"Industrial Craft is as much about exploiting the possibility of material answers as it is about asking questions,” Charlotte Kidger explained to Dezeen’s Natashah Hitti. The London-based designer, who recently graduated from Central Saint Martins with an MA in Material Futures, was discussing her new collection, which gives new life to "undervalued and problematic" polyurethane foam dust by turning it into multi-colored pieces of furniture.
Polyurethane foam dust is a by-product of CNC fabrication, a manufacturing process in which pre-programmed computer software dictates the movement of factory tools and machinery. The process produces a large volume of excess lightweight dust, which can’t be recycled, so its only means of disposal is through incineration or landfill. Kidger wanted to see if she could find a way of repurposing it, and the result is a collection of textured tables, stools and a number of vessels in a range of cool-toned hues.
"The beauty of the process involved with working with this composite material means each outcome is unique and bespoke," said the designer. "These often-unexpected reveals can create interesting defects that add new layers to the material's qualities; I believe this adds value to the objects I create by blurring a boundary between craft and industrial manufacturing," she went on to say. And she hopes that this innovative use of industrial waste will encourage others to place more value on what is normally considered waste, and thus consequently discarded.
The furniture will be showcased as part of this year’s London Design Festival, at an exhibition at the London Design Fair in the Old Truman Brewery between 20th to 23rd September. ‘Plastic, Beyond the Chipper’ will explore plastic, dubbed the most loathed material of the year, and Kidger is one of four designers chosen for their refined approach to working with the recycled material, adding real value and desirability and imbuing it with new worth and meaning.