The term “upcycling” has been used since the early ‘90s but the practice of converting waste materials into new products of better quality has been around much longer. The trend is only growing, along with the possibilities. From transit signs to metro cards, items that have outlived their original purpose are being put to use all over again.
From Traffic Signs to Seating: Upcycled Furniture By Boris Bally
The materials are recycled traffic signs, champagne corks and steel hardware. The technique is Humanufactured (hand-fabricated, pierced, brake-formed, finished). The finished product is a chair (or maybe a table) that is graphic, urban and unusual.
Boris Bally is the creator of furniture and housewares made from transformed street signs, weapon parts, and a wide variety of found materials. According to his website “These pieces celebrate raw American street-aesthetic in the form of objects, often useful, for the home and the body.” I’m not sure how traffic signs factor into the global waste problem, but Boris Bally is giving an unexpected second life to signage.
Tatum’s Lounge is One-of-a-Kind
There is more to piano keys than their exposed black and white teeth—and what is left behind, hidden within the piano’s body, can make a wonderful building material. Brooklyn-based design studio Nine Stories Furniture certainly believes in repurposing discarded materials. They made a name for themselves building furniture from scrap car metal. And now they’re reusing piano keys.
Upcycled Beams To Hold Your Coffee Mug; The Raft Table by Andre Joyau
Chunky wood beams make beautiful, simple furniture that is elegant and modern. They also make furniture that is nearly impossible to move, but that’s another story. I am continually drawn to this type of furniture for its straight forward design that feels timeless, for the moment.