Old Truman Brewery
19–22 September 2019
Material of the Year: Plastic, Beyond the Chipper
Gallery Feature

Returning for 2018, Material of the Year places the spotlight on a material currently holding precedence in the design world. Not one to shy away from a conversation, for 2018 we will be exploring this year’s most loathed material: plastic.

Truly the material of the modern world, plastic has proved revolutionary to the way in which we live, by allowing for lighter, thinner, more durable and at times more beautiful objects. From wafer thin computer hardware to vital advances in medical tools, plastic has proved a material hero in many ways. Although it screams innovation, technology and ease, it is one that rings of disposability and a throw-away consumer culture. It’s no secret that single-use plastic forms a real environmental threat, so for the 2018 edition of Material of the Year we have cast an eye on the design industry to see how the material is being repurposed in imaginative and valuable ways.

A welcome step forward from the many bright and brash examples of plastic recycling, we have hand selected four designers who are demonstrating a determined and refined approach to working in recycled plastic. Looking beyond the chipper, the four examples from across the globe are adding real value and desirability through design treating gathered waste as a new virgin material. From industrial waste to plastic bags, the designers are melting, turning, printing and forming the material to imbue new worth and meaning.

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