Thursday, April 23, 2009


Being able to re-use materials, give them a new meaning, a new life is important. If there is a way to re-use or re-appropriate a material it will be better off used than using more energy to melt it, mold it, shred it, and/ or transform the material into a new material or product.

This image of an architectural project from architectural duo, D'Acosta and Turrent, re-claims materials found in the local area within Mexico. This project is a winery/ olive oil school. Since resources are limited in Mexico it is essential to re-use/ re-claim materials that are available. These architects have re-appropriated wooden crates, boxed spring mattresses, wine barrels, etc. to create this institution.

While building an adobe house in the slums of Mexico, as concrete, brick and rebar houses were going up nearby I was surprised to hear that the local materials (adobe) were not valued and un-appreciated. It is concrete that is valued. The people living in the slums want concrete homes, so they think, until they experience the properties of this material. Some will build a concrete house and after encountering the lack of circulation, heat given off they will go back to their grass/ found material huts. This so called lucrative material of concrete is not the way to go in this particular area. There is a reason it is not available.

In areas where resources are limited, using materials and goods that are available is essential. These available goods may not be desired but, are resources. In developing countries like Mexico, innovation and creativity come into play to take advantage of specific resources. As a designer, we should be looking at these approaches to harnessing valuable resources. There is much to be learned by studying the re-use/ re-appropriation of materials.

By understand the basic method of harnessing resources present, we as designers can narrow down and focus on alternative materials and solutions. We are able to be creative when the knowledge of materials is available.

I find Chris Lefteri’s approach to bringing/ sharing knowledge and awareness on materials to designers a valuable asset in the process of design. We as designers need to place importance and parameters on the materials we are using. Seeing and understanding the available materials, at our grasps, is essential in our decision making process.

A new spatial divider, this box springged mattress, is a captivating image especially understanding that it has been re-appropriated. This is one of those beautiful instances where the material/ product qualities are unique and when applied out of its intended context the beauty in its unfamiliar use creates a new transformed spatial quality. Maybe the beauty is in the re-appropriation? We should be looking at available resources when designing, as unique and beautiful materials/ products are at our fingertips.,0,6833153.photogallery

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