The Eco-Friendly Skies
Annie Block, Mark McMenamin, and Meghan Edwards -- Interior Design, 10/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Air travel comes with a notoriously hefty carbon footprint. But as obsolete aircraft are grounded, a few planes are atoning for their environmental sins through reinvention as furniture, surfacing, and even lodging. Something's in the air.
A secondhand aluminum airplane wing, supported by stainless-steel legs and topped by glass, makes a first-class desk. Its name is Deborah, and it's designed by the team at Reestore. Custom commissions are welcome, as are donations of the customer's own industrial waste.
Coverings Etc. scours military-airplane graveyards for aluminum cladding, melts the fragments down, pours the molten metal into block molds, and slices the result into Bio-Luminum tiles. (If they're tough enough for the U.S. Air Force, they're certainly good enough for high-traffic flooring.) The manufacturing process consumes 95 percent less energy than first-generation aluminum production, and the tiles are also recyclable through the manufacturer's buy-back program.
France's first metal-recovery business, the Bartin Recycling Group, is toasting its 150th anniversary and taking salvage to new altitudes via a subsidiary, Bartin Aero Recycling. At the Aéroport Châteauroux-Centre, Europe's first airplane-dismantling platform is a 161,000-square-foot slab of concrete on which end-of-service craft meet their maker—and their scraps meet plenty of other makers.
Donovan Fell III of MotoArt has converted his boyhood obsession with aviation into custom furnishings. Built for the General Electric Company's research center in Qatar, the GE-747 Cowling desk combines the nacelle of a Boeing 747 engine with a bamboo work surface. And twisted pistons from a 1940's Jacobs Radial engine form the base of LED lamps.