Furniture made from scrap aluminium carries “traces of giant factory saws”

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Dutch design firm Studio ThusThat has developed a series of furniture and homeware that was cut from a single sheet of aluminium “crust” – an offcut of the smelting process.

The collection, called One Side Sawn, includes flat-pack tables, shelves, cabinets, mirrors and desk accessories made using a byproduct from the early stages of aluminium production when huge blocks of the metal are formed in a smelter.

Studio ThusThat has turned aluminium scraps into furniture

Before the material is sent to other factories to be turned into products or packaging, the bumpy exterior of these blocks is sawn off, creating sheets known as crusts.

For the One Side Sawn project, Studio ThusThat decided to intercept and repurpose one of these large, thin sheets – formally referred to as “six-sides sawn plates” as they are sawed off from all six sides of the aluminium block.

Included in the collection are a series of shelves

The designers aimed to utilise one such sheet without producing any waste, which involved carefully mapping the cutting pattern in advance.

Each straight cut created a piece with a wavy edge, which then informed the shape of the following object. In this way, each item is made from offcuts from the previous pieces, thereby emphasising the project’s core principle of limiting waste.

The pieces retain the offcut’s bumpy surface texture

“The studio hopes in these pieces to explore a different aesthetic expectation of ‘perfect’ materials like aluminium that acknowledges the costs and scale of their production,” the studio said.

“In an era of finite materials and energy crises, they hope that familiarising ourselves with the aesthetics of secondary and rougher materials is important as it may one day become the norm.”


Studio ThusThat creates objects from “overlooked” byproducts of the copper industry

Rather than removing the saw marks and the bumpy uneven surface found on the scrap metal, these form a key feature of the final furniture and homeware pieces.

“The edges are jagged and rough, resulting in rugged forms that seem to have been themselves byproducts of some brute industrial process,” Studio ThusThat explained.

“The backside of the plates still show traces of the giant factory saws from which they were cut, while the front reveals the metal’s molten origins.”

Studio ThusThat cut the pieces from a single sheet of aluminium “crust”

In a bid to aid recycling and emphasise aluminium’s natural qualities, the metal is left raw and uncoated.

The entire collection is currently on display at Tools Galerie in Paris and Studio ThusThat is also making the cust material available as a surface for use in architectural and interior projects.

A sideboard is also among the pieces

One Side Sawn is the studio’s latest project aimed at exploring industrial processes and waste streams related to metal mining.

Previously, the duo designed a series of ceramic tableware using red mud – a toxic residue from aluminium production – and a collection of objects made from a byproduct of the copper industry.

One Side Sawn is on show from 26 January to 16 March 2024 at Tools Galerie in Paris, France. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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