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Sustainability

This ideation stemmed from a conversation I had with a friend about products made of reclaimed materials being made with a high level of intent, thus increasing its value. Chair legs would be arranged to extend from a post, creating a sculptural tree-like form. Rather than resting on the branches, the books would hang from them. This unconventional bookshelf design blurs the line between something being more functional than decorative or vice versa. It can be understood to be either a sculptural element or a functional element, depending on how consumers approach the piece.

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Continuing with the idea of utilizing reclaimed materials, this ideation takes drawers from unwanted pieces of furniture and gives them a new purpose. A hole would be drilled at the top to work with a recycled glass jar underneath, creating more use for storage. Prior to designing these sustainable bookshelves, I came to the conclusion that the bookshelf no longer just stored books but rather displayed one’s possessions. The glass jars’ transparency simply reflects that idea. I didn’t like this idea to much because again, it seemed like a one-liner. Taking a drawer and turning it on its side so that it functions as a shelf. Boring!

As this project shifts gears and works toward designing sustainable versions of a bookshelf, I came up with a few ideations that utilize reclaimed and recycled materials. With this first ideation, I thought of the standard wall-mounted shelf, generally made of wood, plastic, or metal. For my design, I would utilize recycled aluminum extrusions with a support made of woven recycled fabrics. I wanted to make sure that I could take advantage of the fabric panels, to experiment with different patterns and textures. This design, I would hope, defies the traditional ‘hard’ nature of the shelf and proposes an unexpected ‘soft’ alternative. Don’t worry, the fabric would be held taut thanks to the aluminum rods, thus allowing a significant amount of weight to be placed atop the surface.

For another design, I begin to place value within unused materials by giving them a new life and purpose. There are so many times that I come across piles and piles of unwanted items, and it’s amazing what kinds of things we can discover at dumpsters. That’s why I designed this wall-mounted shelf that would be made of reclaimed materials. Whether it be a license plate or a bundle of rulers, it can be customized to be used with whatever products are found. I thought this idea was efficient in transforming unwanted materials into something more desirable, but I realized that the idea in itself seems too ‘easy’. It really seems like a generic, sustainable design of a generic wall mounted shelf, so I continued to rummage my brain and came up with more sustainable bookshelf ideations.

This chair by designers at Cuatro Cuatros was made with sustainability in mind. It can be flat-packed and transported, and the assembly of the chair requires zip-ties to secure the faces together. However, I wonder how sustainable the material is, and I’m not quite sure if using plastic zip-ties are any more eco-friendly than a traditional adhesive.

Reanim repairs broken furniture with pieces that create a stark contrast with the rest of the form. It’s as if these chairs went through some odd science experiment by a genius doctor and came out with new and improved parts. It makes me want to know more about how these chairs were damaged in the first place and what meaning the had to their owners.

I’m not quite sure why this draws me in so much, but I love this look and idea. I would love to try and figure out a way to apply this idea to other pieces of furniture besides just the chair.

Designers at Studio Aisslinger created a modular bookshelf system that uses a simple cross-shaped metal connector to assemble unused books as the shelving unit. I think it’s an incredibly simple solution to creating something that follows sustainable design objectives while also presenting the consumer with freedom of creativity to alter the designs according to their personal interior setups.