Date
February 27, 2020
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Surface Straws are a set of reusable glass drinking straws in beautiful sculptural form, designed to encourage more sustainable behavior.

Recently, a big deal has been made of the huge amount of waste generated by single-use plastics. Drinking straws are a clear target. They have gained media attention and increasingly called unnecessary.

Why glass straws? To help reduce plastic waste

Considering this issue, Layer Design in conjunction with Surface Magazine, conceived Surface Straws. A stylish set of reusable glass drinking straws.

Surface Straws Single
Surface Straws by Layer Design

The minds behind Surface Straws – Layer Design

The team behind Surface Straws is Layer Design—a multi-disciplinary studio based in trendy Hackney, London. Award-winning designer Benjamin Hubert rebranded his successful eponymous industrial design studio to found Layer Design in 2015.

It is a collaborative studio which straddles several disciplines from research and strategy, industrial and digital design, to engineering and art direction.

Surface Straws minimal organic design
Layer Design is a London-based industrial design studio founded by Benjamin Hubert

The studio has an impressive track record of partnering with major brands including Google, Samsung and Bang & Olufsen.

The focus of the studio is firmly grounded in understanding user behavior and harnessing opportunities for transformation. Innovative products like GO, a customizable 3D printed wheelchair, demonstrate a commitment to design which is human-centered.

Layer Design is progressive in its design thinking and always looking to the future. Materiality and technology innovation is therefore a core feature of their projects. You can see this explored in LABB, a loopless and buckleless band, an interlocking watch band that requires no additional buckles or hardware to secure.

Surface Straws
Materiality and technology innovation are the cores of Layer Design

Materials and Techniques – Borosilicate glass

The straws are made from 100% recycled borosilicate glass. This is a very durable form of glass that is less susceptible to heat shock than regular glass. You can use these straws for cold or hot drinks without issue.

Borosilicate glass is also not going to release anything into your drink which will change the flavor. Something which cannot be said of metal or paper drinking straw alternatives.

Borosilicate glass is an ideal choice for a drinking straw. It is recyclable, hypoallergenic and a pleasure to drink from. Borosilicate glass is so resistant to chemical changes that it is used widely in chemistry labs, industrial settings, and premium wine glasses. It is also used to store nuclear waste.

The straws sit nested on a base made of recycled rubber.

Surface Straws reusable glass straws
The Surface Straws are made of recycled Borosilicate glass

Style & Aesthetics – Organic Minimalism

It is hard not to be taken in by the sheer sculptural simplicity of this design. Yes, you are going to be tempted to use the display as a table centerpiece. A classy statement of your eco-friendly savvy.

Sitting like a specimen under a simple glass dome, the three different size straws are organic and appear like intertwining vines. The soft green-grey palette suits the sustainable message and will also complement a variety of decors.

Surface Straws packaging design
The Surface Straws can still be admired when not in use

Design Memento – Meaningful User Experiences

Surface Straws is not simply about producing a utilitarian product. It is actively using the power of beautiful design to encourage engagement with the product and regular use.

In their brand video Layer Design describes themselves as creators of “experiences with meaning”. Surface Straws aim to connect with us and add meaning to our drinking experience.

We feel good making the choice to use them, feel pleasure in their actual use, and still admire them when not in use.

Surface Straws product design
Surface Straws aim to add meaning to the drinking experience

The writer’s comment: a stylish incentive

Let’s be honest. Buying Surface Straws alone is not going to save our planet. But, they do make you think. They promote mindfulness through the simple act of drinking some water or your favorite smoothie.

They encourage a more considered kind of materialism. One driven not simply by convenience. They ask us to consume less, but also to more consciously choose what we consume.

In this way, the impact of Surface Straws may be deeper and wider than might first appear.

Surface Straws drinking straw
The Surface Straws promote a mindful and more considered kind of materialism
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