Reuse, recycle, repackage

Reuse and recycling is a predictably common theme in times of recession and this week saw two good examples of how to create something beautiful using the principles of reuse.


Carmody Groarke’s designs for The King’s Cross Filling Station breathe new life into a derelict petrol station in an area of London undergoing rapid development.

Meanwhile Wahaca’s South Bank restaurant, which Softroom and BuroCreative are working on, uses recycled shipping containers piled up on the terrace of the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

King's Cross Filling Station
King’s Cross Filling Station

Wahaca isn’t the first venue to use shipping containers to this purpose (see, of course, Boxpark) but the use here, with the coloured containers framed against the Southbank’s Brutalist architecture, seems particularly appropriate.

Certain restaurants and venues have become very good at this type of repurposing, see, for example, Dishoom’s Chowpatty Beach pop-up, shortlisted for the Design Week Awards.

Dishoom Chowpatty Beach
Dishoom Chowpatty Beach

And it’s interesting that while in some sectors of design (interiors, products) recycling and thrift is seen as something of a badge of honour, in others (branding, packaging) it is frequently downplayed.

Contrast the trend for reuse in restaurants with that identified in Emily Gosling’s piece on supermarket own-brand value ranges.

Wahaca Southbank
Wahaca Southbank

As Emily points out, the trend in this sector has been away from ‘economy’ designs and towards the use of premium-looking illustrations and photography.

Different sectors and different audiences of course, but it’s interesting that in this time of austerity that the trend for reuse seems much more prevalent in some sectors than others.

Latest articles