The clothing industry sucks up copious quantities of water and leaves behind environmental waste, like chemicals and dyes, in the process. So it’s not surprising that product designers continue to seek out useful and creative ways to repurpose waste from clothing production. One such designer, Sophie Rowley, has targeted denim and found a way to turn it into furniture.
Not only is this furniture credited by taking denim scraps off the manufacturing room floor and out of the waste stream, but it’s also functional and visually interesting. Called Bahia Denim, the pieces weave the traditional blue denim color through a swirl of grays and whites, resulting in a marbled appearance. This end result resembles its namesake, the Brazilian blue marble known as Azul Bahia.
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Rowley, New-Zealand born and Central Saint Martins educated, is now based out of Berlin. The idea for the design stemmed from a desire to repurpose household materials. As with all of her designs, Rowley focused on sustainability and innovative material development.
She experimented with standard materials like glass, plastic and foam before contemplating the possibilities of denim. She then played with the denim until she discovered a way to layer it, binding the layers together with resin. Once dry, the solid material is carved into shapes that are subsequently formed into furniture.
There is no standard production when it comes to Bahia Denim. Each piece is a unique result of the materials and the process used to make them — sizes, shapes and thicknesses vary. The durable material can be used in a variety of applications in addition to tables and shelving, such as wall paneling and table or counter coverings. Car manufacturer Nissan has even suggested it as a future material for interior dashboards.
Sophie’s Bahia Denim has earned the following accolades: Best New Surface Award 2015 / New Design Britain – Winner; AFRI cola award / Michalski 2009 – Finalist; and Createurope Award – Finalist.
Bahia Denim is just one of Rowley’s innovative product designs, all created with an awareness of limited resources and the need to source non-virgin materials for the products we consume.
Images via Sophie Rowley