Uhuru: The emergence of (not recycled) but Upcycled Art
Clusters of 86 black chairs wind through the space. Where did these well-aged chairs in various shapes and designs come from and where are they going? The chairs that ended their first life cycle have become part of timeless and eccentric “chair Installations” by Brooklyn design-build furniture team, Uhuru Design. All the chairs were found and gathered in Brooklyn neighborhoods by the team members and their friends. Were they discarded because they were broken, gotten tired of, or left behind in a move — there must be as many stories as the numbers of chairs. All the reclaimed chairs were spray-painted black and given a new lease in life as art. At first glance, the arrangement looks random. But the chairs and the space between them have been carefully thought-out, constructing a beautifully balanced sculpture.Uhuru means freedom in Swahili. Designers and co-owners, Jason Horvath and Bill Hilgendorf started Uhuru in 2004 after graduating Rhode Island School of Design. At their atelier in former ship building space in Red Hook, they create simple, functional, well-proportioned avant guarde modern furniture. Their use of unwanted materials into highly valued items referred to as “upcycling” instead of recycling, is their core idea that has been materialized as artful expression in this “Chair Installation” project.