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UnWaste Bookcase

Melbourne, Victoria

The UnWaste bookcase, a collaboration between architect Ben Milbourne (Bild Architecture), eco-designer Leyla Acaroglu (Eco Innovators) and specialist furniture designer David Waterworth (Against the Grain); is the inventive response to a challenging brief and an adventurous client, resulting in a sustainably designed full-wall rotating library.

A split-level open plan warehouse conversion in Melbourne’s CBD needed a flexible solution to divide the open space into 2 rooms, while retaining the option of keeping the larger combined space when needed; an answer that would allow for light and airflow throughout the spaces but also a division between living and sleeping areas. The James Bond inspired solution involves a 4.6 metre high by 3.8m wide rotating library allowing books to be stored and accessed from either side and maximising air-flow and light when needed by simply pushing on the corner to allow for full 360 degree rotation.

Producing the least environmental impact possible was paramount with this project. Conventional ‘virgin’ MDF, Timber or Melamine all came with unacceptable environmental impacts, leading to an impasse that threatened to derail the project. The solution came via the collaboration with David Waterworth who specialises in reclaimed and recycled materials in his designs. Reclaimed plywood from construction site hoardings (the temporary barriers at the edge of construction sites) were sourced and the material’s unique characteristics of posters, weathering, graffiti and mismatched paints was incorporated into the design. The ply was sealed with natural beeswax, and with the construction processes minimising off-cut waste, 30 sheets of plywood were saved from landfill for this project further limiting its environmental impact.

The UnWaste Bookcase demonstrates the innovation possible through collaboration across disciplines. Alone, none of the collaborators would have arrived at anything like the finished project – but together, a truly innovative outcome was achieved. Proving how simple it is to find an innovative sustainable design solution that is functional, aesthetical and certainly in this case unique.


photography: TM Photo (www.tmphoto.co)