Upcycling for TEDxBeaconStreet
That’s a wrap, folks! Another year gone by and a second life to an otherwise discarded item was utilized because we saw the potential in it.
For the last four years, Bergmeyer has partnered with TEDx Beacon Street to design and construct a stage set for the event. Creating our own criteria, we decreed as a firm to re-use recyclable materials from our office and community as part of a larger global effort to be responsible. This year, with the labor of manipulating 10,000 soda cans back in 2013 still haunting us, we opted to explore the potential in our superfluous amount of CD cases as a structural element, perhaps for the first time anywhere. Ken Hogan, our firm’s IT Director, after having converted our files to an electronic database, was pleased to hand off the firm’s now useless archive disks and cases. Similarly, we had an abundance of binder dividers that we no longer had a purpose for. It was unanimously agreed upon to marry the two outdated information mediums, as a bowing out to the future of electronic communication.
A few lunch-time brainstorming sessions later, we were quickly up to our necks in cases which we ultimately stopped counting somewhere around 2,000. The disks themselves would be far too reflective on camera so we separated these and set them aside for a rainy day. Having decided to glue the case bindings together to produce plastic “X-shaped” building blocks and to insert red and white binder dividers that were to be recycled, we finally had our module to mass together something grand. We had a rough idea in our heads as to how we would like to see them assembled, but after an exhausting week of rushing to iron out details we chose to just go with the flow, see what it became and if all else failed “call it art” and then call it a night.
With the help of some additional Bergies, we packed a U-Haul van to its maximum capacity with CD Case bricks and headed out to make magic happen. Glue Guns in hand, the team dove in and did what felt right. We glued, we sipped coffee, we entertained each other and we had the pleasure of meeting several speakers who came to get a feel for the stage. The theatre was buzzing with energy! We worked vigilantly while lights were hung and adjusted, cameras experimented with angles, the sound team tested the same 15 second song on loop, speakers came in and out and piano movers with biceps weighing more than me delivered a baby grand for one of the presentations.
Was it the best idea to go without much of a plan? One might argue no, but when you’ve developed a relationship with your colleagues, professionally and personally, there comes a mutual trust and faith that together you can, and will, accomplish great things; on a budget and with very little time. We’ve proven this time and time again in our work. Sometimes you have to let it become what it wants to be come. Sometimes forcing an idea on something does not earn you the satisfaction of something that holds more honesty and natural allure in nature. But you don’t have to take my word for it, take a look for yourself at TEDxBeaconStreet!
The end product turned into a jagged mountain range that stretched across the stage as we tried our best to use the last of the cases we had preassembled. The response was magnificent and when the house lights came down and the focal lights came up we knew without a doubt we had done it again. Every effort and every smile made a difference to not only the audience but to the speakers who were able to present their passions surrounded by inspiration, re-use innovation and a blast from their past making them all the more excited to be a part of such an incredible opportunity.
See you next year, same time, and same place.
Written by Josh Cunningham
Photo above Kandice Sumner: Survivor’s Remorse
Stage Set Installation