Recycling Project and A New Approach To Developing A Brief…

Having considered the concept of recycling in more depth since my last post, I have decided that given the length of time I have to complete this project, I would be better off focusing on using the ‘Play and Creativity’ methods to produce a product or range of products, rather than trying to change views on the issues of recycling. With this in mind, I teamed up with a fellow Product Design and Field Module student and we discussed what the best approaches would be to designing using recycled materials. We quickly established that in order to consider recycling in terms of product design, we would most likely need to focus on finding  things which could be processed to individual standardised components, or things which could chemically be made into materials again.

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We decided to start our design process without a brief, instead focusing on what we could most commonly find to inform our brief. We went out into the city and collected materials. It quickly became clear that among the most commonly found items during these winter months were elastic bands and broken umbrellas. Within the  short walk down one Cardiff street we found  five umbrellas. Three were of the same make with all the same standard components, only varying in colour. By the end of our first day of collection, we had gathered around fifteen umbrellas. The majority of these were the large golf variety, with 100% polyester covers, orginally made in China. A few were the smaller variety, with the same materials but a slightly different spring mechanism. One had a looped handle and a more rounded dome cover made of 100% PVC.

During this walk we considered some of the properties provided by the materials in the umbrellas, these included; waterproof covers, breathable covers, covers which trap air/wind, lightweight covers, covers which can be folded to pocket size, toggle attachments on each corner of the cover, quick drying cover, flexible metal frame, lightweight metal pole, ergonomic handle, large strong spring.

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