Award-winning conceptual material designer Shahar Livne collaborated with fashion design company Balenciaga to create a new line of jewelry made from recycled ocean plastic. Inhabitat caught up with Livne to hear more about the process and inspiration behind the project.

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gray Balenciaga bracelet

“The collaboration took inspiration from my ongoing speculative research project ‘Metamorphism,’ which investigates the future of plastics within the geological record of the Earth and the rebirth of it as a possible future semi-natural material I named ‘Lithoplast,'” Livne told Inhabitat. “In the  ‘Metamorphism’ project, I use different plastics, ocean plastics, or landfill-designated plastics, in developing the new jewelry collection we worked with both, mainly PP and HDPE.” The jewelry line will be available for purchase on the Balenciaga website in May 2021.

Related: Nonprofit Washed Ashore crafts art and jewelry from ocean plastic

black Balenciaga ring
two people in fashion outfits wearing ocean plastic jewelry

The ocean plastic comes from Oceanworks, a worldwide marketplace for recycled plastic products and raw materials. The company sources plastic materials from all over the world, focusing mainly in Southeast Asia, where it says 60% of the world’s ocean plastic originates. The jewelry line, which consists of bracelets, earrings and rings, also uses marble waste material sourced from a marble processing company as well as landfill-derived plastic from recycling companies.

white Balenciaga ring
single white Balenciaga earring

“It was interesting for us to work with OceanWorks-provided materials since we wanted to find the most sustainable and social option,” Livne went on to say. “OceanWorks is a global network that collected plastics from different areas, among them the oceans, with the help of fishermen and other beach cleaning operations, and the connection seemed perfect.”

On the left, person wearing recycled plastic jewelry. On the right, black and white Balenciaga earrings.
rows of white Balenciaga bracelets

The designer followed a similar process to her “Metamorphism” project, using heat and pressure to create a composite material. The material is then molded by hand into vintage-style shapes designed by Balenciaga, 3D-scanned to create a mold (in order to recreate a coherent style for the entire collection) and then finished by hand by Livne herself.

+ Shahar Livne Design

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Images via Balenciaga and Shahar Livne Design