The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors - Precious Plastic
The second university project I chose that ran for 3 weeks was titled The Great Outdoors.
The Brief: To design a space at the back of Cardiff School of Art and Design - including new furniture design - that provides a quiet area for reflection, and connecting back with nature.
During my research I came across a company called Precious Plastic.
Precious Plastic is a global community that aims to provide a solution to plastic pollution. Reading into their machines and how the community works, I decided to use these as my main inspiration to my response to the brief.
I designed a squeegee bench and a sphere swing that are made from melted down recycled thermoplastics from products such as: bottle caps, food containers, and plastic bottles. These are materials that I would discover on my daily walks to university and throughout the city of Cardiff.
These models would be placed on Cardiff Metropolitan's campus, and the sphere swings would be supported by metal beams. All of these products would withstand weather deterioration, which is inevitable in Cardiff's (almost daily) sporadic rain spells.
Multi-functional furniture draws people in, especially furniture that keeps their butts dry. The squeegee bench is one that I felt I was constantly searching for around the campus, and around the streets of Cardiff itself. The sphere swing wasn't functional in the same way the bench is, but it would provide a sensation of stress elevation, relaxation and fun - and what stressed student doesn't want a combination of all of these things at once?
I chose to make this project a community effort, as part of a campus clean up, products like these could be made from litter that surrounds Cardiff. Both the bench and the swing would be designed using Precious Plastic's machines. The machines used would be the shredder, the extrusion machine, the injection machine and the compression machine (all of their machines currently available). This project would be entirely up to the students and faculty to produce these projects, giving a sense of community through the teamwork of collecting the materials, producing the products and the satisfaction of having made the benches & swings everyone can use around campus. As this project was only 3 weeks long, and only the second out of four that I had to complete in 2 months, I never got to produce any of my concepts which is still a massive shame to me.
A year later and I still can't get Precious Plastic's machines and goals out of my head (and I also want to update these products to the quality they, honestly, deserve to be in). With the disaster the planet is in at the minute, I can't be one of the people who says they didn't do anything to stop destroying the planet. The amount of reducing, reusing, recycling, repairing & rethinking that I was taught in my old D.T. lessons at school can be applied so easily to everyday life, but isn't adopted worldwide. Plastic isn't a bad material - it's what we do with it that leads to these devastating results. Through all this doom and gloom we hear everyday about the Earth's condition getting worse, it's easy to feel like our everyday efforts do nothing to help our dying planet. But we can all make a change. The more changes we make and the more of a fuss we kick up to those who we feel have their heads in the sand about the damage they are doing to our planet, we will be heard and we will make a difference.