The book “Upcycle 24 Sustainable DIY Projects” has been authored by Rebecca Proctor, who also happens to be the founder of the blog “Modern Craft Workshops”. The book tells you how you can make use of used materials to create new upcycling objects in a personalised design. Moreover, international product designers present ingenious and environment-friendly projects for your home in 24 step-by-step instructions. The publication published in Haupt Verlag in German is the translation of the original issue in English, which was published in the year 2015 by Laurence King Ltd. London. “Upcycle” serves as a source of inspiration and shows how you can create stylishly designed unique objects with nothing but a little creativity and simple tools.
Turn discarded objects into design products
Discarded objects and materials can be turned into new and extraordinary design products with the help of “upcycling”. The term “upcycling” is not only used in the sense of reusing the disposed items, but also to change their purpose to increase their original value further. This is how innovative and at the same time trendy products come into being. These clearly show their origin, but are special for the very reason, that something old got a new life, and thereby holds a completely new meaning. The upcycling movement is all about this: In times of the excessive throwaway society, you would like to set an example and counteract the wastage and mass production. It not only conserves the environment and prevents waste, but also reduces the consumption of precious resources. A lot of designers present this in their designs, as even they have a great interest in creating products with ecological credibility.
Hillsideout is a cooperation project by Andrea Zambelli und Nat Wilms headquartered in Bologna, Italy, which is featured on the initial pages of the book. Furniture restorers strongly believe in die history and spirit of upcycle products, which give the new creations a special depth. They always try to marry art and design with the antique by making use of old and modern materials. The reading light by Hillsideout, made of recycled wood from various waste woods and a modern frame such as plastic, forms an aesthetic example.
Hand-woven mats of cordage for a forefeel of adventure
Each product that once had a meaning and purpose in its lifecycle tells a story and has its own soul. The book makes it possible to convert the products into a new creation. You can even do it with products that are not ready to be disposed yet. Classic industrial products that could possibly find domestic use can be alienated and used cost-effectively for manufacturing a totally new product. This product could receive a new character and find more meaningful use through new functions. The examples given in the book should inspire readers to look for potential in the objects, where it is not expected.
For instance, Austrian designer Sophie Aschauer took inspiration for her new product ideas for the New Yorker company “Serpent-Sea” from a book on sailor knots. She wanted to use the complexity and beauty of the traditional patterns in woven mats. For this, she immediately used the cordage disposed of by sailing boats as the source material for the “upcycling” of her hand-woven sling creations, which give a forefeel of the unknown travel and adventure. Sophie Aschauer’s mat design is suitable for indoor as well as outdoor use, as the ropes used to create them are anyway produced for use in harsh weather conditions.
Designer lamps made of Tetra Pak
You will also see on page 29, how Ed Chew managed to conjure up an excellent designer lamp from an ordinary Tetra Pak. Ed Chew is founder of an architecture firm headquartered in Malaysia. He is the designer of the award-winning Tetra Pak lamp, which won him the first prize in the Bright Ideas Lighting Inhabitat design competition in 2011. He always manufacturers his products from easily available materials, without making use of any special tools for the design and construction. The outcome is true artwork, where he converts scrapped parts into useful everyday products.
The Tetra Pak lamp in futuristic design is made of juice cartons cut in stripes, which are folded to form basic triangles. These are then put together to form a large ball, with absolutely no use of glue! Ed Chew insists on the fact that it should be as easy to manufacture the Tetra Pak lamp as the simple paper planes. If you have understood the underlying principle, you can alter the design as you want in various shapes and sizes. Give it a try yourself!
Become a trendy upcycler with minimal craft skills and the instructions given in the book! We hope you enjoy designing and making your own design objects! And for those who are anyway into handicrafts, we recommend you to take a look at our DIY (do it yourself) category.
If you would like to know more about sustainable designs, we recommend to read the guest article Dr. Alexandra Hildebrandt on the topic sustainable packaging design.
Posted on 09.03.2018
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