2012 Architecten – Shopping on the trash heap

Trash is the inevitable result of mass consumption. Every stage in the journey from raw material to discarded product results in waste material. 2012 Architecten salvages construction material from this flow of waste. Recyclicity.net, its digital construction catalogue, aims to encourage designers to use this hidden flow of material.

Besides developing a catalogue of materials, soon available on internet, 2012 engages in research and production. The interior of Duchi shoe shop is composed for 90% of waste. But it doesn’t look the least bit shabby: floors, walls, furniture are all spotless, scratchless and smooth. Shelves of curved glass support cheerful summer shoes and, especially, plenty of boxes. A second glance reveals that the shelves are made of a big batch of car windscreens for the Audi 100, no longer in production. The discovery of this stock of brand-new windscreens in a storage depot formed the starting point for the shop layout. Arranged parallel to one another, the windscreens form a circle that fits the width of the premises perfectly. A long space at the front of the shop remains for displaying and paying for shoes. The circle of shelves encloses a fitting room made of waste wood. A conveyer belt that can turn allows customers to try out footwear. The entire retail stock is arranged on the shelves so that personnel can offer customers another shoe size in one flowing movement. No time spent rummaging around in a pokey stockroom while shoppers wait in uncertainty. The ideal way to capture the attention of customers, says Césare Peeren of 2012.

Design drawings were made only for the seat, which is based on the perfect ergonomics. The rest of the interior took shape during construction. The building process, which the architects control, is therefore the main means of design. The stainless-steel structure for the Duchi shelves belongs to the 10% new material. Experienced has revealed that the salty air of Scheveningen is harsh on steel. The idea of working with local waste wherever possible turns out to be difficult to put into practice. What’s more, counter-arguments can be raised against the use of all sorts of recycled materials and methods of processing. But these shouldn’t form obstacles, says Peeren. It’s more interesting to look at what the use of waste material adds to the final form and use of the space.

This year’s chosen theme is the ‘car’; last year it was ‘kitchen articles’. This resulted in the Miele Space Station that caused a stir at the Parasite exhibition in Leidsche Rijn. Here at last we saw an inspiring example of what the designers until then had communicated in theory alone. The Space Station was a pilot project to develop methods for making architecture from waste. In terms of climate control it left much to be desired, but the use of washing machines for the façade was convincing. With the construction of the Miele Space Station and the recent Duchi shoe shop, the idea of Recyclicity has reached a mature stage.