Ica van Tongeren – Re4mers
The Beauty of Waste: Reuse
WORKSHOPS SATURDAY 26 MAY 2018
Introducation start at 11h, 14h and 16h
The illuminated beauty of reels
Invisible plastic waste in the spotlight
Plastic waste transformed into chandelier
High-quality plastic factory waste such as reels, components and electronic enclosures of control cabinets. Ica van Tongeren of studio RE4MERS knows the material like no other. She collects these parts from various manufacturers and suppliers that would otherwise be thrown away. She sees the value and beauty of the often hidden and discarded materials. And not only that: she offers the objects a second life in the limelight. A better and more beautiful existence than their previous unobtrusive life, for example in an inconspicuous electricity box or as a boring grey switch.
She transforms the ugly parts into exclusive and durable interior products with eternal value. The composition of its beautiful modular chandeliers ensures that light spreads like a starry sky over the ceiling and walls, just like atmospheric Moroccan lanterns.
Growing up with a mother who is an artist and an econometrist as a father, Ica van Tongeren learned both drawing and creating and developed a love for numbers and the design of patterns and structures. After graduating as a product designer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2002, the designer founded her own studio under the name ‘Create beauty not waste’: RE4MERS. “This allowed me to express my love for the origin of waste, but also for the craftsmanship with which those discarded materials were once made,’ she says. I noticed how many usable materials are thrown away and that the most important reason is that the lifespan of products is getting shorter and shorter.”
By thinking about circular products and how to reuse high-quality waste and make it last longer, RE4MERS was created as an orphanage where objects are cared for and transformed into new, unique modular chandeliers, desk lights and wall lighting. But also chairs from old metal barrels originating from a chemical company originated in the studio.
In this way, the designer saves materials that others consider worthless from the waste heap. On the contrary, she sees waste as a raw material for beautiful interior products and literally she sheds new light on objects that never saw the light of day before.
From a pallet full of waste from a factory that supplied her with the plastic parts, she designed and produced no less than 84 different lamps that listened to names such as Sun, Flat Sphere and Emerald. All models in the first series from 2014 have already found a destination both in private and in public places.
Van Tongeren enjoys working with brands and interior designers to transform interiors with her unique designs. For example, the first Switchica edition lamps were purchased by the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg for the decoration of the Café & Brasserie. The majestic chandeliers, made of strung switch housings, fit perfectly into this stylish environment and are designed to create a spectacular light pattern on the wall and ceiling. Re4mers released a second elegant series of green lamps entitled Emerald, the shape of which is inspired by a lamp on a painting by Jan van Eyck.
In addition, Ica van Tongeren regularly gives Upcycle Workshops to challenge and stimulate creativity and sustainable awareness. It does so with young people in schools as well as with adults. The two hundred reels received from an Amsterdam supplier gave her the idea of giving workshops with this plastic material during Designday. The designer makes visitors think about what they see in the material. “I show them and look at it in a different way and discover the beauty of such a discarded material for myself, and you will see that a diversity of creative sustainable outcomes will then arise.”
In the future, Van Tongeren not only wants to initiate a design scale with students at Delft University of Technology, but also to enter into more collaborations. The name RE4MERS was invented with a glance into the future; it sounds like a studio with more people. “I’m looking for the plural”, explains the designer.