Info & Images by Ronald Caldwell
South Carolina designer Benjamin Rollins Caldwell puts on his thinking cap to create unusually quirky furniture out of technological waste…
Every technological device has a finite lifecycle, leading to its inevitable obsolescence. Putting the colossal e-waste thus generated to good use, Benjamin repurposes these obsolete devices into a completely different type of functional object: furniture.
Developing the complete range – sofa, side table, low centre table, chairs and cabinet, he terms it ‘The Binary Collection’.
The collection not only makes the viewer aware of how much e-waste we create through our technologically saturated lifestyles, but also challenges the viewer to explore new possibilities and methods of disposing off this relatively new type of waste that pollutes our environment.
The understructures of each table and chair are composed of computer towers and sheet metal from printers, which are bent to the proper form and then riveted together. The surfaces of the furniture pieces are completely covered in a collage of motherboards, computer chips, LCD screens and hard drive disks held in place by sheet metal screws. The chair cushions are made from ribbon cable and Ethernet cables, aesthetically woven together. The surfaces of the tables are composed of glass, which was salvaged from an abandoned warehouse, where many of the computers were found.
Unveiling The Binary Collection in a large-scale installation called “Living in the Computer Age” this past November at Lady Gaga’s ArtRave, it has been Lady Gaga’s personal choice as the centerpiece of her Art Pop album campaign.
|Binary Rainbow Rug|
The installation included floors composed of ribbon cables and walls made of a collage of motherboards and computer chips with the Binary Furniture pieces arranged in a living room setting. It not only addresses the issues of recycling e-waste and disposing of our technologies properly, but also forces the viewer into an understanding of our dependence on technological advances by being completely surrounded in a visible technological environment.
The installation included floors composed of ribbon cables and walls made of a collage of motherboards and computer chips with the Binary Furniture pieces arranged in a living room setting. Besides shadowing the stops of Lady Gaga, The Binary Collection was recently exhibited at Design Miami from December 3rd through 8th and the Binary Room Installation was shown at the FOG Design + Art fair in San Francisco January 16th through January 19th 2014. The Binary Room is currently on display in Los Angeles at the Industry Gallery Showroom at the Pacific Design Centre until March 7th and will next be shown at Art Silicon Valley in the Fall of 2014.
Known as‘re-inventor’, Benjamin derives inspiration from spending long hours at thrift stores, salvage yards and abandoned warehouses. While this painstaking exercise of sourcing, matching and aesthetically composing the furniture series is commendable; as is the addressing of recycling e-waste, highlighting the technologically-driven environment we live in, the idea of actually using such furniture is a trifle far-fetched. For one, how is one going to clean and maintain this storm-house of dust? Secondly, in a place like India, with dupattas and sarees, or in the west with prim-n-propah women attire, how does one avoid stockings getting ripped or fabric getting stuck?