June 11, 2021
Furniture designers have long been fascinated by the potential of using discarded materials, a trend accelerated by the recent clamour for all things recycled, upcycled and repurposed. Here is a small selection of designs which have caught our eye.
Did you know that the average lifespan of commercial buildings in Japan is only 5-10 years? This implies an inordinate amount of discarded building materials which is totally wasted. As part of the Semba Ethical Thinking Design initiative, Japanese design studio we+ has transformed such building waste by grinding and re-constituting them to create a new material. This is used to build a number of occasional tables and screens which retain a distinct architectural flavour. We particularly like the colourful patination created by oxidised metal elements and the surface finish of the objects, which resembles concrete board-marks.
Netherlands-based Dirk van der Kooij is a pioneer of circular manufacturing, long before the concept became popular. His fascination with recycling plastics has led him to develop specialist manufacturing processes, including an extrusion machine fashioned from disused car production robot arms. Waste plastic from fridge interiors to CD cases are melted, pressed and extruded to form chairs, tables and lights. True to his circular principles, even the production waste is recycled into blocks of plastic, which are then carved into benches and tables. No veneers or surface finishes are used on any product, which means scratches can be polished away and the entire object can be recycled again. The end products have a surprisingly artisanal, almost child-like quality, a tribute to the designer's passion and ingenuity.
Link: Dirk van der Kooij
The fashion industry has a huge waste problem with unsold garments. Fabric covers account for a big chunk of the cost of upholstered furniture. Korean designer Jinyeong Yeon put these two observations together and cleverly created a series of armchairs and sofas upholstered with surplus puffer coats (courtesy of Shirter, a South Korean fashion brand). The padded fabrics give the chairs a warm, inviting vibe, whilst details such as pockets and zips add a large dose of humour and visual interest. Perfect for a cosy night in.Link: Jinyeong Yeon
When French designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance drove from France to Portugal one summer, he was struck by the post apocalyptic scenes of forests on fire. One of the by-products of these forest fires is piles of discarded charred cork. Enchanted by the unique colour and texture of the burnt cork as well as their connection to the fires, the designer transformed them into solid blocks which were then carved into a series of tables and chairs. The end results are not only beautifully sleek and organic, but they also embody the spirit of the rising phoenix.
Link: Made in Situ
September 23, 2021
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