Pagri Stool: Sculptural Seating made from Sarees

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.Green Saree Pouf

Green upcycled saree pouf

Green upcycled saree pouf by Studio Avni

This pouf is also available at moorbi.com

Furniture Magpies’ Metamorphosis

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Furniture Magpies create furniture from discarded materials, providing an alternative to adding to landfills. These unique constellations that use a combination of discarded furniture, look more like art than functional objects.

“Furniture Magpies offers an alternative to mass produced furniture, specialising in regenerating old furniture to meet the desires of modern consumers.”

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This coat stand is made with the back of several dining chairs, the design blends different chair styles while retaining the individuality of each component.

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The beautiful visual composition is also surprisingly versatile adding to the atmosphere of a room.

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The ‘Lovely Legs’ climbing wall lamp is made with discarded Windsor chair legs and copper elbows.

Furniture Magpies emphasise the importance of the history and memories carried by the pieces that make up the final product.

“Our work strives to retain the character and story of the furniture we use, allowing the user an insight into their items original identity.”

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‘Hang on to your Drawers’ coffee table made with reclaimed old drawers.

All of these items are also available at moorbi.com.

The Living Furniture Project – The Social Impact of Design

The Living Furniture Project is a design studio and workshop with a social purpose – creating jobs for the homeless. Located in East London, an area with a visible housing problem, the project aims to encourage training and creativity to address this growing problem. It not only highlights the issue of homelessness but also takes a positive and practical approach in attempting to solve it.

LFP's workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

LFP’s workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

The People Behind the Project
The Living Furniture Project involves a number of design creatives and experts in reclaimed materials, these include:

- contemporary upcycling luminaries Donna Walker and Nic Parnell,
- Geoff Walker who has twenty six years experience in bespoke carpentry and has designed the stylish interiors of bars like Barrio East and Dalston Superstore,
- Sarah Baulch, who has been regularly featured in Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and on TV for her upcycled fabric designs,
- Yinka Ilori, a prodigy designer regularly asked to exhibit his furniture in Berlin, Milan and London,
- Kat Wight, an acclaimed pattern designer who previously worked for Laura Ashley,
- Kat Hamer who is an Australian eco-fashion designer and social entrepreneur, and
- James McBennett, founder of innovative furniture start-up Fabsie.com

Emerald Chair Collection

Emerald Chair Collection

Tackling Homelessness
The company works in partnership with two homelessness charities – Crisis and Providence Row, who refer their clients to the workshop for a range of paid and unpaid training and work programmes. Each Apprentice is given technical training, structured mentoring and pastoral support – a personal development programme which has been designed in conjunction with the partner charities.

The project has taken on two homeless Apprentices since launching in January 2013, and is taking on two more in May. The aim is to employ ten Apprentices by the end of the year. Apprentices will stay with the company for up to six months and are then helped with finding a job elsewhere in the furniture industry.

“The first time an Apprentice finishes a piece can get quite emotional – holding something unique in their hands and thinking – I did that.”

Donna Walker, designer on the project, explains her motivation for joining “I like the idea of skill-sharing, I use it a lot in my own work – I learn making skills from my colleagues and I teach them mine in return. So skill-sharing with the homeless is my way of giving back to the local community.”

Designer Nic Parnell adds “I like the idea that a high level piece of furniture can be made by anyone, of any skill level, if they’re given the proper tuition. I’m very excited to be part of the project.”

Emerald side cabinet by Nic Parnell

Emerald side cabinet by Nic Parnell

Sustainability
The Living Furniture Project source all their materials sustainably – using reclaimed plywood or shipping pallets, or restoring old pieces they find in salvage yards, skips or on the street. The company already has a network of spotters and collectors who identify opportunities to reclaim waste in the construction, textile and manufacturing industries. Below is a short video explaining how the Living Furniture project works and how you can buy bespoke made furniture from them.

The Living Furniture Project – How to buy furniture from us from Alastair Sloan on Vimeo.

Around the World in 80 Chairs: The Tyred Chair, Cape Town – South Africa

A combination of Roy Lichtenstein, South African slang and upcycled design. Yameng Li has reimagined a simple recycling idea into a work of art, by painting this unique tyre chair in collboration with Tyred, at the Design Indaba Conference 2010 in Cape Town.

Tyred Chair by Yameng Li

Tyred Chair by Yameng Li

Yameng Li painting the Tyred Chair

Yameng Li painting the Tyred Chair

The Third Function: Reclaiming the Discarded and the Invisible

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Photo by Alan J. Crossley

The LA based multidisciplinary artist, Carolina Fontoura Alzaga (better known as Caro), has created the CONNECT Series of spectacular, cascading, and seemingly traditional chandeliers. These chandeliers however, are not made of glass or crystal but have been carefully crafted using discarded bike parts.

Carolina Fontoura Alzaga Photo by Alan J. Crossley

Carolina Fontoura Alzaga Photo by Alan J. Crossley

Caro professes that she became inspired to create the series when she started exploring the “third function” of materials. She describes the lifecycle in three stages of discarded materials being transformed and reclaimed into something new –

1. they serve their original function
2. their original function becomes obsolete and they become ‘trash’
3. they cease to be ‘trash’ as they are transformed into something entirely new

Photo by Caro Fontoura Alzaga

Photo by Caro Fontoura Alzaga

Through this process she seeks to transform objects deemed to be excess waste by “effectively reclaiming the ‘discarded’ and ‘invisible’ to create something far more powerful and commanding.”

Photo by Alan J. Crossley

Photo by Alan J. Crossley

As a result the “chandelier itself becomes a metaphor of reclaimed power.”

Photo by Alan J. Crossley

Photo by Alan J. Crossley

The CONNECT Series chandeliers are influenced by both modern and Victorian styles, as well as by bike culture, and a strong belief in the concept of sustainability and environmental preservation.

“The idea for ‘The CONNECT Series’ began from seeing pots and pans hung from a makeshift pot rack made from a bicycle rim. It inspired me to make a mobile made from a bike rim, bike tube, and bike gears. The result was lovely but too simple and it was the semantic mistake of calling it a bike ‘chandelier’ and not a mobile that led me to make a proper chandelier.”

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Photo by Alan J. Crossley

Caro has a unique gift for recognising value and functionality in unwanted objects, allowing these to serve a purpose even if it greatly differs from their original use.

“In her art and her life, Caro works to find beauty in the discarded, and challenges the necessity of the new.”

Photo by Caro Fontoura Alzaga

Photo by Caro Fontoura Alzaga

Repurposed Bicycle Chain Chandelier by Carolina Fontoura Alzaga

Yes take a closer look, these stunning chandeliers are made of bicycle chains draping down in elegant swathes. Carolina Fontoura Alzaga uses old discarded and broken bicycle chains to create these fixtures using her artistic talent and skilled craftsmanship. The result is astonishing, proving that the gift is in the quality and composition of each piece.

Bicycle Chain Chandelier by Carolina Fontoura Photo by John Valls

Bicycle Chain Chandelier by Carolina Fontoura Photo by John Valls

Photo by John Valls

Photo by John Valls

Reclaiming the Garden

How often do you see junk in peoples gardens? Old chairs, wooden planks and every so often an old bathtub will litter people’s lawns. Removing bulky objects can be an expensive and laborious task. Sometimes this will even build up until it becomes a bit of an eyesore, however there are plenty of ways to integrate discarded objects into your garden without even removing them.

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I saw this beautiful gold painted bathtub in an old winter garden in Christchurch, New Zealand. After the earthquake countless homes were left badly damaged or destroyed completely. This affected gardens too, but nature has a great way of recovering and this particular garden has been transformed not lost. This old bathtub was painted in gold and placed in a disused glasshouse, as the plants have flourished they have almost engulfed the bathtub making it a central part of the winter garden.