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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Adaptive Re-Use, the Ultimate in Recycling

So much is made these days about "Green Design", and I think that there is a lot to it. I totally believe in trying not to squander resources and shopping smart from companies that do not damage the environment. Having said that, we are in a very glamorous industry that, almost by definition is preoccupied with visuals. One way that I have found that serves both purposes is the idea of adaptive reuse, finding things that were made for one purpose, but no longer are useful, and reusing for a whole separate idea. In the image above you can see the yellow lamp on the right. I found this in an old flea market, being sold with a lot of other old glass containers. It used to be used for some industrial purpose, but with a little imagination it makes a great lamp. Also, for the shade I found, at a different market and old silk sari from India, that was totally worn out and useless, but it was perfect for the lining of the shade. Even the coffee table is made from reclaimed wood.

This kind of imaginative use will go a long way to making the world a better place, and a prettier one too. Here are some thoughts for your own projects:

  • Almost any old, interesting object makes for a great lamp, I have used, old toys, pulleys as well as all sorts of old industrial glass ware.
  • If you are at a loss how to adopt your idea into an illuminating project, take your pieces down to your local lighting store, you might be surprised how quickly your idea is embraced by the people there
  • Old recycled materials, such as wood, old tiles etc make terrific additions to tables, and give them an instant patina.
  • When shopping at flea markets etc, be creative, an old classic hub cap, makes a great fruit bowl, with an industrial edge. An old sari or antique textile can be quickly reserviced into a table runner, napkins or a terrific wall hanging.

Scout out all the flea markets and sales in your area, they can be a wealth of opportunity,,,,, remember shop to save the planet!

4 comments:

melissa @ the inspired room said...

This is my first visit to your blog! Love your list and ideas for responsible decorating and adaptive re-use! I did a post today on timeless classics in design, and would love to have you stop by and add your favorites to the list! We are trying to assemble a wide range of classics, and I am sure you would have a great perspective!

Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

Melissa

Mark Cutler said...

I am so glad that you came for a visit! I think that it is so interesting that the world of design is becoming more aware of the benefits of reusing old items for new applications---something that many of us have been doing for years! Vintage is just another great name for it!

Fairfax said...

I think i've mentioned that i started an architectural salvage company about five years ago. We always tried to re-purpose things for a new life. Great post, Mark!

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