BBM Blog – Entry 14
The Re-Use Atlas: A designer’s guide to the circular economy
Since the Waste House was completed in June 2014, our very own Duncan Baker-Brown has been working on a book that considers the challenges and opportunities presenting designers and clients who wish to ‘mine the anthropocene’, i.e.work with existing places, communities and stuff previously mined and processed. Duncan’s recently published book is entitled ‘The Re-Use Atlas: A Designer’s Guide to the Circular Economy’ and this blog provides an opportunity to read parts of the book, enjoy!
Purchase link use code “reuse5” to receive a £5.00 discount
This entry is the fourteenth in the series of case studies from Duncan’s Book. This week’s blog details Duncan’s interview with Lionel Billiet of Rotor who created the “Rotor Deconstruction” concept.
Duncan first came across Brussels-based Rotor when a colleague of his, architect Anthony Roberts, reported back from the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale. He had just stumbled across Rotor’s ‘Wear’ exhibition for the Belgian pavilion. It looked more like a 1960s installation by an minimalist artist and Anthony was struck by the precision of the curating, the beauty of the artefacts displayed, and the ‘sheer amount of white space on the walls’. Entitled ‘usus/usures’, which literally means ‘make/wear down’, this exhibition considered the traces of use and wear on everyday building. Once you get past their beauty, these familiar objects reveal the effects of years of contact with human hands or feet. By being placed in the rarefied environment of a gallery, these objects were reappraised by visitors as abstract artefacts. Once their true ‘self’ became apparent again, one could re-evaluate them and consider the narratives behind, for example, a red carpet from a social housing apartment in Antwerp that clearly demonstrates the position of a pivot chair and a table. Although Rotor is keen to point out that this was not an exhibition about reuse, one can clearly see that it is linked to the company’s focus on reappraising the value in discarded artefacts. According to Rotor, the exhibition and accompanying publication was ‘the result of an intensive investigation carried out in Belgium, analysing “wear” as a material phenomenon and as an agent capable of influencing actions. Wear is approached not as a problem in itself, the result of an error of conception that must be avoided at all costs, but as an inevitable and potentially creative process.’ On reading this statement, one can clearly see the link to Rotor’s current focus on material reuse, or ‘deconstruction’ as they call it.
Rotor’s ‘Deconstruction’ programme is the most pertinent part of its practice for this book. ‘Rotor Deconstruction’ is a hands-on decade of research on the flows of materials in numerous industries, including construction. The programme is now a separate cooperative company that has the skills and knowledge to focus on the careful dismantling of parts or the whole of a building and then sell on the reusable materials.
Check out the fourteenth entry here.