Welcome back.

Well. January has been and (almost) gone, but has certainly been eventful. The world as we know it has been turned upside down, with global turmoil and global uncertainty. And it can be really easy to lose heart. To become disillusioned and to become resigned to the fact that this is the way things are going to be from now on.

But this is not the way it has to be. 

Every few weeks or so, we re-do the studio window, with new ideas, new creations or new displays. In January, we came back from the break feeling that we had to do something. We had to be part of something that stood up and said No. We are all better than this.

So, perhaps because we went to watch Star Wars: Rebel One, the rebellion was very much in our minds when we came to redoing the studio window.

Resistance means Hope. Says it all really. Do not sit and despair. Stand up, join up and be hopeful.

Welcome to 2017…

(image by claire potter design)

our Brighton Architectural Notebooks are now in Homage!

Yes – that is right! You can now find our Brighton Architectural notebooks in the beautiful home store, Homage, in the Seven Dials area of Brighton.

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Packed up in mixed threes, you can get a set of A6 notebooks made from 100% recycled paper, printed in Sussex with images of iconic pieces of Brighton Architecture – the Pavilion, the Palace Pier and our beloved West Pier.

Image result for homage brighton

And check out the beautiful pieces they have in the store – from hand thrown utilitarian ceramic mugs to wide toothed combs, scented candles and hanging glass planters. We are delighted to be in such a lovely store. Go and say hi to Mark and Liza at Homage and check them out in their online store – www.homageonline.co.uk 

(images by claire potter and homage)

We’ve been at the Global Ghost Gear Initiative AGM…

That’s right folks – we’ve been away. Apologies for the radio silence these last couple of weeks, but things were rather hectic here at the studio, including a rather lovely trip from Brighton to Miami for the third Global Ghost Gear Initiative AGM. Coming together with people from all over the world, we were there as representatives of the World Cetacean Alliance, speaking about the different outreach projects we completed in 2016 based around marine litter.

Ghost gear is the term given to abandoned, discarded or otherwise lost fishing gear, which causes continued entrapment, entanglement and ingestion issues of all species. As modern fishing gear is plastic based, it does not degrade, so continues to fish for decades… The GGGI brings together the vast amount and variety of people needed to find solutions to these issues – from industry, fishers and policy makers to recyclers, NGO’s and manufacturers.

global ghost gear initiative -agm-miami-16

Arriving in Coconut Grove, Miami, Day one of the GGGI AGM started with a series of inspiring presentations from World Animal Protection (the current Secretariat) and break out sessions with each of the three working groups – Building Evidence, Best Practice and Replicating Solutions.

Due to the studio’s work, and activities with WCA, I sat into the review from the Replicating Solutions Group who reported a series of brilliant projects from around the globe, concentrating on ghost gear removal and recycling. There was much discussion about what worked well and how activities could be improved and scaled up.

global ghost gear initiative -agm-2-miami-16

After lunch, we sat back in our working groups, where I was officially adopted into the Replicating Solutions group – the largest (and loudest) group of the three. Figures. We then started to plan out our voyage for 2016-2017, coming up with some rather audacious goals for new projects, scaled up projects, new activities and new forms of communication. Day one finished and we were exhausted…

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the 2016 GGGI delegation!

Day Two dawned hot and bright on the Miami coast and we started the final sessions reporting back to the other working groups about our plans – and starting to link the dots between the activities that both Building Evidence and Best Practice were planning. Things took shape. Comments were made, plans were set.

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One of the last sessions was the Lightning Talks – a set of ten 5 minute talks from different members of the GGGI community. From gear recovery projects to working with developing countries, the logistics of gathering and storing ghost gear picked up at sea and what needs to be considered when transporting it for recycling – each person whizzed through their 5 minutes.

I was delighted to be reporting with Natalie Barefoot from CetLaw about the work we had both undertaken with WCA over the past year – from the interns who travelled to work with whale watching groups to educate visitors on the issues with ghost gear to the Ghost Gear Chandelier we made earlier in 2016 and exhibited at the Clerkenwell Design Week in May. The link-up between WCA and the Brighton Etsy group was also presented, along with the wonderful Lulu by Designosaur – one of my most treasured pieces of jewellery.

global ghost gear initiative -agm-raw-for-the-oceans

It was also great to see the range of products that are currently made from recovered ghost gear – either in an unprocessed form, or as a raw material in a mini pop-up exhibition. From Econyl based recycled nylon swimwear to door mats, bracelets and of course, Bureo, who were showing their skateboards and sunglasses. I was rather taken with their Yuco glasses…

global ghost gear initiative -agm-bureo-sunglasses

A final sum up and we were done. It was great to be invited to be part of such a great group of pro-active people and we cannot wait to get going with the work we have got as part of our WCA / GGGI Replicating Solutions working group activities…

As always – watch this space!

(images by Claire Potter)

Monday Makers – Smile Plastics…

Today on Monday Makers we have the fantastic Smile Plastics, who we love here in the studio. With innovative recycled plastic sheets of all types, they are the first people we turn too when we need to specify plastics. We actually have a project in Brighton on site at the moment where we have used one of their recycled plastic sheets… watch this space. So – who are Smile Plastics?


Hello there! Please tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Smile Plastics reimagines waste into decorative art materials used by designers and architects around the world for products, interiors and displays. It’s been going since 1994 and was one of the first companies globally to recycle plastics, gaining a strong reputation for its striking aesthetics and exquisite quality. The business stopped trading from 2011-2015 but has recently been taken on by two designers, relauching a core range of panels at London Design Week 2015. The business is now run by a very small dynamic team out of several locations across England and Wales and we’re hoping to consolidate over the next year.

Sustainable chopping board recycled plastics by Smile Plastics

What do you make?

Our core business is making 100% recycled plastic panels. We have a classics collection of materials made from a range of waste streams such as plastic bottles and yoghurt pots and we also work with clients to create bespoke materials based on their preferred waste stream, colour palette or pattern. We’re increasingly also offering design and build services and hope to focus on this more in the future.

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What is your favourite piece/thing you create, and why?

We absolutely love coffee and have been developing materials out of recycled coffee waste for a few years and offer it as a bespoke material through Smile Plastics. We have fabricated some great pieces out of the material, most recently a coffee bar at Societe Generale with a recycled bottle top and recycled coffee panelling.

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What inspires you?

We get really inspired by the language of materials, in particular the potential of waste and how our products can communicate engaging messages about sustainability to people, inspiring others to rethink waste.

What is your favourite place?

We love to be immersed in nature when we can from kitesurfing on the sea to climbing up mountains, and we’re happy to do this anywhere in the world!

Ok – you are rulers of the world for the day. What one law do you bring in?

Everything that gets made needs to be designed for recyclability so that we all operate in a full closed loop circular economy. (HEAR HEAR! – ed)

explorer-1m-wide-lowresWhat is your company motto?

It’s short and punchy: Reimagined materials designed to inspire.

Where can we see you next?

We’ve got a number of exciting projects coming up. If you haven’t made it already to the Wellcome Trust’s States of Mind exhibition then I would recommend it and they have used our yoghurt material beautifully as displays. We also have a small stand at the Surface and Materials show curated by Materials Lab in October in Birmingham so do pop along to see our materials there.

(www.smile-plastics.com / Instagram @smileplastics / Twitter @smileplastics)


a HUGE thank you to Smile Plastics – and stay tuned for our own reveal here on The Ecospot with a new studio project using lots of recycled plastic from Smile Plastics! 

(all images courtesy of Smile Plastics)

London Design Festival 2016 – our top sustainable event tips…

It is that time of year again, and starting on 17th September, the London Design Festival is pretty much here. And each year it gets bigger, so we have looked through the line-up so far and picked out our top 5 sustainable visit tips for the festival…

  • Soak, Steam, Dream – Reinventing Bathing Culture with Roca:

A free photography exhibition at the Roca main gallery, Soak, Steam, Dream shows a series of architect designed bath houses from around the world which deal with different issues relating to water use and the rituals of bathing. It was this particular image above by Raumlabor in Gothenburg that caught our attention – the use of corrugated cladding and reused material was something very interesting to the norm… click here for full details.

  • The Circular Building – The Building Centre:

It is a very sad fact that the construction industry produces three times more waste than UK households, half of which is not recycled. Keeping materials at their highest value for longer changes this and is the main thinking behind circular economy processes – a way we should all be designing for the future. The Circular Building by Arup, The Built Environment Trust, Frener & Reifer and BAM pushes circular economy thinking at one of the largest scales – a full size building… click here for more details.

  • ‘Waste Not Want It’ Bloomburg Launches 5th Edition:

The WNWI initiative sees some of Europe’s most dynamic designers approach upcycling in innovative ways. Commissioned by Bloomberg and curated by Arts Co, 8 new furniture installations, made almost entirely out of Bloomberg’s own waste, are displayed throughout the building. This will be a really interesting exhibition – really bringing home not only what can be made from ‘waste’ (and how desirable it can be), but how much is thrown away… click here for more details. 

  • Ecotopia – A Sustainable Vision for a Better Future:

Ecotopia is a multi-sensory installation exploring the appeal of Utopian thinking in envisaging a sustainable future for our planet and society. It showcases the ideas of leading scientists, academics, designers and architects who are currently looking at climate change and sustainable solutions. A mixture of conceptual thinking, physical and virtual installations, Ecotopia could just be a window into our future… click here for more details. 

  • Plasticity Forum:

As we hurtle into the Anthropocene, plastic is that wonderous material that has helped to shape the new age. But what does the future hold for plastic? How can we harness the usefulness of a material that can take centuries to degrade and remove it from the single use association it currently has? The Plasticity Forum brings together a great panel of experts to discuss this and far more… click here for more details.

So – our first top five of sustainable events at the London Design Festival 2016. No doubt there will be more added to the list in coming weeks, and we will bring you our top picks as they are revealed…

(images via London Design Festival)

***EVENT*** Settlement at Green Man Festival…

Last week was quite a different one for us here in the studio. Instead of sitting in our converted WC studio at our computers in Brighton, I (claire) was standing in a beautiful big top style tent in Wales, talking to people about the journey of marine litter. The Waterfront tent, curated for the Canal and River Trust formed part of the Settlement pre-festival at Green Man Festival and was the hub of all water based talks and workshops. We were delighted to be part of it all.

Sunday saw the drive up to Wales in glorious sunshine, with our new vintage tent soon pitched beside a mature pine in a lush and green field. Monday morning saw the start of Settlement at Green Man Festival and the planned activities at Waterfront – Geography field trips, talks on water purification and our bunch – a workshop on making jewellery from ghost gear recovered from Brighton beach, and a foraged cocktail workshop to round off the day…

Green Man Festival 16 marine litter 3

With families arriving, soon the tent was filled with kids and adults of all ages, engaging with the (cleaned) fishing netting and line we had brought up and turning the fragments into new pieces.

Green Man Festival 16 marine litter 2

With only a small amount of instruction, the kids were soon away – experimenting with charms (to show how fish get caught in the netting), braids, knots and plaits. The hour zoomed by.

Green Man Festival 16 marine litter 5

Then came the foraged cocktail workshop. Using our ‘larder’ of prepared syrups, cordials and juices, 40 people were taught the basics of how to use foraged produce in real recipes. And very alcoholic ones at that. With lavender infused vodka, honeysuckle syrup, rose syrup, blackberry vodka, crab apple syrup, wild mint cordials and more, four cocktails were made by each of the tables and the session (which got progressively rowdy) was finished off with a quince brandy or sloe gin slammer. It was a roaring success.

Green Man Festival foraging 16Tuesday dawned bright and hot again, with each of our workshops being booked out pretty quickly. The Foraged Cocktail one in particular was proving rather popular. Must have been my sparkling wit. *ahem*

Green Man Festival 16But whilst the festival goers were all there for a relax and some fun, I was delighted to see a HUGE turnout to my talk about the journey of marine litter ‘High Street to River to Sea’. Explaining about plastic, the origins of marine litter, the depressing facts and yet the positive aspects of how we can all be part of the sea change, the talk went down very well indeed. The second making workshop using marine litter was also fully subscribed, with another set of hugely creative pieces being made by attendees of all ages. It was great to talk to so many people about the issue and hear their own stories about the marine litter crisis.

Green Man Festival 16 marine litter 4

We have found that empowering people to make things and gain not only ownership but knowledge and pride is a very powerful thing. And each person that left that tent proudly wearing a bracelet or necklace made from marine litter will pass the story on. This is what it is about.

Green Man Festival 16 marine litter 1

The last session of our stint at Settlement for the Green Man Festival was another Foraged Cocktail workshop – strangely enough, another fully booked, roaring session.

All in all, a marvellous few days – thank you to Jo, Cara and the whole team for inviting us to be part of such a brilliant event. Roll on next year.

(all images by claire potter design)

Monday Makers – Solidwool…

This week on Monday Makers we have a company who are really thinking differently about materials, waste, locality and just what you can do with a sack of wool… We are delighted to introduce Solidwool.


 Hi there! Please tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Solidwool is myself and my husband, Justin. We are based in Buckfastleigh, in south-west England, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. A beautiful part of the world. We are lucky to live here.

We’ve developing Solidwool since 2012, but the material and products have been on sale since the beginning of 2015.

Justin Floyd & Solidwool

What do you make?

We have created a totally unique material called Solidwool. The easiest way to describe it is to say it is like fibreglass, but with wool.

We took inspiration from our home of Buckfastleigh, an old woollen town. We thought, if we can find a new way of working with wool then perhaps we could bring some wool industry back to the town. And in turn, create some local jobs.

Solidwool - Herdwick wool (Photo credit Jim Marsden) 2

The wool we use is coarse and undervalued, typically from hill-farmed sheep. It has lost its perceived value and so for many, it is seen as a by-product of sheep farming. A waste product.

We see a beauty in this undervalued resource and have used it to create a material which capitalises on wools inherent strength and turns it into a beautiful alternative to reinforced plastic.

Currently we make our products using wool from the iconic Herdwick sheep of the Lake District. We will soon also be introducing a Dartmoor Scotch Blackface Solidwool to the range.

Solidwool Hembury Chair (4)

The wool is combined with a bio-resin in a unique process we have developed. The resin has a roughly 30-40% bio content. The great thing is that the bio-resin industry is moving forward all the time. We aim to make a 100% natural composite, one day.

We design and manufacture our own range of furniture using Solidwool material. We also work with other companies who see a use for Solidwool products in their range. So far we have worked with companies such as Finisterre, Artifact Uprising and Blok Knives along with supplying flat sheet material to interior design projects for Brewdog Soho and the new Bertha’s Pizza in Bristol.

What is your favourite piece you create, and why?

The Hembury Chair.

Hembury Chair (with Feist Forest Samara table) (2)

It was the first product we created and so will always be a special one for us. It embodies so much of the rollercoaster that goes with setting up your own business. The amazing highs and the inevitable harder times.

What inspires you?

The outside. There is so much to be gained from time spent in the great outdoors. Humans have created so many amazing inventions and made such technological advances, but you can’t beat the stripped back, beauty of the natural world to clear the mind and inspire.

Solidwool - Herdwick wool (Photo credit Jim Marsden) 3

What is your favourite place? 

So many, no favourites, just lots of great places for many different reasons.

The sanctuary of home and that spot in our lounge in the morning sun. The raw beauty of Iceland. The mountains in Nepal. The campsite on St Agnes in the Scillies, totally exposed and facing out towards the Atlantic Ocean. The Scarlet Hotel, an amazing space with the best spa.

Ok – you are rulers of the world for the day. What one law do you bring in? 

The ban of single-use plastic. Plastic is in some ways an amazing durable material that has been created, but then it is used for single use items. It’s a complete materials mismatch.

It’s awesome to see how England’s plastic bag usage has dropped 85% since the 5p charge was introduced last October. Just think where else this could be rolled out to similar effect.

A Solidwool Dozen - New York Loft

What is your studio / company motto? 

It’s hard to pin one motto down, we have taken inspiration from so many different things.

Tim Smit, the creator of the Eden Project once said that “beauty will be the most important word of the next 15 years”. I think there is some truth in that. We want to create a beautiful material that helps people feel connected to the wilds that it came from.

‘Work hard and be nice to people’ is definitely a good motto to live by. (this is our favourite too at the cpd studio!)

I also really like this quote from Henry van Dyke. “Use what talents you possess, the woods will be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” It’s a good reminder that you don’t have to be an expert at something to give it a try.

Feist Forest & Solidwool (5)

Where can we see you next? 

Our friends Gavin Strange and Jane Kenney have just set up an online contemporary company making and selling beautiful products. It’s called STRANGE and they will be selling Solidwool products. They are launching with a pop-up event in Bristol at the Christmas Steps Gallery from 25th – 28th August.

We will also be taking part in the DO Market again this year. Organised by Miranda West who runs the Do Book Co, it’s a small curation of like-minded brands brought together by the Do Lectures. The first one was last year and there was such a buzz. It’s in London and I recommend adding it to your diary – 26th November.

We are also moving into a new factory space over the coming months and so are thinking of organising an open day there to celebrate. If you want to come along, sign up to our mailing list at www.solidwool.com/signup.

(www.solidwool.com / Twitter @solidwool / Instagram @solidwool)



A HUGE thank you to Solidwool – check them out and follow them on social media – a wonderful material with a deeply considered ethos. We love it. 

(all images courtesy of Solidwool)

***EVENT REVIEW*** – March of The Mermaids with World Cetacean Alliance…

Last Saturday, we were out and about again – this time with the World Cetacean Alliance at the March of the Mermaids in Hove, helping them spread the word about ghost gear netting and specifically, what you can do with it. Armed with a raft of experimental pieces of jewellery we created for our exhibit at Clerkenwell Design Week 2016, we were there for the day running making workshops with recovered netting from the beaches of Brighton. With attendees from age 3 upwards, we were busy!

March of the Mermaids 2016 WCA workshop

It was great to show everyone the issue up close and actually encourage them to feel the rope and see it as a material resource for new products, rather than something that should be consigned to landfill.

March of the Mermaids 2016 WCA workshop ghost gear jewellery

We knotted, weaved, plaited, threaded and combined the synthetic netting with simple jewellery findings and each attendee went away with a few new skills, loads of information and a new bracelet or two to help them tell the story to others. It was an encouraging sight.

March of the Mermaids 2016 WCA workshop 2
one of the ghost gear bracelets made at the workshops – complete with a nickel and zinc free little whale!

We also had time to catch up with the great guys and gals that make up the Brighton Etsy team, who have also teamed up with the World Cetacean Alliance to create new pieces inspired by their Untangled project brief. Launched at March of the Mermaids, the pieces range from patches to jewellery again – with a percentages of all the product sales from now until Christmas being donated directly to the World Cetacean Alliance.

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And one of them is Lulu – of which I am extremely proud have the very first prototype for. She always gets stacks of attention when I wear her and I’m delighted that I can now direct people to Designosaur’s shop to get their own!

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One of the purchases we made was this awesome print as a tote bag by Hello Dodo… just made us smile!

March of the Mermaids 2016 Hello Dodo

Take a look at their blog here to see all the pieces created by their members for WCA.

So, overall, a great fundraising and awareness raising day at March of the Mermaids for the World Cetacean Alliance – and watch this space for some more very exciting news about our work with WCA soon…!

(images by claire potter and the Brighton Etsy Team)

SPOTTED – PLANE – luggage made from reclaimed aeroplane textiles on Kickstarter…

We think it is pretty safe to say that Kickstarter has dramatically changed the way products are marketed and manufactured. If there is any place to see the cutting edge in product launches, it is here. And we were delighted to see the new product line from Plane Industries go live – PLANE – a series of accessories made from reclaimed aeroplane textiles.

PLANE phone sleeve

Mostly destined for landfill, aeroplane seating textiles that have been removed are by their very nature, hardwearing, with many years of use often left in each section. So, Plane Industries have decided to recover this waste material and reinvent it into luxury travel goods, from phone covers to weekend bags.

PLANE products

The pieces are well designed and look well made, using quality fixings and secondary materials, with a quilted cross hatch pattern reminiscent of other high-end pieces of luggage. Available in blue plain / striped colourways, the products mean business. Luxury reinvented, they say, but luxury in a different way…

PLANE quote

Hear hear. But what we particularly like about the range is the attention to detail, along with the emphasis on stories and history. Each item gets stamped with the fingerprint of the material – the heights reached, the miles travelled. Things that take the piece from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and things that help to identify the product as something far more special than a mass produced item.

PLANE label

When using ‘waste’ materials, it is critical that these stories are communicated from the maker to the eventual product owner. We like things that have history, yet we are conditioned to think that ‘waste’ is worthless. And whilst using reclaimed materials is critical as our resources continue to deplete, costs are often higher, meaning that we need to connect waste with a higher standard of product. This is no mean feat, but those that do it well, do it very well indeed. The PLANE range of products certainly does this well.

PLANE messenger bag

To top it all? Plane Industries will also stamp your initials on the tag. Personalisation, ownership, emotional attachment – meaning love, care and a long product life…


Head over to the PLANE main site, and check our their Kickstarter page (till August 11th 2016), where you can pledge for something special.

(images via the PLANE Kickstarter)

SPOTTED – sustainable product design at New Designers 2016… pt2

On Tuesday, we started our pick of the best sustainable design we spotted at the recent graduate design show New Designers – and with over 3,000 exhibitors showing their work it was no mean feat to select our favourite. Tuesday saw our pick of the ‘different materials’ projects, where the designers have rethought a waste material into something new. Today, we are looking at ‘recycling and repair’…

Starting at the University of Brighton’s 3D Design and Craft stand, we were delighted to see a really interesting mix of well thought out projects, finished beautifully.

Helen Jones 5

The work of Helen Jones, entitled ‘Alternate Endings’ looked to challenge the throwaway culture we have, and endeavours to reinstate the value of a product with visible repair.

Helen Jones 2

The range of products shown were really beautiful – from plastic repairs to ceramic and metal restorations. A very poetic and powerful set of pieces.

Helen Jones 3

Also on the University of Brighton stand was the work of Ella Hetheringon, who immediately had us hooked with her investigations into ‘Forgotten and Future Foods’.

Ella Hetherington 1

Looking into how we could both eat sustainably whilst connecting with the seasons, Ella also created tools made from site specific materials. The marine plastic handled knives were a real thing of beauty…

Ella Hetherington 2

Whilst the detailing on the folded leather bowls was delicate and considered. A very nice set of works indeed.

Moving onto plastics, there were two recycled plastic projects which really stood out for us this year – and interestingly, both won New Designers Awards too. Is this a sustainable shift we see?

Jack Hubery 4

First up is the work of Jack Hubery, who tackled the issues with our obsessions with plastic by creating a kit system to allow people to reuse their own plastics at home.

Jack Hubery 3

The ‘Experiments in Recycled Plastic’ created a series of recycled plastic plates, made using a simple jig that fitted in a domestic oven. Would this type of plastic reuse increase the emotional connectivity with the material and encourage a more sustainable use of plastic? An interesting set of pieces for sure.

In a similar vein, Josh James from the University of West England was also using recycled plastic, with another ‘kit’ to allow plastic reuse at home.

Josh James 1

The pieces had a very appealing, sweetie style aesthetic, with colours and effects marbeled through both the geometrically moulded final products and the nuggets of sample combinations. We particularly liked the illustration of how much material went into a piece.

Josh James 2

And after winning the Not On the High Street Award, we will keep our eyes open for perhaps some bespoke recycled plastic pieces online soon…

So there we have it. Our top eight designers spotted at New Designers 2016 who were doing something sustainable and interesting. We look forward to seeing what they get up to next, and here’s hoping that we will have far more to cover next year.

(all images by claire potter)

SPOTTED – sustainable product design at New Designers 2016… pt1

Last week went rather quickly for us at the studio and like most days, we were wearing at least two different hats. Up at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London for the prestigious graduate design exhibition New Designers, our first role was with the final year Product Designers from the University of Sussex (who won three awards), co-coordinating the build of their stand and talking about the Design for the Circular Economy module we teach. The other hat was our blogging hat and we had a good hunt about for all the sustainably minded student design projects from over 3,000 exhibitors…

First up is our ‘different materials’ selection, comprising different designers who are using somewhat alternative materials to make new products.

Lucas Santos 1 New Designers 2016

With our own research area being firmly in the marine litter area, we were delighted to see Lucas Santos’s exhibit at the Edinburgh College of Art stand, which was designed to highlight the issues of discarded cigarette butts. Combining the butts with natural resins and forming it into a surfboard was a nice way to show the scale and environmental issues. It was just over a year that we discovered the NURDkit by Alice Kettle at the same stand, so there appears to be a marine litter strand running through the University of Edinburgh concepts…

Tereza A 1 New Designers 2016

Also on the Edinburgh College of Art stand was the work of Tereza Astilean, who won a New Designers Award for her project which looked into the waste created from the carpet and textile industry, and how it could be reused.

Tereza A 2 New Designers 2016

This is a very nice circular economy based design – taking the waste from another process and building into the ‘food’ for another process. The garments on show were also nicely put together, with a very utilitarian nod.

Abbie Karrington 1 New Designers

Heading over to the University of Plymouth stand, we spotted this very interesting concept from Abbie Karrington. Named VEGtables, reclaimed table legs were combined with an undulating surface made from waste vegetable peelings mixed with a 100% natural resin. The surface was very tactile and visually appealing (no pun intended). We would like to see it a bit thicker with a ground down smooth surface too – similar to Solidwool (who we will be featuring here on the Ecospot very soon).

Meg Walker 2 New Designers 2016

Last up is Threadbear from Meg Walker, who was an intern with us last year and has just completed her final year in Product Design at the University of Sussex. Meg’s concept is very circular economy based, with extensive research into items that get consigned to landfill. Soft toys that have lost their labels are one item that are seemingly worthless as they cannot be re-sold, so through a meticulous disassembly and transformation process, the Threadbear fabric was created.

Meg Walker 1 New Designers 2016

Using everything from disassembled soft toys, the new woven fabric includes threads from the fur and spun polyester filling, with added colour and texture from the fur itself. A very handcrafted process, the Threadbear fabric is high concept, but is certainly something that could be scaled…

It is always incredibly heartening to see student designers taking on environmental issues with their projects – and each year we hope to see more…

Keep your eyes peeled for our next SPOTTED from New Designers – coming up this Thursday.

(images by claire potter)

Why we are voting to REMAIN in the EU…

Never talk about religion or politics. The standard dinner party etiquette that many adhere to as quite frankly, they are the largest confrontation points we could have in general conversation. Not everyone wants to discuss the finer details of China’s one child policy over a prawn cocktail. And to some point, this is fine, but we live in political times and with the EU referendum coming to a climax, we thought we would state our views. We want to remain in the EU. And we are proudly flying the flags in the window of the studio.

Studio Loo Vote Remain

There are many reasons for this, but as our studio concerns are related to circular economy design and marine litter, we can safely say that all things environmental are very much in our life and work ethic. We try to do stuff not better, but best wherever we can – from where our studio energy comes from to the materials we specify on our project. We feel we are a tiny bit of a much larger whole. A global whole.

Because sometimes we think that people forget that we are all spinning on the same planet – regardless what corner we are in, the language we speak or the gods we pray to – if any. Borders can be raised, but planet Earth has her own agenda which flows, heats and cools with no thought to these barriers. From our seas to our air – everything is connected in ways we are only just starting to understand.

And the more we know, the scarier the picture is being painted. We truly believe that we can only begin to tackle the global issues of environmental degradation, extinction, waste and climate change if we work together. In fact, a huge amount of positive environmental regulation and reform has come about from the formation of the EU, let alone the peaceful foundations.

If we leave the EU, we are separating ourselves out at a time we need to be working together on so many huge issues. There is no ‘I’m alright Jack’. Sorry. You won’t be.

Take a choir. You will have an end goal in sight – perhaps a prestigious concert, but at the first rehearsal each voice and part gets some bits right and some bits wrong even if you have the same song sheet. It sounds like a shambles and you can despair, but you try again. It sounds better. You turn to your neighbour who can sing a bit you’re having trouble with and they give you some tips. Next time round, you get that bit right too. So does the person in front of you. Little by little, things come together and before long, the glorious harmonies far outweigh the bum notes. But this only comes with working together. The person that wandered off to rehearse on their own is still bumbling though the tricky passages.

So. We are voting to Remain in the EU, because we want to be better singers in the choir of Planet Earth. Come sing with us.

***new series*** Monday Makers – Frances Bradley…

We are very excited to be starting a BRAND new series on the blog today: Monday Makers. Every week we will feature a maker whose work we admire and ask them to shed a little light on their process, their products and what drives them.

Starting us on the series is the fantastic Frances Bradley, who we met at Clerkenwell Design Week this year…


showtable icon

Hi Frances – please tell us a little bit about yourself…

I’m based in a small village just outside Northampton and have been making various things since 2011, though have only been designing as Frances Bradley for 2 years.

Initially, I started out working on a landfill site (I have an Environmental Degree) and started upcycling and making items out of some reclaimed wood as I hate unnecessary waste. It expanded from tables out of the cable reels from the nearby M1 widening to using more natural looking boards and now I design new objects rather than refurbish old ones.

I’ve carried the ideas of minimal waste and sustainable sourcing forward as an ethos for my designs and now spend a lot of time sourcing unusual natural live edge boards taken from local trees as a by-product of Northamptonshire’s tree surgeons, I like that each piece also comes with a story. I then start with the wood in front of me and design outwards from there to form material led design.

My curve bench is a good example of this; a single board of wood went into the workshop before the design was finalised on site. It was cut, mitred and the ends curved so the whole board looks bent with nearly zero wasteage (only a few shavings!).

What do you make?

Furiture and homewares using natural wood and a blend of traditional woodworking and contemporary materials.

What is your favourite piece/thing you create, and why?

Our resin tables; it’s taken two years, starting with infilling natural holes in boards and a few failures along the way to get to the final river design. Using modern materials in a contemporary piece initially looks a long way from sustainable design but actually it arose out of a desire to reduce waste.

The live edges of a board are usually cut off as they’re non uniform and hard to use, but it’s wasteful. So these edges are placed together and the gap filled with resin to create a solid useable table top. They’re also made from boards from a local sawmill, a two man band who buy local trees which have been cut down where the tree would otherwise be chipped and saw and dry them for useable timber-it’s a really quirky cottage industry and as a result, the individual tree that a table has come from can be pinpointed.

Resin river icon

 

What inspires you?

I’m a very visual person so I use both Pinterest ,  Instagram as mood boards for items and designers who inspire me. Sometimes though, it can simply be an interesting material such as Jesmonite (a chameleonic Gypsum based material usually used as a stone replacement) which I’m currently experimenting with to a find a new way of using the material in furniture.

What is your favourite place?

I was initially going to pick Cyprus where I spent my childhood, but actually where I live now just south of Northamptonshire though considered boring and non-descript by a lot of people is actually a really interesting place. It doesn’t have impressive mountains or beaches, but there are a quite a lot of lovely little known spots really close by; an ancient bluebell wood, beautiful reservoir and a few lesser known country houses, some ruins to explore and a lot of pretty rolling countryside.

It’s also well connected and quite easy to get to most places from here (e.g. London is only 50 mins) but there are also a lot of small businesses in the area so it’s possible to find someone to make nearly anything within a small radius.

Ok – you are the ruler of the world for the day. What one law do you bring in?

Madatory reduction/reuse of plastics worldwide which requires developed countries to support developing countries and lead the way with new technologies.bench icon

What is your studio motto?

Material led design

Where can we see you next?

London Design Fair –at Tent London in September.



Thank you Frances – check out the studio website and Not on the High Street to see more and keep you eyes peeled for the next instalment in our new Monday Makers series. Next Monday. Of course.

(images courtesy of Frances Bradley)

Flower filled interiors at Sketch, London…

As we have mentioned before, and was shown by our rather ear-splitting blog silence of late, May is ‘one of those months’ for us. It rushes by at the speed of light and it is not till June that we get to take stock and grumble about what we missed. The incredible flower filled interiors at London restaurant, Sketch, were on the list.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

Coinciding with the Chelsea Flower Show, Sketch invited a selection of floral artists to create site specific pieces in the various spaces open to the public – from the entrance to the egg shaped toilets.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

With each florist responding not only to the location but using blooms and foliage that can be found in the woodlands and countryside of Britain, the immersive environments created magical temporary spaces for visitors to enjoy.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

And we missed it. Looking at the coverage on the various design sites, we would have loved to visit and experience the soft dampness and scents that come with large scale installations. Would this have made us calmer? Choose different foods? Stay longer? We will never know.

But this type of interior design links in with biophilic design – where nature is incorporated into our built environment as part of the fabric of the building, not just a fleeting experience. Our own studio is flooded with natural light and features stacks of natural materials and living plants which not only help to filter our air, but give a green lushness to our space. Many people comment on how welcoming the space feels – we would hope it is our friendly studio demeanour and the coffee, but our chum nature has a lot to do with this.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

So instead of having beautiful, immersive, temporary installations, wouldn’t it be great if this was just a part of the every day interior design and architectural language? If we filled our spaces as readily with living things as we do with furniture?

Would we feel more connected with our environments and would we care for ourselves (and each other) a little more? Quite possibly. We think this is worth a try.

(images of Sketch via Dezeen)

Join us on World Oceans Day…

Today – June 8th – is World Oceans Day – a day where we can all come together and pledge to do something fantastic for our oceans, beaches, marine life and coastal regions. It is something that is very close to our hearts and has driven our studio product and material research for a good couple of years. We showed the first round of our creations at Clerkenwell Design Week this year – from a chandelier created with the World Cetacean Alliance to concept products and jewellery made from beach cleans with Surfers Against Sewage and Parley.

And we have only just got started. As they say – watch this space…

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 5

PS – want to get your hands on some of the stuff we’ve been creating recently from marine plastic? Look out for a little giveaway comp we will be running on Twitter and Instagram today too!

World Oceans Day marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 8So – will you join us and create a pledge for World Oceans Day? Take a look below for how to get involved…

(video by claire potter design – graphics by World Oceans Day)