Design studio The New Raw goes zero waste by creating a limited edition of the Ermis chair, which has been crafted from the waste material of their in-house production facilities in Rotterdam. The project has been announced as the public vote winner for seating design of the Dezeen Awards 2021.
The design duo, Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki, has recently moved to an old electronics factory in the western part of the city, alongside the Maas river, hosting a whole new generation of creative people. Here, the creative duo follow the entire production process, from research and concept to crafting and manufacturing.
The New Raw does a lot of research by design, which by nature, is very wasteful. Everything new emerges from a process of trial and error. Failures and their critical evaluation constitute an integral part of the studio’s methodology, and by the end of the process, a considerable quantity of material that needs to be handled appropriately, is left behind. Finding a way to reuse this material and reduce the volume of waste generated by the studio’s R&D, became the catalyst to create the limited chair series.
With this new approach, The New Raw breathes new life into their own waste and at the same time creates one-of-a-kind objects of high quality and durability. The Ermis chairs are made with batches of different coloured production waste, which provide a unique identity to each piece of furniture through unexpected colour transitions and gradients.
The monolithic seat of the Ermis chair follows simple and ergonomic lines and is robotically crafted with a single spiral plastic thread. The layer orientation constantly follows the geometry of the chair via a slight rotation. As a result, the chair is strong with a minimal material usage. At the same time, this technique creates a graphic texture on its surface.
When the recycled plastic enters the 3D printing process, it turns into a different material with distinctive properties. Similar to the layers of the wood or the veins of the marble, the orientation and proportions of the 3D printed lines define the behaviour of the material and provide its distinctive ornaments. These lines are the bits and atoms of the Ermis chair.
Making a product from recycled and/or recyclable material is not the be-all and end-all of sustainable design. The adhesives and resins (glues) and the additional finishing and coatings (for colouring or glossiness) commonly used in traditional furniture manufacturing, make the harvesting of recyclable materials challenging at the end of their life. To address this, The New Raw works in a mono-material approach. In this way, at the end of their use, products can be crushed and directly used as raw material for another product or project.
The full lifecycle of this circular concept was tested for the Ermis chair series. The furniture is 100% recyclable and is made with plastic waste that has been recycled for the second time. The New Raw is redefining the limits of an infinite loop of plastic waste in its search for a truly sustainable production chain, and to give their plastic products a new lease of life.