Conscious Couplings: 5 Designers Working With Waste


Consumerism and capitalism have a lot to answer for in a world where ‘single use’ has become applicable to more than just plastic. As the problem grows, we’re seeing a new crop of designers whose work with waste is artfully combatting this throw-away culture.

We produce 1.3 billion tonnes of waste each year, a figure that is said to rise to 2.2 billion by 2025. It’s a figure so astronomical that it feels impossible to picture—and as the problem grows, we need to develop new ways to limit our waste in order to ensure a future for the planet. From using urine as a glaze to repurposing broken bottles for terrazzo tiles, and blowing PVC pipes into vases, the designers who follow are working with waste in a way that gives it new life—often in the most unusual way.

Malmö Upcycling Service

From Swedish waste comes Swedish treasure. The design collective Malmö Upcycling Service have taken waste items from six different industries in the south of Sweden and brought them together in thoughtful design pieces. You can read the full story here.


All images © David Möller

Super Local

Together with Zanzibari craftspeople, Dutch studio Super Local has created a selection of furniture objects using terrazzo created from discarded glass. You can read the full story here.


All images © Jeroen van der Wielen and Super Local

Ilaria Bianchi

The works of Milanese creative Ilaria Bianchi are heavily grounded in critical theory and concept: in ‘CastAway’ she designed furniture from materials found on the streets of London, questioning what constitutes waste. You can see the full story here.


Kodai Iwamoto

Using traditional glass-blowing techniques, Japanese designer Kodai Iwamoto has created ‘Plastic Blowing’ — a collection of minimalist vases made out of recycled PVC pipes usually used for plumbing. You can read the full story here.


All images © Kodai Iwamoto Design

Sinae Kim

Advocating for a more progressive use of waste, London-based designer Sinae Kim has crafted a collection of decorative ceramic vessels glazed in urine. You can read the full story here.


All images © Sinae Kim

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