Small, mobile and wooden sibling to large steel cargo containers, pallets are the modular currency of export and import shipping companies around the world. The recycling of used ones is increasing, too, as manufacturers are shifting to sell more and more plastic ones (or high-end metal ones that are both rust-resistant and fireproof).
While a wooden pallet manufacturer might disagree, this is good news for DIY tinkerers can get treated wood ones for sale or even free at times and the one-size-fits all approach means that in many cases you can plan a design and reuse that schematic over multiple furniture pieces from different pallets. Since they are built for stacking, the ‘raw material’ of the pallet itself is easy to store.
And thus we come to the work of studiomama, one such designer looking to make the most of this ever-more-abundant source of construction parts – and explore the different ways the constituent boards can be broken apart and put back together. The end products are not the most minimalist or fashionable works, but they show the marks of their origins and are certainly eye-catching in that raw and honest way.
The best part, though, is that you cannot buy their designs – these are not for sale. What is for sale, instead, are a series of instruction manuals, photo books and other related merchandise. This is not only a clever way to tap into a market of do-it-yourself customers who would rather be giving plans than a finished product, but also more sustainable (and perhaps less ironic) than simply boxing and shipping reconstituted containers that you could just as easily get locally.
The tables, chairs and lamps themselves are both playful and pragmatic. They use existing colors as accents rather than relying on addition paint or stain. Some use blocks while other employ slats, depending on the need. Straight lines and right angles make them look minimalist at a glance, but really just functional and easy to build on closer inspection.