Old is a state of mind. Everything is in a constant state of change. Some things we keep – objects, furniture, materials – wear out, break, outdate and become boring. They may no longer be what we want or need them to be, and so we discard them, or store them, or put them aside or ‘out’ for others. Our urban streets are one of the places we place what we see as old. But with alterations, these objects can become new and useful again. Australia fosters a creative DIY culture, but we rarely see this in action in urban areas. ReForm tries to encourage this culture by showing how notions of old and new are projected, and how easily an object can move from one to another.
ReForm involved taking discarded furniture and materials from Sydney’s streets and laneways and re-designing, reassembling and re-finishing it into useful, beautiful, and sometimes playful or critical objects. The two-day event held at Tosh Lane in Zetland transformed – both physically, intellectually and emotionally - what is normally a dumping ground for unwanted waste into a curated exhibition of new ideas and characterful objects. The assembly of pieces, each telling a story about their past use and new integrity, aims to resemble the interesting and varied persona and backgrounds of Australian people.
As part of Sydney Design 2011, Re-Form addressed the umbrella theme ‘is old new again?’ with the view that old is a state of mind. At a conceptual level, the project was an investigation of how often what we see as old, can be re-valued as new via design and craftsmanship. thefortynine aimed to illustrate the potential of tired materials by giving them new life.