FORMER LIFE GIVES BOUTIQUE HOTEL NEW FURNITURE
DEBRIS OF AN OLD BUILDING WHERE THE HOTEL NOW STANDS, WAS TRANSFORMED BY BERNARDO URBINA INTO A CHANDELIER & RECEPTION DESK
Costa Rican furniture designer Bernardo Urbina, specializes in up-cycling dead and waste material into furniture. His most recent project is the Iron Wood Hotel in Tacloban City in the Philippines. The hotel now stands where a building was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Bernardo was contacted to design the lobby chandelier and the reception desk among other pieces, using the foundation of the 100 year old building that was destroyed. Urbina was able to capture the moment when the foundation was taken out (pictured to the left). This was key to share the history of the chandelier and the reception desk. Documenting a products process is as important as the final output. With out the initial picture the story as well as the product looses half of its value. Urbina mentions “we all see repurposed furniture everywhere and they all look similar after the transformation, but I am interested in showing how it looked before we gave it a new life because its past life is what makes the item unique.”
As soon as the debris was removed it was sent to Cebu City to start the design process. Urbina had no idea what it look like when he received it but he accepted the challenge. He then sorted and organized all the items by size and features (picture below). Having taken all the dimension from the items he started designing.
The next step was cleaning the debris, making it smooth and workable, but retaining its history. Creating all those imperfections into beauty is what Bernardo specializes in. Many long nights later, the items started to become reality. The chandelier consists of 180 hanging wooden slabs with a height of 30cm. They are organized by the alternating distance from base. Urbina states that hanging length creates movement within the chandelier. The 15 lights surrounded by the old buildings foundation now lights the space where it once stood. While the reception desk is created by 5 long foundation columns, suspended one on top of the other with light coming through the space. The combination of old material and new LED technology, compliments the overall modern hotel look. It took Bernardo and his team 3 months to transform and up-cycle the waste and dead material.
Next time you have some old wood, try to find new ways you could use it. Look beyond the straight lines, and turn those imperfections into stories. It not only helps the environment but you will be able to create an item with a story to share with your friends and family.