An Imaginative Adventure

July 1, 2004
The second Trash to Treasure competition proves that almost anything can be made into special objets d'art
Design FlashAn Imaginative AdventureThe second Trash to treasure competition proves that almost anything can be made into special objets d'art.Torn out brassieres into a hammock, bottle caps into jackets and jewelry, discarded CDs into a chandelier and an old 33rpm record recycled into a bowl. With its second EnvironDesign® outing in Minneapolis, Trash to Treasure once again proved to be infectious fun as well as proof positive that almost anything can be converted into cherished objets d'art. Twenty-four entries not only showcased the talent and imagination of their creators, but also demonstrated inventive waste management. Through this event the "waste = food" concept epitomized how ordinary trash becomes the raw materials for offbeat creations—and thereby, avoiding the landfill. Awards of excellence were bestowed on five entries deemed to be exceptional by a panel of distinguished Minnesotans: interior designer Janet Dray with the Cunningham Group; Dee Ginthner, associate professor at the College of Human Ecology at the University of Minnesota; Louise Jones, University of Minnesota alumni; and Lisa McDonald, board member of The Green Institute. With so many outstanding entries, the judges had a difficult time picking the winners in the five award categories. Best of Show was awarded to three students from the University of Minnesota for creating a striking and wearable jacket made from bottle caps, window screens, pop tabs, paper clips and brass fasteners. Discarded bottle caps also seemed to be the material of choice as the winner of the Treasured Trash award hammered them into a very fashionable necklace and bracelet. The Classy Trash award went to an imaginative yet utilitarian wall-hanging—a mirror created from an old window decorated with hooks to hold keys, coats or even a rose. Finally, what does one do with worn-out underwear? Two U of M students strung together used, but cleaned brassieres and panty- hose into a hammock which they titled "The Brammock" and won the Funky Trash award. Architect's offices are filled with trashy possibilities. To win the People's Choice award, voted on by EnvironDesign attendees, two designers took the ubiquitous cardboard tubes that architectural papers come wrapped around and constructed the S-Q Chair, handsome and, we are assured, sturdy enough to be sat upon.

One of the entrants, Heather Novak Peterson from the architectural firm LHB in Minneapolis, also designed and constructed the ballot box used for voting for the People's Choice award out of old CDs and wire binder coils, as well as the awards themselves. Constructed from found materials the prizes presented to the winners were sculptural treasures on their own.

Trash to Treasure is more than a competition, it's also a fund-raiser. Conference
attendees participated in a competitive silent auction and donated more than $800 to The Green Institute. This home-grown Minnesota organization was founded to revitalize South Minneapolis' inner-city Phillips Neighborhood by creating high-quality living wage jobs. Its emphasis on sustainable community development has won the organization
prestigious recognition including the 1999 National Award for Environmental Sustainability from the President's Council on Sustainable Development and ReNew America. In addition, it has built the Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center, a $6
million state-of-the-art green business center, which was recognized by the American Institute of Architects as one of the Earth Day Top 10 in exemplary sustainable design in 2002.

Highly popular, Trash to Treasure will once again be featured at EnvironDesign 9 in New York City in 2005. Entries arrive from all parts of the country, and it's not too soon to begin collecting trash that will turn into tomorrow's treasure. What were you going to do with those old . . .?

2004 TRASH TO TREASURE PARTICIPANTS Jeannie Williams, Richfield, MN

Jackie Millea, Barbour/Ladouceur Architects, Minneapolis, MN

Marlene Weiss, WS Architects,
Naples, FL

Julie Kudzia-Serilla, Harper Woods, MI

R. Nicholas Ames, Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA

Alexandra Josephsen, Wayzata, MN

Heather Novak Peterson, LHB, Minneapolis, MN

Terisia Wernett, DeStefano + Partners, Chicago, IL

Dana Carrera, Dana Carrera Designs, Naples, FL

Doug Sonsalla, Architectural Alliance, Minneapolis, MN

Julie Larson, The Green Institute, Minneapolis, MN

Melanie DeBo, Windy River Development,
Golden Valley, AZ

Jeffrey Swainhart
, Swainhart Construction
Services, Minneapolis, MN Holly Nelson & Jennifer Paist, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN

Shayna Adelson
, Antron Carpet Fiber, Arlington, MA

Patrice Goldberg, TrashArt by Patrice, Orange, CA

Meredith Smith
, The Green Institute, Minneapolis, MN

Virajita Singh, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Sarah Cederstrom, Minneapolis, MN

Autif Sayyed, Eden Prairie, MN

Signa Weise, Amy Crowder, Allison Wiese, Minneapolis, MN

The Ryan Family, Antron Carpet Fiber, Kennesaw, GA

Alissa Light, Christain Haberstroh, Minneapolis, MN

Ariel Miller
, WY

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