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Brief Published: 12 Jun 2018

Food Delivery Packaging Transformed into Furniture

RR201 stools by Andreu Carulla

At Barcelona Design Week (June 5-14), design facility Disseny Hub Barcelona showcased Spanish designer Andreu Carulla’s RR201 stools, made from recycled expanded polystyrene (EPS).

EPS is the perfect material for providing thermal insulation and protecting goods during transport as it is lightweight, yet voluminous. However, it is notoriously difficult to recycle, as these material characteristics also make it costly to process.

Carulla collaborated with Michelin-star restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in Girona to turn EPS boxes – in which it receives food from suppliers – into furniture. After use, the packaging is rinsed off, shredded using a pedal-powered grinder, and transferred into an aluminium mould.

Using steam vapour from a coffee machine and a manual workshop press, the shredded fragments are formed into a solid block. This is then removed from the mould and sprayed with an eco-friendly resin for a resistant coating.

Each stool weighs less than 2kg and consists of six EPS boxes – the number received by the restaurant each day.

This progressive, zero-waste initiative demonstrates how small-scale manufacturing processes that use industry-specific materials can give dimension and tangibility to brand values. This is a concept we explore further in our 2018/19 Materials Forecast Home Ground.

We also feature a sunflower-derived alternative to EPS, developed by Dutch designer Thomas Vailly, in our S/S 20 Materials Focus theme Botanical Modernism. For more on how governments, brands and designers are rethinking the way we produce and consume plastic, see Evolving Plastics