A slew of recent work has examined the sustainable potential of plastics, long seen as emblematic of environmental degradation. London-based Charlotte Kidger’s Industrial Craft collection uses polyurethane-foam dust—a by-product of CNC manufacturing—to create new furniture. Courtesy Charlotte Kidger Plastic is back, and this time it’s ethical. The polymers have become increasingly visible in designed collections in recent years, and in September, plastic was named “material of the year” at the London Design Fair. But this isn’t the maligned plastic of old, weighed down by widely circulated images of mountains of used shopping bags and seagulls entangled in six-pack rings. The new plastic is recycled—dredged from the oceans and culled from industrial waste and garbage heaps. And plastic is living up to its versatile reputation, creatively repurposed in forms as varied as British designer Charlotte Kidger’s colorful vessels and furniture made of polyurethane-foam dust; elegant knobs and handles fashioned from ocean plastic by Sydney’s Vert Design; distorted, melted stools produced from injection-molding waste by German practices Stabil and Spreng & Sonntag ; and sneakers made from algae and plastic by Spanish brand Ecoalf . In April, Milan gallerist Rossana Orlandi launched a drive to create “guiltless plastic,” aimed at destigmatizing […]

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