Guest Contribution by Pascal Panagiotidis
Financial Crisis doesn't mean a Design Crisis. Mut-Architecture knows that very well and their new project is the proof. Everything started back in 2001 when Argentina’s economy collapsed and Unemployment jumped to 60%.
In a country with no official recycling program, people called The Cartoneros have systematized the recuperation of recyclable materials.These informal workers travel into Buenos Aires from its outskirts and, like a silent, peaceful army pick through the city's trash before it is hauled to landfills.
However the recyclables market is collapsing and action need to be taken. Mut-architecture aims to create a chair that Cartoneros can use, produce, and sell – creating new economic possibilities.
"Cartoneros" follows the paper recycling process in Buenos Aires from the trash pickers who collect paper informally through middlemen in warehouses to executives in large corporate mills. The process exploded into a multimillion dollar industry after Argentina's latest economic collapse.
It's time to rethink the value of trash!
For the Back-flip project Eric Feinblatt, from Waste for Life - the organization working directly with the Cartoneros in Buenos Aires - asked Mut to design products that would fit within the physical parameters of a hot-press Waste for Life produced with and for the Cartoneros. The One Good Chair competition provided the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone - enter a design competition which could potentially raise awareness of Waste for Life, and create a usable design for the Cartoneros.
An international cooperative asked for designs utilizing a simple 80x80cm hot-press to be distributed via a chain of collectives in South America. From a single mold The Backflip is easily assembled without tools and combines the soothing motion of a rocking chair with the comfort of a lounge chair, easily flat packed in the space of 80x80x4cm. To remain viable, the Cartoneros must augment their collection activities with a manufacturing stream. Working off a single press, and extracting shapes from a single mold makes this chair production realizable.
Mut-Architecture is primarily comprised of two artists/architects: John Mascaro, and Eleonore Morand. They met at Acconci Studio in Brooklyn, NY first in 2006, and have been working together ever since. Most of Mut's projects involve collaborators from various fields of expertise. Nathan Dergaaf is a New York based architect who was working at Acconci when the Mut came together, and he collaborated on the Back-flip project.
project : Cartonero back-flip
location : Buenos Aires, Argentina
date : 2009
type : competition
program : chair
budget : undetermined
designteam : Nathan DeGraaf, John Mascaro, Léo Mor and material team : Eric Feinblatt // www.wasteforlife.org
photo credit : Eric Feinblatt
additional info by the designers:
- Minimal body design actually saves amount of recyclables to allow greater quantity of production.
- Woven rope creates tension that locks cross pieces to side components.
- Cross pieces are extracted from mold to save time during fabrication, and fit snug into their original location in the mold for shipping or storage.
- Tensioned rope creates a more comfortable sitting or rocking surface owing to its ability to adjust slightly to the human body.
- Uniformity of component parts allows for ease of assembly: Simply unpack your box, slot the 4 cross pieces into the 8 slots, and begin weaving rope with a knot at each of the two ends of the weave.
- This is a lounge chair that doubles as a rocking chair by simply rolling from one position to the other.