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Brief Published: 22 Jun 2018

London Design Fair Crowns Plastic Material of the Year

Dirk Vander Kooij

As the public backlash against plastic continues, an increasing number of brands, designers and organisations are rethinking the way we produce, consume and recycle it. In a bid to further raise awareness, the London Design Fair (LDF) has decided to spotlight the condemned material – naming it Material of the Year.

Returning for its second showcase, LDF’s Material of the Year aims to introduce visitors to the most intriguing materials in today’s design world. At last year’s inaugural event, the title went to Jesmonite.

This year’s show highlights how plastic is being repurposed in imaginative and valuable ways. It will feature the following four noteworthy participants, who are adding desirability through design and treating plastic waste as a new virgin material.

  • London-based material designer Charlotte Kidger uses plastic waste, such as polyurethane foam dust from CNC fabrication processes, to create a new composite material. Her explorations result in products such as vases and tables, demonstrating the material’s potential.
  • Dutch designer Dirk Vander Kooij combines low-resolution 3D printing and extrusion techniques with reclaimed plastic waste to create playful furniture pieces.
  • Japanese product designer Kodai Iwamoto employs traditional glassblowing techniques with cheap, mass-produced industrial PVC plastic piping to create a collection of handcrafted tubular vases.
  • Brighton-based design studio Weez & Merl recycles waste low-density polyethylene (LDPE) by melting, kneading and manipulating the material into a variety of striking marbled sheets, suitable for homeware products and material surfaces.

Material of the Year will be on show from September 20-23 – look out for our coverage of LDF in September. For more innovative approaches to plastic, see Evolving Plastics.

Charlotte Kidger
Kodai Iwamoto
Dirk Vander Kooij
Weez & Merl