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Important: All images are actual photographed objects, not cad renderings.

10.05.09 - Product Tank Recycled Chair - I designed a chair, built a prototype, then realised that most products are material stores, just waiting to be re-utilised. 

I took the materials in my chair, designed functional products and turned that stored material into new prototypes.

The project taught me that reusing/recycling is only as good as the materials used in the original object.  To save money, I cut corners in terms of materials, using MDF to skin the seat and back,which then made it difficult to create anything else with that material.

When I look at furniture made in similar ways, I realise that whilst furniture is a material store, most of the budget products we purchase have so little material value, that it would be very difficult to reclaim.

We have too much stuff, made too cheaply, it doesn't last and individuals can't do anything with it once it's life has ended.

I took my chair apart and with careful design, turned the materials into the following products:

The side bars of the chair were turned into a lamp base, with the addition of a folded paper and card shade, some wiring, light bulb etc.  I chose to paint certain sides of each recycled piece, which is not only decorational, but also functional, as the paint hides screw holes left from the construction of the chair.

Three chair legs, sides, front pieces and some ply that formed the main structure of the seat, were turned into a useful step/childs stool.

A back leg and the felt used to cover the seat and back were turned into a duster.  The head is removable, which in future versions means it can be thrown into a washing machine for ease of cleaning.

The bar across the top back of the seat was turned into a pair of (salad/bacon) tongs with the help of an old clothes peg spring, used in reverse so the tongs sit open.

Finally I turned the MDF seat and some more of the ply into bird boxes.  I have to admit they ended up more decorational than functional, even painted, they'll last a season/two at the most.

Having converted my chair, I'm left with a few lengths of ply wood, a lot of sawdust and these small scraps of wood (left), which if I was trying to totally recycle, I could turn into a coaster and handful of toothpicks!

Sometimes we forget there can be more of a challenge and more benefit in trying to re-use what's already there.