If there is one lesson that designers can learn from the culinary world, it is how to approach today’s scraps as tomorrow’s starting points. With Offcut Kitchen, Sydney design firm Second Edition turns fresh attention to overlooked ingredients. Incorporating a combination of upcycled offcuts, reclaimed appliances and re-used marble, the studio’s concept is the culmination of a thesis that co-founders Amy Seo and Shahar Cohen completed last year at the University of Technology Sydney.
Concerned with the colossal waste generated by the architecture industry (and inspired in part by Belgian design firm Rotor, known for its research into salvaged building components), the pair turned an old exhibition display system into the base frame for an experimental food prep space. “We undertook a freestanding approach to allow for future modifications,” Seo explains. “Efficiency of deconstruction is a concept that the exhibition industry has already mastered,” Cohen adds. “And we liked the idea of simply translating that.”
Sourced within a 50-kilometre radius through a combination of supplier waste streams, residential demolition projects and online channels like Facebook Marketplace, other salvaged components went on to dictate the dimensions of the overall design. Additional prep work included verifying the electrical integrity
of the two appliances, as well as de-nailing, sanding and repainting Formply that had originally been used as panels for concrete formwork. (It now forms the internal shell, including the sink and oven enclosures.) And while they did their best to reduce virgin materials, Seo and Cohen did purchase some new nuts and bolts from a hardware store.
At roughly $13,000, the prototype is fairly economical for a custom kitchen with such unique aesthetic appeal. “We were encouraged by the outcome,” says Seo. “Not everything has to be perfect and new — there are a lot of interesting materials out there if we just look a little harder.”
A fresh design concept serves up a new approach to local leftovers.