New again

by Annie Gotterson on Feb 28, 2011 in Interiors
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Recycling is a fundamental part of sustainability. Whether we talk about an approach to living, consuming or constructing that is more sustainable, reuse, in whole or part, is key.

Unfortunately, the very words ‘recycling’ and ‘re-use’ have a string of unflattering and negative connotations, and so, by and large, the design industry fails to reuse much of what could, quite happily, be incorporated into new works.

A recent project by Jo Nagasaka from Japanese firm Schemata Architects for Australian skin care brand Aesop reveals how recycled materials can be put to use in contemporary designs, and that, even in their raw state, such materials can create an exciting and modern interior.

For this project, wooden elements, such as floorboards, beams and doors were taken from the abandoned house which Nagasaka had stumbled upon in Nakano on the outskirts of central Tokyo. One of the benefits of using found materials is that they are almost always imbued with a unique identity – like pieces of antique furniture. By comparison, this is something a lot of new, and/or machine-manufactured materials seem to lack, instead they are monotonously perfect.


Nagasaka says he is increasingly attracted to found materials for this individuality and variety. “Lately, I am interested in creating spaces that require imagination. All found materials are completely different to each other. Customers can discover the different aspects of the materials when they walk around the shop. There is space for their imagination. I allow the person who is experiencing the space to participate in the space,” he says.