Austrian shop turns trash into bespoke designs

Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:56am EDT
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By Petra Spescha

VIENNA (Reuters Life!) - In Vienna's design shop Gabarage, customers can rifle through trash, pick what they like to create their own individual bag; unique in color, size, form and applications.

"It is not at all easy, but it is a lot of fun," said 25-year-old Sophie Schauerhofer, poring over piles of used plastic covers, old computer chips, Plexiglas and discarded X-rays for her customized "gaba bag."

All the single pieces of waste Sophie chooses are put together by the creative team of "gabarage upcycling design."

"Upcycling stands in contrast to recycling," Daniel Strobel explains the core of the project helping to prepare disadvantaged people for the labor market. "We upvalue products innovatively, instead of just reusing them."

Gabarage also says companies can give them their residual material or industrial waste which they turn into ecologically sustainable design pieces and commodities -- for company employees as incentive goods, or for the workshop's showroom, where customers can also buy prefabricated pieces.

Petra Riess, the owner of a creative agency, has opted for a yellow kindergarten bag for her son Anton and a flower pot made out of an old football.

"I take great pleasure in the football as I always look for special things like these," she says while stowing her shopping in a paper bag made of old movie posters.

Will she tell others about her new exclusive objets?

"Of course not," she said laughing, "Or else everybody will have the same!"

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>A worker sews a bag made of old plastic lorry covers in the workshop of the Gabarage, a design shop where customers can buy ecologically sustainable design peaces made of trash, in Vienna September 18, 2009. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger</p>