strap |strap| noun
a strip of leather, cloth, or other flexible material, often with a buckle, used to fasten, secure, or carry something or to hold on to something
buckle |ˈbəkəl| noun
a flat, typically rectangular frame with a hinged pin, used for joining the ends of a belt or strap
Adaptive reuse is taking objects outside their normal field of influence and forcing yourself to see what they fundamentally are and what more they can be applied to, so that their usefulness may be extended. Vehicle salvage yards are this concept in action. Endless cars sit in rows, waiting to be picked clean of their usable parts. During a trip to one such junkyard we realized that seat belts and seat belt buckles are underestimated.
They are objects whose functions are considered to be so specific that even the names we call them testify to their single use: rather than saying “belt” and “buckle” we say “seat belt” and “seat belt buckle.” However, if the duty of an architect is to consult the nature of materials to find their incontrovertible function, what it is that makes them what they fundamentally are, then a seat belt is actually just a strap, and a seat belt buckle a buckle, although both have an additional attribute: strength. So when looking at our materials and deciding how they could be used outside of their normal setting, we asked them “This is your second birth, now you are liberated: what do you want to be?” And it seemed obvious that both the seat belts and the buckles wanted to hold, and that most importantly they are a unit. A buckle must have a strap and a strap a buckle, or both lose their functionality.
A buckle is two parts that are not always joined. This seemed to us to almost require transformability. A piece of furniture that fulfills more than one purpose takes the place of multiple pieces of furniture, freeing space, time, and material to be used for other things.
Because we wanted to reuse materials as much as possible, the frame of the True/Love/Seat is made of all salvaged and scrap metal. In fact, the only new materials in the True/Love/Seat are the weld metal and the Kevlar thread. Because of its strength, steel lends itself to a frugality of material, and so the shape of the frame is sparse yet functional, allowing the same seat to transform from a low seat for two people, to a higher seat for two people or a lower hammock for one person, to a higher hammock for one person.
Although we started with no design direction and a single question: “What are we going to do now that we’ve bought all these seat belts?” we have created something that embodies form follows function: simple, functional, and sustainable.