A Flip Flop Story
by Diederik Schneemann


Milan 2011: Rotterdam designer Diederik Schneemann presents a series of vases and lamps made from recycled flip-flops found washed up on Kenyan beaches at Ventura Lambrate in Milan this week. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.

Called A Flip Flop Story, the project involved working with UniquEco, a company that salvages discarded flip-flops and sands them back to reveal their original bright colours before melting down into new material.

A Flip Flop Story by Diederik Schneemann

Schneemann's pieces include a tulip vase on wheels, a vase with a drawer in the front and a lamp with a power outlet in the base.

A Flip Flop Story by Diederik Schneemann

The project is on show at Ventura Lambrata, Via Massimiano 23- 27, Milan, Italy until 17 April. See all our stories about Milan 2011 »

A Flip Flop Story by Diederik Schneemann

Here are some more details from the designer:


‘A Flip Flop Story’ …been trodden on, travelled with, badgered and scarred but still moving on…

The Rotterdam based designer Diederik Schneemann presents his ‘A Flip Flop Story’ collection at Object Rotterdam 2011. Gallery Judy Straten will represent him. It’s a tale of thousands, intensively used and scarred Flip Flops, which after many wanderings, have been transformed into sustainable design objects, ready to start a new story.

A Flip Flop Story by Diederik Schneemann

It are the Flip Flops’ telling the story. They are discoloured, worn, torn, patched up and eventually tossed away or lost. After a long trip through Asia or Africa they end up in sewers and in the ocean. Then they are washed up on the shores of Eastern Africa. There they are found, collected, and eventually reclaimed. Now the old Flip Flops are transformed and ready to start a new journey as autonomous handmade objects. They are on their way to the Salone di Mobile in Milan later this year. But first they preview at Object Rotterdam coming February...

A Flip Flop Story by Diederik Schneemann

The Story Behind the Story:

Is it possible to create awareness, and if so, should one do it with a pedantic slap on the wrist or can one achieve it through playfulness? ‘A Flip Flop Story’ is a colourful collection of objects with which Studio Schneemann wants to demonstrate that old materials can be reused and transformed into extraordinary and sustainable products. ‘A Flip Flop Story’ collection is being made out of reclaimed Flip Flops. They were washed up on the beaches of Eastern Africa and sometimes came from as far as Asia. In Kenya the Uniqueco Foundation collects them, partly to clean the beaches from these heavily polluting slippers and partly to make new products in their workshop. In corporation with Studio Schneemann they manufacture ‘A Flip Flop Story’ collection in Nairobi.

A Flip Flop Story by Diederik Schneemann

By doing so they also help a number of Kenyans to make a living. By sanding these weathered and discoloured Flip Flops back to their original glory, I felt myself going back into the past, back to my childhood imagery. Cranes, tow trucks, planes and tanks, it all moved, towed, pulled, it was all DOING something... This inspired me to transform these indestructible, polluting and worn-down slippers into playful products. And so ‘A Flip Flop Story’ by Studio Schneemann was born: a collection of sustainable design objects in which the eventful travel tales of worn Flip Flops is captured and translated. ‘A Flip Flop Story’ collection now has a new story to tell.

A Flip Flop Story by Diederik Schneemann

‘A Flip Flop Story’ at Object Rotterdam and Milan 2011:
‘A Flip Flop Story’ by Diederik Schneemann is represented by Gallery Judy Straten at Object Rotterdam 2011, from February 10th - 13th, and by Studio Schneemann from April 12th -17th at Salone di Mobile, Ventura Lambrata, Via Massimiano 23- 27, Milan, Italy.

See also:


Botanica by
Paperpulp by
Debbie Wijskamp
To Be Continued by
Julien Carretero

Dezeen Book of Ideas out now!

Diederik Schneemann is included in our book, Dezeen Book of Ideas. Buy it now for just £12.

Posted on Wednesday April 13th 2011 at 11:06 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Greenish

    Great idea, it seems like so much more could be made out of this "new" material than just table objects though – would love to see more use of it!

  • I agree! What a fantastic idea and great story!

  • I'm rather concerned about the health effects on the workers who sand the dirt off – did you see all the plastic powder on the one fellow's arm's? No doubt he is breathing that nasty stuff in as well :(

  • Simon

    Great idea but if you see the project in milan you can think only it's orrible…

  • You can recycle flip flops and make it as your furniture mover. All you have to do is cut out the rubber sole and superglue them into milk jug tops (or bigger tops, like those from jelly jars). Then you’ve got free furniture movers that will save your back if you need to slide the couch across the floor.

  • This story is so inspiring. I have seen so many people make their living out of others leftovers or trash. Good thing this old flip flops could be this useful again.