Project Name: The Garrison
Project Location: Toronto, Canada
Firms: Stacklab and Rebart
Directors: Jeff Forrest and Lisa Grassa
The Garrison is a sculptural cast iron furniture piece made using steel salvaged from the recently demolished Garrison Bridge in Toronto. Two tonnes of rebar were recovered from the historic bridge during its demolition in early 2015 to be recast into a limited series of 102 units.
Intended for indoor and outdoor use as a seat or low table, the series aspires to further the discourse on material lifecycles and the concept of recycling and re-use in design. The project respects not only the material value of the salvaged rebar but also its historical significance. In limiting the base material to a single, historically significant source, The Garrison goes beyond the concept of recycled metal – each piece is embedded with a strong narrative that uniquely enhances its value.
A study in opposites, The Garrison takes a dirty, heavy, infrastructural material and reconstitutes it into a clean, light, and refined object. Using state-of-the-art digital design, a parametric framework encompassing structural, ergonomic, and manufacturing criterion was developed. This programmatic approach to the formal refinement of The Garrison results in a final product that is easily manufactured with virtually no waste, highly functional, and aesthetically desirable.
The Garrison is a historic rebar-based cast iron stool or low table. The use of cast iron, an unusual material for seating and fine furniture, required a careful balance of strength and weight. With a form inspired by this material’s infrastructural background, intensive digital prototyping and finite element analysis was required to achieve an astoundingly high capacity to weight ratio. Weighing under 35lbs, each stool is capable of bearing a load in excess of 800lbs. The size and configuration of the interior flanges allow for high strength in a thin profile while affording a slight flex to enhance comfort when used as seating. The Garrison has a 16″x12″ base, is 18″ high and has a 12″x12″ top.
An iterative parametric design and digital prototyping process ensured minimal waste during the design process. Finite Element Analysis kept material usage in the final form to an absolute minimum, resulting a piece that achieves the ideal balance of light and strong. As part of the team’s commitment to sustainability through intelligent and design-centric reuse, this stool explores the concept of high integrity design employing historic materials in subtle and complex ways that exceed simple re-purposing.
The Garrison has been designed to be an heirloom piece with a lifespan measured in generations. Just as examples of cast iron detailing and structural elements still persist after more than 200 years of use, The Garrison will be a lasting tribute to an important piece of Toronto’s history.