This past weekend, I popped by the Architectural Digest Home Show where I spent a majority of my time battling the camera-wielding crowds (who knew European senior citizens could be so damned pushy?) to get peeks at the eye-popping Dining by Design tablescapes and at a downsized showing of the American Design Club’s much buzzed about Threat: Objects for Dense and Protection exhibition.

For “Threat,” dozens of young designers were invited to create home décor items that double as self-defense weaponry/tools — cheeky stuff for the paranoid homeowners with elevated tastes in interior design. Among them: bespoke baseball bats galore including the hilarious AK47 from Steph Mantis; Daniel Ballou’s zombie-blocking “Who’s There Chair;” AmDC co-founder Kiel Mead’s driftwood “Threat Sticks (a spin on his Driftwood Wall Hooks for Areaware; Reed Wilson’s genius “Defense Mat;” and “Based on a True Story,” a clothes hanger with a concealed razor from Seattle's Grain Design. And in case you’re on the market for “Ninja Throwing Slices” made from petrified pizza slices encased in resin or recycled shipping pallet wall art that can also be used as a shield, select “Threat” objects are on sale now over at

Home invasion-appropriate décor aside, one intriguing booth that I missed at the AD Home Show's MAKE section (hat tip to Apartment Therapy) was that of the Golden Gate Bridge Furniture Company, Richard Bulan’s home furnishings line that incorporates chunks of pedestrian guardrail reclaimed from San Francisco’s most iconic landmark.

Yep, Bulan’s striking, handcrafted accent, night, cocktail, and coffee tables, lamps, headboards, and more are made from scrap material taken from Golden Gate Bridge. A bit of back story via the GGBFC website:

In 1993, the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District replaced 6,557 lineal feet of the west side pedestrian hand railing of the Golden Gate Bridge due to severe weathering. The contractors responsible for replacing the hand railing were also responsible for disposing the surplus steel. One option the contractors had was to sell the battered steel as scrap to Korea or another country that had a raw material shortage. There, the historic steel would be melted down and recycled. Another option was to cut the handrail into pieces and sell these as trinkets. However, this was a business that the contractors did not want to become involved in. Therefore, when Richard Bulan (founder of GGBFC) realized the market niche for furniture made from metal taken off the Golden Gate Bridge, he purchased the available pedestrian handrail from the contractor and GGBFC was born.

Since the bridge’s guardrails aren’t exactly replaced every couple of years (the 1993 handrail replacement project was the first time it happened since the bridge was opened in 1937), Bulan’s rare stockpile of historic steel is finite. Translation: Each piece is numbered and strictly limited edition. Also, the paint on the furniture isn’t original as much of it was burnt off of the steel during the welding process. Bulan applies a fresh coat of eco-friendly acrylic “International Orange” paint “using the same methods and techniques as currently utilized on the Golden Gate Bridge.” Any imperfections left by 60-plus years of damage from wind and salt water are left intact. And aside from the historic handrails, all other components of the furniture including additional steel (some newer pieces incorporate non-Golden Gate Bridge to lower production costs), glass, and rubber pads are American-sourced.

Plenty more info and images at the GGBFC website. Although no prices are listed on the site, I imagine that given the source material and their handcrafted-in-America nature, each totally unique piece costs a pretty penny. But, really, you can't put a price tag on the privilege of being able to tell a houseguest that they just happen to be dining on a breakfast table made from reclaimed pieces of America's most famous suspension bridge, now can you?

Via [Apartment Therapy]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Golden Gate Bridge Furniture Company: Historic civil infrastructure meets the accent table
Golden Gate Bridge Furniture Company, a home furnishings line handcrafted using steel handrails reclaimed from the San Francisco landmark, makes its Architectur