Today I talk about closed system design thinking and show you one of my recent projects. When I talk about closed system design I refer to way of designing where you use mostly upcycled materials and maybe change their purpose. A beginning point in this kind of designing and DIYing is the existing material like piece of wood that begins the brainstorming process, what could I do with this? You can also look for particular shapes and patterns from thrift shops or garbage to use according to your design and then change their purpose.
Closed System Design How To:
Brainstorm with following questions.
Ask yourself questions like; What could I do with this? From what kind of pieces the product consist and could I use the pieces in a different way? What kind of pieces I could use to get the wanted shape? Don´t narrow your thoughts by the first purpose the product has been made for.
Look at the shape.
Browse inspirational sites and magazines to find out the current style and predict what might be the next thing. Historical eras, nature and special styles ( for example 50s style, Arts and Crafts...) can also be very inspiring when making your own design. Think about what is it that you like and what kind of pieces you want to create to the world for others to see. When you find a style you like pay attention to patterns, shapes an materials. You can make a list of style makers typical for that style. Keep your eyes open when thrifting or going through your own storage. I like colorful, bohemian and artistic style. In my lamp project I really liked the shape of the lamp when I bought it last autumn. I came across with the perfect lampshade some two weeks ago. Lampshade was actually a ceiling lamp but when I was at home I thought I could try it to the floor lamp. Wooden buttons were also a thrift shop find that I bought in advance knowing that the same material would be quite expensive at the craft shop. One evening last week I was looking at the lamp and knew that buttons and wooden rings would make the lamp special.
Save materials with potential.
Left overs might be the key pieces for your next DIY project. For example I bought a wooden bead curtain last summer from a thrift shop. I attached the curtain differently so that the wooden rings I am using in today´s lamp project where a left over. I saved the rings as they were interesting material with potential. I also know that these kind of wooden rings are quite expensive at the craft shop. Of course there should be some sense what to store but if the material is not broken or otherwise badly damaged and can be upcycled in a sensible time frame there is no reason why not to put in to wait.
Color can be changed.
When you have find a shape you like think about how you can combine different pieces into an entity with color. Paint all pieces with the same color or make pairs mixing material so that all particles you are using seem to work together. This is may be the most difficult part as it finishes the design and makes gathered pieces to work together instead of a collection of random stuff put together.
Re-designed lamp project: I bought this retro lamp last autumn with 2€ at the local thrift shop. Back then this had a fabric lampshade that I modernized with fabric flowers and beads. When I made that DIY I already had plans to do a bigger makeover on spring. Two weeks ago I found a beautiful wooden ceiling lamp from that same thrift shop with 6€. I removed the old lamp equipment from the shade and tried it on this floor lamp and it fit perfectly. Still the combination of dark lampshade and lamp was too heavy especially next to the dark grey armchair. Then one night I got an idea to use wooden shapes, rings and buttons as a fun detail. Wooden rings are left over from a bead curtain that I bought from flea market last summer. Buttons are also from flea market. I used left over chalk and acrylic paint to color beads, buttons and rings. White coconut paint is new hardware store bargain. I will use rest of the coconut paint for some other project. I drilled holes to the lampshade and attached rings and beads with cotton yarn. I glued buttons into rows. All wooden materials I used in this re-design project were already produced and put to thrift shop. Paint, yarn and glue were new.
So called new lamp fits perfectly to the intended space combining colorful mosaic, dark brown table and collection of baskets together.
Have you combined materials from your storage and thrift shop finds to create a new design?
Wishing you all an inspiring week!