Refab: 20 Eye-Catching Pieces of Recycled Urban Furniture
Do you ever get sick of people telling you to recycle? Geeky and green, these furniture designers prove recycling can be a lot more interesting than stuffing cans, bottles and cardboard into the proper containers. A ‘bathtub couch’ and ‘shopping cart chair’ may not be your cup of tea but there is something for everyone in this adaptive reuse collection. Who knows, you might even be inspired to find new uses for old stuff around the house after seeing some of these bizarre recycled furniture designs.
The Castor Canadensis design collective has a solution for folks who aren’t sure what to do with old fluorescent light tubes: use them as light fixtures! While the design is not overly complex it is rather elegant in its simplicity. Also, the fixtures are great for diffusing the light and work remarkably well to illuminate an interior living or dining space.
While not exactly ergonomic the adaption of a shopping cart into a chair seems rather reasonable once you see the result: a detailed and structurally-sound seat that bends and gives slightly where needed but also provides a good deal of support and a place to rest one’s arms. Still, these and other shopping cart chairs might be better suited to a BBQ setting than to a formal dining set.
Old sports equipment has a way of accumulating. Some things we outgrow, some things we ‘replace’ only to find the originals later behind some pile in the garage. Instead of discarding all of that stuff why not find a clever way to reuse it? Maybe the skateboard table or baseball bat chair aren’t your style but perhaps you know a sports fan in need of a sporty recycled furniture birthday present.
Not every piece of ‘recycled furniture’ has to be fancy. These crushed-can furniture pieces are extremely simple in theory but quite colorful in practice. They aren’t suited for every interior design scheme but they are robust and would work great for outdoor furniture in a rugged environment. After all, would anyone really notice the rust on these?
If you’ve ever remodeled a bathroom you know just how big and awkward old bathtubs can be and getting one out of the house to be recycled or scrapped is no easy task. With a few simple modifications the designers over at Reestore have found a way to deal with these clunky relics. Whether the solution is a potentially romantic love seat or an entirely kitch creation is, of course, in the eye of the beholder.
A dishwasher drum seems an unlikely candidate for reuse until you see this recycled dishwasher drum table in action. Once transformed, this odd object is surprisingly suited to its new roll as the base of a simple cylindrical side table. The perforations in the site create interesting lighting patters and the hollow center makes this a light and versatile addition to any home.
Once you smash and bend that bike wheel enough it has nowhere to go but the dumpster, right? Wrong if you’re Andrew Gregg who distorts these seemingly broken pieces even further in the pursuit of a higher goal. The results clearly show the objects’ origins but are nonetheless original, dynamic, eye-catching and even useful compositions.
As everything related to computers gets smaller fewer and fewer people need their old CDs, particularly the burned copies of things that are somewhere on hard drive or a iPhone anyway. Simple reuses for these included coasters and gaudy dangling decorations of course, but the chair above is a pretty compact way to reuse loads of them all at once. That being said, one has to wonder whether this CD chair could possibly be comfortable.
Not every piece of old clothing is fit for the Salvation Army. Some things are too full of holes or, well, let’s face it, too embarrassingly outdated for you to subject even a total stranger to. With this simple and material-light clothing container furniture you can simply stuff your old clothes (ideally after one last wash of course) into a new shape and use as plush and padded furniture.
Newspaper has to be one of the most ubiquitous recyclables on the planet and processing newspapers into reusable materials is itself energy-consuming. Instead, people with the time and inclination could take a hint from the above design: folding, wrapping and weaving newspaper can create surprisingly strong, naturally variegated and colorful recycled newspaper baskets.
Cleaning out the drawers always seems to turn up a surprising number of throwaway pens. By the time we get to these many are dried out or otherwise dysfunctional. Up close it may look tacky but from a distance this disposable pen chandelier has some grace to it. Plus if you ever needed a pen you’d at least know where to find one.
Retro is great but for most of us the faked retro items at the local hipster shop are just a bit too contrived. Lamponi Lamps is the real deal: they use vintage appliances and automobile parts to create elaborate and remarkably elegant lamps. There is a kind of retrofuturism at work here with an authenticity rarely found in faux-historical interior furnishings. There are some more great green furniture items and unusually cool recycling projects at Inhabitat and Ecoble as well as some neat recycled art over at CultCase.