From rags to riches

Gene Miao, chief designer at 1:1 Limited has an affinity to collect cast-off material from industries and construction sites — packaging cardboards, tubing, demolition debris, unused and thrown away furniture items and the like. His skill lies in weaving magic when he turns this trash into architectural treasure. While travelling through his city, Hong Kong, towards his office in Kowloon Bay, Gene comes across many such items which he happily collects without even thinking what he will turn them into. The inspirations of the designs come later.

Gene turned many a waste item into design marvels. For example, cardboard inner tubing of industrial grade plastic was converted to an eye-catching LED lighting holder. Discarded by logistics companies, these tubings had an inner diameter of 70 mm, were sturdy, and made a perfect fit to hold MR16 LED light bulbs. So, he cut the rolls to different lengths, bunched them using a rod and scattered LEDs randomly in the tubing to create a shimmering effect when placed on the ceiling of his client’s handbag shop. Some rejected wooden flooring by a manufacturer (given away for free to Gene), was converted to a horizontal display piece for the bag shop. Yet again, waste galvanised metal from the shop’s other retail outlet came to use for Miao to structure the fit out of the current outlet.

A similar design trend was found to be implemented in Australia by the Melbourne-based March Studio.

Designing the interiors of a Canberra hotel, they scavenged the left over off-cut timber pieces and other discarded materials from the hotel’s construction and used them to design the interiors. Their design won them an award at the INSIDE World Festival of Interiors in November 2015, proving one man’s trash is indeed other’s treasure.
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