Rotterdam-based design studio The New Raw has collaborated with local school kids to design GLYPH — a vibrant new collection of sustainable play furniture for Eleusis 2023 European Capital of Culture.
As part of the ongoing research initiative Print Your City, which explores the concept of applying robotic 3D printing to plastic waste as a way to re-design and locally built urban space, the project is the result of an 8-week-laboratory hosted in the Greek city, involving more than 700 kids aged 5-14 from the region and welcoming over 1,000 visitors in total, with a focus on the key principles of the circular economy.
Following an educational tour based on a pragmatic approach and exploring ways to recycle discarded plastic, local children were heavily involved in the design process and were invited to create drawings, which were later scanned, digitally processed, and engraved on the new furniture. The name of the collection, which comes from the Greek word γλυφή (carving), refers to ornamental engravings of messages or symbols on ancient temples.
At the end of the laboratory, 240 kg of plastic was recycled and transformed into a collection of 8 self-standing swinging benches that can function independently or in a playscape when composed in groups. The iconic shape of the bent blocks pays tribute – with a twist – to the archetypal shapes of building blocks found in the ancient ruins of the city and allows the benches to swing. Conceived as an easy-to-apply system of play furniture to activate empty lots of the industrial city of Elefsina or other environments lacking public space, the monolithic elements are light and portable, and can be arranged in multiple ways to build a colorful and unexpected open-air playground.
Designed to inspire spontaneous behavior, GLYPH encourages playfulness and increases the bonds between users of all age groups through involvement, inclusion, and interaction.Panos Sakkas & Foteini Setaki
Each geometrical piece is unique thanks to the engraved kids’ drawings and is produced in three different dimensions and colors – wheat yellow, mint green, and water blue. The furniture was made primarily from rPP and rPE plastics commonly used in bottle caps. Collected specifically for this purpose, the plastic waste was sorted, washed and shredded before being melted and extruded with colour pigments to create the swinging benches. Printing time for each piece ranged from 5 to 7 hours.
The collection currently serves as the lounge area of the organisation and as a teaser for Eleusis 2023 European Capital of Culture. During the initiative, the pieces will be then installed in various locations, and after 2024 they will be donated to the contributing schools that participated in the laboratory.