Design Desk

From the Design Desk: Adaptive/Reuse Design

I love seeing objects designed for one use adopted for another. It multiplies the value of the object, and usually sparks a few neurons in my brain. Being resourceful also means being creative. Check out this FedEx box transformed into a storage container for rulers and drawing templates. Function and form meet quite nicely.

This idea reminds me of Superuse — Constructing new architecture by shortcutting material flows — a book about constructing buildings with surplus “stuff.” As World Changing described it, Superuse makes reuse “look original and fun” — kinetic energy for a designer’s brain.

Creative reuse is also applicable in small, everyday ways. Readymade magazine is filled with examples of this — how to turn a broken blender into a lamp, make speakers out of an Altoids tin can, or display photos using binder clips.

Examples of creative reuse are everywhere. IDEO’s Everyday Engineering — How Engineers See explores how objects interact with their environment, sometimes changing in function and form over time.

If you’re more of a crafter than a designer, you can still trigger your brain for creative use. I love these scented tea candles contained in vintage teacups, sold at our holiday craft fair. Besides the vast supplies that can be found at your local flea market, look out for centers for reusable parts, such as SCRAP or the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse here in the Bay Area.

Regardless of the persistent economic downturn, channeling the inventiveness and resourcefulness of our grandparents is not only good for the environment, it can also fuel our creative thinking — and creativity paves the road for progress.

Suzanne LaGasa
Designer

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