Furniture Magpies’ Metamorphosis


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.”


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.

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


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.”


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

All of these items are also available at

Shake the Dust: Sustainable Jewellery

Quazi Design transforms waste paper into colourful accessories, these Tehuti rings are made from discarded magazines.


Tehuti rings by Quazi Design

“We push the boundaries of our raw material, developing interesting techniques; including layering magazine pages to recreate the impression of wood, as if transforming the material back to its original form.”


Tehuti rings by Quazi Design

The discarded paper is used to create a wide range of sustainable products, from jewellery to interiors.

“We showcase our innovative paper fashion and each year we offer our customers cutting edge collections which are motivated by new approaches to recycling paper.”


Tehuti Collection by Quazi Design

Based in Swaziland, the company promotes craftsmanship and sustainability and offers training to designers and artisans interested in ethical design.

Products by Quazi Design are also available at Shake the Dust a design brand which specialises in ethical products and sources, commissions and sells hand-made, luxury homeware and accessories.

Hundertwasser’s Public Toilet

New Zealand, land of astonishing natural beauty, landscapes that almost seem false as they are so incredible and unusual. Land of sensitive and unique flora and fauna, tatoos, the haka, sheep and cattle…and err interesting public toilets. You may think it strange that such a facility is to be featured on this blog for it’s design aesthetic, but it is a pretty strange sight.


Travelling up to the northern tip of the country to a small town called Paihia, I noticed the small vibrant structure immediately. At first it looks more like a small brick a brack shop or a tourist vendor. However as you come closer you will notice the sign written in multicoloured and individually styled letters reading the words “Paihia’s Wee Toilet”.


The small box like building is decorated with metal toilets that have been converted into plant pots. Long wild grass potrudes from the disused boat that sits on the roof. Wooden benches line the small coves, proving practical for waiting children. The sloping walls at the entrance allow for a degree of privacy while washing your hands while also welcoming in sunlight. At night the public toilets light up in neon pink and green making it look even more inviting but also fooling some tourists into believing it is a silent dance venue.


And who may be responsible for such an eccentric piece of architecture in the middle of a tiny remote town on the other side of the world – Hundertwasser of course. The eccentric artist and architect spent a considerable amount of time in New Zealand and although his contribution to Paihia’s architectural landscape was small, it is certainly significant. He would have no doubt also been pleased to know that it was certainly the cleanest public toilet I have ever visited.


A Microcosm for Architecture: From Factory to Home

This is an incredible story of a magnificent home that lies north west of Barcelona, Spain’s cultural and artistic capital.

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Draped in lush vegetation and offering an abundance of open spaces, this building is impressive not only in size but also in style. It’s features are so unusual for a family home and it is almost unthinkable how such a grand project came about.

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

However this was not always a scene of domestic bliss and creative outlet. This towering building once housed the industry that produces the material we use to create most modern structures – cement.

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

This is a story of a visionary architect, Ricardo Bofill, who saw the potential for something beautiful to be created from an old dilapidated factory. The result shows the success of his hard work and the realisation of his dream, to create his dream home from an edifice long forgotten and diregarded.

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Ricardo Bofill cement factory courtesy of Ricardo Bofill and first seen on yatzer

Here is a video about the former cement factory that has become an incredible living space. Expansive ceilings and crawling green plants, make this restored factory building an architectural masterpiece with a great deal of charm.

More information and photos found here on

The DO School Sustainable Cup Challenge

Disposable cups make a huge contribution to the amount of waste we produce, it is probably not something many of us think about when we’re finishing our morning coffee. However, how could we create a product that will be both recycled and easily recyclable?


Are you a budding designer? In our previous post we talked about the DO Fellowship opportunity.

The DO Sustainable Cup Challenge  aims to help the selected Fellows to create an innovative and sustainable to-go cup.  They will also be expected to develop the related infrastructure and create a campaign for New York City. The Fellows will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics from leading experts,  including the environmental impact of packaging and materials as well as about recycling systems.


By tackling the Challenge, Fellows will have to learn how to turn an idea into action by using a hands-on approach. Fellows will also work on developing their own venture idea into a viable plan, that is ready for implementation during the following ten months in their home countries.

Calling all young entrepreneurs!


The DO School is offering a unique one-year program for emerging social entrepreneurs that will provide training, mentoring and empowerment to young entrepreneurs to help them start their own ventures. Selected Fellows will receive a full scholarship covering the tuition fee for the year.

The DO School invites applications from motivated individuals from around the world to participate in the DO School Sustainable Cup Challenge. Applications are now open to young people aged between 21 and 28 and will close on September 15th 2013. Successful applicants will show exceptional motivation to contribute to solving the Challenge and will be encouraged and supported to develop their own social venture and in the areas of eg. sustainable product design, campaigning and branding, environmental activism, recycling and waste management.

The DO School Fellow Group

The DO School Fellow Group

The programme will run from February to May 2013 and the selected Fellows will spend the first 10 weeks of this one-year program on the DO School pop-up campus in New York City! The following 10 months will be spent in their home countries implementing their own ventures.

3D Printing – Reimagining Creativity

3D Printing By Waag Society

3D Printing By Waag Society

Lately there have been countless articles and references to 3D printing, 3D printed shoes, guns, art, bicycles and casts for broken arms… While making 3D weapons understandably sparked a great deal of controversy and even panic in the press, other products especially in fashion and design have been met with a huge degree of interest by the public. But what is 3D printing and how advanced is this practice in reality?

3D-printing innovations at the Inside 3D Printing Expo at the Javits Center by Inhabitat

3D-printed shoes at the Inside 3D Printing Expo at the Javits Center by Inhabitat

Unlike conventional printers, 3D printing allows you to create a physical object from a digital model designed on the computer. (I had an image of a pair of shoes emerging from our office printer when I was reading about this, so don’t worry if you’re finding it hard to imagine.) The process is also known as ‘additive manufacturing’ which works by adding layers of new material in certain shapes to create the final product (see video below). This meticulous method of manufacturing is quite different to the usual process of either reshaping or carving out an object from the raw material – such as stone or metals.

3D Printed Cells Bowl - Math Art by Dizingo

3D Printed Cells Bowl – Math Art by Dizingo

The main thing about 3D printing is that it allows you to create endless identical versions of a product using the same digital prototype. In terms of mass marketing and accuracy this is quite a revolutionary tool. But have we reached the stage where we can really say this process is world changing? I did some research to find out how costly and how easy it would be to create my very own 3D product, envisaging a small piece of jewellery just as a tester. Maybe a pair of R-Inc knuckle dusters?

3D Printed klein bottle Pendant - Math Art By Dizingof

3D Printed klein bottle Pendant – Math Art By Dizingof

Searching for a willing print shop couldn’t be so hard. However I soon realised that my new mission was about to land me well outside of my sustainable ideals, as 3D printing mostly uses plastics… nevertheless it was a design process that simply fascinated me. Eventually I decided against the knuckle dusters, but continued to look into the process itself.

Quadrifolium 3D Print By fdecomite

Quadrifolium 3D Print By fdecomite

What I found was inspiring, however it was more of an interesting idea than a flawless method. Many 3D products, besides being quite environmentally unfriendly, are not of the highest quality. While it could hugely simplify the design process, currently the cost still seems to be too high to be worth it. There is no doubt that in the next few years this will change, however at this stage it doesn’t seem worth it unless your products are small white plastic and you have a lack of physical labour.

This 3D object is adatpted and optimized for 3D printing with netfabb.

This 3D object is adatpted and optimized for 3D printing with netfabb.

In terms of more complex structures that need to be assembled from multiple small identical pieces 3D printing could provide a welcome alternative to current manufacturing techniques. And there are already a number of inventions such as the Filabot seeking to use recycled materials as “3D ink”.

3D printing By marymactavish

3D printing By marymactavish

It seems that while machines can assist in manufacturing to some degree, there is nothing more valuable or beautiful than skilled craftsmanship. Machines may provide a cost effective way of mass producing simple goods, but in terms of creative projects and unique high quality objects the input and skills of a human are essential. Having said that, 3D printing still fascinates me and I am interested to see how artists and designers will incorporate this process into their own work. Doubtless to say this is only the beginning…

Video by Create it REAL