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Material re-appropriation in Design

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I’ve been reading some articles recently on the past New York Design week, and was particularly interested by one about a new line of furniture by Uhuru

uhuru [roducts

These guys have a really nice take on the shaker/arts and crafts philosophy of locally sourced materials and local labour – they have been recycling first growth wood (now extremely hard to come by) taken from buildings being renovated in the New York area, and using it in their furniture – the changing needs of a densely populated urban area provide their raw materials.

This made me think of the scrapile laminated offcut furniture – Two guys going round all the sawmills in Brooklyn collecting offcuts from which they make some really impressive, functional furniture.

The environmental impact of this kind of design is very obvious – we need to think of more innovative ways to re-use or re-appropriate the everyday things we throw away (maybe the wombles did have the right idea!) but maybe they had something there!) and be aware of the value of things which might otherwise be thrown into a skip.

Design trends seem to be enveloping these ideas too – Environmentally sensitive design is not limited solely to mobile phones with paper circuitry , fridges which disassemble themselves, and recycled packaging – I think the value of creating beautiful, functional things from found and or discarded objects is vastly underrated. This externalisation creates a real awareness of what we throw away, I’m not saying everyone should go and construct a chandelier from party poppers, but the fact it exists surely raises awareness about a larger problem.

Stuart Haygarth chandelier

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Written by harrypayne

May 20, 2008 at 10:07 am