The Detroit studio Thing Thing creates new processes for transforming discarded industrial and postconsumer materials into household goods. Established in 2012, the studio engineers and fabricates its own versions of industrial manufacturing machines “to experiment with materials typically unavailable to designers.” The team makes and modifies “plastic extruders, injection molders, rotational molding, compression molds, and more—developing an expertise and authorship in the entire making process.”[i] They create clocks, mirrors, lamps, vessels, and various furniture pieces in a process that involves transforming postconsumer, hand-recycled, high-density polyethylene plastic into objects that are some combination of sittable and sculptural. Their “Future Foam” project transforms scrap foam from the production of transportation interiors into benches. “Pan Fried Stools” are produced from plastic waste found all over Detroit—automotive waste, product rejects, recycling centers, and even dumpster finds.[ii] These repurposed materials are melted in a frying pan and then hardwood legs are attached. The team’s deceptively simple open-source “recipe” for the stool belies their material expertise yet espouses an ethos of experimentally crafted DIY goods: “Bake plastic at 380 for 90 min or until gooey. Remove pan and insert legs. Polish all surfaces and serve.”[iii] An accompanying video tutorial shows you how to make your own stool.


[i] Thing Thing, “Studio,” accessed February 4, 2021, [ii] Orlow, “This Design Studio Is Making Furniture in a Frying Pan.” [iii] Thing Thing, “Pan Fried Stools,” accessed February 4, 2021,

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