Walk the talk: a recycled shoe recycling bin.
In preparation for Earth Week 2012, the University of Oregon's chapter of Net Impact and a group of MBA students at the Lundquist College of Business founded A Step in the Right Direction (ASRD), a shoe recycling initiative benefitting Nike Reuse-A-Shoe and Hope4Hoopers.
ASRD recruited us to design and build their flagship recycling bin. During the inaugural collection period, from April to June 2012, nearly 3,000 individual athletic shoes were collected.
The ShoeBox is the product of interdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Oregon between the Center for Sustainable Business Practices, the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, the Department of Architecture, Net Impact, and O Heroes. The project was financed by the University of Oregon Student Sustainability Fund.
Design for the context.
While the ShoeBox has resided in a variety of different venues, it was designed to complement its original home: the Lillis Business Complex at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Reuse and repurpose.
Respecting its role as a recycling bin, the ShoeBox is not only built using reclaimed materials wherever possible (from BRING and the UO Material Exchange), but it is also designed for deconstruction. The entire project is constructed with no nails or glue, so it can be disassembled at will. Thus, when its lifespan as a recycling bin is complete, the pieces can be repurposed or recycled.
A little help from nature.
In celebration of Earth Week and the interdepartmental collaboration that made the ShoeBox possible, we used the golden ratio to size the major elements of the piece. The ratio has been used for proportioning in art and architecture for centuries; however, it is far more than merely aesthetically pleasing. Not only does the golden ratio abound in nature, but it also has applications in mathematics and finance, making its use in an interdisciplinary project even more apropos.
A nod to function.
Rather than constructing the façades of the ShoeBox exclusively of wood slats, the form of a shoe has been extrapolated and manifested in the design. A section of each façade, analogous to the tongue of a shoe, was left open and flanked with eye screws. Then, a length of rope is threaded through the eye screws, from the bottom to the top where the two ends are fastened together — just like a pair of laced shoes.
Transparency allows for visual feedback.
The ShoeBox is designed to be visually porous, so that as the bin fills with shoes, the shoes themselves become a part of the composition. This visual feedback encourages participation in the shoe drive, as the recycle bin as art installation provides a continuous demonstration of progress: as more and more shoes are added, the level of the total contribution is seen rising through the slats.
Promotion paired with education and interaction.
The ShoeBox Installation serves not only to collect shoes to be recycled by Nike Reuse-A-Shoe, but also, appropriate to its location at the University of Oregon, to educate. Four etched panels at the corners engage the community by explaining the intention and philosophy behind the design, and encouraging participation in the drive.
Small pieces, big impact.
Just as the compilation of many small contributions – such as individual shoes – can make a big aggregate impact, 495 small pieces were combined to make this collection box.
Lasting impressions formulate a brand identity.
As the ShoeBox moved throughout the University of Oregon campus – from the Lillis Business Complex, to the Student Recreation Center, to the US Olympic Trials 2012 for Track & Field at Hayward Field – the leadership of A Step in the Right Direction noted that it was becoming an icon for their shoe recycling initiative. To take advantage of the branding opportunity, they asked us to design a logo for the group that would capitalize on the iconic nature of the ShoeBox.
Still hungry for more about this project?
Go deep, and read more about it in our blog.
Hey, we hope you liked our work!
Would you like to check out the services we offer?
Can we help you with anything?
Or, would you like to join our (rarely used) mailing list?
Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have for us about our services, our work, or anything else that’s got you curious.