“What a hunk of junk!” I’m sure that, at least once in your life, you have silently uttered that statement to yourself while surveying the sorry condition of a 25-year-old chest of drawers, a dilapidated, saggy-seated couch or that water-stained coffee table that you always have to manually level with a wooden shim. Time to get rid of it. You have eked as much life out of it as you possibly could, but now you really do need to bid it a final farewell. Countrywide municipalities organize large trash pickups, oftentimes on a monthly basis, for precisely this reason. That’s when, on the evening before, curbs from coast to coast bear the weight of a motley menagerie of once coveted home décor staples. Things like avocado-tinted lamps from the ’70s compete for precious driveway real estate alongside mod-style chairs and long-forgotten shelving units that are stuck in a pathetic time warp. Tel Aviv, Israel-based industrial designer Ori Ben-Zvi loves garbage days — after all, recycled design is his thing. He analyzes, envisions and ultimately crafts wild new household décor pieces utilizing the crumbled ruins of castaways. Despite the quirky appearance of his recycled creations, they are entirely functional and undeniably practical.
Ori Ben-Zvi recycling
Ori Ben-Zvi’s recycled wood furniture and décor items
The Holon Technology Institute design professor and Ubico Studio founder is open about his environmental agenda that is deeply rooted in urban reclamation. This “gathering” modus operandi serves as the very foundation of his workshop’s unique, cleverly crafted and dazzlingly green design objects. Instead of making items with factory-fresh materials, Ben-Zvi focuses solely on utilizing bits and pieces that are gleaned from local urban and industrial waste disposal centers, transforming them into 100% sustainable, 100% recycled décor-worthy incarnations.

You’ll never look at an old drawer the same way again, not when it can become…

  • A small stand for various reading materials. Ubico Studio merely inserted two small wooden legs to the bottom of an old drawer, added a concealed angle cut and then propped the entire modified creation up against a wall.
  • A quirky shelf suspended from a wall. A reclaimed Douglas fir board serves as the main platform from which old drawers are mounted (both above and below). Suspend the whole cubbyhole creation with two recycled leather straps and you have a fun little design feature that will instantly spice up any room.
  • A decorative, well-structured, wall-mounted bookshelf. This design “spin off” of the previously mentioned shelf (above) offers a bit more storage capability while satisfying the esthetics of a more scrutinizing consumer. Customized with a recessed potted plant holder, it offers smart, streamlined storage potential.

You’ll never look at scrap wood the same way again, not when it can become…

  • Matrix-like décor objects. By precisely measuring and cutting random pieces of waste wood into uniform segments and then bonding them together with glue, Ubico Studio is able to create slabs of patchwork wood that can then be carved into varied items, such as side tables and stools.
  • Matrix-like furniture. Ubico Studio created assorted side tables utilizing the very same measuring, cutting and gluing process detailed above. The result? Pure patchwork heaven.
  • A cutting board. Various reclaimed hardwood pieces, when bonded together and cut into rectangles, create a practical yet sleek surface for basic kitchen prep tasks.

You’ll never look at reclaimed cabinet doors the same way again, not when they can become…

  • A wooden mosaic coffee table. By piecing together veneers and cabinet door sections, Ubico Studio created a circular tabletop propped up with precisely carved reclaimed timber legs.

You’ll never look at a 10-liter metal olive oil container the same way again, not when it can become…