Pierre Vedel wood pallet chair recycled

They are so commonplace within industrial districts you almost don’t notice them – stacks of usable and broken pallets made of plastic, metal and wood, just waiting for someone to program them into something fresh and useful again. The ubiquitous wood pallet is useful for its initial purpose, of course, but even when it’s no longer up to that task, it has virtually endless applications.

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Younger cousins to the increasingly-famous cargo container (widely used both in shipping and, more recently, architecture), the wooden pallet is used to transport things like furniture from place to place via ships, trains, trucks and fork lifts. The wood is often very strong, so why not repurpose it for something like a chair? The end result can be incredibly simple yet surprisingly comfortable.

Pierre Vedel wood pallet chair

Using pieces from precisely one pallet per seat, this wood pallet chair design was modeled after careful structural considerations, scale model testing and much thought about how to take the fewest steps possible from old to new uses. That’s what makes it so brilliant.

Pierre Vedel preserves the appearance (and thus: the associations) of these ubiquitous building-and-transport blocks, modifying them minimally and adding a few off-the-shelf IKEA cushions to the chair as a finishing touch for human comfort.

Pierre Vedel wood pallet chair with cushions

“Exploit a single pallet, boards and blocs, to design a real piece of interior furniture,” says Vede. “To be clear, I am not a pallet fanatic but it is free material, it is most of time downstairs your home and you can build everything with boards and blocks.”

Of course, there are some caveats when it comes to repurposing old pallets. If possible, get them from trustworthy sources, let them off-gas in case they’ve been sprayed with any chemicals, and scour them with soap and water. Check them carefully for nails, which are often poking out all over the place. Recycling a pallet can be more work than you bargained for depending on the condition, but hey – they’re free.