Design studio Space Available and techno DJ Peggy Gou have joined forces to create a chair made of plastic trash.
Each chair is made on the island of Bali from 20 kilograms of recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) packaging that was discarded on the neighbouring island of Java.
Indonesia is the world’s second-largest contributor to ocean plastic behind China. Only 10 per cent of the 6.8 million tonnes of plastic waste generated here every year is recycled.
“The plastic is just everywhere, in the streets and rivers,” said Daniel Mitchell, who founded Bali design studio Space Available in the midst of last year’s coronavirus lockdown. “It’s heartbreaking.”
“It’s not the fault of the people, there’s just very little structural support, waste collection or education,” he added. “Households are left to dispose of their own waste and most ends up in rivers or being burned.”
Mitchell, who is also creative director of Bali hotel and beach club Potato Head, partnered with Gou to bring awareness to this mounting issue via the medium of design.
“The aim was to create an everyday object that can start conversations and instigate awareness and change,” Mitchell explained.
Gou is a Berlin-based DJ, who releases music under her own label Gudu Records and was the first South Korean artist to play the city’s iconic Berghain nightclub.
Her chair design features an under-seat storage unit for vinyl records and a hypnotic spiral pattern that is swirled into the melted plastic by hand before it has time to set and harden into sheets.
“We then use these sheets like wood and we work with local Balinese artisans who make the chair by hand in their workshop,” he explained.
The final chair can be assembled without the need for screws, staples or glue, simply by using plastic offcuts created in the process of trimming the sheets as welding rods.
Melted with a heat gun, they fuse the different components together in a method that Mitchell claims produces zero waste and allows the whole chair to be recycled again at the end of its life.
Mitchell explained his mission to clean up Bali. He explained how Potato Head regularly stages beach cleanups and turns the plastic waste found in the process into furniture and other amenities that are then put to use in its hotels and beach clubs.
A slew of other designers have created seating designs from recycled plastic in a bid to make a dent in the 300 million tonnes of plastic waste produced globally every year – or at least raise awareness around the issue.