Boym studio’s first large-scale independent work, the Recycle project outlined many directions still relevant for our design work today.
The project approached the theme of recycling (at the time, a largely unexplored concept) in cultural rather than environmental terms. Every work in the collection utilized at least one common object, a thing so familiar as to pass virtually unnoticed in people’s daily use. The project aimed at recycling the aesthetic and cultural significance of the everyday things. Over 40 objects from the Recycle series were shown in our first solo exhibition at Gallery 91 in New York.
All objects had elaborate frames made of plywood, concrete or metal built around them, outlining their shapes, and elevating them onto a different typological level. For example, a wine glass would turn into a vase, a plate – into a fruit bowl, a bunch of office supplies – into a desk organizer. Above all, frames served to estrange the objects from their conventional context.
The Recycle project was favorably, if not ironically, received by critics. In 1990, an irreverent interview with Karrie Jacobs appeared on the pages of Interview magazine. “What kind of guy puts garbage in a frame?”, wondered the article. Boym’s curious design reputation has gradually started to spread.