Two young designers from Delft have started making desk lamps, trouser belts, jewelry and even bicycles from impounded bicycles.
Industrial design student Lodewijk Bosman, 25, and Hidde van der Straaten, 28, founded “The Upcycle” in university city Delft in January 2012 to exploit a typically Dutch problem. With so many bikes [in the Netherlands] come parking problems, and if they are left in the wrong place or simply abandoned, the authorities pick them up and take them to the pound.
Lodewijk and Hidde [buy these] abandoned bikes and parts [...].
A Upcycle bedside lamp, priced at 88 euro, consists of a bike light with a new LED bulb fitted to a stem made of a few chain links and intertwined spokes — all standing on a wooden base wrapped in plaited inner tubes.
Dutch cities impound tens of thousands of bikes each year. Sometimes they are oprhan bicycles, abandoned by their last owner, but often cities just steal bikes under the guise of keeping bicycle parking manageable and keeping the streets clean. The bikes are stored at a depot, which in the case of Amsterdam, is far way from downtown. The rightful owners can retrieve their bikes after paying a fee—a fine, as the city spin doctors call it. The depot is so far out of town that there is even a cab service in Amsterdam that advertises its rides to the depot. As a result, lots of people don’t bother collecting their bikes, and those that are not retrieved are sold off to second-hand bike shops and to The Upcycle apparently.
(Photo: The Upcycle)