People’s trash turns into high-end home goods

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People’s trash turns into high-end home goods

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Furniture designer Mun Seung-ji’s first solo exhibition “Woulda Coulda Shoulda Did” features Mun’s recycling experiments, taking things that would have been thrown away and turning them into practical and beautiful pieces. “Paper Pot” was made when he stuffed wet paper into plastic coffee cups, above, and “Naked Sofa” reuses sponges left over from other sofas, the colors exposed through the transparent plastic covers, top. [YOON SO-YEON]

Furniture designer Mun Seung-ji is holding his first solo exhibition at Paradise Zip in central Seoul, displaying furniture that leaves no waste in the manufacturing process and is made from recycled goods into pieces that are both practical and beautiful.

The “Woulda Coulda Shoulda Did” exhibition, being held through Nov. 3, is an homage to the “Anabada” movement held during the 1990s in Korea during the financial crisis, calling for everyone to conserve, share, exchange and reuse the things in their everyday lives.

In his work, Mun uses disposed aluminum soda cans, plastic coffee cups from cafes and foam from used sofas that would have been thrown out.

Instead of just cleaning off the dust from the surface and calling something recycled, Mun’s works are something totally new: he melts all the aluminum cans in a furnace he designed, also from recycled parts, and molds the material into stools and chairs for his “Peep Peep” Collection.

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With the used coffee cups, he found that by squashing wet paper into the cups and placing cut flowers in them, the paper helps the flowers survive longer than they would in only water.

“The paper used to be trees, so it carries a small amount of nutrition for the flower,” said Mun. “It’s not exactly a vase, or something for sale. But I’m trying to get across the message that I’m taking things that have been thrown away and trying new kinds of things with them.”

The “Naked Sofa” is not just practical but is pleasing to the eye as well. The different colors of the sponges are exposed by a transparent plastic cover.

“The idea of recycling isn’t something big and grand. It’s about using something, and then using it again. It’s about changing your thoughts on buying and consuming, and if the next time you do so, you think just once more about it, then that’s it.”

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]


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