ACT News


Old items get given a new life thanks to Hotel Hotel's Object Therapy project

Back in May, Hotel Hotel's Object Therapy project put the call out for broken items to be donated for a designer transformation - and they came in droves.

Thirty-one objects were ultimately selected for the project, and they were split between the capable hands of 26 designers.

Some were repaired back to their original form, albeit with an artistic touch - such as a wooden rocking horse that has been passed down for generations given a new neck, and a broken ceramic bowl repaired using the Japanese kintsugi style.

But Guy Keulemans, one of the project's design repairers and research investigators, said others had been given completely new lives.

"We [were donated] a very old '50s-style washing basket trolley that you would've used to take the washing basket out to the Hills Hoist, and it was very old, very rusted with chipping paint. We gave it to Trent Jansen, the Wollongong-based designer, and he's converted it into some beautiful clothes pegs," he said.

"Another one was a very old bag that was used for decades by a jackaroo travelling around the outback working on different cattle stations. And he sadly died but he passed it onto his three children, but it was in disrepair.


"So we sent it to James B. Young and Elliat Rich of Alice Springs and they've taken that one bag and converted it into three bags so there's one bag for each of the three children."

One of Keulemans' own repairs, which he worked on with wife and fellow designer Kyoko Hashimoto, is a broken knitting needle, turned into a perspex bangle.

"The knitting needle, which was unfortunately broken by its owner, and it was a sad event because it was the first pair of knitting needles that she owned, and she bought them together with her grandmother when she was a small child and learnt to knit with them, so she was very upset when she broke one of them accidentally," he said.

"Together with Kyoko we came up with this design which kind of preserves it in perspex as a kind of an heirloom."

The objects were reunited with their owners on Saturday at Hotel Hotel, with the owners completely in the dark about what had been done to their beloved item until that moment.

Ahead of the reunion, Keulemans said, "we know for certain that some people are going to love these objects but we realistically expect that some will be ambivalent and there may be tears".

The project was part of Hotel Hotel's Fix and Make series, and was about looking at the perception that repaired objects are less valuable, and to challenge the notion with the idea that repair as a creative process can add value.

And if you want to see the objects for yourself, they'll be on display in a free exhibition at Hotel Hotel from October 14.