Late last month, Dilma Rousseff was re-elected president of Brazil, bringing one of the country’s most bitter elections to a close. Though the campaign season has ended, tons — as in literal tons — of illegal signage remain on the streets.
Such political flotsam typically winds up in landfills, but this year, designer Mauricio Arruda decided to do something about it. He teamed up with Mobilize Brasil (a nonprofit that aims to improve quality of life in urban areas) to transform the advertising into “something nice for the population”: DIY furniture.
Using wooden sandwich boards found in the street, Arruda designed a side table, stool, coffee table, coat rack, and towel horse. Anyone can download the open-source designs to create their own, and there’s obviously plenty of material to go around. The recent campaign season generated 90,000 pounds of political waste in Porto Allegre, 100,000 pounds in Brasilia, 280,000 pounds in Belo Horizonte, 500,000 pounds in São Paulo, and a baffling 700,000 pounds in Rio de Janeiro.
There’s something refreshing about the way the project returns to the roots of DIY, which exploded as a form of creative dissent in 1990s Britain but has more recently been overtaken by Martha Stewart acolytes in the United States. On its website, the group invites people around the world to duplicate the project, initially begun so that Brazilians can help their candidates actually “fulfill their noble purpose: serving the citizens of Brazil.”