Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area

Unconventional seating for the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area

Developing new furniture ideas through upcycling

How can you make new furniture from old stuff? This project demonstrates how upcycling as a method uses old resources for new furniture. In collaboration with Swiss designer Björn Ischi, Girsberger Customized Furniture created unconventional reception furniture for the newly opened Main Campus of the Switzerland Innovaton Park Basel Area. There are a total of four locations of innovation parks in the local region. These provide a platform for smaller and larger companies from the health and technology sectors to realise innovations.



A building realised according to plans by Herzog & de Meuron 

In Allschwil on the outskirts of Basel, the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area, planned by Herzog & de Meuron, opened its doors in late October 2022. The "Main Campus" offers laboratory and office space spanning some 50,000 square metres. Around 70 % of this space has been permanently rented to companies, start-ups and the University of Basel.


Innovation today – making intelligent use of resources

The team at the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area wanted a few furniture as eye-catchers that would embody the spirit of innovation and could be installed in the coworking area on the new campus. As innovation today also entails the intelligent use of resources, recycling and upcycling were welcome elements in this effort. 

New furniture from old waste bins

With this in mind, Swiss designer Björn Ischi created in collaboration with Girsberger Customized Furniture new mobile furniture applications, based on raw materials gleaned from old items of furniture. Specifically, metal waste bins were used here that have become obsolete in times of waste separation, vast numbers of which are still housed in furniture depots.

Agile work, thanks to an integrated power supply

Agile seating in a completely new look was created for the Smart Office of the SIP. This offered a demonstration that the use of existing, high-quality materials can be modified in a very creative and aesthetically appealing way.

The two items of furniture that emerged are forms of agile seating: a stool and an armchair with a privacy screen as a discreet visual shield. With built-in batteries and charging stations, users can charge their mobile devices directly. The furniture, in turn, draws its power from the building’s photovoltaic system.


  • Waste bins from old depots, shortened and prepared for power connections

  • Custom-made covers and upholstering

  • Manufacturing of a moveable wooden base and wooden tray made of solid oak

  • Integration of rechargeable battery and attaching USB ports


  • Wast bins shortened, holes drilled for power connections, lacquered in colours, metal tube manufactured for the base frame

  • Upholstering on a plywood construction, custom made upholstery cover, mesh fabric for backrest attached

  • Manufacturing of a moveable wooden base and wooden tray made of solid oak

  • Integration of rechargeable battery and attaching USB ports

Projekt meeting

Measurement of the waste bin and preparation for installation

Metalwork with the angle grinder


Making of a customised fabric cover

Seam details of the fabric cover

Covering with the upholstery fabric

Integration of a recharchable battery and attachment of USB plugs

Plywood construction as the base of the chair

Painting the body of the wastebin as a battery container for the armchair

About the Designer:

Björn Ischi is an award-winning industrial and product designer. He uses his design work in search of new solutions for the generation of tomorrow.

With the “Upcycling by Designˮ brand he set a new milestone for Swiss design.  He takes completely new paths in product design by using existing resources and factoring aspects of sustainability into the equation – with a view towards cost-effectiveness and aesthetics.

Photos: Daniel Kuhn, Dorothea Scheidl-Nennemann
Sketches: Björn Ischi