These old, thick cable ropes have done their job: now it's time to reuse them in a beautiful way.
Where do bridges go when they die? Or more specifically, where do the pieces of large infrastructure go when they get demolished or repaired? Well, one company is finding one intriguing way to recycle old, discarded scrap cables from San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge -- by incorporating them into elegant and timeless pieces of furniture.
Created by California-based company Strands of History, these functional works of art combine the industrial strength of recycled metal cables with the natural beauty of wood. The idea here was to commemorate the incredible history of the Golden Gate Bridge, while making something useful at the same time. It's amazing how organic the sinewy metal ropes look.
Dating back to 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most-recognized examples of modern civil engineering. Spanning 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometres) long, this is a suspension bridge that uses extremely strong vertical suspender ropes made with galvanized steel wire. These vertical suspender ropes have a core cluster of metal strands that are wrapped with six additional bundles, woven in a helical manner, creating an incredibly strong element from which to hang the bridge deck below.
These tables by Strands of History use these old vertical suspender ropes -- each having hundreds of strands of galvanized steel -- taken from the bridge during the 1970s, when the structure was being repaired. The company purchased these parts, painstakingly cleaning and cutting them to size, before fashioning them into table legs and topping them with locally sourced Claro-walnut wood. If you look closely, the natural patterning of the wood matches harmoniously with the sinuous flow of the cables.
Cutting the cables was not an easy task, and as company co-founder Mary Zimmerman tells My Modern Met, the company devised a workaround method to slice through them:
Each wire and bundle has torsional energy that makes them want to unwind—sometimes forcefully. We crimp a stainless-steel band to the ropes with 7,000 pounds of hydraulic pressure to maintain their form and shape prior to cutting or forge welding them.
It's an unexpectedly stunning combination that diverts construction waste from the landfill, and creates functional art out of it. In addition to crafting furniture with these distinctive cables, the company is now looking to also partner with designers and architects to incorporate these cable elements into stairs, railings, shelving and other architectural works. To find out more, visit Strands of History, Facebook and Instagram.