To create this set for TOC’s Spring Fashion shoot, Crystal Hodges (left) and Linsey Burritt used scrap wood from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, fishing line they’ve been hoarding for years and fresh flowers from a recent local wedding. Repurposing such castoffs is a typical day’s work for the 2006 Columbia College grads: Their firm, INDO, creates art installations from materials about to be tossed in recycling or trash bins.
“Rather than adding to waste streams,” Burritt says, “we try to borrow from them.”
Burritt, a graphic design major, and Hodges, who has her degree in interior architecture, started INDO in 2007 after convincing the owners of Niche shoe boutique in Wicker Park to let them create a window display. Since then, the duo have salvaged everything from paper to nail-polish caps—sourced everywhere from recycling and trash facilities to city dumpsters and Craigslist—to create installations.
Whatever materials they find shape the design, be it the interior of Jam restaurant or last year’s Taste of Chicago Chef du Jour tent installation, composed of 200 three-by-four-foot hanging sheets of polypropylene (the same plastic used in Tupperware) acquired from a local recycling company and screen printed with red hues.
While Burritt and Hodges start their pieces in INDO’s West Loop studio, they assemble most projects on-site, which can take anywhere from a day to three weeks. When INDO’s designs are disassembled, they’re reused or thrown in recycling bins. It’s a short diversion, but one Burritt and Hodges hope has lasting impact.
We hope that we inspire people to reflect on their own consumption habits,” Hodges says. “Even though our work is made with ‘trash,’ we keep the work neat and clean, which we think will help get others to see ‘trash’ in a different way.”