Reinvention of Plastic for

Building Facade and Furniture

Plastic Furniture Made from Old Toys

Introduces Kids to the Circular Economy
Plastic furniture made from old toys introduces kids to the circular economy. Antwerp-based brand Ecobirdy has used recycled plastic toys to create a range colourful furniture for kids, aiming to raise their “awareness for sustainability”.

With an overarching goal of introducing children to the circular economy, all the pieces from Ecobirdy’s debut collection are made from old plastic toys and are completely recyclable. Debuted at this year’s Maison & Objet furniture fair, the collection includes a lightweight chair called Charlie that has rounded legs and edges, and an accompanying table named Luisa.

A bird-shaped storage container with a removable beak is designed to raise awareness of the endangered Kiwi bird, while a rhino-shaped lamp draws attention to the plight of rhinos. The brand, which said it aims to “create pieces that enable kids to experience creativity and at the same time raise awareness for sustainability”, is cofunded by COSME – an EU programme that aims to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to access finance in all phases of their lifecycle.

Ecobirdy’s debut collection follows an in-depth two-year study into how to sustainably recycle plastic toys. “We found that plastic toys use plastic more intensively than other consumer goods,” said Ecobirdy’s founders, Antwerp- based designers Joris Vanbriel and Vanessa Yuan. “By giving old plastic a new life, our aim is to free our ecosystem from its pernicious impact. As we use innovative technologies, made for the reuse of plastic, there is no need to add any pigments or resin.“

As well as the design and production of the new products, Ecobirdy has created a system for the collection and recycling of old or unused toys. The design, recycling and production of Ecobirdy furniture is all carried
out in Europe using fair business practices. “Due to accurate sorting, cleaning and grinding during the recycling process, the plastic of all products is absolutely free from harmful chemicals,” said a statement from the brand. “It is clean, pure and 100 per cent safe.” “The whole collection is produced in Italy. In the manufacturing process, manual labour plays a significant role alongside machines.“

An accompanying limited-edition storybook plus a school programme have been designed to introduce children to the circular economy – which aims to minimize resource usage and waste by using sustainable materials to create long-lasting products that can be recycled – and inspire them to contribute to a more sustainable future.

Ecobirdy aims to recycled 250,000 kg of plastic toys. According to its website, 80 per cent of toys end up in landfill, incinerators or the ocean while 90 per cent are made of plastic and are used for just six months on average. Design for children has exploded in recent years as brands wisened up to the potential of the kids’ furniture market. In 2016 child-focused furniture and toys dominated Milan Design Week when Kartell president and CEO Claudio Luti told Dezeen: “It is a huge market with very high potential, and many offers in terms of furnishings and toys.“ Since then, numerous design products aimed at children have launched, including a collection of self-assembly furniture secured by sausage- shaped party balloons, smart and robotic cribs by the likes of Yves Behar and Ford, and a line of furniture that grows up with children.


Recycled Paint Container Turns to Beautiful

Storage Stool and Standing Lamp Cover
Indesign Domus – an architecture and interior design firm based in Central Jakarta- participated in ‘Let’s Reuse’ campaign managed by AQ Dulux Invitational 2018. By ‘donating’ the idea in reinventing used paint container, the design idea was applied to become multifunction stools and storage, as well as standing lamp cover.

The idea comes from the world of interior design itself, where interior designers often see the fact that many paint containers are just thrown away and left unwanted. In fact, it actually has great potential to get recycled into decorative element in the room.

For Indesign Domus, sustainable design is a design which its process can utilize environmental friendly materials, especially the materials that are not destroying the environment. “The material is used as a base material which then managed, so that it is useful for the life.” Stefanny said in an interview with AQ. She added that the challenge when developing design from recycled products is when applying design that will also affects the function of the products itself.

Talking about the stools they created, it will always interesting to hear a story behind the production, which the process may inspire people in the future. “After all dust and dirt cleaned, you can immediately apply acrylic paint over the container.
If the base color [of the used container] is neutral, such as white, the acrylic paint can be directly applied with a clean brush to form patterns according to your taste.”

Stefanny explained. The pattern color scheme can be adjusted to the style of decoration where the stool will be installed. Acrylic paint with the basic colors like blue, yellow and red can be combined together until reaching the desired color gradation. Sometimes, people want a consistent pattern on similar stools, allowing them to create new pattern through digital imaging process. The results could be printed on waterproof sticker material, and then taped to the used container. “It could be as playful as you wish.” Stefanny told AQ. To ensure the comfort for its user, puffs are adjusted based on the diameter of the container lid; of course the puff is coated with cloth or fabric, and later can be stacked by using glue for a stable position.

Speaking of efficiency of this product, the inside part of the stool can be used as storage for goods, a truly great hack for organizing such a messy room. Bored with a lampshade that never been replaced? It is possible to make improvement on the container by making it perforated according to the desired theme pattern. “Again, it is about how the design can be useful for human life; just explore everything as you wish.” Stefanny ended the conversation. (AQ/Shintia)

Naju Art Museum by Hyunje Joo
Recycled semi-transparent plastic baskets

Hyunje Joo’s design for a façade in South Korea is a proposal that addresses the separation between the interior and exterior with the construction of a flexible, light, and recyclable architectural element. The project, a surface made up of 1,500 semi-transparent plastic baskets, diffuses the light and the silhouettes, while offering the ability to be reused with different configurations in different places. We intend to reinterpret the possibility for the boundary of the wall using new materials. A flexible architectural element rather than a fixed element, this wall consists of 1,500 structural semitransparent baskets.

The surface minimizes the separation between the inside and outside, as light and silhouettes beyond the space show through. Over the course of the day, changes show on the surface of the wall due to the diffusion and reflection of the material. The passage of time is more actively sensed from both inside and outside, as these light effects stimulate our senses. When the building is demolished in 2 years, the baskets can be reused.

Text provided by Architect.


Gallery of Furniture by CHYBIK+KRISTOF
Façade as a functional banner.

The transformation of a former car show room on the outskirts of a housing estate into a site of the MY DVA group, focusing on the production of office, school and metal furniture, represents another finished structure of the young architecture firm CHYBIK + KRISTOF Architects & Urban Designers from Brno. The single-storey building of a poor aesthetic quality turned into a building with a new, easily remembered façade composed of more than 900 black plastic seats. The façade is conceived abstractly, functioning also as a banner advert for the firm itself. After finishing a simple refurbishment of its interior, a new flexible showroom was created presenting the individual segments of the firm´s production in specific, thematically arranged settings.

Vinohrady is the name of one of the oldest housing estates built in Brno in the first half of the 1980s. The car show room itself was set up in the 1990s and is a part of a line of nearby commercial buildings, bordering with the four-lane Zarosicka road, which, however, do not enhance the area anyhow. The former state of the building was technically and morally outdated and from the formal point of view, it did not correspond with the needs of the society. Given the fact that it was a temporary investment in the form of a rent and the firm had already been using those premises, the proposed solution had to be cheap and fast. The task was: ˮDo it cheap, ideally for freeˮ architects Ondrej Chybik and Michal Kristof are reminiscing.

The MY DVA group belongs to the front domestic suppliers of office, school and metal furniture, focusing also on the concepts and realizations of commercial and educational interiors, including some atypical elements. The choice of material, which should have been based on the usage of a minimum amount of money, but with a maximum effect to enhance the former building, therefore, had to be connected with the firm´s production. Thus, the building is cladded by a homogenous product, a plastic black seat for about 80 CZK/1 piece, without any greater adjustments of the exterior. It creates an abstract texture which reflects what is going on inside without another banner advertising.

ˮWhat we used is a basic form of an interior chair called Vicenza which the supplier delivers on a regular basis. In this case, however, we used black granulate for the outdoors because it is resistant to different weather conditions, especially UV light.ˮ the architects are describing. The individual seats are fixed on a structure made from steel sections fixed on the façade. In case of a mechanical damage, it is possible to change each piece for a new one, even the façade cleaning can be done easily once or twice a year by a high-pressure cleaner.


Bima Microlibrary by SHAU Bandung
Recycled plastic ice cream containers.

The Microlibrary is located at Taman Bima, Bima Street in Bandung in a small square in a Kampung neighborhood near the airport. The neighborhood consists of middle class housing on one side and a Kampung (village) like structure on the other, where less affluent people live. The Taman Bima Microlibrary is the first realized prototype of a series of small libraries in different locations throughout Indonesia, which we intend to build.

With an Interest in books and reading declining in the past years, the illiteracy rate and school dropout rate in Indonesia remains high. Our mission is to rekindle interest in books by offering a dedicated place for reading and learning, availability of books, other media and courses. The Microlibrary adds identity and is a source of pride for all the people in the neighborhood. The activities and teaching are currently supported and organized by Dompet Dhuafa (Pocket for the Poor) and the Indonesian Diaspora Foundation. However, the ultimate goal is to enable the local people to organize the content and maintenance independently.

The building is situated in a small square with a preexisting stage that was already used by the local community for gatherings, events, hanging out and sports activities. Our intention was to add rather than take away, so we decided to enhance the open stage by shading it, making it rain protected and cover it in form of the floating library box. The building is constructed via a simple steel structure made from I-beams and concrete slabs for floor and roof. The stage was reworked in concrete and a previously missing, wide stair was added. As the building is located in a tropical climate, we aimed to create a pleasant indoor climate without the use of air conditioning. Therefore, we looked for available façade materials in the neighborhood that were cost efficient, could shade the interior, let daylight pass and enable enough cross ventilation. Initially, we found several small vendors selling used, white and translucent jerry cans. However, prior to construction the jerry cans were no longer available in the quantities we required. Instead, we found used plastic ice cream buckets that were being sold in bulk. This turned out for the better as they have a more positive image and are more stable when cutting the bottom open for cross ventilation.

While studying design options of how to arrange 2000 ice cream buckets, we realized that they could be interpreted as zeros (opened) and ones (closed), thus giving us the possibility to embed a message in the façade in the form of a binary code. We asked the Mayor of Bandung, Ridwan Kamil, a supporter of the project whether he had a message for the Microlibrary and neighborhood and his message is: “buku adalah jendela dunia”, meaning books are the windows to the world. The message can be read starting from the top left (facing the front) and spirals down around the perimeter repeatedly. Not only does the facade give additional meaning to the building but the buckets also generate a pleasant indoor light ambiance since they scatter direct sunlight and act as natural light bulbs.

The buckets were then placed in between vertical steel ribs spanning from floor to roof and are inclined towards the outside to repel rainwater. For more harsh tropical rainstorms translucent sliding doors in the inside can be closed temporarily. Mounting 2000 buckets, making the fixture and punching out bottoms of more than half of them is time consuming. However, the local craftsmen made their own punch out/cutting tools to be faster while also maintaining sharp and clean edges. The building is very well received among the people in the neighborhood and we get regular feedback about ongoing events, e.g. school class excursions, etc.

Text provided by Architect.