Speculative practice-based research design project. A proposition to a new concept of waste. Waste is seen as a transformative material that can endlessly be used and re used to fulfil our production necessities, allowing the hyper-use of natural resources to stop completely.
Plastic is the chosen material to explore this premise. A response to the urgency of a solution for the insane amount of plastic waste that goes to landfill everyday (or ends up out of sight somewhere in the deep ocean). A methodology is being investigated to act on the materiality as well as on production processes. A collective thinking network is being activated where the interdisciplinary allows the knowledge system to fluidly grow and where transparency and identification suggests a new model for design as a strategy for a relevant social change.
The project endeavour is based on the open source project Precious Plastic (Dave Hakkens, 2013). Confronted by the fact that only 10% of plastic was being recycled and understanding why industry was (and still is) resisting the use of plastic waste, due to the fear of compromising expensive machinery, Hakkens built four different machines to turn plastic rubbish into things. This promotes the creation of local recycling centres and the initiation of local production. Production and cleaning co existing.
The oversaturated market paradigm evokes reaction and screams for an alternative system of circulation. The conceptual framework is demonstrated with the design of a mono material object from recycled plastic that seeks to have an endless life cycle - from production, to use, and again reuse.
Shoes are closely interlinked with form and function and their scale allows for a manageable demonstration of the project principles. Using milk bottles from our campus cafeteria serves as a key aspect for all of us to relate to. The interaction between user/designer/material suggests a new model for design as a strategy to increase awareness for sustainable practices. This immediacy brings attention to attainable possibilities; local production back within our neighbourhoods and our reclaimed agency in the future.
Through craftsmanship, experimentation and research into existent resources, the material tests show the diversity which plastic waste can accomplish. On the process end, this project invites the reconsideration of craft in a digital context where shape informs the design; expanding the knitting machine from purely being a manufacturing tool, to a design tool, to create innovative 3D forms. Designing directly into form reduces production processes, increases efficiency and eliminates waste. The modular system of sole/upper shoe indicates not only personalised multiple aesthetic possibilities, but also efficiency.
One and a half days in the RMIT cafeteria, one pair of shoes