Next Big Thing: Salvadoran Designer Eugenio Menjívar's rECOlector Lamps

by Chris K. • May 27, 2008 12:16 PM PDT
Next Big Thing: Salvadoran Designer Eugenio Menjívar's rECOlector Lamps

You'll never look at an egg carton the same way, at least not if designer Eugenio Menjívar has anything to say about it! I met the 28-year-old "eco-experimental" designer at last week's International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City. And of all the designers showing some truly amazing (and expensive) stuff, Eugenio's ingenious use of the simple egg carton, along with scrap metal salvaged in his home of San Salvador, was the best example I saw of true design melded with our new knowledge that we must conserve our resources now, before it's too late.

Stylehive: So where did you get the idea for rECOlector lamps?
Eugenio Menjívar: While searching for raw materials that didn't negatively affect the environment, I started recollecting and separating all the litter that we produced at home. After a while, I had stacks of various materials, including egg cartons. I became enamored with the shapes and particular characteristics of the egg crates and began playing with them. As a result, the CH07 series developed.

Stylehive: How do you make them?
Eugenio: I can give you a general idea, but can't share all the secrets of the trade! I collect egg cartons - at home, from friends, at restaurants, etc. I select the ones that are in good shape and assemble them to create the lamp shade using biodegradable glues. Once the shade is formed, I paint it using a water based vinyl coating. I have the bases made at a local steel workshop that collects its scrap recycle steel pieces for me. I join the shades with recycled steel rods that I shape and the join to the base. Once assembled, I use energy saving light bulbs.

Stylehive: What's your favorite place to find materials?
Eugenio: Don't have a favorite place - I always seem to find, anywhere I go, an interesting piece of garbage that sparks a new idea.

Stylehive: How are the lamps alike and different?

Eugenio: So far, there are two series within this collection: the one-of-a-kind pieces and the Dancers series. The Dancers are lamps composed of three cylindrical lamp shades, all formed with the assembled egg cartons. They are held in place with recycled steel rods and have a recycled steel base that also came from the scraps found at the steel workshop I work with. These shades are placed off centered, each one moving in a different direction to recreate the sense of movement - hence their name. These have three different types of lamp shades - all variations of the same egg carton, and they come in three different colors - lime green, violet, and black. And each type of lamp shade has a limited edition of 21.

Once these were figured out, I started playing with found objects to repurpose them as their bases. I searched for all kinds of objects in junk yards and trash fields, and found fifteen objects that I felt were unique and could give each lamp a personality of its own. The found object determined the size of the shade and the way it was placed. They all have red lamp shades.

Stylehive: Where can people find your two rECOlector series?
Eugenio: Right now, directly from me because these pieces are brand new and still don't have a distributor in the U.S. Hopefully, real soon. My website is being developed right now (, so unfortunaltely, my past work is not available to be viewed yet. However, anyone interested could contact me via email:

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