Upcycling unused or unusual materials into furniture is a topic we love coming back to again and again. Whether it’s recycling floppy disks into retro planters or turning your Nintendo Entertainment System into a Nintoaster (or even turning your toaster into a Nintendo Entertainment System), upcycling changes the entire style of any home decor.
But finding a balance between practicality and design (debatably a major element of upcycling) can be a challenge. Etienne Reijnders tries to find that balance with the creation of shopping cart furniture.
By taking periodic trips to the German ‘Wanzl’ factory (the world’s largest manufacturer of shopping trolleys), Etienne Reijnders is given a nearly limitless supply of materials: discarded iron shopping carts destined to be melted down and recycled. Etienne gives these scraps a new and inventive life as shopping cart furniture.
Undoubtedly interesting to look at, though few would call their aesthetic ‘comfortable’. Etienne disagrees and sees a future in automating his upcycling efforts, although he himself admits that recycling the discarded iron is cheaper for companies.
“They are quite comfortable, I also stand a few prototypes in my house.” -Reijinders
Although the novelty of sitting in a shopping cart chair or dining at a recycled shopping cart table is appealing, what future is there in this project? With their strong iron frames, Reijnders’ furniture pieces are definitely durable. But aesthetically, they don’t seem able to outgrow their source material. With looks that range from medieval torture devices to stripped down machinery, not even a strategically placed cushion will convince some to rest on these recycled pieces of shopping trolley.
Despite Etienne’s claims and background in furniture design, it’s doubtful whether people can see his creations as practical furniture instead of experimental art pieces. At the very least, Etienne’s creations are far more cool looking than a recycled shopping cart furniture has any right to be.