London Design Fair chooses plastic as its Material of the Year


PHOTO: Kodai Iwamoto's vessels

AS awareness grows about the damage plastic does to the environment, the London Design Fair has named plastic as its Material of the Year for 2018 and staged an exhibition of innovative design centred around recycled plastic.

There are few materials as controversial as plastic has become in recent years. Images of beaches littered with waste and sea creatures dying from ingesting plastic have brought the issue dramatically into the public consciousness lately, and we're all hunting for ways to reduce our use of single-use plastics. The London Design Fair entered the conversation, naming plastic as its Material of the Year for 2018.

By giving plastic pride of place, the fair's organisers aimed to highlight ways to reuse and recycle plastic, making the detritus of modern life into entirely new materials. The Material of the Year exhibition featured designers who are taking an innovative approach to reuse plastic and fittingly displayed within an entirely recyclable polypropylene partition system by Movisi.

The designers include Tokyo’s Kodai Iwamoto, who transforms plumbers’ piping into sculptural vases and vessels which resemble ceramics, to Brighton’s Weez & Merl, who make marble-effect tabletops and coasters out of plastic bags. The material designer, Charlotte Kidger, experimented with the uses of polyurethane foam dust, making it into a new composite which can be used to make pots, vases and even larger items of furniture. Finally, Dutch designer Dirk Vander Kooij has developed an extruder which can make polycarbonate objects such as CDs and chocolate moulds into ribbons of molten plastic which he then moulds into new objects, from furniture to lighting.