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Cyberpunk furniture for the environmentalist

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December 23, 2013

Benjamin Caldwell resting in the Binary Furniture display room (Photo: BRC Designs)

Benjamin Caldwell resting in the Binary Furniture display room (Photo: BRC Designs)

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Benjamin Rollins Caldwell exults in materials, designing entire lines of furniture from a wide range of castoffs. His latest creations form his remarkable Binary collection of living room furniture, in which all components come from old PCs and defunct electronics.

A native of South Carolina, Caldwell received dual degrees in art and business from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He then returned to South Carolina to join Votivo, a specialty candles, fragrance, and scents company, as brand manager and designer. Caldwell broke away from Votivo in 2009, and established his furniture design studio, BRC Designs, in Inman, SC in 2010. BRC Designs is now a well-known design house, having been featured in a number of high-profile design publications.

Benjamin Caldwell sitting in his Binary Armchair (Photo: BRC Designs)

Caldwell describes himself as a "re-inventor," finding inspiration for his designs from castoffs found in antique stores, junkyards, thrift shops, and abandoned warehouses. The result is entire lines of furniture made from playing cards, old pianos, books, bicycles, children's toys, and more.

“Sometimes the objects I discover simply inspire an overall design idea and other times the objects actually become the raw material for the piece”. He combines traditional materials, such as wood, metal, glass, plastic and stone with salvaged items, converting them into something new and innovative.

Lady Gaga posing in the BRC Designs Binary Armchair (Photo: BRC Designs)

His new Binary furniture line is constructed completely of materials salvaged from castoff computers. He reworks computer cases to form the structural framework of the furniture, then attaches computer cards, drives, motherboards, and the like to decorate the framework. Upholstery is provided by woven Ultra ATA cables or other types of wiring harnesses.

I'm not entirely sure how practical this furniture would be; cleaning alone would be quite a task. However, the basic design has proven sufficiently popular that the items in the Binary line are available in limited numbers. Lady Gaga's chair? US$14,000.

Source: BRC Designs

About the Author
Brian Dodson From an early age Brian wanted to become a scientist. He did, earning a Ph.D. in physics and embarking on an R&D career which has recently broken the 40th anniversary. What he didn't expect was that along the way he would become a patent agent, a rocket scientist, a gourmet cook, a biotech entrepreneur, an opera tenor and a science writer.   All articles by Brian Dodson
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6 Comments

The practical problem for mass sales and pricing would be the safety and comfort issues, but you'd have to either submerge the assemblies in clear acrylic within forms, or else cover them with sheets of something like lexan, bolted to a metal or wooden interior frame, in order to mass produce something that many people could use.

Great general recycling concept, though, and can probably be applied to a lot of other kinds of discarded items that would otherwise just go to the landfills.

machinephilosophy
24th December, 2013 @ 09:43 am PST

It's merely Mod Podge with old circuit boards instead of magazine clippings isn't it?

REScott
24th December, 2013 @ 11:22 am PST

I love it as an art installation, but it looks to me that you'd be scratching yourself or snagging clothing if you bumped into it. And then there's the issues of lead and other nasties that make up printed circuit boards....

dsiple
24th December, 2013 @ 12:37 pm PST

$14K for sarecycle chair. I should get into recycling! I wonder how clothes get along with the circuit boards. never s dnsg I'm sure. its all been designed out. p.d. love the mats. did a woman show you that one?

Walt Stawicki
25th December, 2013 @ 04:18 am PST

Oh yes. It all looks so comfy. Makes me want to strip off all my clothes and sit on the transistors.

duh3000
26th December, 2013 @ 02:19 am PST

Er...can somebody ask Walt Stawicki to translate that into English please? Thank you.

dalroth5
18th January, 2014 @ 02:46 am PST
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