Wind turbine blades, cable reels, airport light boxes, drive shafts, car windscreens, window frames and more. Superuse Studios hijacks material flows, putting discarded materials which are already in existence, to good use. Material reuse could be part of the solution in one of the WDCD Clean Energy Challenge briefings: How can we encourage people to treat waste as a resource in homes and workplaces across México City?
‘Form is never my starting point,’ architect Césare Peeren once said. Instead, the Superuse co-founder starts each project by searching the surroundings for waste materials that could be of use in the design. This is at the core of Superuse Studios, which was founded in 1997 by Peeren and Jan Jongert. The studio now has 9 designers and has become a pioneer in the field of sustainable design, with Peeren also sharing their story at WDCD Live 2015. They approach buildings, neighbourhoods, cities or regions as part of an ecosystem, and look at it from a resource perspective. Energy and manpower flow in and out of the system and most come out of it as ‘waste’. By finding ways to close these loops, they turn excess into value.
One example is their work for DUCHI, a commercial assignment which was built using almost 100% surplus materials. The central element in this store is a round shoe fitting island, made from surplus wood. Customers can try out their new shoes on by walking on a conveyor belt that has been repurposed from its previous function at the counter of a supermarket. And the circular shelves around the seating island are made out of Audi100 windscreens.
Another product to come from Superuse Studios’ design lab is this Perspex lamp made out of discarded perfume advertising slides. These slides were made by a professional product photographer and printed at very high resolution. When cut up and rearranged, the colours and chic details give the lamps a warm and elegant look. But these objects are not just beautiful, they are also effective uses of space: the same parts of the lamp can be turned into a hanging, wall or ceiling lamp, depending on how the material is combined.
For the foundation ‘Kinderparadijs Meidoorn’, Superuse Studios designed a new playground for the 1200m2 plot. First, elements that were fit for reuse in a new playground were selected, and after this process a design was made. Five discarded rotor blades of wind turbines were used to create a maze-like space with a panna court in the centre, placed on the existing concrete circle. Four towers were placed around it, each with a distinctive character.
Superuse Studios is also the creative force behind the community platform Harvestmap, a marketplace for professional upcyclers (see top image). They are currently building an ecosystem to promote the use of redundant material. How? Harvestmap allows companies or individuals to offer their supply of materials, components or even buildings. All materials, ranging from small quantities to continuous flows of (industrial) leftovers are represented. Participation allows you to share your own supply, provide tips to the community and find available resources in your neighbourhood or the surroundings of a project.
If you are inspired by the concept of waste as a resource, join our Clean Energy Challenge with your design solutions for a more resourceful city. To read the full briefings and learn all the details about entering the challenge, go to cleanenergychallenge.whatdesigncando.com