At this year Milan Design Week, Alcarol unveiled the OCEAN NETWORKS_ Collection in a world premiere.
The project aims to represent one of the main problems submerged in our oceans today: ghost nets, and become part of the solution. An astounding 640,000 tons of fishing nets are abandoned in our oceans every year and are responsible for the destruction of millions of sea creatures.
These fishing nets are made of nylon, a high-performance plastic that is now completely recyclable. Recognising the opportunities for to do good, Alcarol has turned this harmful ocean waste into beautiful, design-driven eco furniture.
The tabletops of Alcarol prototypes are made of some coloured nets from the oceans melted together with ECONYL® polymer, produced through an innovative and sustainable chemical process that regenerates nylon waste including fishing and aquaculture.
The tabletops of the prototypes are multicoloured since they melt together nets of various colours, dramatically tangled as in the seabed, with a surprising marbled effect. The legs of the tables are made of glass slabs and aluminium fixings – two of the best examples of recyclable materials in the world – and are simply wedged and screwed in the nylon tabletops. This straightforward construction means each part can be easily removed in order to make the prototypes 100% recyclable in the future.
In fact, it is said that through the transparency and reflections of the glass at different heights, the coloured fishing nets of the tabletops seem to float, as an abstract reflection about the fragile condition of our oceans.
Further, the beauty of using ECONYL® nylon is that qualitywise there is no difference with a standard one coming from oil. The big difference is that it can be recycled, recreated and remoulded infinitely, without any loss in quality.
A necessary innovation that is not only doing good and helping our oceans but will be a key design feature in the chicest of homes. Quite literally a coffee table like no other.
RCA Graduate Jie Wu Seeks to Elevate Value of Plastic
Blocks of resin with colourful marble-like patterns surround chunks of wood to form these miniature storage boxes by Royal College of Art graduate Jie Wu.
The 17 containers, called ‘Living in the Anthropocene’, were created during Wu’s time on the Textiles MA programme at the RCA, with the aim of the project to explore society’s relationship with natural and manmade materials, and in particular the perceived values of those materials.
“The central premise to my creative practice is to elevate our perceptions of synthetic materials and their potential,” Wu explained to Dezeen. “My father deals with antiques, and watching the care with which each precious ornament is passed down from generation to generation got me thinking about what will become antiques of the present day.”
“I wanted to use plastic and reconfigure it in such a way that it can be thought of as a timeless treasure,” she continued. “As I continue to develop my creative practice, I hope my approach to resin making can be considered with a similar appreciation to how we view other more traditional long-lasting organic materials, such as marble.”
Wu is able to create the boxes by casting a special and rare type of antique rosewood in resin made up of different colours. The type of wood is found in a remote village in China and has a prolonged growth cycle. The locals used this wood for FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and wood-burning.
“They didn’t realise the preciousness of the forest,” she explained. “For me, these precious woods are themselves a piece of art, and I hope they can be valued by people.”
The blocks of wood and resin are cut using a CNC machine – a complex process that Wu said takes over 20 hours. After this, the containers are polished to create a high-gloss finish.
“Their marble-like patterns are born out of the wrestling dance of the organic and the plastic,” she explained.
“I made these non-recyclable materials into new art pieces. The way that I see it, a material can arguably be considered ‘sustainable’ if it is valued and useful for decades to come.”
Wu hopes to continue developing the collection, adding larger pieces, such as furniture and ornaments.