[MDA2012]

2012 Melbourne Design Awards

Key Dates

 
Photo Credit : TM Photo (www.tmphoto.co)

Website

Winner 

Project Overview

Playful and inventive, the UnWaste bookcase transformed an inner-city apartment from a conventional ‘open plan’ blank canvas, into something else, part James Bond, part Transformer, a joinery unit with a hidden agenda.

The full-wall rotating bookcase, constructed from reclaimed construction hording-board plywood oozes eclectic charm and tells stories through its multi-layered and colourful past. The plywood originally used for the temporary barriers at the edge of construction sites, was sourced and used as the principal material for the project. With it’s unique characteristics of posters, weathering, graffiti and mismatched paints incorporated into the design and harmonizing with the industrial aesthetic of the apartment, while saving nearly 1 Ton of material from landfill.

A collaboration between architect Ben Milbourne (Bild Architecture), eco-designer Leyla Acaroglu (Eco Innovators) and specialist furniture designer David Waterworth (Against the Grain); the UnWaste Bookcase is an inventive response to a challenging brief to maintain the openness, light and air in a city warehouse conversion, while adding flexibility of use and a unique character.

Project Commissioner

Eco-Innovators

Project Creator

Bild Architecture

Team

Leyla Acaroglu, Ben Milbourne, David Waterworth

Project Brief

How do you fill-in half a wall in a split-level open plan warehouse conversion in Melbourne’s CBD so that it still allows light, airflow and maintains the openness while still providing privacy?

Answer: you need something that moves; a moving something that is also functional and has the least environmental impact possible.

The solution: a full wall rotating bookcase made from 100% reclaimed plywood from the front of construction sites. The James Bond inspired solution involves a 4.6 metre high by 3.8m wide rotating library allowing books to be stored and accessed from either side and maximising air-flow and light when needed by simply pushing on the corner to allow for full 360 degree rotation of the top 6 units (the bottom six are fixed to the existing wall & balustrade). The beauty in using over 50 sheets of plywood that in its previous life was protecting construction sites around Melbourne is the weathered character of graffiti artists, posters and coats of multi-coloured paint add to the unique industrial aesthetic suited to the wider space whilst still providing the functionality needed in the design solution.

Project Need

The use of salvaged plywood, originally destined for landfill, is a practical and innovative example of Upcycling, waste diversion and impact minimisation. Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling and is the other half of the recycling process. Down-cycling involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality. Upcycling is reusing a material without degrading the quality and composition of the material for its next use. By diverting the material from general landfill, the UnWaste bookcase project not only reduced waste – in this case reducing landfill volume by 50 sheets of ply, which is nearly 1 Ton of material! But also in sourcing and using a landfill-destined material it also reduced the amount of virgin timber stock required to be extracted from the natural environment and processed – with associated benefits of reduced transportation, reduced water and electrical consumption and associated carbon footprints.
Aside from the environmental benefits, the bookcase is a uniquely engineered solution. Mimicking the existing centre pivoted windows in the apartment, the movement of the bookcases allow them to be configured in different directions, opened to allow airflow and light as well as providing a large storage area for the client.

Design Challenge

Generating the least environmental impact possible was paramount with this project. Using conventional ‘virgin’ MDF, Timber or Melamine as the principal material for the bookcases, all came with unacceptable environmental impacts for our client, impacts that threatened to derail the project. The solution came via the collaboration with David Waterworth, who specializes in using reclaimed and recycled materials in his work. David’s suggestion and ability to source up-cycled plywood, not only solved the impasse, but greatly enriched the design outcome. Reclaimed plywood from construction site hoardings, was sourced and used as the principal material for the project, with it’s unique characteristics of posters, weathering, graffiti and mismatched paints incorporated into the design and harmonizing with the industrial aesthetic of the apartment.

With the materials sorted, the second challenge lay in finding a functional design solution to brief which required a closed wall for privacy but still allowed for light, airflow and openness in the space - which is where the ingenious use of a simple lazy Susan rotating mechanism was employed to allow the bookcases to rotate on a centre pivot, creating a unique functional and aesthetically rewarding design solution. The UnWaste Bookcase demonstrates the innovation possible through collaboration across disciplines. Alone, none of the collaborators would have arrived at anything like the finished project – but together, a truly innovative outcome was achieved.

Sustainability

Generating the least environmental impact possible was paramount with this project, the client. Using conventional ‘virgin’ MDF, Timber or Melamine as the principal material for the bookcases, all came with unacceptable environmental impacts that threatened to derail the project. The solution came via the collaboration with David Waterworth who specialises in reclaimed and recycled materials in his designs. Reclaimed plywood from construction site hoardings, the temporary barriers at the edge of construction sites, was sourced and used as the principal material for the project.

This mode of upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which is the other half of the recycling process. Down-cycling involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality. Upcycling is reusing a material without degrading the quality and composition of the material for its next use. By diverting the material from general landfill, the UnWaste bookcase project not only reduced the amount of waste that we goes into the ground for longer than any of us will be around – in this case reducing landfill volume by 50 sheets of ply (nearly 1 Ton of material). But also reduced the amount of virgin timber stock required to be processed – with associated benefits of reduced transportation, reduced water and electrical consumption and associated carbon footprints.

The finished product was sealed with natural beeswax, and with the construction processes minimising off-cut waste, environmental performance was considered throughout the design construction and finishing of the project.




This award recognises building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes and aesthetic presentation. Consideration given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.  


Judging Note : Judging for this category will be finalised on Monday 27th August and Finalists will be announced on Tuesday 28th August.

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