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The objective of this project was resurrect the industrial icon of East London’s ‘Fridge Mountain’ – an enormous pile of discarded fridges which previously occupied the London 2012 Olympic site- and promote the upcoming Olympics Games in London to the citizens.

The name of this project developed in 2011, exactly one year before the London 2012 Olympic Games, was Films On Fridges and it contemplates an intervention in this place using fridges trash that was retired when the Olympic Stadium was built.

The project proposed to transformate the previous industrial zone in the form of a playful and interactive outdoor pop-up cinema, which screened films athletic in nature.



– Location

Film on frigdes was located in London’s trendy Hackney area, where it showed films until August 2011. This location had been an industrial area, hosting in the past ‘Fridge Mountain’ – an enormous pile of discarded fridges which previously occupied the London 2012 Olympic site. Towering nearly 6 meters tall, the largest ‘Fridge Mountain’ in all of Europe became a bizzare sculpture in the East London landscape. They accumulated there because of EU regulations which prohibited the old way of crushing them because this method released CFC’s into the atmosphere. This mountain built up at a rate of 6,500 fridges a day.


This had been a symbolic place due to the ‘Fridge Mountain’ was a icon for East London. Lindsey Scannapieco the main author of this project understand the importance of this icon for the inhabitants that declared “Fridge Mountain seemed to be part of urban folklore.”

– Controversies

The project was located in a area where the inhabitans had mental image of ‘the Fridege mountain’, this places wasn’t any particular use, only hosting this waste.

In order to renovate the area to the Olympic games, this waste was removed. So the area started to be regenerate but the population still had the idea of a place for trash.

In this context is when this project started, due to it worked joining the character of the old industrial area with the new uses related with Olympic Games.



– Agents

The agents that participated in this project were:

  • Designers and contributors: The design brains behind the project belong to Emma Rutherford, an Urban Design MA student, and together with a core group of volunteers and a small army of people with some free times on their hands, Films on Fridges came to life.
  • Also Mat Triebner, co-founder of Scout Limited, the creative company behind the project, manage the building of this installation.
  • Some architecture students contributed helping to build this cinema.
  • The waste: in this case doors from fridges, due to the potentially poisonous chemicals inside the fridge doors, the environment agency guidelines dictate that they mustn’t be punctured. They used using 150 fridge doors for the walls and even for the seats and the bar.
  • The fridges were provided by Sims Recycling Solutions in Newport, which has also committed to recycling all the refrigerators at the conclusion of the event.
  • People who have granted the project by the crowdfounding with the website Kickstarter.



– General description

This was a project about past, present and future.


This project is talking about the past due to was inspired in the waste that occupied the area before. Lindsey Scannapieco, a student of City Design at the LSE, decided to bring this industrial landmark back to life with a film theater made of upcycled refrigerator parts.

For East London inhabitants the waste made by fridges became in part of the image that the area had. In order to make an easy connection from the new uses and the past image, this project proposed to build the new uses with the old image.


Cinema was the perfect medium in which to celebrate sport and therefore Scannapieco and business partner Mat Triebner came upon the idea of a cinema that would explore the juxtaposition of the old, gritty industrial Hackney and the regeneration of the area in time for the Olympics.

The cinema had planned 12 screenings of sports-related movies in honor of the upcoming Olympic games. The films were projected onto an inflatable screen surrounded by a frame of fridge doors in front of rows of grandstand seating as well as benches made of recycled refrigerator parts.

Scannapieco said “Something which spoke to east London’s industrial past at a time when the area was changing. I thought it would be fun to resurrect it and create something that was both educational and playful.”



Also this installation was making a reference about what was about to happen. On the one hand, the cinema was showing people how the area was improving, because the new intallations for Olympic Games were regenerating the area. On the other hand, the film was about sports, so they projected for example Rocky, Cool Runnings, Chariots of Fire and Fire inBabylon.

– Difficulties

  • About the material:

Due to environmental restraints, they were unable to use the whole of the object. So they only used fridge doors, in particular, two tons of them all over the side in different ways. The main used was as cladding for scaffolding and the bar area as well as the cinema wraparound. Fridge doors were being used too as furniture as a hybrid with chipboard.


  • About building it

Poisonous chemicals exist inside fridges doors so the environment agency guidelines said that doors couldn’t be perforated. For the team this suposed a greatest challenges, because of they had to find the way to keep secure these things. Also fridge doors aren’t a material that medium people can work in, for this group of people there was the first time that they work with a difficult material like this. In adittion the references that they had were useless because they have punctured fridge doors. Triebner, one of the member of the team, explained “We’ve seen projects using fridges before but typically they’ve involved screws or drilling holes. To pioneer a technology like this has been amazing but challenging.”

They foud the solution in industrial-strength cable ties, this kind of material is able to hold up person. In adittion, they tested industrial Velcro and and secured one door with it, but found it didn’t hold up to the rain.


  • About the screen

Films on Fridges did initially create a screen out of the fridge doors as well. However, they found that the picture quality was not high enough. Instead, Films on Fridges’ partner, independent cinema company, Picturehouse, supplied the project with an inflatable screen which could deal with the area’s changeable weather conditions. Triebner explains: “The site is by a canal and the wind can be quite heavy. The inflatable screen only takes 15 minutes to put up and a little longer to take down, so it allows us to deal with that.” Naturally, the screen sits inside a frame made of fridge doors.


  • Another difficulties

Managing a cinema and getting a public area that achieve the necessary requirements implicate some paperwork to solve the posible issues. Scannapieco said “There was a huge amount we had to learn, we had to understand how film licensing works, we had to develop partnerships, get insurance, get portable toilets – and we had to find some fridges.”

– Participants

When provoking pop-up cinema were presented in East London from July 27th to August 13th in 2011 it had many visitors. The project attracted aproximately 1500 cinephiles. Also they were featured in FT Weekend Edition, TimeOut London, Vogue UK, GOOD Magazine and The Guardian.


– Economy

In order to finance the project kickstarter and a joint effort between Sims Recycling Solutions, Picture House Hackney, and the event´s organizers got all the necessary to make real Films on Fridges.

  • Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that was the responsible to obtein the money, in fact, they need $6,000 to do the projectand they got a $7,000 cash injection.
  • Sims Recycling Solutions contributed with fridge doors, and also they promised to recycle all the materials when the intervention had finished.
  • Picture House Hackney is an independent film company, they helped to the project istalling a screen where the public were able to see all the films.

And of course the event´s organizers managed all of this contribution to make posible Films on Fridges.



Enviromental sustainability

In this case, Film on Friges was sustainable in a enviromental way because the project used a reused material that, at the end of the intervention, was recicled again. Also the authors of the project got to create a new image using part of the old image and at the same time giving to the area a new use related with the future activities.

Economical sustainability

This project is a low cost intervention due to several reasons:

  • On the one hand, it used recycled materials that a company gived to the designers.
  • Works hours were made by volunteers and architecture students.
  • The main founding was got by crowdfunding platform so the citizens made small contributions and they were able to enjoy the project.

Cultural sustainability

In the project Film on Fridges the cultural sustainabinility is related with the recycled material that gived a very specifit image. Using fridges doors there were able to connect past and future, the reason was that in the same location there had been thousands of old fridges; after some time, the neighbors have embraced this image as a part of the area. So using the same material to promote future activities (in this case Olympic games) they got to speak about the future using a pass icon.

Social sustainability

This project were able to involve people in different ways, so they could contribute in the way that they considered. On one side, they could give money by the crowdfunding platform, another posibility was going as a volunteer to build that. On anoter side, they had the posibility to enjoy, becaming this place and important meeting centre.


Main conclusion

This project is exemplary because of was made with recicled materials, that were related with area. In fact, the architects were able to undertand the reality of the place where they had to made this installation. This project was smart because using recycled and cheaper materials, this contributed with an image about the past in orden to promote a future activity. At the same time, with this proposal they showed to the neighborhood how the area was improving.






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