One man’s trash is another man’s design

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Przetwory (a rather unique Polish word describing the effects of processing vegetables and fruits – pickles, jams, juices etc) is a fest for designers who like to turn garbage into  things. Over the last couple of years, it has become an institution in its own right. We braved some serious cold (-12 Celsius) to witness 7th installment of “creative recycling” extravaganza.

300 designers from all over Europe started working their way through piles of garbage late on Friday in the Soho Factory. By sunday the place reminisced of low-budget Alice in Wonderland set, the Tim Burton’s one.

Design in Poland seems to be almost entirely an industry of 30somethings now, who, interestingly, are most appreciative of modernist design circa 1970s. Since people generally decide to procreate in their late twenties, the industry now has a bunch of radical 2 to 7 year olds to take care of.  Hence this edition of Przetwory was particularly kids-friendly with lots and lots of toys, swings, and even a barrel-made, cycling-powered train:

You can’t see it on this photo, but the last wagon is a handy holder for bottles – probably designed as an incentive for the trail of resigned parents, who followed the train like a useless tail, which really should have fallen off in the process of evolution of species. The train was created by Karkatag Kolektiv from Serbia.

Our favorite piece by far was an ad hoc tent, looking like a disco venue for very small people – turned out to have amazing medusae and fish hanging from the ceiling inside:

Dodecahedron with jellyfish was made by Polish team Agata Piwowar, Marek Głogowski and Stanisław Stupkiewicz.

Not part of the competition, we found this idea pretty cool: a crowd-sources map of where promising garbage can be found

Not to be a complete geek about this, but it would probably be a bit more useful were it an online map – which it apparently is in its original Dutch-conceived (is there any other kind?) version. The main idea is to link businesses which dispose of recycling-friendly garbage with recycling-focused designers, turning trash into artists’ material. We will investigate the issue further.

By 5 pm the only coffee in the facility was given at this bar built of cardboard tubes, the stand of Filtry Cafe, which served pretty awesome coffee (wawblog approved blend: “sweet espresso”). The cafe is based on Ochota, if you’re ever in the neighborhood – check it out, worth it for the latte alone.

We also liked the idea of this recycling-made twister

The plaque indicates nomination in the design competition – indeed it got Agata Matlak-Lutyk and Hanna Ferenc the second prize.

Last but not least, the winners:

Katarzyna Kędzior’s chair made of PET bottle caps.

Przetwory vol 7: PET chair 1st prize
Photo via Przetwory on facebook

Now, we’re not sure whether this is completely fair, since the chair was pre-made, and we don’t know how much energy goes into turning the caps into this form, but it looks cool either way.

Also in first place, another convenient piece to sit your bum on, and also a pet of sorts:

Przetwory vol 7: 1st place pet chair
Photo via Przetwory on facebook


Ps. I caved and put most of the photos through Instagram, despite the burning shame – it was pretty dark and most came out rather crappy. On the plus side you can see more in our Instagram feed.

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