During this year's New York Design Week twelve RISD students unveiled Recyclable Composites - an innovative collection of furniture made of Twintex®, a cutting-edge fully recyclable plastic composite. Because the material doesn't have resins, products made with this material can simply be melted down and used again. The results of their brave experimentation with this new material were absolutely stunning. Read on for a look at their projects -- from intricately woven stools and lamps to ultra-lightweight chairs and a gravity-defying table supported by strands of thread!
The large majority of composite materials suitable for furniture design rely heavily on resins, which render them un-recyclable. Twintex® however, is a “commingled glass and thermoplastic polypropylene fiber filament” which can be used like string, and then baked in an oven to harden into a solidified mass. The use of this recyclable composite is a direct reflection of the RISD Furniture Design Department’s commitment to “research, innovation and sustainability as key pedagogical areas of focus.”
“Shadow” by Lisa Jo-Fan Chang is a neo-gothic pendant lamp that explores form and negative space to create a hauntingly beautiful lighting fixture. Twintex® filament was wrapped around a welded metal structure to create its 3-tiered and 5-winged shape. After baking the lamp, the metal skeleton was removed, and it was outfitted with lighting hardware.
M Quinn’s “Sliver” was designed to mimic the organic patterns of shadows cast by the rising sun in canyons throughout Southwest America. A ribbed, sliver-shaped shell is connected by crisscrossing fibers that cast light in a manner reminiscent of sunlight shining through tree branches. Quinn also believes that his lamp is unique in that it “brings a unique sense of light as well as shadow to a particular space.”
The “Light Scribble” by Jiwon Choi was created by overlapping several different 2-dimensional “scribbles” to create a 3-dimensional pendant lamp. A series of LED lamps give off a steady, white light which provide a nice contrast to the chaotic twists of the lamp’s black structure.
The Twintex® material reminded Eun Sang Lee of an old lady’s hair, which subsequently inspired her design for the appropriately titled “Perm Chair”. While most single-seater sofas are chunky, heavy pieces of furniture, this “permed” armchair is able to provide cushioned support for any user despite its airy and extremely light structure.
Misha Khan incorporated the Twintex® material as a support system for a wooden table top. Inspired by the film “Entrapment” where Catherine Zeta Jones is forced to climb through a web of yarn, he used the fibrous material to weave a 4-legged foundation for a beautiful table top.
Vivian Chiu‘s “Fu Lei Zhi” stool was formed using a wooden mold that she used to create an intricate woven design. The stool itself is completely hollow, showcasing the meticulous attention to detail the designer invested in the piece.