“…Wretched refuse yearning to be free…” Emma Lazarus’ words on the base of the Statue of Liberty, in her poetic anthem to our ancestors and an American ideal of freedom. In the material world, and the wood one specifically, the refuse takes the form of discarded stair treads, broken bureaus, miles of bead board and wood shop off-cuts which rarely have a chance of freedom from the landfill. This is the stuff you see leaning on garbage cans or sticking up over the top of dumpsters. But for pure quality of wood, these woods are hard to match, and surprisingly hard to acquire, harvested as they are in noctural rounds that require their pursuers to stay one step ahead of the trash truck.
The scraps may seem useless, unless you’re intending to piece together strictly functional furniture – an everyday practice in the developing world; or a modern furniture piece- a real rarity in the industrialized world. In New York City, Nadia Yaron and Nadia Scruggs, the design team at Nightwood, collect and transform this prime material scrap into stunningly beautiful objects that even reflect the city’s diversity and hard knock charm.
Some of their sustainable works have included off-cuts from Sawkil Lumber Co., including reclaimed tank woods from a local brandy distillery and a Broadway theatre watertank. The design team was featured in New York magazine.