I was really interested in the idea of sustainability, with one understanding the interaction between humans and the environment and how it impacts. Through taking back what we use and use the materials at their end of life for our benefit now. By closely looking at ways of reusing, recycling or declining the use of resources and processes to enable a sustainable society.
Through this project I have chosen to concentrated on a material of scrapped steel, as this material at the end of its life, still has its strong properties but due to the large amount of waste that comes from construction sites, appliances, equipment, fasteners etc, re using scrap metal has its potential, but will be difficult in the sense that it can’t be manipulates with heat in this project being hard to bend and reform. It is said in 2002/3 that the recycling of steels was meant to be up to 60% - 65%, but currently 44% of steel is being recycled.
I have chosen to focus especially on metal fasteners as the shape they came in was very interesting for me to connect and experiment with the form in different ways to create a product. These metal fasteners are used in industries for assisting in shipping and transporting goods on crates. Millions of these metal fasteners are used every day, which multiple to large amounts being wasted as these metal fasteners are made to be used only once and then disposed of. The reason for this one time use is because when the strapping is wrapped around the goods the metal fasteners are used to tighten and secure the strapping around the goods. When force is applied in opposite directions to the fastener it causes the metal to be stretched out of form making the fasteners not effective in using a second time. There is no maximizing its securing ability, therefore no maximum retraction force. So due to their inability to be recycled they are at the end of their use, meaning we aren’t sustaining this good steel product, with great properties, but they are just adding to land fill.
These steel fasteners have strong, durable, weather resistant and high hardness properties, but due to the minimum size of the fasteners I am not able to use the metals properties to their advantage. Even if I decided to solder them together as a way to link them, they aren’t able to sustain the high impact that steel is able to withstand, so my choice of products to do in this project were with limitation/restriction.
However I came up with creating Candy Bowls by up cycling these steel fasteners. I was experimenting with different ways of forms and linking the steel fasteners and came up with a way for them to be linked in a swirling, circulars formation, instead of them just being joined at the sides. Having this circular formation, I created them into a bowl like shape, but I wasn’t restricting myself to an original bowl form. The shape of the bowl depended on the way I linked in the fasteners to each other, in other words the way each angle, direction and length I placed them into each other determined the shape of the bowl. Having this shape as the base for the bowl made it ergonomically suitable to be held in the palm of one’s hand, making them comfortable. Also the way the edge of the bowls, gradually form a nearly flat edge, helps the users to grip and handle the bowl when placing or passing around.
Having this circular form I had the repetition of the recycled metal fasteners which created an illusion but an effective result in appeal to the users. Through the use of repetition I was trying to manipulate the form of the steel fasteners in a weaving, intertwining way so at first glance there wasn’t recognition of the recycled steel fasteners. The only way I could link them, in order to keep them at a temporary formation was to use minimum amounts of super glue as it wasn’t possible otherwise to try to link the fasteners with string/wire, while trying to keep the fasteners in place at the sometime. However the use of super glue has an effect on the environment, due to its toxic fumes and degradable process, but it is minimal compared to using a toxic resin or heating device to link and harden them together. The option of super glue had a less drastic effect on the environment compared to the other more dangerous options available to me.
So a way to link my steel fasteners together after the super glue wear away, I introduced another recycling material, known as E – WASTE. E – Waste is found in all electrical appliances and materials, such as cords, wires, computers, etc, that are disrepair or are at the end of their capability of life.
Using E – waste as another material was a way for my product to grasp the issue of sustainability. I have read that e – waste is a big problem in the area of business as there is a constant change and development of new software’s causing these materials to go to land fill, making the heavy metals in the material leak into the environment, effecting the land. It is said that Australia has “estimated that in 2006 there will be around 1.6 million computers disposed of in landfill, 1.8 million put in storage (in addition to the 5.3 million already gathering dust in garages and other storage areas) and 0.5 million recycled in Australia alone.”
So I decided to use the electrical wires of internet cabling, phone cords, electrical cords, as a part of e – waste to addresses the above stated statistics. E – waste is a big problem in our society so using these wires as an additional piece to my bowls was a way to fasten the metals. Also I will be using its properties are well as its appearance.
In terms of my bowl I stripped the wires down from their polymer coatings to use the thin coloured wires. From the choice of colours available to me I chose to use black, yellow, red and blue. I weaved the wires over and under with two loops in between the metal fasteners. This weaving technique enabled the wire to secure the metal fasteners in both directions allowing the usage of wire to be minimal but effective. Having this pattern added appeal and quirkiness to the design, but at the same time I wanted to try and manipulate the materials by weaving so the users wouldn’t recognize the recycled material at first glance, but at first impression think that they are unique bowls. I chose the colours and weaving technique through various testing and experiments. Through using the coloured wiring, creating a spiral effect, captures the essence of beauty and elegances in the design of the bowls, making reused and recycling materials into an up cycle boutique product.
The bowls sit on their side, making the effect of the wires and the colours vibrant and interesting to the viewer’s. Having the bowls sitting this way gives the impression of the bowl to be wanted to be investigated / looked at and the first reaction would be to pick it up and readjust it. It will allow them to experience a bowl in a new way and with a closer look observe it is made out of materials that are unexpected.
Overall the size and shape of the bowls displayed a practical factor to the design and adds an element of comfort when hands and palms are used as well as addressing the aspects of design keeping in mind the idea of sustainability. By using something that is so small and unnoticed and largely put to waste can be used in a creative and innovating way in order to reuse and up cycle the fasteners and e – waste wire into something bigger and still useful for today’s society with minimal effect to the environment.