Turning Junk Furniture Into Sidewalk Living Rooms

Brooklyn-based photographer Justin Bettman has been creating open-air living rooms on the streets of New York, alongside set designer Gözde Eker — using only abandoned or donated furnishings.

Set In The Street is a collection of interior portraits with scenes built from domestic cast-offs, set amidst the urban environment. Sidewalks sharing space with lampshades in a log-cabin lounge; art-deco bathrooms beside housing projects; Bettman’s second-hand indoor scenes have been invading city-spaces everywhere. Rather than dismantle each installation once his camera has captured the set, Bettman leaves them, to capture the public’s imagination.

Set In The Street

Set In The Street

The hashtag #setinthestreet has since bloomed into an Instagram craze, with passers-by and pedestrians invited to freely take in and snap the scenes with their own lens. What started as the artist’s affordable alternative to studio space rental for a photo project has grown into a viral sensation. Set In the Street has even acted as the backdrop to a Valentine’s Day proposal!

Bettman’s pursuit of affordable artistry has breathed new life into old heirlooms and perhaps unknowingly comments on issues both social and environmental. Are they collectively a statement for or against privacy in an age of instantaneous communication? Or do they promote reusability against refuse and pass comment on fashions and shortening product life-cycles?