The New Raw – From plastic waste to furniture with 3D printing
The recent pandemic crisis has raised many questions about the future of living and working spaces. The New Raw reflects on the “new normal”: is it really a thing? Is it going to stay or get outdated soon?
At the same time, we are living in a period where digital fabrication technologies are empowering us to think, design and produce the objects that surround us at a faster pace than ever before. Furniture is no exception to this rule and that is why now it is even more imperative to design and produce them sustainably.
From the beginning of its founding, The New Raw focuses on developing sustainable products & production processes. We are doing this by taking into consideration the end of use cycles and by using waste material as an abounded local resource and digital fabrication as a decentralised and local production method.
Working towards a sustainable future, we often ask ourselves 3 questions, which define also our core values.
Which material is our furniture made of?
Made from recycled plastic is not enough … Working with recycled plastics for the creation of furniture has a positive environmental impact. Though this is not enough.
How much recycled plastic does the product contain? What type of plastic? Where does it come from? Answering those questions for each of our products enables us to assess the impact of our material choice in depth.
One needs to take into consideration the full life cycle and choose materials that are locally sourced and re-recyclable and, also, maximise the percentage of recycled material in the product.
We never stop exploring the use of new types of plastic waste, for example, from marine or urban sources in our printing process. At the same time, we use the highest possible percentage of waste material and upgrade it. Last, but not least, we work on making the material cycle more transparent by being involved in the recycling process and collaborating with local suppliers and communities.
Can you imagine a house entirely furnished with 3D printed fittings? The Supernovas’ furniture design concept will help you in it.
How are our furniture made?
Designed globally, sources & produced locally. We consider 3D printing, the vehicle that brings us closer to more decentralised and local production. Working in large scale 3D printing and exclusively with plastic waste, enables us to develop circular furniture that are part of a short closed cycle and provide local communities anywhere, a more sustainable way to build their own surroundings.
This is what we tested in 2019 for the public furniture on the HANTH square in Thessaloniki (GR) with Print Your City. Working with recycled materials might be challenging because of issues like material contamination or impurity. In our process from waste to product, we follow the steps of sorting, cleaning shredding and then 3D printing.
We shorten the circle of plastic by skipping pelletizing and filament making: in this way, less energy is involved in the recycling process of plastic. Furthermore, by employing digital craftsmanship it is possible to achieve qualities that are not possible with other manufacturing techniques, like functional textures and multifunctional forms.
Design to last forever – or not?
Design for disassembly & easy recycle. Plastic is a material with a lot of advantages. It is cheap, it is lightweight and durable. Though it is a material with difficult disposal after use. Therefore, it becomes crucial to design the full cycle of this material and especially strategies for its afterlife. All our products are 100% circular. Meaning that they can be easily repaired, reused or recycled.
All our furniture pieces are mono-material structures with strong materiality, texture and performance. At the end of their use, they can be shredded and used again as raw material for our next products.
Being a sustainable company goes beyond using the right materials, it’s a commitment to all phases of production like Frank Grossel explained to us.