugly,” Laura confessed that its inclusion in the project sparked conversations between herself and the object’s actual owner, her flat-mate, eventually leading to a realization that both had feelings for each other.

Video: about the object

Video: more about the object

Video: other ugly items in their lives

Video: on living near the Red Light District



Buzz Coffepads

Buzz Coffeepads always felt insecure about its looks; other occupants often commended Buzz about its boring appearance and lack of character. All its life Buzz has been taunted because of its absence of shape and its strange pattern of the skin. All those harassments took its toll on Buzz's self-esteem. Buzz feels that even relationships have been affected by its insecurities and more and more he lives a solitary life, attracting as little attention as possible.

Some years ago Buzz Coffeepads took a final effort to get out of its isolation. It had its family name, as well as its purpose in life, printed on its body. Unfortunately it did not bring the result it was hoping for - the feeling of being respected by others. Instead it got tormented more and more.

Now Buzz thinks it's time to do something about it and change its appearance completely in order to get back its self-esteem. Buzz Coffeepads believes things will change soon since it has been selected for an extreme makeover by Ugly Objects. After a visit to the surgeon and interview for admission, Buzz is cleared for surgery and will now receive a total body tuck.

Buzz's extreme makeover surgery will include:

  • Tummy tuck
  • Lower & upper lid surgery
  • Liposuction of the flanks
  • Upper body augmentation
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Neck lift

It will also receive skin treatments:

  • Photo Rejuvenation
  • Mole removal
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Print removal
bas bas

Interview with Buzz Coffeepads, just before the first stage of his Extreme Makeover.

Gary Post Tribune, June 25, 2009.
By: Molly-Jane Josephius

Hey Buzz, how are you doing?
I'm doing all right, I guess. A bit nervous.

Are you excited about your transformation?
Yes, I am.
I'm really looking forward to fitting in with others after such a long time.
I felt more and more like the Ugly Duckling, you know, from the fairy tale.
I totally identify myself with the poor little fellas, being laughed at by their own family and friends all the time... not fitting in at all...
Like the Ugly Duckling I really feel nobody loves me too.
And off course he ran away, I fully understand that, and in a way I'm doing that too. But instead of going to another pond, I went to Extreme Makeover.

What do you expect from this show?
I hope someone will love me, eventually.

Do you think changing your appearance will contribute to that? I mean, beauty is what's inside, isn't it?
Yeah right… I used to think the same for quite some time. But when you've being teased for years, there is this strange moment you realize that it's just a lie. So, yes, I do think my new looks will contribute to that, for sure! They are going to take me serious again! They will stop teasing me! They will love me!

I detect a lot of emotion, Buzz.
Off course, after all these years of trying to fit in and being kicked around by the rest!
And I have tried, boy, have I tried... And I'm really scared to think about what would have happened if I were not selected for Extreme Makeover.

Do you mean this is one of your last opportunities?
That's what I mean.

bas bas

Beauty Comes From Within
wood, steel, tin, brass

At the beginning of the project I felt a bit uneasy with the coffee pad can--the object I had to beautify... The can was not beautiful but, still, it certainly was not ugly. The coffee pad can was functional and had no pretentions of being beautiful at all. It was just boring, clean and without character. Maybe the print could be considered ugly...

Normally, I like to work with a story, a story that acts as material for me to work with. So, one of my first steps was to put the object in the context of Extreme Make-Over, an American television show, which offers people a complete new look through surgery. From that moment, the can became a person with a name, Buzz Coffeepads, teased by his arrogant and overdesigned kitchen mates for his boring look and lack of character.

I now had my story to work with, allowing me to justify my choices and the changes I make to the can. The story got more and more corny.

Buzz Coffeepads had his Extreme Make-Over and was delirious with his new looks. He could hardly wait to return to the kitchen and his arrogant kitchen mates. Convinced of his beauty, he went back home but the kitchen mates still hated him, teased him and called him names.

After the shock, Buzz realized that being beautiful does not automatically guarantee your acceptance by others. He realized he had been an asshole all along... Buzz Coffeepads started thinking about his behavior and read books on how to become a good person... He read a quote from Sophia Loren: "Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” And another quote by Khalil Gibran: "Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart." It all came clear for Buzz Coffeepads…Beauty is in the heart. Who you are is in your heart. Identity is not what you are or how you look. Identity is in your heart.

The emptiness he once felt is now filled up. He got his heart back and his identity at the same time, not based on how he looks, but on how he feels in his heart.