In the last of our SPOTTED’s we are looking at a project that really caught our eyes and hearts at New Designers this year – the NURDkit by Alice Kettle, which educates people to the problems with nurdles.
So why did this catch our eye? Once upon a time, in a childhood far, far away, I wanted to be a marine biologist and spend my life studying sharks with a view to conserving their numbers and educating people to their true, non-killer personalities. Fast forward a few years, and marine conservation is still very high on our concern list as a studio. And one of the biggest concerns of ours is plastic. There is too much generally and too much is ending up in our seas and oceans.
But, despite the images of deceased birds full of plastic, scenes of great oceanic gyres full of a plastic soup gradually degrading to particles that are eaten by fish and get into the food chain, many people do not know the true scale of the issues with plastic in our seas.
And although we can all spot the empty drinks bottles and spent lighters on the strand line of a beach, there is a particular type of plastic that we all see, but many of us do not recognise. The nurdle.
But it is these tiny dots of raw material plastic that end up manufacturing the vast majority of the plastic products we consume globally.
We were immediately drawn to the work of Alice Kettle for these reasons – she has created a kit that allows people – and particularly children – to sieve out the tiny pieces of plastic (the nurdle) from the beach, safely remove them and even use them to create another NURDkit. A simple, yet elegant premise that aids to educate as well as creating something responsible.
Speaking to Kettle, who was both passionate and highly knowledgeable on the subject, we could see clear similarities with one of our all time favourite projects – the Sea Chair by Studio Swine, which also seeks to reclaim plastic from the ocean, turning it into one off chairs. Whilst poetic in nature, both projects are seeking to educate about the overwhelming scale of the issue – much of which is unseen by the general public.
We are passionate that these are the sorts of projects and products that we should be championing – one that deals with a real issue – in even the smallest of ways. If we demand these kinds of responsible products as consumers, more will be created.
However, given the scale of the issue, can well meaning projects such as the NURDkit really create change? It’s certainly a start. And starting is what we need.
We just hope that there will be more projects like Kettle’s at New Designers 2016.
(all images via Alice Kettle)