Trash Luxe, an exhibition for the London Design Festival at Liberty’s, celebrates the creativity of reworking/remastering unwanted goods into desirable products. With the concept of luxury being increasingly rethought and redefined, using objects with a sub-narrative: vintage materials, material/packaging waste and other disposable items, gives layered meaning and added value to otherwise overlooked commodities. Here are some of our highlights, including a new chandelier from Stuart Haygarth and some very cool Zulu bowls made from telephone wires!
Dubbed ‘salvage design’, this make-do and mend approach to the design process yields imaginative results. Marcus Fairs, founder of icon magazine and current editor of the online design and architecture site dezeen.com, curates this eclectic exhibition, bringing together a range of new talents and visions both playful and practical.
Our shortlist highlights innovative works and processes used to re-imagine banal, often forgotten objects:
Majid Asif focuses on daily waste in the form of London’s free dailies. His paper maché chair is made up of 120 layers of newspapers applied to an inflatable mold. By using a mold, the product can be reproduced but the nature of its process each is unique.
Stuart Haygarth transforms found objects into luxe products. Our favorite: his Optical Chandelier made from unwanted glass lenses.
A more crafts-based approach is seen in Catherine Hammerton’s work. A graduate from the Royal College of Art in 2005 with an MA in Mixed Media Textile Design, her Collection Wallpaper incorporate traditional silk screening, hand stitching and collage. Using vintage fabrics, old letters and other materials sourced from antique fairs, Hammerton creates striking one-off pieces.
ZenZulu is a South African based project that combines traditional Durban craft with modern-day refuse: unwanted telephone wire. Their collection of bowls is a testament to the global trend of creating designer goods with cheap materials and local skill.
Greetje van Helmond’s Unsustainable Jewelry was her graduation project made from growing everyday crystals from sugar. The process is uncontrollable and the size of the crystals depends on the amount of time a concentrated sugar solution is left to “grow” onto suspended thread. A chunky necklace resembling quartz took four months! Now that’s patience.
There were many other trashed-turned-to-treasures to behold as well. Trash Luxe proves that there’s really no such thing as waste, just material to make something beautiful again.