New Designs For Cork and Recycled Plastic

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Young designers are using new materials in innovative ways and the Royal College of Art show is a good place to check them out. Yemi Awosile is fascinated with cork, one of the great ecological materials--it is a natural material that can be renewably harvested from the bark of trees. She has done extensive research on its uses and spent time in Portugal, both in Lisbon and in the Alentejo where it is produced.

Now she has created a fabric out of it--a mixture of treated and stripped cork and elastic that she knits up on knitting machines. It is surprisingly soft and flexible. By giving it a metallic element she has created a different visual aesthetic with it. She has taken second hand old furniture and reupholstered a chair and footstool with her new wonder fabric. They look sensational. Since it has good heat insulating properties, it is useful in the home. She has also created bolts of fabric samples out of the same knitted cork. These experimental pieces have a modern, contemporary look to them and the colours are reminiscent of Portugal.

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Lee Borthwick is using recycled plastic bags as a starting point for her seating. She collected carrier bags, divided them by colour, dyed some of them, and pressed them into hard sheets to make flexible seating. She worked with a plastics company specialising in recycled plastic uses, to perfect her methods and has ended up with sexy, slick, and flexible seating. The white and black creation is a prototype for a shelter for the homeless.


Her stools act as outdoor seating and sculptural objects. She enjoys the contradictions of using unexpected materials together such as plastic and wood. She has taken old logs and covered them with plastic so that they end up looking like the original logs. :: Royal College of Art Summer: RCA
More on Art Students

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:: Students' Eco-innovations

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