Welcome to the era of the megacity. The world has more big cities than at any time in history, and those cities are larger than they have ever been. There are now more than 30 urban centers with populations in excess of ten million. The biggest megalopolis of all is Tokyo, which clocks in at over 35 million souls, but more than 75—75!—cities boast populations of more than five million. For the first time, the global population is more than 50 percent urban; a century ago that figure stood at only 10 percent. In another 40 years, if demographers are correct, it will jump to a staggering 75 percent. In the words of Rem Koolhaas, the bard of urban bigness, “more than ever, the city is all we have.”
Scrapile—Pull up a chair to one of Scrapile’s impossibly elegant dining tables and you’d never guess that the materials used to create it had once been destined for a landfill. Founded in 2003 by Carlos Salgado and Bart Bettencourt, Brooklyn-based Scrapile repurposes cast-off scrap wood to create crisp modern furnishings. Salgado and Bettencourt met in the mid 1990s, doing installation work at the now-defunct SoHo branch of the Guggenheim Museum. “We were both appalled by the waste at the Guggenheim,” says Salgado. “Between exhibitions everything got demoed, and it was still good material. It just sat on our consciences.” Years later, they found themselves at a studio staring at a pile of wood, wondering what could be made from it. The query yielded two benches—the seeds of Scrapile. The collection has been growing ever since.