The 2011 Christchurch earthquake killed 185 people, caused widespread disaster in the central city and eastern suburbs and is considered the costliest disaster in New Zealand’s history. To local industrial designer, Carl Menary, the downtown became a wasteland with no public amenities for local residents. He decided to make an difference and at the same time take care of a waste problem – old tires doomed to the landfill or burn pile.
Menary’s simple ReTyre system uses four metal clips to flatten the tire wall and make it stable and comfortable for seating. They are easily installed in about 90 seconds, but difficult to take off, which discourages theft. This ingenious design also includes a simple pin inserted between two ReTyre seats that joins them together. Seats can be arranged in rows or circles for events, can be used as benches in parks or at bus stops, or placed in an empty lot to create an impromptu public plaza.
As Menary told us, his goal was to create “adaptable, robust public spaces cheaply and quickly to recreate community post earthquake.” Menary is also working with the non-profit group, Gap Filler, whose goal is to activate vacant sites within Christchurch by installing creative projects until permanent reconstruction occurs. Their prototype ReTyre project installed seven seats in a transitional space on Colombo St., and Menary hopes to install an additional 50 tire seats linked in a large daisy chain.
Images ©Carl Menary