Union Eighteen Transfigures Trash

Husband and wife team Todd and Meg van der Kruik began Union Eighteen in 2007 as a response to “waste.” Their product RAW redefines the term completely, since it uses “scrap collected during the commercial manufacturing process that would normally be discarded.” Union Eighteen compiles the castoff material and repurposes it, crafting it into one-of-a-kind, handmade area rugs. Their efforts to reuse help stop a destructive cycle: carpet scraps are either down-cycled into carpet padding (best-case scenario) or deposited in landfills (where they can survive for 50,000 plus years).

RAW rugs. Designed by Todd and Meg van der Kruik of Union Eighteen.

But a green heart does not make the world go round. Thankfully, Todd and Meg van der Kruik realize that transforming dross into design requires talent. Both van der Kruiks have backgrounds in art and design; their individual projects have earned them awards from I.D. Magazine, IIDA, and IIDEX Best of NeoCon. And now, their collaborative efforts for Union Eighteen are also proving successful. Todd van der Kruik explains the creative process: “As we began piecing together the first bits of raw material, we were amazed by the natural variegation of color and texture that occurred.”







Assembled by the van der Kruiks along with a team of skilled artisans, RAW rugs come together like quilts—each piece in itself may lack astounding beauty, but the arrangement converts the parts into a winning whole. That Union Eighteen can turn even ugly scraps into handsome rugs proves the power of artful arrangement. Meg van der Kruik encapsulates the benefits of this composition: “It’s like an amusement park for your feet! The texture is as amazing to the skin as the design is beautiful to the eye.”

All RAW rugs are customizable—clients can choose size, shape, color, and texture. Union Eighteen can craft a creation for any space or desire. If you’re in the market for something other than rugs, Union Eighteen is currently providing creative development for Zandur, a manufacturer of cork and recycled rubber products. Let’s see what the van der Kruik’s eye can do for those materials.

“If you’re in Chicago on Friday, July 17, then see RAW up close from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at a reception and open house presented at @work DESIGN. The van der Kruiks “will share their approach to designing and assembling their rugs and their dedication to creating sustainable interior products” in a brief presentation at 7 p.m. As part of this special event, Union Eighteen will offer a 10% discount on all RAW purchases between July 17 and 31, 2009–not too shabby for one of I.D. Magazine’s 2008 Annual Design Review products!”

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