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Eye of the beholder: Office trash converted into furniture and art

Have you ever toyed with the idea of creating artwork or functional pieces from inorganic waste? Beginning in 2010, financial and business news enterprise Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London has commissioned “Waste Not Want It,” a program in which artists convert the company’s discarded trash, office materials, and equipment into creative furniture and art installations.

The fifth Waste Not Want It series, unveiled last week, included new works by eight designers, bringing to 37 the total number of supported artists, who have in turn produced more than 40 functional works from waste materials. The artists this year are from Denmark, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Uruguay, and Great Britain.

Related: A line of housewares made from recycled materials will soon be offered by Ikea

In all, the latest Waste Not Want It series used 2,000 meters of computer cable, 76 keyboards, 160 computer screens, 250 “empty” printer color ink cartridges (which always contain about 100 grams of residual powder), and 33 wood pallets. The artists are not limited to using only the waste products in their installations but do prominently incorporate such materials.

'Starboard' by Stuart Haygarth. 76 reclaimed keyboard panels light from below by LED lights.

The concept of ‘form following function’ translates literally with the Bloomberg Waste Not Want It series. The artists form their individual responses to the Bloomberg trash in conjunction with dialogue with Bloomberg employees. As part of the creative process the artists and employees talk about how the company uses technology hardware and software to produce financial data and news. Some of the artists hand craft their pieces while others uses more industrial processes in their work.

The pieces created in the Waste Not Want it series are first displayed in Bloomberg’s international offices. The pieces in London will be on display for public viewing on September 24 during London Design Week, according to Fast Company, Inc.  They will stay in Bloomberg’s offices for a year and a half and then will be loaned as exhibition pieces. The series is commissioned in association with Arts Co.