Benjamin Rollins Caldwell is an American artist and founder of BRC Designs. A small furniture design firm that creates bespoke pieces with waste products and particularly waste electrical products. His vision is to “Re-think, Re-purpose, Re-invent” (BRC Designs, 2014) materials that would otherwise go into landfill. By striping these materials down to their bare structures he is able to view them in a raw and exposed light that allows him to recontextualized them into his bespoke furniture pieces. It is this process that allows him to challenge the current perceptions of waste and it’s limitations.
His process utilized furniture craftsmen that help to repurpose waste products into a specific design forum of furniture design. Caldwell’s design process is fundamentally based within the design disciplinary of furniture design although his conceptual process’s elevates this to a more conceptual approach that deals more with the process of re contextualizing waste than it does with creating the outcome of furniture.
Having only started his business in 2009, Caldwell has managed to gain substantial traction in his waste management endeavors. His unique approach of re contextualizing waste has attracted the attention of celebrities such as Lady Gaga who debuted his Binary collection in 2013 alongside influential artists Jeff Koons and Marina Abramovic. BRC Designs is a commercial business that turns a profit from reusing waste products in innovative ways. It is this ability to integrate sustainable practices into a functioning business that demonstrates Caldwell’s ability to create a future for design innovations within waste management.
Caldwell’s business is a self funded start up that is yet to be bought out by any larger company and it is this that allows the BRC firm to retain it’s sense of intimate craftsmanship and attention to detail within its bespoke pieces.
His collections to date have ranged from tables made from old and unused computer chips to unused concrete blocks that become bespoke coffee tables and stands.
Caldwell’s success in reinterpreting waste within the furniture disciplinary allows him to demonstrate sustainable design innovation as well as an ability to look beyond the rendering of waste. Something we should all think about doing more often…
(BRC Designs, 2014, Table)
BRC Designs, 2014, Info, Viewed 30 April
BRC Designs, 2014, Table, Viewed 30 April
Haggar, S. 2007, Sustainable Industrial Design and Waste Management, Elsevier, Burlington
Lawson S, 2013, Furniture Design, Laurence Publishing, London