The Third Function: Reclaiming the Discarded and the Invisible


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.”


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

New Goodies at Retrouvius

The London based salvage and design company, Retrouvius, have found some beautiful things recently, acquiring a number of great pieces ranging from antique chairs, exotic rugs to a pair of striped barber poles!


ANGLEPOISE SHADE PENDANTS all photos courtesy of Retrouvius

Here are the objects that caught my eye, for more information have a browse through their new stock on their website













Thomas Chippendale: Google celebrates furniture

I was surprised to see the Google doodle in the form of furniture today. Google is celebrating Thomas Chippendale and the legacy of his furniture, which rather amazingly is still popular today almost 250 years after his heyday. He published The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director in 1754 (which is still in print!), a book of his designs. His wide range of elaborate and often exotic designs, fascinated noblemen of his time. Here is a clip from the excellent BBC documentary on this remarkable craftsman and his furniture.

Reinventing Oriental Carpets: Golran at Milan’s Design Week

Golran reinterprets oriental carpets with a perfect mix between expert technique skills and sensitivity. It has taken a new contemporary turn with this new Kilim collection designed by BertJan Pot under the direction of Francesca Avossa Studio.


The new generation at Golran is driven by a contemporary approach that began several years ago. This approach aims to promote research, while also conveying a new company spirit.


A collaboration with the Francesca Avossa Studio two years ago allowed for a redesign of the brand. This led to the development of a new identity that would unite the various activities of the brand, and create a cohesive message in both publicity and collections.


After the revolutionary Carpet Reloaded collection, whose innovation has been the engine of the company’s repositioning, Golran decided to invest further in contemporary collections.


The first two collections designed by Isabella Sodi – “Memories” and “Shadows” – preceded the collaboration with the studio of Francesca Avossa; a former consultant for several companies, including as artistic director of the brand’s collections at Ligne Roset.


The new editorial line has been designed in harmony with the spirit of Golran: reminiscent of the East, with traditional and artisanal know-how, using a contemporary approach to décor and a particular style of transgression.


Lillys Lightbox Company – Giving Original Beauty a New Lease of Life

Felicia Strehmel

At Design Junction I saw a wide range of brilliant designs and interesting designers,  but found very little recycled furniture on display. Then I came across Felicia Strehmel, who makes lightboxes from restored drawers featuring old photos and archive images.

They struck me immediately because of their warm yellow glow, the light exhumed by these transformed drawers is subtle and atmospheric, creating a cosy setting. The slides also have a depth to them drawing you in as the image appears to swim inside it.

All the images carry a mix of humour and nostalgia, focusing on scenes that are ephemeral and otherwise might be forgotten – such as the displays of the old East German valve radios which used to be stunning centre pieces of people’s homes that are no longer in our conscience.

She also refers to the Grunding 1960s Television ad campaign –  a cheeky reflection on how we all used to watch TV.

Felicia is a passionate photographer and gains a lot of her inspiration from scenes she has captured in her native Germany.

She also uses old archive photos and incorporates these into her different collections.

All the lightboxes are made from lovingly restored cabinet/bureau/chest of drawers from the 1900s through to the 1960s.  Felicia sources the drawers from recycle clearances or from old furniture she finds on the street.

She emphasized that she only uses pieces ready for the reclamation yard and would never dismantle an antique that still had hopes for restoration.

Felicia describes her light-boxes as “truly multi-dimensional – they are a striking artwork, an upcycled eco lamp and they take you on a journey if you let them.”

Around the World in 80 Chairs: Roccapina V Chair, London

Roccapina V Chair by Yard Sale Project made from colour graded hardwoods. Photo courtesy of YardSaleProject.

The unique block design is put together piece by piece, held together by glue and reinforced by screws. The chairs are made with absolute precision, starting off as smooth distinct shapes and moving into a pixelated jagged edge. Despite its chaotic appearance, there is a lot of order in the making of the chair each block adjoining to another is of a different colour. The designer Ian Spencer stated that “There are actually a lot of rules to the chair, but an absence of predictability. It’s not anarchy.” The YardSaleProject exhibited at London’s Designersblock at the Southbank Centre last weekend.

Roccapina V Chair back view. Photo courtesy of the YardSaleProject.