Three years ago, Thomas Thwaites of the Royal College of Art built a toaster from scratch. It worked for a few seconds. Now Gaspard Tiné-Berès of the RCA builds a toaster, not quite from scratch, but from the perfectly good parts that are thrown away when working or slightly damaged, since nobody fixes anything any more. Most appliances are not even designed to be fixed. But with some work, Gaspard takes components out of the junked appliances and puts them to work in new, long lasting enclosures made from glass and cork. Not only are they beautiful, but they work. He calls it Short Circuit.
Cheap household appliances such as kettles, coffee makers or toasters, are typical of goods that are thrown away while in perfect working order. But, even when damaged, the electrical components unlike the casing are easily fixable; therefore, landfill sites are increasingly becoming sources of viable and perfectly working complex electrical and electronic components. Moreover, these same components represent a major waste problem, due to their composite and toxic nature.
My Coffee-maker, kettles and toaster, are made out of re-used components, and factory seconds glassware such as wine bottle and chemistry beakers, in order to take advantage of it's ubiquity, and standardized dimensions. The main structure is made out of natural cork for it’s waterproof, anti-bacterial and insulation properties. This design required no mould and can be easily adapted, upgraded, or repaired as required.
Gaspard hopes to bring back local manufacturing by reskilling European labour "to produce a range of electrical devices with a new aesthetic and extended life, that could be produced with simple and low cost tooling solutions."
More at the designers website. I don't know what they put in the water at the RCA, but it turns out some of the most interesting stuff anywhere; see the related links to the left for more.