He’s been called the Duchamp of dumpster diving. But Rodney Allen Trice sees himself more as a vigilante of our disposable society, determined to find new uses for the junk we so heedlessly throw away. And find new uses he does. His company, T.O.M.T. (The Other Man’s Treasures) in Dumbo, transforms vintage suitcases into sidetables, a coiled garden hose into a table base, a vacuum cleaner into a floor lamp.
I love these Joy bottle lanterns. Somehow their domestic ordinariness is exactly what makes them so playful. And I love that he kept the product label on. Rodney’s description of how he goes about ‘saving’ these forgotten objects reminds me of a pound for lost or neglected pets given new life with a bit of TLC:
“Beyond bags of bottles and cans, beyond the corrugated cardboard boxes tied with string, beyond the papers and organic waste bins, lies a whole world of objects that are discarded with no regard. We find these objects, considered too ‘difficult’ to recycle, all over this great city of Gotham.”
Finding new uses is only part of the process. T.O.M.T. embraces a mid-century modern aesthetic so tables like the one above resemble many of the iconic designs we’ve become so familiar with.
How clever is this clock? It conflates time and space in one simple combination. If I owned it, I’d read time in smart-alec fashion: “a quarter to Alaska” or “half-past Russia.”
Check out more of Rodney’s clever designs here. And the next time you toss your old toaster, think twice. It may find a loving home in a design studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn.