Welcome to Eye Candy, Reflow's top finds in the space of design, tech and sustainability. This week we cast our gaze on a sustainable seating system pioneered by “a recycling goddess", a striking collection of  garments produced from discarded electrical wires and lighting designs made from shellfish waste.  We also take a second to appreciate the launch of our own new material range, a set of translucent rPETG filaments we call “The Seaglass Collection”. Treat yourself!

Sara Regal Alonso: From Synthetic to Natural

Sara Regal Alonso was born by the seaside in the north west of Spain. Surrounded by crystal clear waters and lush green mountains, Alonso was deeply connected to her environment, a reality that has evidently shaped her design ethics.

After completing studies in a wide range of disciplines both in London and Switzerland, she settled in product design with a strong focus on material qualities, color trends and art direction. Her experimental streak has resulted in a set of fascinating collaborations with brands like Camper and her work was recently showcased at New York Design Week.Alonso caught our attention for her sustainable design collection “FOAM IT”. This work exemplifies the junction between innovative product design and a conscious, circular economy focused manufacturing process. The project showcases a recycled and recyclable seating system made from polyurethane foam scraps. The custom shaped blocks were inspired by the short life cycle of PU foam, which is inherently wasteful and often unrecyclable. To circumvent this, Alonso made use of the recycling factory’s machinery to break down the material into vibrant colour scraps which are then transformed into seating, coated with a protective material and ready for use.

The goal with this system is to keep everything onsite, even at the end of the life cycle of the product. The seating can be thrown back into the shredding machine to be transformed again. It’s an exciting showcase with infinite possibilities and an inspiring blueprint for other designers to explore!

Alexandra Sipa: Romanian Camoulage

Constantly breaking and replacing her earphones whilst a student at Central Saint Martins, Alexandra Spira found an innovative solution to combat waste. Designing garments. The Romanian born, UK based fashion designer drives attention towards global issues like rising electronic waste, while highlighting such materials’ inherent value in the reuse economy.

In a now celebrated graduate collection, titled Romanian Camouflage, Alexandra illustrated her flair for blending avant-garde stylings with a progressive, paradigm shifting message. Inspired by the extreme femininity and heightened sternness of her culture, she has subverted traditional Romanian designs with recycled new age materials to make a striking sustainability statement. Sipa recently garnered widespread attention when she collaborated with 10 female champions of change to re-imagine “Barbie” and her hyper-styled house for British Vogue. The collection also impressively featured a tiny scaled down version of her celebrated “Romanian Camouflage” dress.

The electronic wires used on the ruffles and coats are sourced locally at London recycling center, Great Eastern Waste. The textiles are sourced from discarded fabrics in Bacau, Romania made up of old beach towels, coats, hats and embroidery. She painstakingly knits each of the individual scraps together to create these haute-couture gowns fit for a runway. The collection is bright, vibrant and striking in its capacity to educate. Bedded in history and the present, Spiras exemplifies the power of design in forming a circular future.

Faye Toogood: Light, Shells and Living Objects

Material based innovation was the guiding principle behind British artist and designer, Faye Toogood, in her recent Kaleidoscope project. In collaboration with London based material innovator, The Shellworks, she has designed and produced an ingenious colour therapy lamp from shellfish waste. Sculptural in form, the lamp offers a calming ambiance of mood lighting and colour therapy for the home.

Shellfish waste has proven itself to be a valuable resource, minimising the use of harmful plastics in manufacturing and production processes. ‘The Shellworks’ team has innovated a process to extract the second most abundant biopolymer in the world, called chitosan, from the waste. With a diverse range of applications the company aims to tackle the plastic problem at scale. Although shellfish waste is often not upcycled, it caught the attention of Toogood for its flexible yet rigid forms, properties not common for such bioplastics. Not too shy from similar materials Toogood has worked with in the past, it created a thread of consistency between previous collections, while now championing “eco-friendly” materials and production.The golden nicotine colours exuding from the lamp are formed by the natural variability in the materials. Trace minerals are left behind in the extraction process, creating a warm synergy between nature, materials and your personal setting

By layering and shaping the sheets, Faye has created a kaleidoscopic effect. Reminiscent of light underwater and its fluidity, the material continues to evolve and alter over time. Frequent exposure to light and other particles in an environment actually change key aspects of the material’s texture and translucency over time, resulting in a living or semi conscious object.

Charlotte Kidger: The Old, The New and The Iconic

At Reflow we love celebrating designers that see the importance of a fully conscious process. One must consider the impact of all design and manufacturing decisions. Our mission is centred around enabling makers to materialise the vision of a waste free future. Charlotte Kidger flew onto our radar with an article on the ‘Importance of the Maker in a World with No Waste’ which discusses the value of unique perspectives when working with diverse waste streams.

Kidger sees the role of makers as crucial in confronting urgent environmental issues of overconsumption and scarce resources. She urges makers not to be scared to work with undiscovered waste streams but to see it as an unique opportunity. One major action design communities can take is to help design a future that steers away from what Kidger describes as “take-make-replace” culture. In her own work, she digs deep into commercial and industrial waste streams like a detective, seeking a fit between material properties and design application. She is also fascinated with both traditional and emerging digital design and manufacturing methods and is constantly seeking a symbiosis between the two. Kidger’s new collaboration with Browns South Molton Street centres on the concept of the ‘iconic’. It consists of a 19 piece sculptural set; Greek ruins style columns, all set in array of vibrant yet decaying colours. The simplicity of the piece is bold and draws the audience focus to the materials themselves. The corrugated crumbling circular forms are sourced from dust particles collected from a CNC factory which are then 3D printed into molds and hand dyed with resin.

Kidger notes how positive it is now that factories are seeing their waste as a valuable resource for designers, which is actively contributing to the reuse economy. Great too that such a talented designer is illustrating how these discarded materials have viable potential in high end applications.

The Seaglass Collection

In our third edition of eye candy we want to share something exciting here at Reflow, our new sustainable colour range, The Seaglass Collection. A range of 6 translucent rPETG filaments, inspired by settings of wild natural beauty and our fleeting memories of these environments. Each gem unlocks a rich spectrum of colour at different infills and light settings so you can find the best use case in your designs. Produced with over 97% with recycled materials so you can create sustainably. Discover more in the video below. Explore the full range today. 

Tegan

Social Media Strategist
Plugged into the matrix, ex professional ballerina, aspiring trivia samurai and Margaret Atwood fangirl