If you’re a recent transplant to
And they’re everywhere. After you notice one of the first time, you see them every time you look over your shoulder.
Well it turns out that a board or two in these sentries of the skyline go bad about once every twenty years. When one board springs a leak, the entire structure has to be deconstructed and replaced. Meanwhile, even the perfectly good wood that didn’t rot goes to the landfill.
Enter David Gibbs, a student of furniture design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill who emailed me and invited me to visit his studio. David struck a deal with a firm of water tower builders to take the surplus wood off their hands in exchange for their not having to cart it to the landfill. What David gets is beautiful, weathered planks of cedar and other valuable hardwoods.
David then upcycles the planks into beautiful, stylish but heavy furniture—the kind of thing you just wouldn’t want to throw away, the same way David didn’t want to throw away a cedar chest his grandmother once owned. What I love is that not only does David avoid using virgin wood cut from trees and divert potentially tons of material from the landfill, but he hopes to remind us of the old-fashioned stewardship of objects that has been so completely repudiated by our throwaway culture.
Water tower images courtesy of David Gibbs.
This post also appears in my green parenting column for Time Out Kids New York, appearing every Wednesday. For resources on eco-friendly stores and restaurants, or simply to plan a weekend outing, visit them at tonykids.com.
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