The average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste every day, so why not put some of that trash to better use? In London, Bloomberg is doing just that with a program called Waste Not Want It, which has commissioned 37 artists to create original works using discarded materials from the company's office over the project's five years in existence.
For 2016, Bloomberg provided six designers with mountains of materials in order to create striking pieces of office furniture. The final tally? Two-thousand meters of cable flex, 76 keyboards, 160 holographic screen sheets, 250 printer cartridges, and 33 wood pallets.
Each designer used different materials and methods in approaching the task, and Bloomberg's office has gained meeting areas, work spaces, tables, and even a decorative wall screen.
In every empty CYMK toner cartridge, there are 100 grams of unused ink powder. For his contribution, the Norwegian designer Kim Thomé mixed the vestiges of color from 150 cartridges with jesmonite, a water-based composite material. He used the process of reduction to strengthen and refine each color to the desired hue. The hard geometric shapes were then framed in steel to create this colorful set of movable tables and chairs. The installation echoes Thomé's love of color and geometric patterns in his work.
Seventy-six discarded keyboards are the central components of Stuart Haygarth's dazzling meeting table and benches. Haygarth stripped and perforated the keyboard panels, to which he applied a chemical anticorrosion process called "black passivation." From there, he placed LEDs below the keyboards so the light would shine through the pattern of holes and they would resemble a constellation of lights. Stanley Kubrick's iconic film 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired the monolithic design of the table and benches, nodding to the mysterious block that appears in the film.
Tom Price's Synthesis bench is part of an ongoing project of the same name in which the artist carefully changes the catalyzing process of tar and resin, using heat to manipulate the two materials into billowing, complex forms. For the Bloomberg piece, Price added 100 grams of recycling ink powder, which enhanced the depth of the piece's blue and black colors. By fusing these distinct elements together, Price conjures a material that seems entirely new. The inclusion of the ink toner creates rich bursts of color for the block, which was placed onto a steel frame and lit from below in its final form as a bench. Price also contributed three "light rods"—long narrow shafts made of the same material, displayed artfully against a wall in the office.
The Danish artist and designer Astrid Krogh's piece, Layers of Ambiguity, is a set of wall coverings that slide to reveal a digital screen used in meetings. These are truly 21st-century tapestries: They're made of discarded cables that have been been stripped of their insulation to show the beautiful copper and silver wire beneath. The 200 meters of cable were woven together and layered over mirror foil that reflects light as the screens slide. "The presence of light is an essential component in my work," Krogh said in a statement. "Light enables my textiles to move and change."
The pieces will be available for public viewing during London Design Week in September, and will remain in the Bloomberg office for a year and a half.