What do you think of when you think “green design?” Probably not a chair made entirely of recycled tennis balls! This fun and unexpected take on recycling by furniture designer Hugh Hayden is precisely why we named his enormously playful FUNATURE Tennis Ball Chair the winner of our BKLYN Designs Most Innovative Use of Materials Award. Not only is his choice of medium (297 repurposed tennis balls) smart and simple, it’s also fun and engaging. And when it comes to getting people talking about sustainable design, the Tennis Ball Chair is the perfect eco conversation piece.

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Why tennis balls? Their high turnover during matches means that a huge number of the fuzzy lime green spheres get discarded discarded despite their being practically new. Recognizing the durability of the tennis balls, as well as the need to salvage them from the dump, Hayden decided to use them to craft a tongue-in-cheek chair that is surprisingly comfortable to sit in (bouncy shiatsu massage, anyone?).

Since the main component of the chairs already exists and does not need to be produced or processed, it is even more low-impact than some of the materials we usually consider to be extremely sustainable. And in terms of being delightful to look at, the Tennis Ball Chair takes the cake. Do we smell a very apropos collaboration between Hugh and the U.S. Open or Wimbledon? It would certainly be a match(point) made in heaven!

For pictures of our other award winners, plus general footage from the show, check out our 2009 BKLYN Designs Highlights and BKLYN Designs photo gallery!

+ FUNature

+ Hugh Hayden