Designers Nina Tolstrup and Dirk Vander Kooij supercyclers


Dirk Vander Kooij has earned many awards and accolades in his career, including winning the 2011 Dutch Design Award in the category best autonomous design. Endless Flow chair photos courtesy of Dirk Vander Kooij

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Nina Tolstrup trained as a designer at Les Ateliers school of industrial design in Paris, and she designs for outside companies as well as under her company, Studiomama. Portrait by Katherine Fawssett; stool photos by Stine Raarup; other photos by Studiomama.

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Supercycling Designers

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

By Aryn Beitz

Dirk Vander Kooij

Dutch designer Dirk Vander Kooij has salvaged impressive amounts of plastic from abandoned refrigerators since the launch of his internationally acclaimed design, the Endless Flow Rocking Chair, in 2010. Vander Kooij conceptualized alternatives to expensive injection molding in plastic furniture production.

“My graduation project was inspired by a shape that was made using an old 3-D printer,” says Vander Kooij. “The principle is 30 years old, but the older machines were not very accurate.” In examining that process, Vander Kooij realized 3-D printing technology might build furniture more  efficiently and without waste. He reprogrammed an old industrial robot to trace furniture patterns made from discarded refrigerators, and voilà: the first prototype of the Endless Flow Rocking Chair.

“The title ‘Endless’ refers to an endless thread of synthetic material and infinite possibilities,” he says. “The thick threads of plastic create an honest ornament by clearly showing how the chair is fabricated.” With an entire Endless line of products available, including a table and children’s rocking chair, abandoned refrigerators are turning out to be useful, after all.


Nina Tolstrup

After an unsuccessful search for the perfect dining chair in early 2012, London-based Danish designer Nina Tolstrup of Studiomama decided to create her own. After finding six abandoned chairs, inspiration struck. She’d update them. Working with local producers, the designer powder coated the cantilevered tubular steel frame and updated the seat and back with new upholstered forms. “I was able to transform the chairs into bespoke jubilant orange creations, highly different from anything else in the marketplace,” Tolstrup says.

Because the transformation was a success, she powder coated more abandoned lounge chairs, and teamed up with British designer and artist David Saunders of David David for new colorful, geometric upholstery. “The Re-Imagine project is my way of encouraging people to get their hands dirty, to look again at the unloved furniture in our homes, streets, and markets and make it anew,” says Tolstrup.

“This is not just a sustainable approach to design and making, but a social one, too.”

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