From trash to treasure – sustainable outdoor furniture by Piet Hein Eek
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From trash to treasure – sustainable outdoor furniture by Piet Hein Eek

Piet Hein Eek’s a designer and founder of the company for sustainable design which carries his name. This picture puzzle concerns one example of his work – the Beam Armchair. It’s gigantic and made from unusual recycled material.

Piet Hein Eek doesn’t create new designs, as he explains in this interview. Instead, he optimises everything around him and throws nothing away in his workshop. «I act as if labour costs nothing and material is worth a fortune.» That’s why he uses even the smallest scraps of material, from waste wood to steel, to make furniture in a traditional carpenter’s style. I recently had the opportunity to marvel at his huge Beam Armchair at the Dutch Design Week. Maybe you can guess what it is with the help of the following tips. I’ll reveal all further down.

Hein Eek graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 1990. It’s where he designed the Classic Cupboard in Scrapwood, made from leftover materials using traditional woodworking techniques. The cabinet laid the foundation for Hein Eek’s designs and still exemplifies the designer’s creative leitmotif, which focusses on craft and sustainability. In 2010, the company moved into the former Philips factory in Eindhoven. It has since become a creative hotspot with a showroom, gallery, store, hotel, restaurant and workshop at its heart.
Classic Cupboard: Piet Hein Eek, Rossana Orlandi Gallery
Classic Cupboard: Piet Hein Eek, Rossana Orlandi Gallery
The cover of the Beam Armchair is made from particularly hard-wearing material waste.
The cover of the Beam Armchair is made from particularly hard-wearing material waste.
Source: Pia Seidel

Guessing time

The fabric in question is considered tactically clever. For the Beam Armchair, it was used to refine the wooden beams and boards. This also makes the armchair suitable for outdoor use, the material is weatherproof. Because of its properties, the material’s also used in other areas. As protection against the elements or against chemicals and biological hazards. However, it also increases comfort and provides sufficient mobility.

Riddle

Which tissue was given a second life?

Entry conditions

The big reveal

The armchair’s huge upholstered wooden beams were covered with old military fabric from the US Army, made from tear-resistant materials such as water-repellent canvas cotton. Beam Armchair’s part of an outdoor collection for which Hein Eek aimed to minimise material waste and re-use fabrics from old army clothing and tarps. Not least because of their high quality. «It quickly became apparent that the fabric could not be cut on the CNC machine,» he revealed to Design Milk Magazine. The CNC machine automatically produces moulds for workpieces with high precision. This explains why the armchair, made of inexpensive army fabric, is actually more expensive than one made of fine velvet. In spite of this, Beam Armchair was produced with recycled army fabric.

The reclaimed wood furniture was put together piece by piece…
The reclaimed wood furniture was put together piece by piece…
… and covered with US Army canvas fabric.
… and covered with US Army canvas fabric.
Beam Armchair proves how discarded wooden beams and fabrics can be given a second life.
Beam Armchair proves how discarded wooden beams and fabrics can be given a second life.
Source: Pia Seidel

This is the 15. instalment of the «Guess what?» series, in which you can use my clues to guess a design piece’s «secret ingredient».

Header image: Pia Seidel

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Like a cheerleader, I love celebrating good design and bringing you closer to everything furniture- and interior design- related. I regularly curate simple yet sophisticated interior ideas, report on trends and interview creative minds about their work.


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