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.

yoghurt-detail-3-feb16-lowres

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.

smile-plastics-bottle-and-coffee-bar-at-societe-generale-for-hej-coffee-lowres

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)

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)

the new Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium opens…

We are really lucky to live and work in Brighton. We have the sea on one side, the South Downs on the other and the city filling is a mass of creativity and inspiration with some fantastic individuals and organisations doing some brilliant work. One such example, and long standing friend of the studio is Emmaus Brighton and Hove.

Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium 4

Based in the former convent in the Portslade Old Village area of the city, Emmaus Brighton and Hove is the largest Emmaus community in the UK, functioning as a secondhand superstore, cafe, garden shop and so much more – with each former homeless companion living and working on the site in some capacity. It is helping hand – a family – and a wonderful place to visit.

Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium 5

We are always at Emmaus – finding pieces for our projects and clients in the vast rambling areas of the stores, having a cuppa or chatting with the staff and companions. So, it was with delight that we were invited to the special preview of the new Emmaus Emporium…

Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium 3

Situated in a newly refurbished part of the old convent laundry building, the Emporium is the destination for all the donated pieces which are a bit special – vintage, retro and antique. And the space is just fantastic.

The two main display pieces have been created by Simon Bottrell of 7 Creative, who has arranged the donated pieces of furniture in an incredible tower and wall piece of stacked tables, chests and shelves. With multiple display opportunities, the pale grey painted main ‘frames’ are able to accommodate the continually fluctuating donations whilst still remaining interesting and exciting – essential for any space. And the detailing is lovely – legs that appear to punch through tops of tables set below, items that float and even melt into the back wall…

Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium 2

Other display pieces use old ladders, repurposed counters and even a selection of upside down standard lamps – hanging from the centre of the space to give real impact to the room.

It is so fantastic to see the energy behind each of the projects that Emmaus Brighton and Hove creates – constantly staying one step ahead of what you would dream a ‘charity shop’ could be. The Emporium is the latest addition to the collection of shops at Emmaus Brighton and Hove – and a real feather in their secondhand caps.

Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium 1

Visit Emmaus Brighton and Hove’s website to find out more and how to get there… You will not be disappointed – we can guarantee that.

(image by claire potter design)

***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)

*** REVIEW *** a lovely cream table lamp from First Choice Lighting…

We have a bit of a thing for desk lamps here in the studio. We have amassed a collection of anglepoise lamps from the 60’s onwards that we use daily in the studio and regularly use them in our residential and commercial projects – they are just too nice to be reserved for the office. But sometimes a gentler slant is required, and we were delighted when we were asked to review this cream table lamp by First Choice Lighting.

First Choice Lighting 1

Created by manufacturers Där Lighting, the table lamp has some very lovely components – the hanging vintage enamel style shade and the elephant grey twisted fabric cable sit very well together indeed and offer up a contemporary feel. It fits really nicely with the more eclectic, industrial interior design aesthetic too.

First Choice Lighting 3

We really fell in love with the detailing however – the simple softwood frame features a delicately curved arm reminiscent of a branch, from which the cream shade hangs and rocks gently. Very lovely.

First Choice Lighting 2

So, looking for a feminine table lamp alternative to the anglepoise? This may be one for you.

Available for £69 at First Choice Lighting.

(images by claire potter – butterflybird print by Penelope Kenny, all other items studio own)

Clerkenwell Design Week 2016 and May wrap up…

There is little saying which states ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Well, that is May for us. And we made it. With Artists Open Houses each weekend, regular studio work and teaching, May is always rammed, but we decided to pile on the pressure and add on our very first appearance at Clerkenwell Design Week too. Why not.

And it was fantastic. 

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 6

We were based in the old police holding cells of the House of Detention for Platform – a curated show of ‘up and coming design talent’ which showed a mix of mostly furniture and home related products from a fantastic mix of designers. We were there to show and discuss our ‘Ghost Gear Chandelier’, which we created earlier this year for the World Cetacean Alliance and other products which were borne from the plastic related litter we recovered during our Big Spring Beach Clean for Surfers Against Sewage.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 2

Utilising the Parley A.I.R. principle, (Avoid Intercept Redesign), we created a series of sculptural vessels, woven seat bases and jewellery pieces from waste plastic, netting and rope, which were shown in our little cell alongside the Ghost Gear Chandelier. We had the plastics collected by us and our volunteers on our two hour SAS Big Spring Beach Clean and scattered them in a ‘tide line’ on the sand floor of the cell. We had some beautiful graphics that showed the bubble netting feeding method of the humpback whales and the issues with marine plastic.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 1

We were ready for people to visit and talk to us about the issues with plastic waste, and how, as designers, we sit on the forefront of the battle lines not only with the materials we specify, but utilising stuff at the ‘end of life’. What took us rather by surprise was the incredible response we had to the pieces – from tears of sadness to enquiries of how large we could make a similar piece – ‘would you be able to make it large enough for a hotel lobby…?’ Er, yes. Our base material is, unfortunately, far too easy to source.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 3
remember that 25kg rope we recovered in Hove? 7.5 hours untangling later and some of it becomes a woven seat base…

We could make these chandeliers anywhere in the world – possibly the most depressing product plan we have had to date.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 7

But this was the point. We were there to open peoples eyes to the issues. Make them think. Make them notice stuff. Pick up a few bits when they were on the beach. Refuse that plastic straw. And from the responses we got – from joy, hugs, business cards and emails, to tears and shamed silence – we certainly reached people.

This is why we design.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 5

And as the three days whizzed by, we found that people were asking what we were going to do next with the project. What were we going to show at Clerkenwell Design Week next year? When could they buy the stuff on show? How could they stay in touch – and how could they help?

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 8

Well, we think we have found our calling. Expect to see a deeper level of research and a deeper amount of transformation of marine litter into new products at Clerkenwell Design Week next year, hopefully working more with our great partners this year – Surfers Against Sewage, Parley for the Oceans and the World Cetacean Alliance – plus others we have already chatted to…

We truly believe that designers have a great power and great responsibility and need to use it for good. Just like Spiderman, or maybe in our case Aquaman.

Thank you to everyone who visited us. Thank you to our awesome partners – Surfers Against Sewage, Parley for the Oceans and the World Cetacean Alliance. Thank you to Monty Hubble who allowed us to use his drone imagery of humpbacks bubble netting in our info section. And thank you to Clerkenwell Design Week for inviting us to exhibit what is quite a left field thing (and asking us back next year). See you at Clerkenwell next year, and keep an eye on the blog to see how things are developing in the meantime…

(images by claire potter)

Studio Loo is getting ready for the Artists Open Houses…

It’s that time of year again. May is possibly one of the busiest times in the studio for events, and this year, we are not only doing the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses and opening our Studio Loo to the public, we are also doing Clerkenwell Design Week too. No rest for the wicked as they say. And now we are in the thick of our set-up for the Artist’s Open Houses, we thought we would introduce you to our guest artists, designers and makers this year…

A3-A4 DE LA WARR V small

Linescapes were with us last year – with wonderful architectural prints of iconic buildings from Brighton and further afield, we will have a selection of prints and gifts at Studio Loo…

Keith Richards by Dave Friston

 

It is the first time fine artist Dave Friston is with us at Studio Loo, and we are really excited to be showing all four of his incredible Rolling Stones paintings, which use reclaimed pallets as their canvases. Prints will be available too..

Penelope Kenny is a huge favourite of the studio – with her exquisite screen prints of Darwinesque animal combinations. We’ll have a selection of prints from pocket money pieces to larger one-offs.

Ship Faced Tote Bag, Funny Tote, Drunk Tote Bag, Boat Tote, Canvas Shopper, Screenprinted Bag, Handprinted Cotton Shopper, Cute Tote Bag

Hello Dodo never fail to raise a smile with their brilliantly witty and bold prints and accessories. And this year, Hello Dodo will be launching a new range of prints at Studio Loo! Even we haven’t seen them yet! Come and check them out before they disappear.

Image of 'No Bulb in My Lamp: Selected Diary Sketches 2004-2014'

Local illustrator Peter James Field captures the delicacy and strangeness of life in a magical way. From cards to original prints and books, his is a world that needs to be explored…

Vintage Fabric Cushion With Woven Floral Stripe

Like reclaimed fabrics? You will love the work of Sue Milner, who is bringing a whole stack of one-off cushions to Studio Loo made from her extensive vintage fabric collection.

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Like many pieces of large furniture, pianos often suffer the fate of being discarded and left to rot. Mark Reeve rescues theses pianos, dismantles them and builds these wonderful creatures for his Piano Planetorium. Each one unique…

Brighton Beautiful Shoulder Tote Bag - Navy Linen & Ikea Print, Microscopic Bugs

Frances Derbyshire of Brighton Beautiful will also be showing a great selection of vintage fabric makes – in the form of bags and purses. Brilliant colours and fantastic prints and all unique pieces again.

Traditional Japanese wood block artist, Claire Cameron Smith will be showing her stunning prints in both colour and monochrome. Carved in cherry wood, come and see the detail in these gorgeous prints, which, due to the method of creation and the natural block, are all slightly different…

So – come along to Studio Loo at the Artists Open Houses for the next four weekends in May (7/8, 14/15, 21/22, 28/29) from 10-5 and have a look. Oh – there is cake too!

simple pleasures cupcakery

check out this page for full details! 

SPOTTED – the marine plastic art print being launched by IKEA…

It appears to be IKEA week here on the blog, but there were two launches that particularly caught our eye. Yesterday we were looking at the new indoor gardening kit being launched by the global behemoth, today we are looking at their Art Event 2016 – and one particular print and artist in particular that uses marine plastic…

IKEA marine plastic print Mandy Barker 2

Mandy Barker is a photographer based in Leeds who, like us, has become obsessed with the masses of plastic based marine litter that is accumulating in our global oceans. Her photographic print for IKEA features marine plastic recovered from across the world, brought together into one, circular mass.

IKEA marine plastic print Mandy Barker

“It gives the impression of a universe, an almost hidden world under the sea, using the accumulation of plastic debris you find there.”

We find this a really poignant choice for IKEA. Whilst they do have a forward thinking sustainability policy their use of plastic in their products is incredibly well known. Sure, plastic means colour and durability, but the cheap cost of the products on the shelves do not scream of a product to be kept and cherished long term. Were there any IKEA derived marine plastics in the image we wonder.

Of course, once a product has left the stores it is up to us what happens to it – we hold the responsibility as the users, but even still, we think this marine plastic print by Mandy Barker speaks volumes.

Is this IKEA facing the responsibility for the impact of it’s products through it’s prints? Who knows.

But if this marine plastic print raises more of an awareness of this huge global issue, then that can only be good. We may even get one ourselves for the studio.

(images and video by IKEA)

SPOTTED – the new IKEA indoor gardening kit…

We always find it interesting to see which of our posts here on the ecospot are the most popular. Some change with the month, but some of our all time most popular posts concern green walls, indoor gardening and growing your own food. This internal greening is a trend that we have seen grow (sorry) over the last few years, with our clients requesting internal planting as an integral part of the design – both for the appearance and air cleaning qualities. We have also been able to encourage some internal growing of crops too, from herbs to soft fruits. And it does not have to be complicated either, so it was with great interest we spotted the latest launch from a global giant set for May – the IKEA indoor gardening kit.

Developed in collaboration with agricultural scientists in Sweden, the KRYDDA/VÄXER series includes everything you need to get sprouting and keep your garden growing – using mainly water – the hydroponic system that actually produces many of our crops globally.

IKEA indoor gardening

From seedling to fully grown plants – hydroponics are well within the grasp of any household, making super localised food production a reality. And if you choose wisely, you could even grow varieties that you simply cannot buy easily as they are not suitable for commercial production.

IKEA indoor gardening

IKEA have even produced a video to show just how easy it is…

This does ring a bell with us too, as a while back we bought the fantastic project book, ELIOOO by Antonio Scarponi which also does just this – shows you how to create your own hydroponic set-ups with IKEA products, with IKEA style instructions. (you can buy the book here too) It is very interesting to see IKEA themselves moving into this area of indoor growing…

IKEA indoor gardening

Watch this space – we will get hold of one of the new IKEA indoor gardening kits and see how we get on.

(images and story via IKEA)

our Ghost Gear Chandelier for the World Cetacean Alliance pt4…

Since December 2015, we have been working on a very lovely project for the World Cetacean Alliance, as part of a group of artists and designers responding to their ‘Untangled’ brief – a project to highlight the hugely destructive issues with ghost gear. This abandoned, discarded or lost netting, rope and filament floats about our oceans across the globe, maiming and killing marine life of all sizes, and as it is usually plastic based, the material never truly degrades.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 13

So, we have been collecting Ghost Gear from the beaches of Brighton, to create what we dubbed our Ghost Gear Chandelier – a large bubble formed light that was inspired by the ‘bubble netting’ hunting technique of some humpback whales.

Netting was found, washed, dried, washed again, washed a third time, dried again and then shredded and put into clear plastic bubbles…

Ghost Gear Chandelier 9

And now the Ghost Gear Chandelier is done.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 3

Ghost Gear Chandelier 1

The Chandelier uses a salvaged bike wheel for the main ring, with a variety of Ghost Gear filled bubbles hanging in a cascade of blues, greens and oranges.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 10 Ghost Gear Chandelier 4

The central point of light is a huge clear ball eco-filament light from Factorylux, connected to a bright blue fabric cable flex and wall plug. Hanging from chains at a height of around 1600mm, the Ghost Gear Chandelier is quite a statement- and we are delighted with it.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 7Ghost Gear Chandelier 14Ghost Gear Chandelier 5

So what now for the light? Well, as part of the Untangled project by the World Cetacean Alliance, each piece of work created by the designers and artists taking part will be auctioned off to raise funds for the issues raised by ghost gear – which includes our Ghost Gear Chandelier. Watch this space for details on the auction and also, keep your eyes peeled for our little film, which will show the making of the Ghost Gear Chandelier…

(all images by claire potter)

hiSbe on tv!

Back in 2013, we were delighted to be involved in the launch of hiSbe, the independent ethical supermarket based in Brighton, where we designed and project managed the build of the store from a desolate space into the bright and friendly supermarket it is now. As clients, Amy and Ruth Anslow, the founders of hiSbe were a dream to work with – great ethics and a real understanding of the importance of brand and communication.

hiSbe exteriorFrom the outset, hiSbe was making waves in the retail sphere, showing people just how food should be done. From self serve dry dispensers, to locally produced meat, fish and produce, hiSbe became the go-to shop in Brighton for good, fair food that does not cost a fortune.

hiSbe dry dispenser

hiSbe has now turned 2, and is still making a huge impact for what they do – like being featured in the first episode of Food Rebels, shown on the Community Channel on Monday alongside the fantastic Brighton based Silo too.

hiSbe store

We are really pleased to see the store continuing to look awesome and providing a great atmosphere for everyone working and shopping there.

Want to see hiSbe in action? watch Food Rebels below…

The Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance… pt 3

Things are coming together for our Untangled Project – the Ghost Gear Chandelier which we are creating for the World Cetacean Alliance – which will be exhibited alongside the work of other artists and designers very soon. So – how have we been progressing? We have been sorting and washing our netting…World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 2World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 3 World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing

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And with our ghost gear netting colour sorted, and through four water changes to get rid of the grit and smell, we turned our attention to the hardwear element of our Ghost Gear Chandelier…

We are massive fans of Factorylux – and use their stuff in many of our projects (including our own Studio Loo) as the gorgeous coloured fabric cable, fixtures and fittings they produce are exceptional quality, and it was not long until we had decided on a bright blue lighting flex and antique brass lamp holders. The bulb – one of Factorylux’s stunning eco filament bulbs will be revealed soon as we start to build our Ghost Gear Chandelier.

claire potter design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear lighting hardwear

Watch this space!

(images by claire potter)

The Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance… pt2

Earlier this week we introduced the Untangled Project we are currently working on for the World Cetacean Alliance – taking washed up fishing netting known as ‘ghost gear’ from the beaches of the UK and highlighting this as a global issue by creating something from the waste. As part of a troop of designers and artists, each piece that is currently being created will be first exhibited in London, before being auctioned off, raising funds for the World Cetacean Alliance.World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 8

And today, we can officially reveal glimpses of what we are designing and making… the Ghost Gear Chandelier.

claire potter design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear concept detail

We started by looking at the hunting behaviour of the whale given to us in our brief – the Humpback – and we discovered that some groups have learnt to collaboratively hunt using a technique called ‘bubble netting’. This highly developed form of hunting requires each whale to play their part – first, one individual locates the shoal of fish and swims beneath them, circling them from below whilst blowing bubbles and surrounding them with a confusing ‘net’ of bubbling water. The fish get disorientated by these bubbles and bundle together, allowing the group of whales who have been communicating by song to rise from the deep together and scoop the fish into their mouths. We became fascinated by this as a behaviour.

claire potter  design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear conceptSo, taking the concept from the ghost gear baubles we created at Christmas, we are scaling up the design to create a large (and we are not sure exactly how large yet) chandelier, made from clear bubbles filled with cleaned, shredded and colour coded ghost gear netting… and whilst this concept is linked to the undeniably beautiful bubble netting behaviour of some humpbacks, the fact that ghost netting is regularly eaten by mistake cannot be ignored.World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 7 We are hoping that this light will talk about both humpbacks and ghost netting on many levels.

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Watch this space for more info on the Ghost Gear Chandelier, as we start to mock up the design in the next week, and don’t forget to head to the Creations for Cetaceans Facebook page that has been set up by the World Cetacean Alliance and will be showcasing the other projects as they develop…

(photos by claire potter)

Creations for Cetaceans – the Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance… pt1

At the start of the year we hinted at a few of the exciting projects that we were going to be part of in 2016… and we are delighted to announce the first of these – the Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance. 

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 1

Regular readers of the ecospot will know that the studio has been getting more involved and researching the area of marine litter and plastic over the past year and how, as designers, we respond to these as challenges. We have looked into the issues of microplastic, examined our own relationship to plastic in our work and championed projects who seek a solution to the issues – including those working with Ghost Gear – abandoned or discarded fishing nets which continue to catch and kill as they drift around our oceans. And in late 2015, we launched our popular Ghost Gear Baubles which contained rescued netting from the beaches of Brighton, sold during our Artist’s Open House open studio, with all proceeds going to Surfers Against Sewage.

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 3

And so we are very excited that we are working with Ghost Gear again, as part of the Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance, which has brought together a huge range of artists, designers and makers to develop ‘creations for cetaceans’. We cannot wait to see what is being created.

But what are we doing? Well, we have a couple of things up our sleeve that we will be talking about here in the next two weeks or so, plus we are creating a video of our development, sourcing and making process. Taking the bauble we created in December, we are scaling up to something rather large indeed. 

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 2

Watch this space for developments of our process, and head over to the World Cetacean Alliance Facebook Page – Creations for Cetaceans to see how the other artists and designers are tackling the brief – and how you could own one of the pieces being created…

(images by claire potter)