For those who may be unfamiliar with the term,
upcycling is the
process of converting waste materials or useless products into a new
piece that is useful or beautiful, or both. It gives an item a
better purpose, by taking materials often viewed as waste, and
remaking them into a new consumer product that is of the same, or
higher quality than the product it was before. This term was coined
in recent years as environmentally conscious consumers and business
sought to find new ways to be helpful to the environment by reducing
Upcycling differs from recycling in the fact that the previously used product is not broken down as it is in recycling, but rather, refashioned into a new item. Upcycling has almost become somewhat of a trend, and has entered its own designer category. Today on homify, we would like to present to you a fabulous example of upcycling, in an inner city apartment in São Paulo, Brazil; a creation of Brazilian architect and designer Mauricio Arruda. Come with us on a tour of this fine home, to showcase to those of us unfamiliar with upcycling, exactly how a home can look designed with items that may have lived a previous life as something else.
Viewing the lounge room setting, the mismatched furniture and odd colour combinations tell us this is no ordinary home. Most of the items in this image have lived a previous life, all coming together in perfect harmony to live on in another life in this inner city upcycled apartment. The traditional notion of perfectly matched furniture and decorations has clearly been thrown out the door, with the retro coloured stools acting as a coffee table, which can be customised by switching around the stool pairings. The design of the stools also allows them to be stacked ontop of each other.
In the t.v room, we are presented with a Florence Knoll sofa from 1954, a style of couch perfectly blending mid-century design, paired with modern wall prints, a rustic coffee table and a white wire chair.
This table has been named 'House of Cards', a suitable name given the legs of the table create the illusion of a delicate card stack, looking as if it could topple over at any moment. More mismatched wall hangings also feature here, accentuating the well constructed, yet thrown together image the home is trying to portray.
The floorplan of the home was completely redefined, by changing the location of the kitchen via removing a bedroom, and transforming two bathrooms to become one. The new design opens up the entire space to become more social and relaxed, an air mirrored by the relaxed feel of the decorations. The modernity of the benchtops and appliances is in contrast to the exposed walls and retro decorations. Here, we are also introduced to a cardboard chair, another material we are slowly seeing make its way into the home as furniture. The happy and bright warmth created by the white walls and carefree furnishings, is amplified by the abundance of natural light that swathes the home.
The playful plastic baskets used as drawers, as seen in this image, are a visually and cost effective way to enhance the eclectic theme of the home. The open plan of the house was achieved by knocking all the walls down, with just the central pillar remaining. The hardwood floors were then dyed black to create a uniform space, which with the white walls, allow the eclectic furnishings to shine.
Lastly we come to the bedroom, where we see dark stained timber lining the wall, acting almost as a bedhead. Hopefully by reading this article you have gained a little insight into upcycling, and how it can effectively be used in quirky design, to save money and to reduce waste; therefore helping out the environment!