Our Interior Designer James Watts has sparked a big conversation in our practice after presenting his MA thesis project ‘Plastic Exchange Workshop’.
Plastic Exchange Workshop takes waste plastic and uses it to build a youth and community centre. The project was designed as a replicable prototype that could adaptively reuse obsolete buildings. Locals within a certain catchment of the site would be invited to contribute their plastic waste to be sorted, cleaned, shredded and extruded. Extrusion would yield a toolkit of tiles, bricks and beams that would be used to collaboratively design and make everything necessary for the community centre interior, from floor tiles to furniture, soap dishes to staircases.
The centre would eventually function as an exchange: waste plastic (measured by kilo) would be exchangeable for new products made on site. At the end of their lives, products could be returned to be recycled (infinitely) into new ones. The centre would have the capacity to partner with schools and run educational programmes, use its workshop facilities to offer skills courses and mentoring, and offer alternatives to piecemeal kerbside recycling and expensive waste management for local businesses and schools.
Fundamentally, the centre would exist to change the perception of a much-maligned material with enormous potential, and help to bring about a more responsible approach to it.
Take a look at the presentation below.