ADDED TOUCH: Gathered with staff and the Opotiki College design team, OPAC chief executive Ian Coventry takes centre stage in showing off their newest decorative additions to the building. Photo supplied

OPOTIKI College and OPAC have worked together to recycle kiwifruit bins into furniture and artwork.

The items, presented yesterday for use in the new OPAC building foyer, include seating and a timeline wall-hanging of previous OPAC buildings.

Seeds for the project were sown earlier this year when teacher Vonda Ellen took her innovation and design students to visit The Crafty Chook in Whakatane, which is owned by Justine Coventry, the wife of OPAC chief executive Ian Coventry.

She sells furniture she has upcycled and provided the students with ideas for their own projects.

Mr Coventry then began talking to Ms Ellen about how the college and OPAC could work together on a project.

They settled on recycling kiwifruit bins, with students working on something for the foyer of the new building.

“The students drew up a bunch of ideas, which we presented to the team at OPAC, and they ticked the ideas they liked,” said Ms Ellen.

With their idea confirmed, the students began working on two single-seater chairs and a two-seater couch built entirely from kiwifruit bins.

Ms Ellen said to keep the theme, they stencilled “OPAC 19” on the seats, similar to stencilling on the bins.

“It’s not only the year we made them, but also the year OPAC opened their new building,” she said.

She said part of the design process had been ensuring the seats were ergonomic, while also adequately sanded and coated to prevent clothing snags.

The second project, a timeline wall-hanging, shows off pictures of OPAC buildings dating back to its conception in the 1980s.

Ms Ellen said a student had the idea to lay the pictures out to look like a slide of negative film, with three rows on a backing of wood from kiwifruit bins.

“The students have been just amazing,” she said.

james.sandbrook@opotikinews.co.nz

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