Category Archives: upcycling

Corrugated Cardboard Cubby

I saw this beautifully crafted electronic parts drawer cubby at Distance Lab the other day – a great example of upcycling old cardboard packaging into a very useful piece of furniture that feels and works much better than the cheap plastic alternative.

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improvised devices

While visiting the spectacular Alexander Calder: the Paris Years at the Whitney last weekend I came across a book on his ‘devised objects,’ namely the household devices that he improvised with the same whimsy of his wire-and-found-object sculptures. Just as he was capable of making kinetic toys and figural sculpture from bare wire and trinkets […]

Also posted in art, fabrication, futurecraft, product design | Comments closed

chip chop shops

Hiroshi pointed me to this BusinessWeek investigation on microchip counterfeiting, which explains how electronic waste recycling is profitable: used circuit boards are baked over coal fires to loosen precious microchips. These are rinsed in the local river and sorted according to manufacturer. The chips can be re-sold as is, or their markings can be sanded […]

Also posted in environment, fabrication, materials, supply chain, traceability | Comments closed

material extinction

Earth’s Natural Wealth: an Audit explores the depletion of exotic materials necessary for manufacturing high-tech products through a series of intense infographics. The lesson is that some of our most desirable elements (Indium for LCD screens, Gallium for lasers and LEDs) are set to become completely extinct with ten or twenty years with no substitute […]

Also posted in environment, fabrication, materials, supply chain, visualization | Comments closed

DIY vase

Enzo Mari’s Ecolo’ vase kit is a gift and a method: it contains four household plastic containers artfully cut up into flower vases, and it prompts you to do the same with all of the other plastic containers you might throw out.

Also posted in fabrication, free & open, open objects | Comments closed

design for durability

The OLPC has driven important innovations in open software, hardware, universal design and environmental sustainability in order to be cheap and durable enough for widespread use in developing countries. At this week’s unveiling of new designs for second-generation laptops, I spotted this interesting exhibit on the design touches that make the OLPC stand out in […]

Also posted in children, conviviality, customization, environment, fabrication, free & open, futurecraft, open objects, product design, supply chain, universal design | Comments closed

open threads 2

The concept of making source code Open Source typically refers to opaque products whose construction cannot be discerned from their appearance – but even seemingly transparent products, such as buildings or clothes, hide a code of their own. The project Hacking Couture seeks out the hidden aesthetic code and its history in order to liberate […]

Also posted in customization, fabrication, fashion, free & open, futurecraft, open objects, product design, soft/glowing | Comments closed


The brilliant Schulze & Webb have done it again with the Metal Phone, a completely recyclable cell phone enclosure developed for Nokia. The project is a complete cradle-to-cradle life cycle process: a cell phone encased in a lead alloy (ok, solder) can be disassembled and melted down to be re-cast into a new cell phone […]

Also posted in customization, energy, environment, fabrication, futurecraft, materials, open objects, product design, supply chain | Comments closed