In the perfect vision of a sustainable future, products will be designed and produced based on cradle-to-cradle principles, eliminating waste and drastically reducing the amount of virgin resources used to keep the material world spinning round. At present, however, we still have a lot of unsustainably designed products on a slow march to the landfills. In an effort to breathe a second life into garbage-bound goods, the Ample Sample 2009 competition challenged designers to repurpose carpet samples and design new, "upcycled" products.
This year's competition—the third annual—garnered 28 entries that ranged from a stool made of 73 samples piled up in a twist (aptly named the "Twi-stool") to a crafty single-sample purse (and a two-sample shoulder bag) to several wall-mounted planters, which ranked among my favorites.
The recently announced winning design is the Shoe-Keeper by Wuthichai Leelavoravong. In three simple steps ("Cut, Clip, and Hang"), Leelavoravong created a colorful no-waste way to store and organize shoes using half of a carpet tile sample per shoe holder. (One of the best things about the Ample Sample competitions is that you can download the instructions on how to make the winning and finalists' designs on amplesample.net.)
The finalists include a hammock, mailbox, and pendant lamp. Jake Tompkins, of JMBC Design, took advantage of the comfort afforded by carpet to create the Magic Carpet Ride hammock. Using strips cut from ten carpet tiles (plus a good amount of hardware), Tompkins looped together rings of the carpet sample to make a hammock that appears to have a nice balance of give and traction but won't leave you with a rugburn.
The Mailbox by Sean Miller uses most of a single carpet sample in a swooping form for holding magazines and letters. The design is such that, aesthetically proportioned measurements aside, a full carpet sample can be used instead of just part of a sample to eliminate waste if you make this yourself. A bonus of the design, Miller writes in the description, is that the reused-carpet mailbox will remind homeowners to recycle those unwanted catologues instead of tossing them in the trash.
The third finalist is the Plush Petal Pendant by Heather Wright and Christina Jih. It uses two carpet tiles in their entirety and fits together without any adhesives. It is also probably the most difficult to construct, but the result is pretty stunning and would be beautiful in an outdoor garden, as shown below.
Photos courtesy of Tricycle, the Ample Sample competition sponsor.