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Industrial Craft

 

Utilising and repurposing industrial material waste streams as secondary raw material.

Industrial Craft is a material based project focused around utilising plastic waste streams associated with CNC fabrication. As a by-product after the milling process the lightweight polyurethane foam dust is left in abundant volumes. Given that this material is still regarded as a niche plastic, it’s only means of disposal is through incineration or landfill. With a clear design opportunity I set out to find ways of utilising and repurposing this undervalued and problematic material. 

 

Through material exploration I have resulted in a durable and versatile composite material that has the capabilities to be cast in diverse 3D forms of various scales. The composite material provides an extremely durable material that prolongs the life and places value in what was previously so easily discarded. 

 

Through a series of pots/vessels and two large sculptural tables the materials properties are highlighted as well as creating an alluring curiosity behind the materials origin. Through an applied and pragmatic approach, hands-on making allowed me to gain an immediate understanding of the material. I was able to push the boundaries of the material to therefore create an outcome that could be treated the same way as wood. With the ability (once cast) to be cut, sanded, engraved and put back into CNC, the finish possibilities are endless. 

 

Materials were sourced from Bakers Patterns – CNC fabrication company based in Telford (fabricating 3D models from polyurethane and polystyrene foam). Working closely with the company a close relationship was built to find ways of reusing and utilising their waste stream. 

With a zero-waste process in the making of my ‘sculptural objects’ and with strong focus on the durability, I aim to have created an alluring yet functional use to the material. Industrial craft is as much about exploiting the possibility of material answers as it is about asking questions.

MA Project - Material Futures

Material Partners: Bakers Patterns & UCL Bartlett

Material Source: Polyurethane Foam Dust 

Photography: Louise Oates

Styling: Charlotte Kidger & Louise Oates