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(Archive) Icons Re/Outfitted

The Visionary Lab teams up with Vitra and Levi’s®: designers upcycle iconic chairs with discarded denim, inviting you to take a seat and rethink waste

This project was part of DDW 2023
Eames Shell Chair DSW by Norman Monsanto — © Rob van der Vet

In an era with growing mountains of textile waste, we embark on an exploration of innovative solutions to repurpose discarded denim. 'Icons Re/Outfitted' is a transformative journey, breathing new life into iconic chairs from Vitra (e.g Eames, Panton and Nelson) with repurposed denim from Levi’s®.

Icon meets Icon

Initiated by The Visionary Lab, this project delves into the intersection of fashion and furniture, uniting iconic design-chairs with equally iconic denim, complemented by talented designers who treat the chairs as their muse. Nkwo Onwuka, Hannah Brabon, Kelly Konings, Tim Dekkers, Sophie Cagniart, Norman Monsanto, Barbara Polderman and Sarmite Polakova were invited to re-outfit design masterpieces by Vitra with bold new looks crafted from discarded denim. The outcome is a captivating series of artful chairs which demonstrate a diverse spectrum of innovative techniques and time-honored crafts.

A Fashion Eye on Furniture

For instance, Tim Dekkers ingeniously transformed the iconic Coconut Chair by George Nelson using felt made from discarded denim, produced by the social factory I-Did. Similarly, Nigerian designer Nkwo Onwuka masterfully reimagined the distinctive Amoebe chair by Verner Panton, seamlessly blending a contemporary approach to upcycling with the rich tapestry of traditional African craftsmanship. Additionally, Sophie Cagniart revived the Plywood Group LCW Chair by Charles & Ray Eames with vintage pairs of Levi's® 501® jeans, paying homage to the 150th anniversary of this iconic denim. Using traditional Japanese embroidery techniques, Cagniart breathed new life into the denim and the chair, imbuing it with a fresh tactile experience and a renewed fashionable allure.

The Art of Change

The upcycled and transformed chairs transcend mere functionality, weaving narratives of heritage, innovation and sustainability. They not only encourage reflection but also inspire a shift towards change, as each unique piece tells an universal message: waste isn’t waste until you waste it. Ultimately, ‘Icons Re/Outfitted’ forms an artful ode to craftsmanship and our planet's well-being, demonstrating the possibilities of end-of-life denim for both the fashion- and interior industries.