Design Wire May 2020

French design duo RONAN AND ERWAN BOUROULLEC crafted
a chair for Finnish furniture brand ARTEK using a continuous piece of rope. THE ROPE CHAIR is constructed of a metal frame consisting of hollow steel tubes, through which a single length of marine rope is threaded. The rope begins at one front leg, moves to the top of the first back leg and over to the second, and then completes the chair shape by moving back to the other front leg. Since there are fewer connection points for the steel, the product is sturdier, but is also able to respond to how the user sits. It’s a flexible piece of furniture that lends itself to numerous comfortable positions. The Rope Chair comes in matte black, which has black rope to match, and in a light gray version complemented by natural-tone rope.

A shingle tile made from recycled PVC has been created by Dutch studios OVERTREDERS W and BUREAU SLA. Called PRETTY PLASTIC, the diamond-shaped shingle is made from shredded PVC products such as window frames, downspouts, and rain gutters. The product was first developed in 2017 as part of Dutch Design Week. Last year Pretty Plastic received a class B fire approval, meaning the tiles are very difficult to burn, which allows them to be used as a cladding material. The first permanent installation of the tiles is on a music pavilion at the Sint-Oelbert Gymnasium school in the Netherlands. The designers claim that Pretty Plastic is the first 100 percent recycled cladding material in the world.

Design brand ROTHY’S, best known for making
shoes from recycled plastic bottles, has created a collection of handbags and accessories made from plastic found in the ocean. The line comprises a tote bag, a handbag, a crossbody, and a clutch along with a series of zippered boxes. Each item comes in a color palette that matches Rothy’s shoes. The brand has created 3-D knitting machines that create zero waste to make the shoes, and now the bags and accessories use the same process. However, since marine plastic has been exposed to saltwater, the material is weaker, so it must be combined with standard recycled plastic to create an enduring end product. “That’s important, because we have designed all of our products to be machine washable, which requires the plastic to be durable,” says CEO and founder Roth Martin in an article from Fast Company.

Iconic Finnish fashion brand MARIMEKKO is beginning to use wood pulp–based textiles as the fabric for their clothing and accessories. The result of a collaboration with a start-up called SPINNOVA, Marimekko’s new line will look and feel the same as their traditional garments, but the new fabric requires 99 percent less water than cotton production. Best of all, the items can be recycled or composted when they reach the end of their life. Marimekko launched in the 1950s and is known for its durable pieces in iconic patterns that last for decades, and the new textile material has proven to be even more durable and long-lasting than their original pieces. The company plans to use the material in its main fashion line by 2022.

AVESTA HOUSING has started construction on a mixed-income 64-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail in SOUTH PORTLAND near the Maine Mall. The project will cost $15.5 million to build and is in response to a huge demand for affordable housing in the area. Funding for a second apartment building with 52 units is underway; it will take an estimated $12.5 million to complete. Called the West End Apartments I and II, the mixed-use project will help promote a village-style environment in the heavily trafficked and largely commercial area. The first apartment building is expected to be complete by 2021. The project architect is Portland-based KAPLAN THOMPSON ARCHITECTS, known for implementing sustainable practices in all of their work.

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