The Pagri Stools by Studio Avni are made from repurposed silk Sarees. Studio Avni have created an upcycled and sustainable collection of textile poufs using the material from these old and discarded drapes.
This pouf is also available at moorbi.com
The renowned Chinese artist Ai WeiWei‘s “Bang” installation on display in the German Pavillion at the Venice Biennale this year, brings together themes of dwindling customs, culture and sustainability. The tower of tangled wooden stools are made from sturdy wood by skilled craftsman and were handed down from generation to generation.
“For his installation for the German representation at the French Pavilion, Ai Weiwei has assembled 886 three-legged wooden stools. In today’s China, the three-legged stool is an antique. Manufactured by a uniform method, it was in use throughout China and in all sectors of society for centuries.”
“Every family had at least one stool, which served all sorts of domestic purposes and was passed on from generation to generation. After the Cultural Revolution, which began in 1966, and the subsequent modernization of the country, however, production of these stools plummeted. Aluminum and plastic have superseded wood as the standard material for furniture.” Susanne Gaensheimer states in the foreword of the official publication of the German Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia 2013
She continues to describe the significance of the way the stools are arranged and WeiWei’s metaphoric intentions behind the installation.
“Out of 886 of these stereotyped and yet highly individual objects, Ai Weiwei, recruiting traditional craftsmen who possess the necessary and now rare expertise, has created an expansive rhizomatic structure whose sprawling growth recalls the rampantly proliferating organisms of this world’s megacities. The single stool as part of an encompassing sculptural structure may be read as a metaphor for the individual and its relation to an overarching and excessive system in a postmodern world developing at lightning speed.
“In the present exhibition, it functions also as a metaphor of the themes addressed in the works of Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng, and Dayanita Singh, each of whom has devised distinctive techniques to present a variety of perspectives on how biographical, cultural, or political identity is related to larger, transnational conditions and circumstances.”
All images are courtesy of Roman Mensing for the German Pavilion.
If you’re looking for a place to have a little rest and bit of a sit down then where better to be than in a room full of furniture and fancy designs.
You may wonder why most people seem to be standing or walking around browsing at design events when there is such an abundance of seating options.
Nevertheless here are some interesting and stylish chair models by a number of designers exhibiting at Clerkenwell Design Week. Today is the last day, so make sure you pop by if you haven’t already.
The Eindhoven based designer, Joost Gehem, stumbled upon an eco-friendly design process almost by accident. While he had a long standing interest in recycling and sustainable life styles, he came across re-purposing materials from an unusual angle.
His research into recycling waste brought his attention to statistics affecting our society, such as the number of deaths, divorces, bankruptcies and the amount of elderly people needing to move to retirement homes. When he considered what may link these statistics, he came to an interesting conclusion – household items. These often tragic and life changing events often result in discarded or unwanted objects, as houses are sold or cleared out.
Joost started to wonder what happened to these objects and where they ended up. After searching the internet he realised he could obtain the entire contents of a house that people no longer wanted. Many of these unwanted objects were the result of deaths and divorce, but he was also interested in the people who simply wanted to change or update the interior of their homes.
“I could hardly believe how cheap a complete interior could be and how much of it you could obtain in this way. I began to see it as a material and I envisioned a little factory in my mind. What if I could create products out of this unwanted material. “
He saw this material as almost a raw material that would be re-purposed and remoulded into a different form, changing its appearance and consistency to give it a new life cycle.
At first he was a little concerned about what the grieving friends or family think. Whether they would welcome the possibility that objects once belonging to their deceased friend or family member would be broken down into a pulp and be reused as a material to create a new product.
However after presenting his idea to the son of an elderly widower from whom he was buying the entire 1960s interior of a house, he realised that many people would welcome the reuse of these objects. Reshaping and transforming these old pieces of furniture and household items, gives them a new meaning and a new purpose when they have become obsolete.
“So some people think it’s about recycling or up-cycling etc. I can’t disagree with that, but I did not start this process as an engineer, I’m not qualified to do that. I looked at the process from a different perspective, I focused on the powerful life events like death, divorce, etc. these things happen a lot all over the world. Most importantly I can relieve the ‘owner’ of the product in a considerate/air/appropriate way and create a new usable product ‘life cycle’. That’s my first priority.”
Joost believes in the importance of improving our lifestyle in general, changing the way we live and consume. His products not only provide a solution for unwanted objects resulting from a change of circumstances, but they also provide a way to gain value from something that has possibly been deemed to be worthless. By creating a new product he can change the aesthetics and the purpose of the product itself giving it an completely new lease of life. For more information visit the Transformation & Distribution Centre for Abandoned Household Items.
Terra is a brand that produces cradle to cradle furniture and objects from compressed earth and agricultural waste. The project also seeks to generate income and capacity building for women in BOP (bottom of the pyramid) communities in developed and developing countries. The Terra project is run by Adital Ela and seeks to create a model of local production for local use, based on locally available organic waste. The project plans to operate through independent Terra production workshops in a franchise-like model; with the first workshops aiming to generate income for Arab women in Israel and Palestine.
The objects are 100% organic and are made from earth and natural fibres. They can be produced everywhere in the world using local soil and agricultural residue, require zero energy, create no pollution and are fully renewable.
Terra’s objects are made by using a unique compression process that combines indigenous knowledge and contemporary production methods. At the end of its lifecycle the objects can be either re-moulded or dispersed in every garden returning to their origins.
The project is modelled upon Gandhi’s ideas of a fair economy “Let the owner of the field get hold of a spinning wheel and turn it, until his cotton field has clothed him, his family and the whole of his village.“
Terra is creating a blueprint model towards a viable future of sustainable production and consumption patterns. It’s purpose does not only focus on environmental factors but also takes on a strong social and ethical role towards development. It enables the local production of artifacts for local use and applies methods developed by a centralized research team through a distinctive blend of indigenous and contemporary techniques.
Terra’s core business is based on a method developed for improving the characteristics of mud and straw mixtures adapting them for moulding mobile standalone 3D articles. The products vary according to needs identified locally with relevant stakeholders. For example, workshops in the developed world will produce furniture and other home décor, while workshops in the developing world will produce healthier ovens, cooling storage systems etc.
“Terra strives to empower communities to establish and run their own businesses with our guidance and support. To fulfill this vision we operate on two levels:
1. Terra’s R&D base sustains an on-going research developing the method towards additional applications and adapting it to materials available in the various locations.
2. Enabling the establishment of independent local production workshops by providing a ‘set-up mentoring’ service through a local NGO or other relevant stakeholder to enable the establishment of sustainable social enterprises.”
The project has high hopes in putting the power of design in the hands of BOP communities; and aims to guide their local partners through a co-design process to use their knowledge and skills to design products for their peers.
Christchurch in New Zealand has suffered a number of devastating earthquakes in the past 2 years, which left almost 200 people dead and thousands without a home.
The city is in ruins and it will probably take years to rebuild as people wait for their insurance payouts and buildings continue to be demolished because they are unfit for renovation.
It is almost like a ghost town in parts, as areas remain cordoned off and many residents have moved to the outskirts of the city. However this is also an interesting and exciting time for some, who are using their creativity and their innovation to build on fresh ideas and breathe life back into derelict areas.
Artists and architects are using the abundant open spaces to realise projects they may have never been able to take beyond the studio.
One of these brilliant projects is the Summer Pallet Pavilion in central Christchurch organised by Gap Filler – a creative urban regeneration initiative started in response to the September 4, 2010 Canterbury earthquake, and revised and expanded in light of the more destructive February 22, 2011 quake.
Gap filler collaborated with emerging designers, established professionals, architects and numerous volunteers to create this impressive venue.
They have created a community space from wooden crates. The self contained space is covered in plants and comprises of a stage, several counters/table and a large amount of seating. All this was made from used crates, salvaged boards and donated materials.
On the website it is described as ” a testament to the effectiveness of a collaborative and community-minded process. That creative ethos continues through its use, as the Pavilion will host live music, outdoor cinema and a wide range of other events from Thursday to Sunday and is also available for hire by any individual or community organisation at other times.”
It is incredible that even in a city that has been reduced to rubble, there is so much inspiration and innovation leading the drive to rebuild. Such support and involvement from the community is admirable and extremely moving.
It also shows how important creativity is in our society, without it we would be lost and without comfort or stimulation.