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Monday, November 26, 2012

Multi-functionality & Adaptive Reuse


By Pari Syal
Photography: TM Photo; courtesy Bild Architecture


When it comes to ideas for design and decor, sometimes the simplest are the most effective; like this rotating bookcase made out of recycled material, espousing a dual purpose – multi-functionality as well as adaptive reuse.

It is close to a century, tracing our steps back to post World War I, when we saw the beginnings of a new vocabulary in furniture design. Modularity and multi-functionality and the rich satisfaction of well-designed small spaces are till date a much-sought-after universal phenomenon. Widespread examples of multifunctional furniture came to mind as I came across this simple bookcase made out of recycled material - aesthetically appealing and practical.

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Helping a small home in Melbourne’s urban district maintain its open plan with its fair share of light and ventilation as well as serving the very typical functional aspect of its two important spaces – the living room and bedroom, the bookcase - 4.6 metre high by 3.8m wide - is nothing short of a rotating library cum showcase of sorts accessed from either side by simply pushing on the corner to allow 360 degree rotation of the top 6 units. The bottom units are fixed and ensure privacy. What’s more, the bookcase is a simple modular assembly made from 100% reclaimed 12mm salvaged construction hoarding ply, bees-wax finish, and 300mm industrial ‘Lazy Susan’ bearings.

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Executed by Bild Architecture in collaboration with cabinetmaker David Waterworth, known for his work with reclaimed and recycled materials, it is aptly christened, ‘Unwaste Bookcase’.

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However, the idea has a special though subtle highlight – it embodies Melbourne’s central CBD laneways’ gritty urban character and gives thumbs-up to up cycling, which emphasizes re-use of a material without destroying its material properties. The bookcase takes and celebrates the character of the original material, retaining the layers of graffiti, posters, and weathering of its former life, and exposes this as an essential aspect of the design, harmonizing with the industrial aesthetic of the converted warehouse apartment. 

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“While the project is very much a bespoke design for a unique brief and site, it can also be considered a prototype for up cycling design strategies in cabinet-making and architectural joinery, both within our own design practice and the broader design industry,” is a very significant observation from Ben Milbourne, principal architect, Bild Architecture. 

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