The next time you that you sit on a bank note, it might be under your pocket and not in it. Pulling together unusual materials is something that furniture designers have always done, but now they’re taking that to a new level. With recycling and repurposing very hot these days, designers are creating some pretty unique chairs, luminaries and other surfaces from equally unique sources.
Here’s what’s happening in the progressive world of repurposed furniture design right now.
Green Design Applies to Furnishings, Too
The biggest buzz in green design usually happens with the latest advances in insulation, energy conservation, cleaner practices and the like. But furnishings of one sort or another make up the interior of every building, no matter it’s purpose.
Furniture made from recycled materials has a special character, says Hallie Busta for Architect magazine. At least when the designer uses the materials to their best advantage. A pile of broken glass might not look like much, but when those materials form a solid countertop, they take on a whole new interesting look.
Designers are Creating Noteworthy Pieces
Interesting looks is the idea behind this trend in furniture design. One of the most copied chairs of all time, the Eames shell chair, has its own new iteration. But instead of fiberglass, the material of choice for designer Hans Thyge and furniture company ICF is the same polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle that people use and recycle every day.
If you’ve ever wanted to surround yourself with money, London designer Angela Mathis has something you. She uses old bank notes to create upholstery fabric. The shredded money gets formed and stitched together, and then used to upholster the top of stool seating.
Watch this to see how Mathis works:
Some Designers Make the Raw Materials First
The BuzziDonut luminaire is wrapped in recycled materials such as wool, polycrylic and old rags, and you’d never know it by its sleek, modern looks. But what if a designer wants to control the whole process from beginning to end instead of reusing materials that someone else created?
Recycling goes a step deeper with a select group of designers who develop their own raw materials from waste such as old plastics. With old bottles, designers can melt down and completely refashion what was once a drinking bottle into something such as a molded tool handle or even a table.
You never know what might happen when some material is discarded. Candlesticks might become a countertop. Old T-shirts or blue jeans might find new life as woven lawn chairs. And that plastic bottle that held your water today could find itself part of a coffee table tomorrow. In the hands of the right designer, all that it takes is some ingenuity and eye for great design.
Recycling goes well past separating your plastics and papers and setting them out at the curb. It’s a key element in green living, and that’s a critical component in the life of every architect.
PDH Academy helps you stay in tune with everything that’s new in green design, whether it’s developing a new building from the ground up or learning about how furniture is made from old money. And continuing education is part of how that’s done. Check out our courses for architects when your next credit hours are due.