the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 11 – recycled bouncy castle tote bag from SAS

We are big fans of giving gifts that are useful, and that promote a bit of positive behaviour change. When the 5p plastic bag levy was introduced in October 2105, many people moaned that they would just not be able to remember a reusable bag, but fast forward to July 2016 – just six months in, and single use plastic bag use dropped 85% in the UK. That is quite staggering. So if we are all taking our reusable bags to the shops most of the time, a gift of a reusable bag that is a little different from the norm could be a perfect option. It’s day 11 on our Eco Gift Guide and we have selected the Bouncy Castle Tote Bag from Surfers Against Sewage…

Made on the Isle of Wight by designers Wyatt and Jack, co-branded with an SAS logo and the ‘Break the Bag Habit’ tagline, these fantastic, strong tote bags are made from actual bouncy castles that have been retired from use.

Available in 7 different colours, the tote bags feature strong black webbing handles and measure a very useful 35cm x 35cm. Plus, by the nature of the material, the bag has a waterproof outer, so is perfect for sitting on the floor or using as a kit bag.

We love these bags as they use materials that have a great nostalgic link, and make advantage of their strength, colour, waterproof nature and hard wearing qualities. They will last a very long time!

Plus, these bags are a great choice if you need to post a gift to someone – flat, unbreakable and very useful…

Get yours for £12 a piece through the Surfers Against Sewage shop here.

(images via SAS)

Reclaimed ocean plastic is the material of the moment…

So – for two of our posts this week we have looked at the Project Ocean exhibition currently at Selfridges – and we thought we would continue with this theme with a look at two of the recent releases by big brands that highlight the ocean plastic plight.

Adidas x Parley recycled ocean waste sneaker

First up is the recent concept shoe by Adidas and British designer Alexander Taylor – the Adidas x Parley, revealed at an event for the Parley for the Oceans initiative, which encourages creatives to repurpose ocean waste for awareness design.

The shoe, which is hoped to go into production in 2016 uses fibres created from nets recovered from illegal poaching vessels by marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd. As well as the material, the design of the shoe also references the waves of the nets in its patternation.

Adidas x Parley recycled ocean waste sneaker

What is key is that Taylor and Adidas were able to create the concept shoe using the same machinery and methods that a ‘regular’ shoe is manufactured. Many of the arguments around using recycled yarns and materials centre around the misconception that there has to be massive manufacturing alterations to create form ‘waste’, so this move from Adidas shows this does not need to be the case.

Whilst Adidas are keen to promote this as a ‘concept’ shoe, we hope that this does not remain on the concept shelf and actually goes into production. Sceptics could argue that this, excuse the pun, is but a drop in the ocean when it comes to both reclaiming ocean plastic and creating new design from a waste material. Plus, given the size of Adidas it could be seen as a little bit greenwashy, but hey – shouldn’t this be the exact behaviour we should be encouraging big brands to undertake? Isn’t this better than the alternative of creating from virgin materials?

The Adidas x Parley concept is certainly a step in the right direction, but there are already brands who are creating fashion to purchase, using yarns made from plastic waste.

Pharrell Williams for G-Star RAW AW 2015

G-Star RAW has recently revealed it’s third collaborative collection with Pharrell Williams which uses ocean plastic fibres mixed with other materials. The RAW for the Oceans collection features the tag line ‘turning the tide on plastic ocean pollution’ and features jumpers, t-shirts, jackets and jeans.

Pharrell Williams for G-Star RAW AW 2015

It is reported that 700,000 PET bottles have been removed from the ocean to go into the production of the RAW for the oceans collections so far, which is not a considerable amount of plastic recovered. Again, a tiny fraction, but as the old saying goes – better out than in.

Pharrell Williams for G-Star RAW AW 2015

But the most interesting element for us is the psychology that goes with these collections – by creating something from a waste material, there is a point you have to cross in customers’ minds – where does ‘rubbish’ end and ‘luxury’ begin? Big brands certainly have the scale and opportunity to create a real attitude change, and it is interesting to understand whether people purchase these goods because they are fashionable and ‘on trend’, or whether they purchase them because they are made from an ‘ethical’ material. Where does the buy in happen? Also, what happens to these garments when they reach the end of their life – have they been designed for circularity?

Something, we no doubt will explore…

(images via Dezeen)

Studio Loo is open for the Artists’ Open Houses in Brighton!

Yes – you may have heard us banging on about how we are open for the Artists’ Open Houses this May in Brighton, with our very special selection of design, graphics, illustration and homewares, but if you haven’t, we are open… why not pop along?

More details, map and stuff here…

AOH 2015


second Eco Open Houses weekend flies by…

It feels like ages ago now, but last weekend we opened our studio once more for the second Eco Open Houses tours in Brighton to another raft of visitors. Plus, as well as people that had come specifically to see us at the studio, there were loads of people who just happened to be wandering past and popped in, as well as people that had come to see what we had managed to do over the week.

claire potter design studio 3

Fortunately, we had done quite a bit, so even through the studio was not quite finished, there were new things to see. Our spider chandelier was newly finished, using pieces of neon cable and lighting fittings from the fab Urban Cottage Industries, plus we had also brought in a few bits of furniture that we will be using. There were also a few of the hanging planters that we will be using in the space, from Sky Planter wonders Boskke.

From reclaimed industrial trolleys to extra lab stools, we showed how excellent pieces of furniture can be sourced locally for not a huge amount of cash if you are willing to search about a bit.

claire potter design studio 1

And lastly, as you can see from the picture above, we finally got the reclaimed parquet flooring down in the studio – well, the vast majority of the flooring anyway. The little edge cuts were still to be finished, but the bulk of the centre was down and throughout both days we conducted polls as to whether we should leave the flooring unsanded, so the scraps of paint and timber colour fade were retained, or whether it should be sanded and lacquered.

We (still) sit quite firmly on the fence, but the decision will be made this week. By sanding down the floor looks cleaner, tidier and the slight changes in level will be eliminated, but the paint splatters tell a bit of a story about the life of the floor before we rescued and used it. A tough one. We think that there is value in both, as we believe in showcasing that using reclaimed materials can be done with precision, yet the context of the history is still vital to the piece.

Perhaps we will only sand it back a bit. Watch this space – a full run down of the studio design will be here in a couple of weeks as we begin to move ourselves in…

(photos by claire potter)

wednesday walls – 25hrs hotel’s Bikini Berlin…

Last week, and as we wrote about here on Monday, I skipped over to Berlin to meet a group of fantastic students who had undertaken their own Fixperts projects at the cities University of Arts and give a keynote speech about the importance of understanding how things are made and how they cane be hacked for the better in the wider design sense. And while I was in Berlin, I took to opportunity to stay in the newly opened Bikini Berlin – the latest in the string of 25hrs hotels.

A mixture of what is being called ‘urban jungle’, needless to say, I wanted to move into the hotel permanently and we will be featuring different bits of the hotel in posts this week, but for Wednesday Walls, we are looking at the fantastic, graffiti-esque illustrations and marks on the polished concrete that feature throughout the hotel.

bikini berlin 2

Creations of Japanese artist Yoshi Sislay, the black and white marker pen illustrations are applied directly to the walls of the bedrooms and in the central stairways, with each one different from the next.bikini berlin 1I had a very fairytale type turreted tower in my room, which beautifully framed the seating area beside the huge windows that looked out over the city.

Travelling upstairs to breakfast (overlooking the zoological garden next door), there were a group of fellow animals travelling with me…

bikini berlin 4

Signage was created in marker pen along with neon for wayfinding, which linked in very nicely with the industrial aesthetic of the original listed 1950’s building in which Bikini Berlin is housed, and the original graffiti and marks on the concrete that have been retained.

bikini berlin 5

Now, many people may not find this particularly appealing, but it was the defined rawness, combined with the plushness of the internal planting (more later this week) that I adored. A very, very nice balance.

So I’m off to draw on the studio walls.

(photos all by claire potter)