Gate shelving system folds up or down for books, clothes, furniture

Flexible storage options are a big plus when living in a smaller space. We’ve seen various incarnations of clever shelving that stacks up like Tetris blocks, hooks onto the wall, flat pack shelving that hangs, and accordion-like flat pack shelving that unfolds.

Aiming for flexibility and beautiful durability, Kiev, Ukraine-based designer Artem Zakharchenko of Zakharchitects created this versatile shelving design called “Gate“, which is made out of rows of wooden slats that can be folded down or up, depending on the need.

Zakharchitects© Zakharchitects

Zakharchitects© Zakharchitects

Constructed by furniture maker Borisov, the Gate’s folding action is made possible by the metal rods that string the slats together at two points. At the back is a metal structure that holds everything up, while also providing a stopper for the slats. Conveniently, one can also hang clothes off of the rods, or wine glasses in between the slats — a neat idea.

Zakharchitects© Zakharchitects

Zakharchitects© Zakharchitects

Zakharchitects© Zakharchitects

The design could be used in small apartments, where one might flip an empty shelf up to gain extra space. As one can make out in the photos, one of those shelves can become flip-down seats or work tables. There are apparently add-ons galore, umbrella stands, storage boxes, tabourets (maybe something for plants or art). It could also be useful in restaurants or retail stores, where it could be utilized for displaying products, clothes and wines. This is quite an adaptable set of shelving that can do more than just store things; to see more, visit Zakharchitects.

[Via: Contemporist]

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Japanese furniture makers pivot to cats

We have long been fans of Catitecture, the term for architecture and interior design for cats. It is a growing business, whereas the traditional furniture industry has long been in trouble thanks to the globalization of furniture manufacturing wrought by IKEA. That’s why Japanese manufacturers in the Fukuoa prefecture are pivoting to cats.

According to Kieron Marchese in Designboom, the manufacturers have introduced a line of miniature furniture built out of lightweight Kiri wood, which they used to use to make wedding furniture. It looks purrfect.

cat furnitureSpoon and Tomago/via

Johnny at Spoon and Tamago notes that cat furniture used to be ugly, but this is produced exactly like any other full sized piece, as seen by the human and cat sized versions in the photo above.

In fact, they’re really just miniature versions of actual pieces the furniture makers have designed. The cat sofa was designed and produced by Hiromatsu Furniture . The cat bed was designed and produced by Tateno Mokuzai.

mini furniture for cats in japanese makers campaign from designboom on Vimeo.

It is all a public relations campaign; evidently, they have had some viral hits before. It will be displayed under the banner “Craftsman MADE”; the commercial is charming even if you do not understand Japanese. More images on Designboom.

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Top-secret Australian govt files sold at ‘second-hand furniture shop’

Govt files


Canberra has launched an investigation into how hundreds of top-secret documents spanning five governments and dubbed The Cabinet Files ended up being sold at a second-hand furniture shop in the Australian capital.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) obtained the treasure trove of files and published a series of exclusive reports earlier this week.

Most of the documents were classified, some “top secret” and others marked “AUSTEO” (to be seen by Australian eyes only), and were meant by law to remain secret for at least two decades.

Among other things, the ABC’s revelations reportedly feature allegations that the “Australian Federal Police (AFP) lost nearly 400 national security files in five years” and that former Prime Minister John Howard’s National Security Committee (NSC) gave “serious consideration to removing an individual’s unfettered right to remain silent when questioned by police.”

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has initiated “an urgent investigation.”

The ABC said that the files were in locked cabinets purchased at a shop selling ex-government furniture. The filing cabinets were bought for “small change” and sat unopened for several months until the locks were forced with a drill.

“The documents were in two locked filing cabinets sold at an ex-government sale in Canberra. They were sold off cheaply because they were heavy and no-one could find the keys. A nifty person drilled the locks and uncovered the trove of documents inside,” the ABC reported.

“The ex-government furniture sale was not limited to Australians – anyone could make a purchase. And had they been inclined, there was nothing stopping them handing the contents to a foreign agent or government,” it added.

The cabinet files dump came under fire from security experts, but was made light of on social media.

Rory Medcalf, the head of the National Security College at the Australian National University, meanwhile said it was an embarrassing incident “highlighting the constant vigilance that needs to go into protecting sensitive national security information.”

“This extraordinary breach underscores the need for government agencies and ministerial offices alike to review whether their protocols for handling secret information are good enough or are being observed,” he told

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Most furniture is full of toxins which pollute your indoor air; here are 5 ways to eliminate the poison

Image: Most furniture is full of toxins which pollute your indoor air; here are 5 ways to eliminate the poison

(Natural News)
Your home is supposed to be a place where you can relax and unwind, but did you know that your furniture can contain various toxins?

Even brand new furniture can be full of toxic chemicals used in various “harmless” features. These compounds that make furniture comfy to lounge around in belong to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a class of chemicals.

VOCs are compounds that act as toxic gases. They can pollute the air and once inhaled, can cause negative side effects like “eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, and nausea.” VOCs can even harm your liver, kidneys, and your central nervous system. Some VOCs can also cause cancer.

Listed below are some of the various toxins that can be found in furniture.

  1. Acetaldehyde — A chemical used in perfumes for that “new-car” or “new-furniture” smell, polyester resins, dyes, rubber production, and for tanning agent production.
  2. Benzene — Benzene can be found in detergents and dyes, which can be used on your furniture. It is also used as a solvent for waxes, resins, and plastics that are used to make furniture.
  3. Formaldehyde — A a colorless chemical with a strong odor, formaldehyde is often found in pressed-wood products, glues, adhesives, plywood, fabrics, and coatings for various products.
  4. Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) — HBCH belongs to a category of toxic flame retardants.
  5. Perchloroethylene — Commonly used for dry cleaning fabrics and metal degreasing.
  6. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) — Often used to make carpets, leathers, and upholstering to waterproof and stain-resistant.
  7. Phthalates — A class of chemicals used in various products, phthalates are used on floor tiles, furniture upholstery, carpet backings, and packaging for different products.
  8. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers — These are additional flame retardants classified in a cluster because they contain several chemical combinations. They seep out of foams, plastics, and fabrics. They can pollute the air and accumulate in the environment.
  9. Trichloroethylene — A VOC used as a solvent for dry cleaning and metal degreasing.
  10. Vinyl Acetate — A chemical used to make polyvinyl, adhesives, paints, films, and lacquers.

Removing toxins in your furniture

Here’s how to remove or minimize the toxin levels in your furniture:

  1.  Air purifiers and PCO cleaners — A high-quality air filter can significantly reduce the dangerous chemicals that are released into the air from your furniture. Take note that while PCO cleaners use UV light to change gas-based pollutants into harmless products, they can’t remove particles like air purifiers.
  2. Baking soda — A lot of VOCs are acidic so you can use baking soda, which is alkaline, as a deodorizer. Baking soda can trap harmful gases and provide some relief. Sprinkle baking soda on your furniture or over carpets. Using the brush attachment on your vacuum, work it into the material. Let the baking soda sit for a while, then vacuum the furniture or carpet clean.
  3. Charcoal filters — Use a charcoal filter to remove some of the VOCs in the air. Always change the filters to maximize its efficacy.
  4. House plants — Several varieties of house plants can help absorb chemicals in the air. Try some purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternata), English ivy, purple heart, foxtail fern, and wax plant, which all have incredible air-filtering abilities. (Related: 8 Air Purifying Plants to Naturally Clear Toxins From Your Home.)
  5. Ventilation and “off-gassing” — After you buy new furniture, let it “air out” on your lawn or garage. This lets the chemicals evaporate from the furniture quickly. This won’t eliminate VOCs completely, but it can help off-gas other VOCs.

Aside from following the tips above, you can also minimize the toxins in your home by getting rid of any toxic cleaning products that you own. Replace them with eco-friendly products that can be bought from the local natural market.

You can even make your own cleaning products. Try some vinegar and water for a natural disinfectant and degreaser. Baking soda with some clove oil can help disinfect your bathroom.

Ensure that your home is also well-ventilated. Regularly air out the rooms to prevent the accumulation of chemicals.

It’s virtually impossible to eliminate all the toxins in your home, but these tips can help minimize exposure.

You can read more articles about other toxins and how to avoid them at

Sources include:



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Terrifying 'haunted' restaurant camera shows furniture moving on its own

This viral footage may prove ghost skeptics wrong. 

One local spot in California is making headlines for some spooky incidents — and it was all caught on camera. 

Cronies Bar and Restaurant uploaded two separate videos to Facebook to verify the creepy encounters. One shows the rocking of a chair during business hours, which had some of its customers spooked. The other video shows the toppling of a barstool after the business had closed its doors for the night. 

Related: These images go way back

“For this to happen it’s pretty creepy,” said Dave Foldes, one of the bar’s co-owners, to a local news station. He continued, “It’s just really weird. We’ve been here 27 years, nothing weird like this has ever happened.” 

Though they don’t know what caused the movements, they’re quick to blame it on the spot’s two originals, Ralph and Don. 

“Ralph and Don. They were our first originals. They actually introduced me to my wife. And they died 25 years ago.Whenever something funny happens, we blame it on them,” he said. 

Related: Tour these infamous haunted spots

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Raw furniture is grown with mushroom mycelium

With the aim of finding alternative materials that are both renewable and non-toxic, designers are turning to a variety of surprising possibilities. Mycelium — or the vegetative part of fungi that branches out in thread-like structures — is one of these curious candidates. We’ve seen mycelium as an integral element for building blocks, furniture and structural frameworks; now, design team Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanova are creating a collection of mycelium-based accessories that have a soft, leathery feel, without actually using leather.

Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova© Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova
Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova© Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova
Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova© Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova

Dezeen shows us their Mycelium + Timber series, which was made using coppiced strips of goat willow wood from around Cox’s home, woven to form moulds. To these moulds were added fomes fomentarius, a kind of fungus that feasts upon the wooden scraps. After a period of time in the mould, the shaped mass of interwoven threads is taken out and dried, creating something that’s handmade and lovely in a naturally raw way. Says Ivanova:

What really excites us both is how you take this material out of the conceptual phase and put it into people’s homes. How do you craft the aesthetics to make something that is really beautiful, as you would with any other material?

It’s not just about the fungus, it’s about the marriage of the two materials. It’s not sustainability for us – it’s just what makes sense. These two materials have a natural relationship in the woodland, so let’s see how we can exploit that.

Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova© Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova

The designers believe that this method of combining wood with mycelium might help replace glues in engineered woods like MDF. Says Cox:

In our workshop we don’t use composite wood materials because I’ve never been quite satisfied with the binding agent holding the wood together. As a result, I’ve always had a kind of fantasy interest in ‘reinventing’ a type of MDF and finding new ways to bind wood fibres into either sheets or mounded forms, ideally without glue.

Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova© Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova
Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova© Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova
Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova© Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova
Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova© Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova

Mycelium is a versatile component of nature: it makes our soils healthier, it sequesters carbon, and now, seems like it could be someday soon developed into a renewable building material for our structures and furnishings. While there’s still some ways to go before mycelium-made objects can be mass-grown, it’s nevertheless a tantalizing idea to ponder. The duo’s collection is now being exhibited at the London Design Festival exhibition Design Frontiers until September 24. To see more, visit Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanova.

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Landfill to lifestyle: This line of furniture is made entirely from post-consumer waste

A new entry to the eco-friendly furnishings market offers a collection of furniture and home accessories that comes with a bold set of standards.

By focusing on turning trash into treasure, Pentatonic aims to demonstrate a better way forward for home furnishings than the standard of using virgin materials to create relatively short-lived products. We already have enough glass, plastic, and metals on the surface of the planet to make what is needed, although mostly in the form of “the world’s most abundant and dangerous resource – human trash.” Pentatonic is tapping in to this waste stream for feedstock for its products, which are intended to be truly “circular” in nature, by virtue of being made from 100% recycled materials, being fully recyclable, and coming with a lifetime buy-back guarantee.

For some perspective on just one aspect of the waste issue, it’s estimated that globally, about 480 billion plastic bottles were purchased last year, and that figure is rising, with some projections saying that by 2021, we may be buying more than 580 billion plastic bottles per year, and only a fraction of that is being recycled. A staggering 8.3 billions of tons of plastic has been manufactured since the ’50s, with most of it ending up in landfills of the oceans, which is said to be “smothering ecosystems in plastic.” Another common waste item from our era of affluenza is electronics, or e-waste, which can yield valuable metals and glass that don’t require mining or extensive processing to reclaim, but which often end up getting literally trashed instead of recycled.

According to Pentatonic co-founders Jamie Hall and Johann Boedecker, the company aims to disrupt the furniture industry not only through its use of 100% post-consumer waste to craft its products “without compromising an inch on design, performance, or function,” but also by incorporating automotive manufacturing technology to build it. This is said to enable a scalable production process that also enables ‘localization’ by sourcing feedstock from near the production facility instead of from across the world.

“Everything we make is from trash. This is the most fundamental element of who we are. We simply refuse to add to the abundance of waste on our streets, in our landfill sites, rivers and oceans. We exist to reduce this poisonous glut. To use human ingenuity and conscious consumerism to design our way out of this looming disaster. With our unique technology, developed over 15 years of research and application in industrial spaces, we’ve learnt how to most effectively transform trash into desirable new products and materials. Glass, plastic, metals, food, even cigarettes: it can all be reused many times, without compromising on quality or performance. Each new life that we can give to a material can be an improvement on the last.” – Pentatonic

Pentatonic AirTool chair© Pentatonic
Pentatonic products are designed to be simple to build (no tools required), to be modular and interchangeable, and the focus on using standardized components is said to lead to more efficient manufacturing and shipping. In addition, each component is assigned a unique identification number that states the manufacture date and location, the type of waste used in its production, and who has ‘owned’ it before (“track that component’s journey through the entirety of its lifecycle”). All products come with a buy-back guarantee, after which the returned items will be recycled to be used again and again.

“Our non-negotiable commitment to the consumer is that we make our products using single materials. That means no toxic additives and no hybridized materials which are prohibitive of recyclability. As such, this represents a radical departure from the traditional design, manufacturing and consumer service models in the homeware and accessories industry. This enables us to simply recycle our products into new products at the end of life, and thus brings our consumer into our supply chain. This inclusivity and incentivizing will deliver an almost zero waste of our products post-use.” – Pentatonic Co-Founder/CEO Johann Boedecker

At the core of this year’s lineup from Pentatonic is the modular AirTool system (made from “tactile felts, luxurious fabrics, ultra hardened textiles” and hand-finished metals), which allows the end user to create “a great number of outcomes with just a few components,” and the tables and chairs can be augmented with additional components. To complement the furniture, the company also offers a collection of glassware made from upcycled smartphone glass, which is said to be one of the lesser-known, but no less wasteful, aspect of our modern smartphone addiction.

Pentatonic smartphone glass glassware© Pentatonic
Pentatonic just attracted some £4,300,000 of investments, which will be used to scale up the company’s operation in both the UK and Europe in a bid to revitalize the consumer furnishings market while bringing positive environmental change to it. Sales will be through the company’s website and various pop-up stores, and the line will be displayed at the upcoming London Design Festival. Learn more at Pentatonic.

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Inspiration To Decorate Your Home In An Eco-Friendly, Cheap Way Using Roadside Furniture

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Have you ever seen mattresses, furniture, toys, or anything else simply lying on the side of the road? I live in Toronto, and this is a common sight to see. However, these items seem to disappear as quickly as they’re put out, often times because people will pick them up before the dump trucks can even get to them

Have you ever refurbished anything off the side of the road, or picked up something you thought would look cute or be of great use in your home? Even if you haven’t, many other people have, and they’ve posted online about it!

Not only is this trend a cheap way to fill up your home, but it’s also environmentally-friendly, and an easy way for people to consume less. We’ve become so obsessed with consuming items, purchasing anything that’s in fashion, that we tend to reuse less frequently than previous generations.

Perhaps after seeing some of these great finds you’ll be open to picking up the next item you see along the side of the road.

These three mugs and two martini glasses were also found in the trash of Vermont:

A pile of otherwise trash on the side of the road. Think about how much you’d spend on these items regularly, and how much gas and emissions it would take to get all of this shipped to you. But instead, some lucky fellow found it sitting pretty on the side of a road:

If you’re a sucker for art like I am, you might even find art that you like in the garbage! What’s considered ugly to one person is perhaps a gem to another. This trash can find was discovered in Rosemont, Illinois:

This bluetooth speaker was found in Quebec trash:

This chandelier was also found in Quebec trash, and it was actually broken into pieces when it was spotted. However, the individual who found it was handy enough to put it back together!

This trash can find worked perfectly, and apparently makes delicious espresso and lattes. The value? An estimated $200-$300.

I’m not kidding, someone even found a Mac laptop in the trash. Granted, the finder did have to purchase a new battery and charger, but that’s still cheaper than purchasing an entirely new laptop! It’s important to note that many companies, including Apple, will take back your old electronics and reuse its parts, and will sometimes even give you discounts on future purchases if you do so. Please be responsible when disposing of your items, and try your best to either return, reuse, or recycle them!

This individual found this piece on the curb, and then refurbished it into a cute chalkboard aesthetic for a wedding!

One person even creatively refurbished a crate into a chic coffee table!

These chairs were found along the side of the road and then refurbished and repurposed into a bench!

This wine crate was found along the side of the road:

Final Thoughts 

There are countless dumpster diving bloggers all across North America discussing the best tips and tricks for finding curbside gems that would otherwise become trash. At the end of the day, visualizing how something could look with a little paint and creativity is the best way to decipher what should be taken and what should end up being trash.

Remember, you don’t need to try to repurpose everything. Only take what you need, because who knows — maybe someone will come along a couple hours later who truly needs those items!

The overall takeaway here is, perhaps you don’t need to buy everything. Society pushes consumerism on us so heavily that we often forget that purchasing or finding used items is an option. The other key message here is that what’s garbage to you may be beautiful to someone else.

Please do not dispose of your items irresponsibly. Tons of things that end up in landfills really do not need to be there. Many of these items belong in a recycling bin, antique shops, used clothing stores, or many other places that don’t include trash cans.

Happy trash hunting! 🙂



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Startup upcycles discarded chopsticks into new decor & furniture (Video)

Chopsticks have a long and storied history, dating back to 2100 BC when Da Yu, the founder of the Xia dynasty, was trying to reach a flood zone. In his haste, he didn’t want to wait for his food to cool down, and adapted two twigs to help him eat his food quickly. With the popularization of Asian food all over the world, chopsticks — especially the disposable kind — are now being used all over the world.

But throwaway chopsticks are an unmitigated environmental disaster. In China alone, 80 billion chopsticks are thrown away each year, requiring hundreds of acres of forest to be cut down every day just to keep up with the demand. In response, the Bring Your Own Chopsticks (BYOC) movement is gaining ground in places like Japan, China and Taiwan (most notably, in Korea metal chopsticks are used — a good idea).

But what to do still with all those discarded chopsticks? Vancouver, Canada’s Chopvalue has a great idea: cleaning them up and turning them into home accessories and furniture. Watch:

Chopvalue© Chopvalue

Chopvalue’s founder, Felix Böck, is a doctoral student in the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia. The idea for the startup came when he realized how many chopsticks were thrown out every day. Böck estimates that in Vancouver alone over 100,000 pairs of these utensils are sent to the landfill every day.

Wanting to do something to address the problem, Böck invested in some recycling bins, and recruited restaurants to get their customers to throw their bamboo chopsticks in the recycling bin, rather than in the trash. These are then picked up by Chopvalue, and then taken to their lab, where they are cleaned, coated in resin and then hot-pressed with a machine to come up with a flat material.

Chopvalue© Chopvalue
Chopvalue© Chopvalue
Chopvalue© Chopvalue

These bamboo ‘planks’ are then cut and put together into a range of other things, like shelving, cutting boards, coasters and even furniture. This side table reuses over 3,800 chopsticks and also utilizes salvaged steel from local demolition sites.

Chopvalue© Chopvalue

For one of these hexagonal tiles, 300 chopsticks are upcycled into something useful and beautiful.

Chopvalue© Chopvalue

Chopvalue is now also offering yoga blocks made from recycled chopsticks.

Chopvalue© Chopvalue

So far, since its inception in July 2016, the company has recycled 800,000 chopsticks. Businesses also benefit from Chopvalue’s free recycling service, and end up generating less waste and therefore paying less for waste disposal. While we know that it’s better to refrain from using disposable chopsticks in the first place (remember the 7 R’s), this is nevertheless a great example of how one small idea can help to tackle part of a big problem, in its own way. For more, visit Chopvalue.

[Via: UBC]

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Multifunctional pillow furniture expands tiny spaces for guests (Video)

The limitations of small living spaces has prompted people to get creative with furniture and usage patterns. Transformer furniture has been a popular choice, as well as overlapping functions like having a fold-down dining table in one’s multipurpose sitting area. Instead of going for the impressive float-down bed, designer Michal Blutrich decides to tackle the sitting area, by making a collection of multifunctional floor pillows that can be used as seating when a large group of guests come into a small space.

Michal Blutrich© Michal Blutrich

Dubbed Pile, the concept consists of a small table, a lamp, and a whole pile of chromatic floor pillows that can be arranged in a variety of ways to suit the needs of the moment. By padding the floor all over, you can get much more seating possibilities in a small space than with the typical couch.

Michal Blutrich© Michal Blutrich

Pile from michal blutrich on Vimeo.

There’s a modern ritual envisioned here, as Blutrich explains:

Stacked, “Pile” is a layered object constisting of different shapes and colors, that contrast and merge. Unstacking the objects, however, equals a welcoming ceremony and exposes different elements that can arranged into various atmospheres.

Living in big anonymous cities where stacked apartments create skyscrapers, we are craving for the need of space and humanity. “Pile” transforms into a multifunctional object fulfilling the needs of furniture responding to small apartments, at the same time brings cordiality in our ever faster and bigger growing cities.

There are holes in the pillows so that the table can be placed down without damaging them. When not in use, the Pile can be stacked up in the corner like an artsy installation, using the long lamp. The lamp itself can be used to light up gatherings.

Michal Blutrich © Michal Blutrich
Michal Blutrich© Michal Blutrich
Michal Blutrich© Michal Blutrich
Michal Blutrich© Michal Blutrich
Michal Blutrich© Michal Blutrich
Michal Blutrich© Michal Blutrich

Best of all, if guests are too tipsy to leave and need to sleep over, they can pass out on Pile, no problem.

Michal Blutrich© Michal Blutrich

There’s definitely an bit of Asian or Middle Eastern inspiration in the design; these are cultures where it’s commonplace to sit on pillows or mats on the floor. This widespread custom is enhanced with a bit of modern flair in Pile, turning it into a design — and a welcoming ritual — that people with small spaces everywhere can embrace. More over at Michal Blutrich.

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