Pre-Use: A Brilliant Way To Invent Circular Design

I learned a new term that inspires thinking about and experimenting for circular design: Pre-Use!

I learned the term from Jan Koerbes from ReFunc who came up with it to describe their practice of using objects for something different than what they are intended for but leaving them completely intact so that the initial use is still possible after the Pre-Use.

In the beautiful cases Pre-Use of an object is also still possible after the initially planned use.

3 Pre-Use Examples:

3 Pre-Use Examples: A jar as a vase, a flower pot as an outdoor ashtray, a deposit bottle transformed into a sugar dispenser – they are all used differently but still good for their initially planned use.

With this Pre-Use points to existing cases of circular modularity in our already built world!

For this and many other reasons I think I will work with the term from now on.

Here is a longer article about it at the Mifactori website I will link to whenever an explanation needs to be provided:


And here is a topic on the OSCEdays Forum which is an open an growing collection of examples and invitation to run activities around Pre-Use in local events and communities.

Open Collection Of Examples


chess mifactori

Chess figures from regular nuts and bolts, all still good to be used as nuts and bolts (Mifactori)


Outdoor lightning for indoor lightning (seen at ZK/U Berlin) 


Parts from a high level rack, car tires and water pipes as fitness devices (found at ZK/U)



A brick as a board, still good as brick. 

3erlin Grid Teleprompter

3erlin Grid parts like most multi-use modular systems are well developed Pre-Use solutions.

More Examples In This Open Collection

no clue 5

Pre-Use delivers the main message for Circularity: Can’t think of something to do with this after it’s first use? Don’t use it then. Think of an alternative! Read More Here

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