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Acute And Obtuse

Acute And Obtuse is an outdoor furniture series made fully of reclaimed materials. It demonstrates a design process of letting existing materials, especially non-standard elements, drive decisions of use, fabrication and expression. 


It started with the need to refresh food growing in Abbey Gardens, an open-access park and harvest garden in Newham, London. 15 years ago, the community garden started as a living art project with planters of diagonal layout. The trapezoid planters, made of wood boards held by galvanised steel corner sleeves, needed replacement. 


After dismantling the planters, most steel corners remained in good condition, prompting an idea to reuse them as furniture. The specific angles of the steel corners lend themselves well to forming the structure of different furniture types - 150° for a lounger, 110° for a chair, and the smaller angles as supports for benches. 


The collaboration with grassroot community gardens has made storage and flexible working possible. With the help of the local community and volunteers, steel corners were unbolted and separated from old wood boards.


The toxicity and risk of welding thin galvanised steel meant another material was needed as joints. Working with fabricator Rosie Strickland, Douglas Fir beams, reclaimed from a demolished Victorian army barrack, were incorporated to complete the construction of the pieces. To balance and contrast the visual sharpness of the steel, the Douglas Fir pieces adopted clean rounded forms. Notches and nail holes on the reclaimed wood were intentionally left unpolished to display its history or were even made central to the design. 


After being part of an Edgy Collective winning installation in the London Festival of Architecture 2023, Acute And Obtuse were rehomed in Abbey Gardens where the steel corners originated, now serving as flexible seating in a thriving community space. 


‘Instead of hiding them, imperfections should be embraced creatively to make material reuse more widely desirable,’ says Adrienne Lau, ‘and making the collective material story evident inspires people to take good care of it. Afterall, objects are kept from waste when they are valued.’


Concept and design
Adrienne Lau

Material salvage
Abbey Gardens, Spring Cafe and Good Gym volunteers

Technical design, material sourcing and fabrication
Rosie Strickland


Edgy Collective and Colindale Community Garden

Raquel Diniz

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