Like most metro-dwellers on a budget, I find that most of my choices for apt furniture such as table, dresser, chair, bed frame, shelves, etc, are made up of recycled or re purposed things (hey, I'm assuming you even have the space for such things ;). While one half of my decision is based on cost, the other half of my decision is usually an effort to make new, creative use of an old thing. I find older things to have more character and to be better designed. Or maybe it is my attachment to this idea that all older things are more precious b/c they contain irreplaceable materials, not to mention a bit history locked in their fibers. Also, for some of us in NYC, you can't beat the thrill of finding those sidewalk 'gems' that are otherwise left for dead. However, the older things are not always the most creatively designed or pleasing to the eye, but that's where a bit of imagination can come into play....some sanding, a little paint, attach/repair a new "limb", throw a lampshade on it and...voila'. For example, I've seen just about anything converted into a lamp, but a friend of mine who recently moved to NYC turned her temporarily retired snowboard into a bookshelf...uber cool.
I've also been recently turned on to an organization by the name of Sustainable Furniture Council (http://www.sustainablefurnishings.org/
) which has a load of interesting resources/information. Also, for those industry designers...or simply those nerding on all topics design...there is the Designers Accord (http://www.designersaccord.org/
). There are lots of others. I'm becoming more aware of the efforts to both improve design of everyday products and protect our resources at the same time and I'm curious as to what others are finding/learning.
So just to get a bit of dialog going I'll throw out some concerns of mine on the topic of material and energy use, waste, sustainability. My two biggest concerns are:
1) the amount of paper junk mail STILL being generated/wasted and...
2) the state of electronic waste and diminishing lifespan of our mobile gadgets.
Sure, like more and more people I'm banking online and have gone with paperless billing. I'm also certainly not a gadget guy, but I do use a lot of technology and have become aware of the short lifespan of current products. However, junk mail via snail-mail is still alive & well. And technology is here to stay and becoming very much interwoven into everyday life...
I'd love to hear your thoughts about anything I've mentioned above, any resources/knowledge you've come across that are changing the way you choose products and what some of you are doing personally to effect change in this area!