Saigon-based art studio Design by Reborn believes in the reanimating powers of art. The studio, founded by Kumkum Fernando (whom we’ve featured in the past), creates conceptual works that breathe new life into objects and stories that have been forgotten. Using only materials destined for landfills, Fernando and his team have produced an impressive œuvre of upcycled art since the studio launched in 2017.
In Toys with History, the studio built functional toy cars out of discarded furniture. Pieces of the salvaged wood were used as vehicle bodies. Outfitted with new axles and wheels, the toys retained their worn coats of paint and jagged corners, a nod to the object’s original form. A similar creative philosophy prevailed in Knock Knock, a line of stationery products—including notebooks, rulers, and even fridge magnets—made from old door panels.
在《Toys with History》中，工作室的艺术家们将废弃家具改造成可以开的玩具车。车身装有新的车轴和车轮，但保留了原本斑驳的油漆与参差不齐的边角，以此致敬所用材料的“前生”。这一创作理念在《Knock Knock》上得到了延续，这个文具产品系列包括了笔记本、尺子，甚至还有冰箱磁铁，全部都是用旧门板制成的。
Rise of the Vietnamese Robots, the studio’s latest creation, is a collection of limited-edition robots that celebrates an unlikely visual detail of Saigon’s past: its windows.
For this project, the team at Design by Reborn began by photographing window grills around the city. They then brought this archive of images to life in the form of 22 figurines. Each sculpture is made up of wood blocks silkscreened with colors and patterns from their favorite windows. By presenting these traditional designs in a new context, they bring a modern sensibility to the overlooked architecture of old Saigon.
工作室的最新创意之作《越南机器人的崛起》（Rise of the Vietnamese Robots），通过一系列限量版“机器人”，展现令人意想不到的西贡元素：窗户。
在这个项目中，Design by Reborn 的团队记录了这座城市各地的窗户，并制成了 22 个木偶机器人。每个木偶都由单独的木块制成。通过丝网印刷，在木块上印刻他们喜欢的窗户颜色和图案。以新的形式，展示传统设计，让已被人们忘记的西贡旧建筑，重现现代气息。
The project is also meant to be interactive: each robot comes with assembly instructions and a list of addresses that detail the location of each window design, encouraging people to explore the city and discover the origins of their robot companions.
Through these conceptual works, Design by Reborn aims to demonstrate that objects that seem to have outlived their usefulness can still hold value. These creations also suggest that we shouldn’t stay complacent with the status quo of our wasteful consumption habits. If we live a little more mindfully and apply some ingenuity in our everyday lives, even junkyards and dilapidated buildings can be treasure-troves of beauty and inspiration.
通过这些概念作品，Design by Reborn 旨在证明那些看似无用的物品仍有价值。这些作品也是在提醒人们，不要将浪费的消费习惯视为理所当然。如果我们在平日生活多多留意，加以一些创新，那么即使垃圾废墟也能成为变身为奇妙的藏宝地。
Contributor: David Yen
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li
Images Courtesy of Design by Reborn