New Level of Furniture Recycling: Mercedes-Benz Office

By Karen Koenig | Posted: 09/17/2012 9:25AM


Mercedes-Benz Katie ThompsonMercedes-BenzDesigner Katie Thompson turns parts from a Mercedes-Benz into office furniture. A South African designer has taken the idea of furniture recycling to a new level. Katie Thompson “recreates” the interior of a Mercedes-Benz SL R230, converting the car seat into an office chair, the dashboard as a desk complete with a three time-zone clock, with the speedometer now used as a magnetized pad, the air vents business card holders, and the ignition lock now a host site for USB connectors. Even the rear mirror finds a new use as a desk lamp. (See video below)

Thompson, and her "Recreate" concept of sustainable furniture design, is not alone in taking office furniture recycling to a new level. Last month, Hudson, MA-based office furniture manufacturer AIS announced a partnership with non-profit organization ANEW, “to provide a take-back solution” for AIS customers to donate their old office furniture and materials, rather than the companies landfilling the items.

According to a statement from AIS, the “recycled” furniture and materials are donated to public agencies and charities within a 50 mile radius, thereby benefiting the local communities. According to the news release, “ANEW has diverted 8.9 million pounds from landfill, serving over 500 organizations in 13 countries,” since its founding seven years ago.

“This partnership is a great fit for AIS. As a lean manufacturer, we are very environmentally aware of not just what we produce, but what we dispose of. By aligning with ANEW, we can ensure that abandoned furniture becomes recycled and used to benefit our communities as opposed to filling up our landfills,” AIS Executive Vice President Rob Lazarus said in a statement. “This is a great organization that unites social responsibility with environmental sustainability- something that we here at AIS are very passionate about.”

A large manufacturer, AIS employs 332 people, and has more than 500,000 square feet of manufacturing and operations at six locations. But as Katie Thompson has proven, “recycling” is an idea that companies of all sizes, large and small, should get passionate about.

Watch the Mercedes-Benz video of Katie Thompson's furniture recreation.


About the Author

Karen M. Koenig

Karen M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Woodworking Network magazine (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory ( She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at or Google+.

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