Presented By Microsoft

Material Designers Who Love Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Products

How we think about and treat the environment is a growing concern in the modern world.

Thankfully possible solutions to issues surrounding sustainability and depleted resources are coming from all corners of the creative industry.

There’s a particularly interesting wave of ideas on how we deal with this problem coming from material designers, who are rethinking how we can use tech and science to be less wasteful.

When people think of repurposed materials, it’s understandable that images of piles of hemp or papier-mâché lamp shades pop into their heads, however designers are proving that thanks to new techniques and technologies, sustainable design doesn’t have to come at the expense of style or quality.

For example, look at -ISH, a collection by London based designers Matteo Fogale and Laetitia de Allegri, who present a range of tables, mirrors, bowls and surfaces that wouldn’t look out of place in a premium designer store.

Home-ware made from high quality, stylish materials by designers at -ISH

What makes -ISH interesting however is that the marble-like material that the collection is made from is actually various forms of recycled and reconstructed fabric, paper and denim. Through a range of chemical processes the waste substance is broken down and recast as high quality, stylish materials.

Similarly Studio Swine, the Anglo-Japanese design studio, sought to find a use for the terrifyingly enormous amount of garbage currently floating about in our oceans.

Their Sea Chair project in the North Atlantic Gyre sought to repurpose the waste plastic they collected and turn it into furniture. By melting it down in a specially built solar 3D printer, using the Sun’s energy to turn the plastic into a desired object.

Advanced technology like this is proving to be extremely effective in helping to develop ways of combating environmental damage and raising awareness about the problem.

Sea Chair by Studio Swine

Last year Dave Haakens, a designer based in the Netherlands, developed an interesting project that invited the local community to get involved with repurposing waste materials.

Frustrated by how little plastic is recycled, he set up the Precious Plastic Workshop. Containing machines that he’d specially built to be simple to use, members of the public could bring their own waste plastic to the workshop where they could break it down and rebuild it into a range of useful items.

All the machines in the workshop are open-sourced, so other designers are welcome to recreate and reinvent Hakkens’ designs.

Dave Hakkens' precious plastic workshop