Madeline Isakson Turns Trash Into Treasure With Furniture Made From Waste Styrofoam

Detroit-based designer Madeline Isakson has combined found styrofoam and aluminum to create a series of furniture pieces that speak to our throwaway culture.

The “EPS” collection, which stands for Expanded Polystyrene Series, features styrofoam that Isakson has collected over a period of time. The ways in which the random pieces puzzle together ends up producing the final form of the lamps and chairs, and resembles the casing that consumer products arrive in.

Once the pieces have been placed in the desired assemblage, they are cast in aluminum – giving a weight to the objects, while also elevating the waste material concealed underneath. For the lamp, a strip of LED lights is then fitted, and for the chair, cushion pads are applied to the backrest and seat.

Conceptually, the pieces are an exploration into consumerisum and the value we place on discarded materials, and what tends to end up in landfill. “We are all aware of the problems created by our culture of consumerism,” Isakson says. “The goal of this series is to rethink the possibilities of what we formerly considered ‘trash’ and create a new domestic aesthetic that sees beauty and humor in the mundane. Once cast, the pieces offer an entirely new materiality that nevertheless retains all the marks and traces of its original form, pushing viewers and users to rethink the lifecycle of the things we choose to consume.”

These new pieces were first presented at the WantedDesign fair in Manhattan earlier this week, where Isakson’s work was selected as one of six finalists to be shown in the Emerging Designer Showcase.

For more design news, check out this furniture crafted from recycled sneakers.
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