There aren’t many upsides to the foreclosure crisis. But there is a movement in the design world to at least make sure the loss buildings through foreclosure and demolition isn’t a total loss. It’s called deconstruction, and it results in some beautiful, meaningful furniture.
Here’s what it is. Instead of demolishing a structure, which results in pretty much everything being destroyed, a deconstruction involves taking the structure apart. Anything that can be salvaged, like cabinets and light fixtures, is. Then it’s sold or donated. It makes sense on a lot of levels, not the least of which is the saving and re-use of hardwoods. Floors, beams and paneling have new life as interesting, useful, often beautiful objects.
Cleveland, Ohio has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. They also have a terrifically innovative company known as A Piece of Cleveland, or APOC. APOC creates industrial-looking furnishings like tables and chairs, as well as cutting boards. Over on etsy, there’s an artist named Robert Kanne from Omaha, Nebraska who makes very cool endtables, among other things. He gets his wood from EcoStores Nebraska, a non-profit that’s in the repurposing trade. EcoStores also sells some repurposed items like doorknob coat hangers.
A good place to start if you’re looking for reclaimed-wood items is on woodindesign.com, sort of a clearinghouse between deconstructors and upcycling artists, like Fern Handcrafted Furniture in New York state.