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Upcycling with Phooey Architects

Sustainability’s a serious business, but there’s room for a surrealist gag or two along the way says Gemma Battenbough.

Upcycling with Phooey Architects


September 10th, 2010

For PHOOEY Architects, sustainability is a serious business.

The multi-disciplinary architecture and design practice has made it’s name creating zero-waste projects for government, commercial and residential clients.

But, in a new exhibition at the University of Melbourne’s Wunderlich Gallery, Directors Peter Ho and Emma Young are exploring the entertaining side of sustainable design.

The works on show include a sporting pavilion that tries to start a Mexican wave with itself, a hair salon ’growing’ a real hair chandelier and a collection of carpet tiles tattooed with images of the firm’s architecture.

PHOOEY Architects aims to reuse the waste it creates as a byproduct of designing buildings, furniture and products.

It’s a strategy Ho calls “design feedback” and one he thinks could be employed across the profession. Re-using waste is a chance to reinvigorate design thinking, Ho explained.

“We believe in dealing with our rubbish ourselves rather than passing it on to someone else to deal with. In this way being sustainable offers us opportunities.”

“We’re all going to produce waste but, as design professionals, we can think of interesting ways to use it. One thousand architects would come up with 1,000 different ways to use the same waste,” Ho told Indesignlive.com.

The resulting creations from the PHOOEY offices range from serious to surreal, figurative to fanciful and grotesque to glam-trash.

“We’re generally entertained by the sobriety of global warming. A lot of our designs are tongue-in-cheek.”

Shedding new light on how we value the things we throw away, the PHOOEY Architects: Upcycling exhibition will run until 1 October and is the third in the architecture faculty’s Alumni Retrospective Series, following on from Daryl Jackson in April.
“This installation has been a fantastic opportunity to re-present past PHOOEY works,” Ho said. “But it has also now developed a useful dialogue which will influence the processes for our future projects.”

University of Melbourne

PHOOEY Architects

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