Pure Gold! The art of upcycling and upgrading in MK&G Museum in Hamburg
November 2, 2017
OK, this post about upcycling and upgrading has not been planned at all! Me and the kids went to Hamburg for few days during the half term holidays to visit our family. All we had planned was for some quality family time and exploring the city. And that’s exactly what we did! But with my brother’s older son’s kin interest in art and my interest in design we decided the trip to the museum was a must!
So I came back not only with fresh memories filled with giggles of our kids, new family photos and feeling regenerated in general. I also came back with loads of photos of great designs, upcycling projects and great art. And that, my dear, would be a shame not to share with you all!
So, if you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, here’s a little explanation…
Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe (MK&G) is a museum in Hamburg and in exact translation (yeah, you guessed it) it means Museum of Art and Industry. Pure Gold! Upcycled! Upgraded! is one of their temporary exhibitions that can be viewed until January 2018 before it will be shipped to Thailand to continue its world tour.
“Bulky trash, waste, cheap materials: pure gold! At least in the eyes of many active designers. Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded! explores the subject of rubbish.”
But this exceptional exhibition is much more than just showing how to reduce the amount of waste. It’s a proof that with a bit of creativity anything can be turned into valuable products!
And yes, it all comes down to saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure that we all know so well, right? Wrong! It seems like so many of us are caught up in the circle of buying things, that despite the trend for upcycling, we still prefer shiny and new. But maybe we should all just stop for a minute and acknowledge the fact that this all rubbish is in fact a pure gold!
The materials used in the examples are easily available and very often free – but often seen as a trash. Techniques used to upcycle or upgrade them are mainly based on traditional methods. The aim of this exhibition is to “disarm all the bad names that reuse has, and to achieve a new notion of raw materials and thus also a new appreciation of these products.”
But don’t just take my word for it, you can see for yourself. Try to guess what material and what technique of upcyling has been used before reading description of each photo…
Pure Gold! Upcycling heaven!
Paper table designed in 2013 by Gompf+Kehrer. The base of the table is made of paper rings.
New Hybrids is a chair designed by Mieke Meijer in 2014. Wooden panels made of newspaper. The paper is layered in slight curve and glued together.
Closer look at the layers of paper in the chair designed by Mieke Meijer.
Baco chair designed in 2010 by Suwan Kongkhunthian, it is made of pine apple leaves from canned food produced for export. Piles of coloured papers are bound with flexible string to make th seat of the chair bouncy.
Designed by Sandra Bohm in 2011 stools and the shelving unit. These are made of paper, glue and pulverized stone, soaked and mixed to produce a mash. then the mash is filled into simple brick moulds. And it’s as hard as stone!
The Well Proven Stool and Chair designed in 2012 by Marjan van Aubel & James Michael Shaw. Sawdust with added resin creates wooden foam that can be shaped. It’s smoothed on one side and on the other to amorphous rounded shapes that are placed and fixed between the bars.
This high back chair was designed by Sahil&Sarthak in 2010. The product is crafted from colourful rope wound around a metal framework. Made of waste fabric discarded by export housesor textile mills.
This has to be my favourite! Designed back in 1991 by Tejo Remy this Reg Chair is made by layering old cloths into a shape of a chair. Each piece is unique and a treasure chest for memories. How cool is that!!!
Steel bar combination designed by Cheng Biliang in 2016. The inspiration came from leftover steel barsin construction sites. And the colours make all the difference
This is another of my favourites. Designed in 2012 by Juli Foos this rug is made of white plastic bags shaped into donuts using cardboard discs. Woven together with strips of colourful plastic in geomertical shapes. Almost oriental and easy to repair!
Endless chair and Flow Open Rocking Chair were designed in 2010 and 2012 by Dirk Vander Kooij. They were made out of lots of different types of plastic from fridges and washing machines melted and extracted as pressed plastic through a jet nozzle and shaped by a robot into chairs.
Another look at the Endless Chair by Dirk Vender Kooij.
Stools designed by Junk Munkez in 2012. This is probably the best way to use old washing machine drums. I kind of can’t wait for our washing machine to break down now!
This is just genius! The Rememberme Chair was designed by Tobias Juretzek in 2011. Trousers, shirts and skirts pressed into new shapes. And all the memories are preserved!
Designed by Wang Shumao in 2016 this Starfish Chair is made of four waste chair bases. The form is like a starfish, thus the name of this children’s chair.
These Rubber Stools were designed in 2005 by Khmissa. They are composed of different rubber tyre paterns hammered onto a wooden corpus.
Designed by El Ultirno Grito in 2012. these stools are made of cardboard boxes squashed into blocks. Light and robust and each one is a little diffrent.
Just closer look at the same stools by El Ultirno Grito
And here’s few more snaps of what, with a bit of creativity (OK, a little bit more than just a bit) and upcycling, can be accomplished…
So what do you think of that? Does this still look like rubbish to you? Are you tempted to try upcycling yourself? Maybe even you’re brave enough to follow those genius designers and have a go at making something similar for your home? Drop me your thoughts in the comment section below… Have a wonderful week!