Thursday, June 25, 2009

Repairs as art--beyond recycling!

There was a time when you just fixed broken stuff, no questions asked.

Busted handle on a teacup? You glued it.

Cracked metal on a mower, you got a neighbor with a torch to weld it.

Today that stuff ends up at the dump, and there's a thriving market on eBay and in stores for replacement gear.

We toss things out casually, often when they are still functional, and only challenged aesthetically.

A Dutch design firm, Platform21, and the Dutch magazine BRIGHT are collaborating on a contest for repairs that are not only functional, but creative and attractive. Dremel will give away a multifunction tool to winners. Winners will also get the repair award seen in the photo above, by artist Jan Vormann.

“Have you ever repaired something that unintentionally turned out to be more beautiful or extra handy? A repair that you were very proud of? Or is there something broken in your home that is in bad need of repair, but you need some encouragement to start fixing? Now is the chance,” they said in a press release.

“Whether it is a torn car seat, an exploded bread toaster, or your ripped jeans, if you didn’t throw it out but repaired it with love and care instead, we would like to see it... We invite submissions of clever, funny, skilful or creative repairs, with their stories attached, from all over the world.”

It's a great idea. A lot of us are doing what we can with the three Rs—reusing, recycling and reducing—but how much fixing is there?

Repairs as art. What a concept.

Entries with photographs can be emailed to info@platform21. For more information, see the websites and The deadline is August 30, 2009.

Platform21 has developed (you can see it at the website) its Repair Manifesto. Some of the points:

Things ought to be designed so they can be fixed.

Repair is independence.

Repaired things are unique, and collect memories. Furthermore, “even fakes become originals when you repair them.”

The design company argues that there should, in fact, be not three Rs, but four of them.

“Stop recycling. Start repairing,” it says.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

1 comment:

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