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Monday, April 4, 2011

Take a Seat on a Bench Made from 5,000 Recycled Metrocards

by Alex Davies

Photos Courtesy of Stephen Shaheen

In New York's subways, you see a lot of discarded Metrocards. It's sad, not only because most people drop them on the floor rather than in a trash can, but because the cards are rechargeable, and there's no good reason to dispose of them in the first place. But NYC-based artist and designer Stephen Shaheen has come up with a unique way to recycle old cards, or at least 5,000 of them: he's made a one of a kind bench.


Measuring 48" x 18" x 18" and made of the cards, various types of glue, and an armature of 1/8" steel, the aptly-named Metrobench is an homage to the Big Apple's public transportation system and an outstanding example of how everyday objects can be recycled instead of thrown away. To collect the cards, Shaheen used Craigslist to assemble a team to help him; they had all 5,000 in just a week. Of his work, Shaheen says:

I was inspired to use these discarded objects--at once very personal and expendable--in a way that reflects the manner in which mass transit joins many diverse lives into a single moment or path together.


And as New York begins to introduce smart, contact-less cards to replace the Metrocards (which are swiped), Shaheen will have a lot more raw material to produce more benches.