In 2007, Inhabitat put together an event about recycling and reuse in design, called Reclaiming Design. This event at HauteGREEN in New York was a big success, thanks to the thought-provoking design and insightful discussion from Dwell Editor-in-Chief Sam Grawe and designers Carlos Salgado of Scrapile, Tejo Remy of Droog fame, and Matt Gagnon. Our conversation touched on a variety of issues surrounding the concepts and processes behind using reclaimed materials in different scales of design, and its implications for both environmental sustainability as well as more conceptual and cultural themes.
After each of our panelists showed their own work and weighed in Reclaiming Design, Jill and I began a moderated question and answer session that raised some interesting topics of discussion. We talked about the historical influences, how reclaiming older materials relates to DIY (do-it-yourself) projects, and the design market for such products and architecture that integrate recycled materials. Jill discussed the idea of the changing social acceptance of “recycling” and its interpretation within differing cultural connotations, while Sam Grawe weighed in on the architectural possibilities of recycling and reclaiming materials.
The question-and-answer session was chock-full of thought-provoking and sometimes contrasting ideas, but each of the panelists seemed to agree on the same things – sustainable design (and particularly the use of reclaimed materials) is an ongoing and complicated process that manifests itself in different ways. There is no “perfect green design;” in fact, as Jill remarked, designing “green” is actually a series of unique solutions to individual problems that attempt to balance health, environmental, social, and aesthetic issues as best as possible.
For those of you who are really into this stuff, the full-length video of the entire discussion can be found here >