Turning old into new: design icons made from used Levi's jeans
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Turning old into new: design icons made from used Levi's jeans

Pia Seidel
27.12.2023
Translation: machine translated

The "Icons Re/Outfitted" exhibition in the Netherlands challenges our understanding of waste. It shows used Vitra chairs that have been upcycled with old Levi's jeans.

The team at The Visionary Lab has landed its next coup. The Dutch creative agency, which works with brands, companies, public institutions, NGOs and research laboratories to promote a sustainable future, has created iconic Vitra second-hand chairs with discarded Levi's denim. I was able to marvel at the series live during the Dutch Design Week at the "Icons Re/Outfitted" exhibition in Eindhoven, a city not far from Rotterdam.

For example, Sarmite Polakova reinterpreted the iconic Panton Chair by covering it in felt. Tim Dekkers also used felt made from discarded denim produced by the social factory I-Did to transform George Nelson's Coconut Chair into what I consider a "flower power chair".

Panton Chair by Sarmite Polakova.
Panton Chair by Sarmite Polakova.
Source: Pia Seidel
Coconut Chair by Tim Dekkers.
Coconut Chair by Tim Dekkers.
Source: Pia Seidel

Fashion designer and textile artist Sophie Cagniart, on the other hand, used Levi's 501 denim remnants to redesign the Plywood Group LCW Chair by Charles and Ray Eames. In doing so, she created a tribute to the 150th anniversary of the iconic jeans model. She created the exciting pattern on the seat and backrest by incorporating traditional Japanese embroidery techniques.

Plywood Group LCW Chair by Sophie Cagniart.
Plywood Group LCW Chair by Sophie Cagniart.
Source: Pia Seidel

With the help of traditional African craftsmanship, Nigerian designer Nkwo Onwuka gave Verner Panton's Amoebe chair an update with the help of traditional African craftsmanship.

The Amoebe Chair by Nkwo Onwuk.
The Amoebe Chair by Nkwo Onwuk.
Source: Pia Seidel

Fashion designer Kelly Konings gave the Eames Lounge Chair a new blue look with worn denim. In this way, she succeeded in creating a haptically and visually exciting structure - which in my opinion trumps the original.

Eames Lounge Chair by Kelly Konings.
Eames Lounge Chair by Kelly Konings.
Source: Pia Seidel
Left: Wire Chair by Hannah Brabon, right: Panton Chair by Sarmite Polakova.
Left: Wire Chair by Hannah Brabon, right: Panton Chair by Sarmite Polakova.
Source: Pia Seidel

The chairs, furnished with old denim, show numerous ways in which we can reuse textile waste. They not only invite you to take a seat, but also to let your imagination run wild.

When two icons meet in one design: The Eames Shell Chair DSW in Levi's Denim.
When two icons meet in one design: The Eames Shell Chair DSW in Levi's Denim.
Source: Pia Seidel
Eames Shell Chair DSW by Norman Monsanto and Kelly Konings.
Eames Shell Chair DSW by Norman Monsanto and Kelly Konings.
Source: Pia Seidel
Cover photo: 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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