How To Turn Scrap Materials And Overlooked Items Into Design Gold

In this exhibit, trash is turned into treasure.

Humans are wasteful creatures. The sightly good news is that designers are sourcing materials that often end up in the garbage (or ocean) to fabricate creative objects. A new group show at the Aram Gallery called Extra Ordinary details the work of 14 such practitioners who see opportunity in overlooked items.

Of the designs on view, there’s a natural dichotomy between them. Some reincarnate materials for a second life. Bubble wrap becomes a vessel; decommissioned coins find new life as jewelry; rolled cardboard takes on the guise of wood log; leather scraps lend themselves for a rigid composite material. The other faction elevates humble materials to high-design: think cheap moldings turned into tables and heating ducts folded into stools.

Cutting Edge sofa by Martijn Rigters

“The designers selected for the exhibition show incredible resourcefulness, imagination, and daring,” curator Riya Patel writes in the exhibition’s catalog. “They find new ways of seeing what surrounds us.”

And it’s new perspectives like this that often shape innovation. For example, Pyrex cookware—a ubiquitous presence in American kitchens—was adapted from glass used for railroad lanterns. Before Coke was a soda, it was a remedy for morphine addiction. All it takes is a clever angle.

Amandine Alessandra

Extra Ordinary is on view at the Aram Gallery in London until August 22, 2015.

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[All Images: courtesy Aram Gallery]

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