The Misused uses hardware in surprising ways to make household goods
Metal objects such as anti-bird spikes, flag holders and air vents are turned into household items in this project by industrial design duo Liang-Jung Chen and Shuei-Yuan Yang.
Chen and Yang set up a pop-up store at this year's Dutch Design Week, which saw them put a humorous spin on hardwares by altering and adapting them in inventive ways to function as household objects.
The London and Taipei-based designers presented 14 pieces of everyday apparatus, half of which were found in Taipei and half in the Netherlands, each "misused" in a different way.
Results included a vase made from a flag pole holder, a modular shelf made using an air vent and a dish rack made from bird spikes.
Each new design aims to challenge the idea that hardwares can only be applied in one specific way.
The two designers researched each hardware item to understand its context, before deconstructing their functions in order to invent their own, new contexts.
Other repurposed objects include a watering can made from a handrail bracket, a revolving table made from a caster wheel, a pendant lamp held in place by a rubber door stop and a tray that uses a pole hook as a handle.
The Misused Hardware Store began as a research project on hardware items, inspired by the ways in which older generations that live in the Taiwanese countryside found creative ways of improvising with objects to complete daily tasks.
The duo travelled around the world collecting different pieces and studying ways of "realising their unfulfilled potentials" to find out how misusing them can "make people's life easier".
"It all started with our very geek habit of observing the interaction between human behaviour and hardwares," the duo explained.
"We enjoyed it even more when we spotted hardwares that are used in a way they are not intended to," they added. "It contradicts with our user-centred training in industrial design, and that's why we named the project The Misused."
After completing their first research trip in Taiwan, the duo moved to Europe, where they continued their project. The differences in culture soon led to the second part of the project, which focused on Dutch hardwares.
"For us, visiting a local hardware store in a foreign culture is as intriguing as going to a museum," said Chen and Yang. "We enjoy being exposed to the unknown, it frees our imagination on how to use it."
"When we first visited the Netherlands, we spotted many hardwares we've never seen before, and to understand why they exist truly helped us to learn about the culture," they added.
For instance, objects like bird spikes and air vents that are common in Europe were never before seen in Taiwan, due to the differences in climate and wildlife.
"Hardwares are just clever," they said. "There are many designer chairs and designer furnitures out there, but we've never heard of a piece of designer hardware. They are anonymous and collective designs that are being improved through generations."
"If you pay close attention to their details, you will find each of them whispering so much knowledge about a culture, climate, geography, history, etc. We were very drawn to this humble character," they added.
Elsewhere at DDW was an installation by Studio Drift comprising 3,000 blue blocks that each represent the plastic used to make an individual supermarket bag and an exhibition exploring the consequences of junk and how to turn it into a resource.
Designer Irakli Sabekia also showcased a device he developed at DDW, which can turn the border fence between Russia and his native Georgia into a radio transmitter.