New-age Plas­tic

A PROB­LEM­ATIC MA­TE­RIAL IS BE­ING RE­TOOLED WITH CRE­ATIVE RE­CY­CLING AND BIO-BASED IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

Azure - - FIRST + FOREMOST - WORDS _Sa­man­tha Tse

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study, about eight mil­lion met­ric tons of plas­tic end up in our oceans each year – a num­ber that’s pro­jected to dou­ble by 2025. A re­port in The Guardian, mean­while, noted that a plas­tic bot­tle nearly half a cen­tury old looked “al­most new” when it washed up on a Bri­tish beach last year, un­der­lin­ing the near in­de­struc­tibil­ity of the ma­te­rial. As such data sug­gests, the global ex­cess of plas­tic waste is both a scourge that the world must deal with posthaste and a po­ten­tial source – if har­vested ef­fec­tively and used imag­i­na­tively – for any num­ber of up­cy­cled goods. On the lat­ter score, the Lon­don De­sign Fes­ti­val was rife with in­ge­nious ex­am­ples of plas­tic waste turned func­tional prod­ucts, in­di­cat­ing that de­sign­ers have been think­ing se­ri­ously about both the prob­lem and pos­si­ble so­lu­tions. Take Dutch de­signer Dirk Van­der Kooij, whose re­cy­cled-plas­tic oeu­vre in­cludes the sculp­tural Men­hir Bench, made from 96 per cent re­claimed syn­thet­ics. The piece was just one of the high­lights of Plas­tic­scene, a nine-day ex­hi­bi­tion de­voted to new de­sign crafted from waste plas­tic. Other par­tic­i­pants in the show, which was held in King’s Cross, in­cluded Max Lamb, Silo Stu­dio and co-cu­ra­tor James Shaw. In the city’s East End, plas­tic was front and cen­tre at the Lon­don De­sign Fair, where it was de­clared Ma­te­rial of the Year. Van­der Kooij also showed his work there, join­ing Britain’s Char­lotte Kidger and Ja­pan’s Ko­dai Iwamoto. And in the Brompton De­sign Dis­trict in cen­tral Lon­don, de­sign firms in­clud­ing the aptly named Craft­ing Plas­tics Stu­dio showed off their ex­per­i­ments with bio­plas­tics, a promis­ing al­ter­na­tive to the man­u­fac­tur­ing of new plas­tic.

MEN­HIR BENCH

Orig­i­nally de­signed for a pub­lic park in the Netherlands, Dirk Van­der Kooij’s Men­hir Bench is now avail­able com­mer­cially and in numer­ous it­er­a­tions. The ver­sion shown here is called Char­coal, but the piece also comes in more vi­brant forms. All are made from 96 per cent re­cy­cled syn­thet­ics, such as dis­carded CDS. dirk­van­derkooij.com

COL­LEC­TION 4 LIGHT­ING

Craft­ing Plas­tics Stu­dio’s Vlasta Kubušová and Miroslav Král worked for more than half a decade on per­fect­ing Nu­atan, a com­postable bio­plas­tic made from corn starch, sugar and re­claimed cook­ing oil. The sub­stance has since been used by the pair to fash­ion ev­ery­thing from eye­glass frames to this whim­si­cal light fix­ture, which re­sem­bles spun glass and is dyed with nat­u­ral pig­ment. One day Nu­atan might even sup­plant tra­di­tional plas­tic pack­ag­ing. craft­ing­plas­tics.com

PURGED PLAS­TIC B0OKSHELF

To as­sem­ble the items in their Purged Plas­tic se­ries, Saša Štucin and Ni­cholas Gard­ner of Lon­don-based stu­dio Soft Baroque sal­vage ma­te­ri­als from a lo­cal re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity, then re­con­sti­tute the waste – ini­tially “grotesque” but ul­ti­mately var­ied and beau­ti­ful – into sim­ple panel pieces. This book­shelf, un­veiled dur­ing the Plas­tic­scene show, con­sists of wafer-like com­po­nents perched atop two half-wafers. soft­baroque.com

TT STOOL

Also shown at Plas­tic­scene, Detroit-based Thing Thing’s colour­ful TT stool is made of re­claimed HDPE plas­tic and was in­spired by type­face. The Thing Thing team – Si­mon An­ton, Rachel Mul­der, Thom Mo­ran and Eiji Jimbo – sources plas­tic con­tain­ers from land­fills and re­cy­cling cen­tres, then pro­cesses them into mal­leable ma­te­ri­als via cus­tom-de­signed ma­chines. In TT’S case, the fin­ished prod­uct is rem­i­nis­cent of ter­razzo, both sparkling and sturdy. thingth­ing.us

GLOW VASES

Kim Markel’s vase se­ries lives up to its name, the translu­cency of the ves­sels be­ly­ing their ori­gin as plas­tic scrap com­bined with plant-based resin. The New York–based de­signer makes a habit of reimag­in­ing dis­used ma­te­rial, trans­form­ing bot­tles, lunch trays and eye-glasses into ta­bles, chairs and more. kim­markel.com

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