This just out of Europe: A crazed furniture-maker is hacking up honest American iron. Put away your pitchforks and torches, though, because this is beautiful stuff. Unibro is not, as might first imagine, a derogatory term for young investment bankers partial to Uniqlo’s cheerful down jackets. No, Unibro is a German company that recycles old auto parts into awesome steel desks and lamps. Your mom still got that dilapidated Pontiac Catalina she bought new in 1963? Send it to Unibro, and they’d likely send you back an entire patio set.
As far as we can translate from the German, all these pieces are one-off, and a few are already sold. Still, they’re worth a gander. Take, “Candy Apple,” a writing desk made from the trunk of a first generation Ford Mustang, complete with iconic “MUSTANG” script. Any prose written on its gleaming surface is sure to embody the wide-ranging, indomitable spirit of a pack of wild horses.
For a slightly more hipster-slash-wabi-sabi take on the theme, there’s the RATmiral, a writing desk fashioned from a repurposed Open Admiral trunk lid. In place of the Mustang desk’s inch-thick gloss, the RATmiral sports patina and a matte finish. It’s rustic, if far from ratty. The chrome frame recalls the source-material’s Fifties sparkle. Tear a page from an old notebook and scribble a Whitman-style, sensual ode to the beauties of old steel.
Then, there’s the “Reel Steel,” a lamp whose body is a WWII-era injection pump. Meant to provide light, the “Reel Steel” looks readier to provide hours of searing pain to any fellow unlucky enough to fall victim to its many wires. The thing looks torturous, folks. That red wire off the top? Surely a fuse. Looking to illuminate, electrify or detonate your friends and loved ones? Here’s the thing.