All the entries to the competition now online!
We received over 60 entries from all over the world in our Most Remarkable Repair Contest. They are all listed here. Do find yourself inspired by these clever repairs and pick your favourite.
Sunday 30 August, during the last day of Platform21 = Repairing, we announced who made the most remarkable repair according to our jury.
The jury, consisting of amateur repairwoman and hotel owner Suzanne Oxenaar (Lloyd Hotel), tool tester and editor-in-chief Erwin van der Zande (Bright), and curator and inventor Arne Hendriks (Platform21), picked a winner and runner-up from ten nominees. Winner Siba Sahabi got to take home the special Repair Award created by artist Jan Vormann, and received an extensive Dremel toolkit. Also runner-up Capyso Schuijt was awarded a multifunctional Dremel. A shortlist of the best entries will be published in Bright magazine of October/ November.
What interests me most are small intimate situations in daily life, just because they are so ordinary. The point of my repairs is not to make a two day bag from a one day bag. My question is if there is still a space for these handicapped objects and their stories.
I was looking for a way to repair my shrunken sweater, not by adding another layer of fabric but with the sweater in itself, to respect the original as much as possible.
How could it be enlarged again?
Cutting the fabric in a brick pattern made the shrunken sweater stretchable again and by putting it on, it adjusted into a wearable size automatically.
Calypso Schuijt, the Netherlands
There always are some boys playing football in our nice street with houses from the 1930s. A few years ago the ball smashed the drainpipe. Afterwards it started to rain and I had to come up with a quick solution. A coke bottle proved to be a good solution that has been lasting for years and that provokes a lot of surprised responses.
Jaap van der Feer, the Netherlands
I repaired a gramophone from 1910:
Th mechanism was broken. Therefore I attached my Iphone to the horn with a soft foam connective piece over the Iphone’s loudspeaker.
This results in a wonderful sounds, especially horns sound amazing.
Vince Vijsma, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Ai, the microwave broke. At least, it doesn’t respond to some of the buttons. And that is very annoying, especially when the ‘On’ button doesn’t function or only sometimes. So I opened up the microwave and examined it. It appeared that the keyboard simply didn’t make the right connections at some buttons. With a strong lens cracks in the flat cable were visible. Maybe they were caused by year of vibration? When I enquired about a new keyboard I learned this would cost 170 guilders. Well, then I’d better make sure the keyboard was really causing this problem. Do you know what? We will replicate the keyboard! So I did. First I found out which combinations of cables would result in which functions. Wooden slat, copper thread, nails, plastic… And then with ten wires, taken from an old telephone cable, at the bottom of the keyboard cable soldered to the print. And… It works! All ‘buttons’ are functioning again! Shall I buy the new keyboard now? Ah, why actually? Lets just attach this one to the front of the microwave, at its original spot. This has been working for nine years now.
When a friend experienced the same defect with a practically similar microwave I made her a classy version of this solution, which has been working for four years now.
Gerald Tros, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Ooit iets gerepareerd waar je super trots op bent?
Ik vond een stuk stof in een opslag vol afgekeurd textiel. Ik gebruik het als theedoek, maar er zit een gat in. Voor de reparatie was ik geïnspireerd door de ouderwetse techniek gebruikt voor het stoppen van sokken. De theedoek heeft een pied-de-poule motief dat ik wilde behouden. Het was een tijdrovende en moeilijke klus en na een uur zag ik al een beetje scheel, maar het was zeker de moeite waard. Ik heb niet alleen een nieuwe techniek geleerd, maar ik ben ook opeens veel meer van deze gekke theedoek gaan houden als ik daarvoor deed. Ik verheug me al een beetje op het volgende gat.
As a textiles designer I work with different structures and materials. That is also how I ended up working with plants. I perforated leafs of different plants. This may seem natural, but actually I took my inspiration from nature, from caterpillars for instance and the monstera delicousa (also knon as hole plant). When it turned out that the afterwards the plants keep developing and even made these interventions their own, I also started researched it the other way around: to repair injured leafs. For this design I replaced the deceased part of the leave with textile, instead of cutting the doomed leaf and throwing it away.
Nienke van der Meulen
Bison Kintsugi. I developed a new view of gluing porcelain based on kintsugi, an old Japanese technique in which porcelain is repaired with gold leaf. It’s an extremely time-consuming, expensive method. I found Bison glue to be the perfect Western variant for making beautiful yet simple repairs. Discover the beauty of messy mending!
Lotte Dekker, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Instinctive Design is a free book that celebrates everyday creative problem solving and temporary solutions. With lists, quotes, photos and stories on methods that people use to find new uses for objects around them.
Ana Lisa Alperovich, London, UK
I repaired the thumbpad on a Gamecube controller joystick by coating the sharp stub in a plastic/rubber coating that made it comfortable to use again and also gives a good grip. There's nothing really ‘special’ about it, but I did feel pretty good when it was done and everything worked!
Jake Tobak, Rhode Island, USA
Looking for a steering wheel for a new Art car in the scrapheap I found a totally rotten and rusted wagonette. The steering and pedal drive were the only things still functioning. After a big transformation including removing wooden doors, seats and a lot of rust, lowering the steering wheel and moving the handbrake, it now drives perfectly!
Jack Vreeke, Weert, the Netherlands
After dropping the remote control there was a hole in the back so that the batteries wouldn’t be pressed against the metal contact points anymore. The surface was not strong enough to glue, so I put all sorts of rubbish I had lying around – a wire to close a plastic lunch bag with, a plug that I cut to size – in the hole. As the material of the plug springs a bit, you can now click the batteries in again so they touch the metal.
DJ Wiendels, the Netherlands
Many of my most basic shirts are full of holes. I could sew them shut, but why pretend the gap was never there?
Inspired by a building, which usually has a concrete skeleton as a main supporting structure, I found that the seams of the shirts are like this structure. They hold the piece together and provide strong anchoring points.
Instead of covering up the holes I just took their width and length and cut it out in a square shape and re-attached it to the nearest seem. This created a new 3D shape. The hole not only becomes emphasized but it also becomes a guideline for a new form within the garment.
Sara Martin Mazorra, the Netherlands
I found this glass bottle on the beach and liked it because it is cut by the sea and the sand. I put the glass top of the bottle on the bottom of a plastic bottle so it could contain fluids again. Unfortunately the glass broke during my repair so I had to find a way in which to hold the pieces tidely together. I wrapped it as tight as I could in cotton thread. Now it also better suited for warm drinks, which stay warm longer now the bottle has a new coat.
Esther Brakenhoff, the Netherlands
I made a book called ‘House as Second Skin’ and a repairing kit with some of the material I used.
I went to an old house and repaired its holes like we repair a garment.
The house reminded me of an old lady, with wrinkles that tell stories. I tried to keep the same atmosphere and used embroidery textiles, silicone and pearls for my repairs.
Patricia Guarda, the Netherlands
Because the lid was loose and there were several cracks in my sewing suitcase, I couldn’t use it anymore. I used old threads from the fifties for its repair which I crocheted and then used these thicker threads to sew the parts together.
Crocheting was the first thing I learnt that had to do with sewing. As a child I would see my mother making beautiful things and think: I want to be able to do that too. Later I also learnt how to knit and make clothes on the sewing machine. It felt good to go back to crocheting to repair this old suitcase.
Jentie Kraamer, the Netherlands
I chose to make new shoes from old shoes that I bought in a second hand shop. It was both a kind of repairing and styling. I chose to work with hex nuts, because I would like to give the hex nuts a new function instead of just seeing them as a building material used with screws.
The result is a shoe, which is very rough and masculine with all the metal and hex nuts, but on the same time it also is very feminine as the hex nuts catch the light and almost look like some shiny jewelry.
Lise Grosen, Krabbesholm, Denmark
The cover of the seat of the chair was damaged. There were small and big tears in the leather. As a pattern these tears looked quite attractive and I decided to use this quality. I started to fill these tears with white wool. Quickly I had the feeling something was growing out of the chair and that it was starting to live.
It is not a logical way of repairing, but when is something repaired? When is the repair finished and when is it beautiful? These things can be arguable.
When I felt like my repair was finished I had the feeling as if something was growing out of the chair, some sort of clouds. Therefore I named it ‘ With the Chair in the Clouds’.
Nathalie Tappin, the Netherlands
The paper of which this fragile lamp was made ripped. Luckily, because this accident made the standard lamp into something different. With the repair I exegerated its new unique character. The mysterious opening makes you curious, you get to peep at the light.
Cindy Wouters, the Netherlands
This couch has been in my family since before I was born, I am now 27 years old. It was already deeply ripped on the arms when my parents got it from my grandparents' neighbours. It has been covered with a blanket for as long as I can remember.
We looked for other couches, but couldn't find anything as long and comfortable for a decent price. So, I decided this would be my project. I found a fabric close to the original, added new springs, replaced padding, and replaced the cushions. I kept the original buttons.
Gretchen Rusnak, Ohio, United States
I didn't do this repair, but I saw it and really liked it.
It is on the porch of a shop in London called Kokon To Zai on Golbourne Road. They repaired the beautiful old tiling with colored resin. Nice!
Jane ní Dhulchaointigh, London, United Kingdom
I think it is a challenge to repair something, especially when I am attached to something. Like I am to this cheese cheeseslicer, which makes slices with exactly the right width, but of which the wooden handle split. This is already the second time I repaired a cheeseslicer in this way: with a garden hose clamp and a little bit of glue to keep it waterproof. It has already lasted for several years now; it only can’t go in the dishwasher!
I also repaired the glass lid to my favourite saucepan, of which the knob broke. At the hardware store I found a fitting door handle and with some extra rings it is solidly attached again!
Mies Langelaan-Scheepers, Emmen, the Netherlands
I repaired the winter coat of my husband, I think somewhere in the ‘90s. He smoked back then, but couldn’t finish a whole cigarette. He would stub it out and would put the butt in his pocket. You guess it; once it wasn’t stubbed out well and it burned a whole in his pocket. A waste of that beautiful coat.
At the time I was sewing a jeans jacket with a bright pink teddy lining. This fabric exactly matched the fabric of the coat and the colour difference only surprising. So I put a sampler in the hole and the coat is still around, we use it to work in the garden.
I have repaired things all my life, but I don’t think of myself as a miser, but do have a conscious.
Dineke Bos, the Netherlands
In 1984 I chose to study violin making in Italy, especially because the violin is a product that can be repaired over and over again. There are countless violins from the 17th century, also from Amsterdam, that are still played at a daily basis.
My entry is the repair of the violin Dutch artist Ellen ten Damme brought to me. During a hasty set change a roadie pushed the violin case shut while the violin was not placed in the correct way. This resulted in 23 long cracks in the top. With stage tape they carefully taped the pieces together.
After about three weeks, in which the cracks were glued one by one and were enforced on the inside by small diamantes – small pieces of wood – I could start retouching the lacquer. After another week the violin could be played again. The costs of such a repair are not so bad; only a fraction of what it would cost to buy a new comparable instrument.
Ronald de Jongh, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
This Japanese knife is phenomenal. The steel is exactly hard enough and still sharp after years of sharpening. The grip is very pleasant because of the balance, the shape and size of the handle. That is why I wanted to repair it when the knife started to show defaults: notable leeway in the connection between the handle and blade and visible cracks.
Twice I dislodged the handle from the blade, drilled the hole open and glued the parts back together, but this solution only lasted a few months each time and then loosened again.
Eventually I made a plaster cast of the whole knife, so I had a mould. Afterwards I again removed the handle and sanded the blade clean. Afterwards I put the blade in the mould and poored a new handle with resin. Voila: the original shape was kept, the balance is still perfect and the resin feels warmer and therefore more pleasant than the original plastic.
Joost van Boeschoten, the Netherlands
I repaired an accordion:
- There was a leak in the bellows, which I repaired with black and white tape
- There was no front for the mechanics, so I made one from Perspex
- The whole thing was varnished in an ugly shade of green. I sprayed it black, but on the white keys you still see the old varnish
- The mechanics on the inside were loose so I repaired that
- I replaced or shortened the leather straps to make them fit again.
Voila! I especially thought the Perspex turned out very well. Furthermore it functions again, although there is one black key missing.
Herman Verhagen, the Netherlands
Renault 4. We have had them in several sorts and sizes, an outstanding example of a repair it yourself car. The most legendary repair was the one on a white Renault 4 F6 when I drove a car on my own for the first time after passing my drivers’ test.
Courageously I loaded the trunk of my car full with glass: the student halls were cleaned up and in good spirits I drove to the bottle bank somewhere in the harbour at the other side of town. I wildly stepped on the accelerator and suddenly it ended up on the floor brought back to its essence: a steel plate on a string. At the time it made me go into a panic.
I looked for a telephone booth and called home. Very romantically my sweetheart raced over on his bike. The transfer from accelerator to motor was restored within 15 minutes with a paperclip he found in his pocket.
I am still impressed by it, by the paperclip and my sweetheart. He renovates the house, repairs old Vespas, espresso machines and the toys of our children. That paperclip and the Renault 4 F6 to me are still a symbol of his skills and inventiveness.
Anne-Marie Pronk, Arnhem, the Netherlands
Last year I have developed a project on fixing that I have executed in Badhikel, a small village close by Kathmandu in Nepal.
Fascinated with the signs of age and history in objects found in people's homes, I, together with Sanjeev Maharjan, went around the small Village of Badhikel, in Nepal, collecting these artefacts in their state of halfway-usage.
Sanjeev and me started to repair broken pots, shoes, jars by means of thick thread and needles. The repairs highlighted and re-enforced the beauty of their time/usage damage.
At our first visit to the villagers, their curious eyes shown no more than surprise and uncertainty, but with our second visit, we had the pleasure of having the villagers themselves sitting and fixing objects together with us. The honor to have their company, creativity and dedication, was the highlight of our journey - a social and racial barrier that went from broken, into linked together. Our mission was accomplished.
Edgar Mosa, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
During the last few weeks I’ve been trying to make a business plan with my girlfriend. However, things are not going very smoothly, we discover that our different education and national background increases the challenge to work together. There are some days that we can understand each other very well and some others that we end up fighting. This crack on our business collaboration is extending to our personal relationship and I thought that it was time to REPAIR it! Therefore I designed the topological jacket.
The term topology refers to the ability to transform the nature of the problem from one about logic to one about space.
Whenever my girlfriend and I start fighting about the same idea, we try the topological jacket on. It consists in two broken jackets stitched together by the right side and facing different directions. By wearing the jacket we realize that we are walking in the same direction but we have different perspective. The topological jacket repairs our relationship not only with symbolisms and semantics but also by creating a fun dynamic that transforms our bad mood and obnoxious stubbornness into a game where we end up laughing.
Sergio Davila, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
For the Most Remarkable Repair Contest, I'd like to enter one of my mother's projects, as a surprise for her.
A short introduction: My mother, Margreet Beemsterboer, is a professional embroiderer and chief editor of the magazine 'Handwerken zonder Grenzen'. To attract a younger public she thought of a way to repair a pair of jeans.
Jeans are bought 'worn' and 'destroyed' in the shops these days... But a heavily washed and 'damaged' jeans, damages further even easier. To keep it from tearing and still respect the 'worn' and 'vintage' look, my mother repaired my jeans with authentic repair stitches and weaving techniques, as used to be done to repair clothes and socks by hand in the old days. By hand she's woven threads back into the torn fabric, so that the weft-threads (that were still there) were completed with new warp-threads to 'close' and repair the fabric. To keep it looking authentic and 'denim' she's used heavy cotton and linen yarns, and even added some decorative stitches to complete the jeans and make it even nicer. The end result is a very 'vintage' looking pair of jeans, that's not easily torn any further, made very modern and refined by the beautifully handmade repair work.
All photos are taken by photographer Michel Mulder.
Marieke Beemsterboer, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
One day I bumped into an umbrella with no cloth on it, just the wires. For some reason I liked it, and started carrying it around all the time.
It was summertime, weather was hot, no rain, sun was shining. And I was carrying my umbrella all around. People thought I was weird.
After a while though, I was getting a bit tired of people asking me about it and it got fragile so now, for some time already, it hangs from my ceiling.
I decided to finally repair it, but not in a standard way. I used unneeded materials from my everyday life.
Stefan Malesevic, Serbia
Not enough cash to buy new gadgets or other luxury products? But you don’t want to be inferior to your friends and keep up with the times?
Patch up your ego! Literally!
Has your computer crashed, but you just don’t got the money right now to buy a new one? Patch it up…
…. and within minutes your laptop is brought back to its former glory. You don’t have to be ashamed with your friends not being able to keep track of the latest trends.
Has your store cupboard been looking like this for the past weeks: almost empty?
Patch it up…
…. and you can unashamedly invite your friends to your home (to order Chinese?)
The result can be surprisingly creative or realistic. It ironically shows the (least important) consequences of a ‘crisis’: it opens up the discussion about the importance of the superficial, making people see you how you want to be seen, and the diminishing of identity. And that in a time when everyone ought be brought back to hic basis.
Jorien Vlaar, the Netherlands
A friend gave me his old glasses and turns out that he has the same lenses as I do, but then left and right swapped. I got the idea to make myself some glasses to play billiards with. When you play billiards you hang low on the table and look through the top bit of the glass. But often the top of the glasses are to low for this purpose. When I turned the glasses upside down, there is much more glass on the top. All it took was to change the two springs and the nose support, which I took from some old glasses.
Gerald Tros, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
There was a hole in my linen trousers. As I really like their colour I decided to repair the hole.
Firtst I stitched the hole within a rib to the inside. Afterwards, for theocratieën and camouflage, I made three ribs on the outsider. This made the trousers four centimeters shorter. Luckily it had wide cuffs. I took out the cuff, made another rib on the pleat and then finished the bottom with double stichting. I am wearing the trousers a lot again!
Frans Geus, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
My repair has become an amulet.
The amulet is made from a broken horseshoe of ceramics, glaced in a traditional way.
I repair a lot and often I use steelwire to do so.
It is easy to use and very strong…
Because its so expensive here, and expensive to ship things off island, people in Hawaii discard an inordinate amount of furniture and other items at the curbside for “bulky item pick-up”. I have been salvaging items and materials for the past four years. Some things need no repair, only cleaning; some need minor repair and a little spiffing up - maybe a coat of paint, or new foam and recovering of a chair seat. Some things beg for reinvention. If there are only parts of the item that are salvageable, I take those.
I divide my projects into repaired/refinished, re-imagined and created.
Carole Mandryk, Hawaii
‘Globalise Love’ - Meditations on ‘repair’ of a Globe
My questioning of how I can contribute to healing (=repairing) the globe has lead me to include this ‘old’ globe into daily meditations…
This project represents both this globe as an object as well as the earth that this globe represents.
The two red crystals placed in Amsterdam, Holland, and Caracas, Venezuela represent my personal repair. Someone I love is all the way across the globe and I wanted to ‘repair’ our connection visually.
Ruchama Hoed, Amsterdam, the Netherlands