PreUse – An Introduction / Eine Einführung

(We are going on vacation and on tour for 1 month. But we wanted to make sure to get this blogpost out before we go so we don’t forget to finish it when we are back. The post is really raw! Sorry. But the content is good.)



I’d like to introduce you to a term we plan to use at Mifactori a lot from now on: PreUse!

PreUse. We picked it up from Jan Koerbes from ReFunc [LINK] who came up with it a few years back. It is basically a synonym for the term ‚PreCycling’ [LINK] their friends from Umschichten [LINK] coined.

It means to use something – for example building materials – for something else as it is intended for before you use it as intended. For example bricks as a shelf or paper weight before a put into a wall.

The key is that you leave the material, part or object completely intact so it is still good for the initial use. The raw wooden sticks make a good installation for a festival before they are cut in the carpentry for custom furniture.

The most beautiful examples of PreUse might be where PreUse and ReUse fall together because you can use the material or object also after its initially planned use for the PreUse use. The flower pot makes a good ash trade before and after it was housing plants.


a few pointers why PreUse is such a beautyful term for Mifactori’s goal of circularity.


(1) Modularity

Examples of PreUse always point to examples of Modularity – surprising and already existing ones. We can learn from them. And build on them. And they are beautiful illustratiosn of [LINK]:

[IMG Hack Into …]


(2) PreUse = ReUse = Reduce

Complexity is the enemy of Circularity. PreUse can help to decrease the complexity in production. Often you need 10 differently designed factories for 10 different things. But if each of those things can be used to subsitute another you only need 5 factories. ReDuce complexity! If you have 200 different things with 5 reuse cases each in your ware house it is easier to really make reuse happen than to have 1000 with 1 reuse case each…


(3) Circular Design Innovation Hint

Each case of PreUse points to great circular design opportunitiy. And it challenges designers a bit. Sometimes a thing looks perfect for one job but not for the other. Can you give it a new shape so it does not work well for both jobs but also looks good in both?


(4) Standard Building Bricks?

Picking up on (1), (2) & (3): Following the lessons from PreUse objects maybe we can start a journey to find universal circular standard building blocks for a circular lifestyle. We find here forms that allow to leave materials intact!


(5) 3erlin Grid

The Open Structures [LINK] and 3erlin Grid [LINK] idea is a perfect example for PreUse-Design! And the Preusability gets bigger with Openness! 🙂



We collect examples [LINK] on the OSCEdays forum and invite others to contribute to the collection. Another place to find examples is the ReFunc [LINK], the Umschichten [LINK] and Bellastock [LINK] website. We added it also as a category [LINK] to our blog. Maybe there is already more when you are here.


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