Tackling a material I don't believe in

This project was the final assignment in the basics course plastics.  In the course material properties of plastics and the (im)possibilities of recycling plastics are thematized. Key elements of the plastics course are experimentation and designing within material limits. I came up with a lampshade made with recycled plastic bags.

Everything I learned in the plastics basic discouraged me to work with plastics. While I had an aversion against plastic before I wasn’t aware of the material limitations when it comes to recycling plastic. Since the quality of plastic decreases with every recycling cycle it can only be recycled a limited amount of times. So even with a perfect system in place which we are far from we would be left with a lot of plastic waste.

This is why I decided to work with found plastic. I set myself the restriction to not mix different plastic types with each other so the lamp shade can be recycled again. Recycable plastic (thermoplast) responds to heat, so I started to experiment with different plastics and different heat sources. While I had some interesting results from experimenting, I struggeled to translate the small samples into a cohesive shape. I had a breakthrough when I found that I can create shapes when heating up an aluminium bowl with a heat gun from underneath and layering plastic bags on top. This led to a decopatch effect, allowing me to control the heating process and to play around with color.

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