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Room for change
Suzanne Jongmans

Rethinking Plastic, design with a mission

Rethinking Plastic shows products and projects by designers from all over the world who have approached the plastic crisis as a design challenge.

All week at Yksi Expo | Strijp-S

25 designers and companies present their innovative designs to challenge the status quo on plastics. Each product or project on display takes a unique approach to the plastic challenge, from bio-based packaging alternatives to recycled plastic toys and design furniture.

‘Rethinking plastic: design with a mission’ is an update of the exhibition that was briefly shown at Yksi Expo during the World Ocean Day last June, in collaboration with Searious Business and the Dutch Design Foundation. The website displays an extensive gallery of projects and products. The participating designers show that it is possible with creativity and courage to reconsider and rebuild our relationship with plastic. To ultimately leave a cleaner planet for future generations.

Shahar Livne

Shahar Livne dug up waste plastic from beaches in the Netherlands and Israel and layered it with minestone and marble dust, by-products from the coal mining and stone masonry industries. With heat and pressure she mimicked the geological process known as metamorphism, that changes the form and texture of existing rock. In the far future, when we have stopped producing plastic, we can mine this ‘Lithoplast’ from deep down.

Basten Leijh

A trash can that travels with you. Basten Leijh designed Flextrash, a fabric trash can made from recycled plastic bottles. Available in different colors and sizes. For the bathroom, in the car or at the campsite. He brings the product to the market with the company Mobile Waste Company.

Studio Thier&vanDaalen

The Plastic Mine
Ruben Thier & Iris van Daalen became fascinated by the shapes and colours of the residual material from a plastic processing factory.
This is how the idea arose to make interior products out of it: for example, a side table or a shelf in the bathroom. A kind of mining of industrial plastic waste.

Marco Federico Cagnoni

Plastic Culture
As a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, Marco Federico Cagnoni researched plants such as dandelions, chicory and salsify. With a high latex content, therefore suitable for both food and raw materials for bioplastic. Because why grow precious rice, potatoes, corn or cassava to produce disposable products? He also made a design for a large-scale, automated vertical farm that is jointly owned by local citizens.

Brodie Neill

Brodie Neill filled an hourglass with multicolour pieces of plastic, which he collected on the beach of Tasmania, where he comes from. In collaboration with NGOs, beachcombers and environmental organizations, he also does this with pieces of plastic from other polluted beaches around the world. In this way, the hourglass Capsule draws attention to this global problem. And acts as an alarm clock to wake us up.

Anne-Sophie Flores ( l’Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique)

Rethinking Plastice
Made from leftover corn cobs (Ölötl in the Aztec language). The French-Mexican designer Anne-sophie Floresj developed a biodegradable plate as an alternative to polystyrene that is often used in barbecues and for takeaway meals and hamburgers. In this way she also establishes a connection with her multicultural heritage and wants to contribute to environmental awareness in Mexico.

Basse Stittgen

How do you like your eggs?
In the eyes of Basse Stittgen, there is ambiguity in the egg: it is a symbol of the beginning of life, but we snatch it away in an instant, as a cheap item. Or we throw it away. And just like eggs, chickens have become an industrial product. As an alternative to the plastic egg cup, he made an egg cup from the shells and some whites of waste eggs. To remind us of the value of an ‘ordinary’ consumer product.


Mono-Material Carpet
Carpet is composed of various glued and bonded materials and therefore ends up with the waste. DSM-Niaga developed a carpet made of one material, polyester, that is easy to recycle and process into - again - carpet. Niaga (again backwards) is a design company that focuses entirely on reuse, in partnership with DSM.

Ineke Hans

Chops, A380 chair Ahrend, Happy Horse
Sheets of recycled plastic reminded Ineke Hans of products such as salami and sausage, so she made a composition of five different cutting boards. She also designed the A380 seat for Ahrend, consisting of two components, so easy to (dis) assemble. And both recyclable. The flexible back is made from Xenoy with recycled PET. From black recycled plastic, Ineke Hans designed the Black Beauties collection, including the rocking horse Happy Horse. Resistant to wind, water, salt, acid and UV light.

Ellen Willink

Etui van autogordels
Ellen Willink has been making EcoFashion for years: sustainable and fashionable products such as bags, in particular from discarded advertising and promotional material from companies and organizations. These products are partly made in social enterprises. Recently she designed a collection bags and cases made from car seat belts from the Porsche brand.

Fan Mo

Lezor is a razor handle made of composite material based on lemon peel and bio-derived resin. When purchasing a new set you will receive a discount if you return the used handles. They can then be collected and processed into new products. A design by Fan Mo, design engineering graduate at Imperial College in London.

Look for detail - Jenny Netten

Jenny Netten is a Rotterdam market woman with her own clothing line LookForDetail. She developed the Soup dress from recycled PET bottles and is working on the Plastic Soup plan to make fashion products from plastic waste in a factory in Rotterdam.

Dave Hakkens

Precious Plastic
Precious Plastic, an initiative by designer Dave Hakkens, develops free and open source machines, techniques, and digital infrastructure for people anywhere in the world to collaborate together and make a living transforming plastic waste into beautifully crafted products.

Pola Salicka

Can you see a forest in the palm?
Based on field research in Sumatra, Indonesia, Pola Salicka developed a biodegradable composite material from discarded coconut shells and other vegetable material that can be grown on the same plantation. In this way, with the help of traditional practices and natural systems, the monoculture of large plantations can be transformed.

Plastic Whale by Vepa

Barnacle is a series of felt lamps made from PET bottles that have been fished in the canals of Amsterdam. Last year Plastic Whale introduced a collection of office furniture, designed by Lama Concept and produced by Vepa, and added acoustic panels and lamps. Recycled plastic is used in all products, especially in the form of felt.

Minyang Liu

Plastic Town
On January 1, 2018, China stopped importing plastic waste. With great consequences for Wen’an, the recycling capital of all that plastic for years. Minyang Liu made a video on location to visualize the consequences. And discovered that the processing of plastic is incredibly complex and not necessarily environmentally friendly. There are many conflicting interests involved: people, environment, politics, economy.

Nathan Vrebos

Blowing Plastic
Cheap, mass production, counterfeit, poor quality, polluting. Plastic has a bad image. We throw it away en masse and attach more value to objects made of wood, stone or metal. With the Blowing Plastic project - and a lot of time and labor - the Belgian design student Nathan Vrebos shows that plastic can also be beautiful, durable, high-quality and with a lot of design freedom. He raises the question: is the material the problem or are we using it incorrectly?

Recycled Island Foundation

For a plastic free sea!
Recycled Island Foundation in Rotterdam developed a kind of "trap" to collect plastic waste in rivers, lakes and ports. The material is recycled into elements for a floating park or processed into a sofa with a 3D printer. Building materials are also being developed. The foundation has been in existence for five years and is now active in several countries.


Piano table
Polimeer circular design studio developed the material Polimarble, made of plastic waste but with a marble-like look. To show that recycled plastics can also be very beautiful. There is now a range of Polimarble products, including a piano table with an upper side of this material.

Studio Marc

Mealworms eat packaging material such as polystyrene (polystyrene). And can then be ground into food to be served to hungry consumers. Studio Marc came up with the idea for this cycle from trash to treat. Eat your own waste with the BoeteBurger!

Suzanne Jongmans

Mind over Matter
Suzanne Jongmans’ werk is interdisciplinair; ze is coupeuse, beeldhouwer én een kostuumontwerper. Vervolgens zet ze als fotograaf de driedimensionale beelden om naar het platte vlak. Ze gebruikt daarbij allerlei materialen die ze vindt in haar leefomgeving, zoals verpakkingsmaterialen. Foam staat prachtig op de huid en werkt – net als bij het oorspronkelijk gebruik - als een bescherming voor haar modellen. Maar ziet er tegelijkertijd heel verfijnd uit, bijna als zijde.

Nadja Wering

I used to be her garment
Inspired by the many examples of plastic recycling, fashion designer Nadja Wering bought an oven for fusing plastic clothing. After much experimenting, stable, usable and beautiful shapes and color mixes began to emerge. With this project she hopes in turn to offer inspiration to others, and certainly also to the clothing industry, to find ways for upcycling.

Diederik Schneemann

Matchboxes, postcards, perfume bottles, pewter trinkets. And smurfs. Looking for interesting materials to work with, Diederik Schneemann came across discarded collections. They represent a different value than, for example, marble or bronze; think of love, effort and dedication. They resound a certain time, evoking feelings and early memories. Under the name ‘Cherished’, Schneemann transforms the collections - each with their unique quality - into a new reality, with a new meaning.

Bas van Abel

Fairphone 3
The mission of Fairphone is to combine sustainable design with ethical values. This social enterprise was set up by Bas van Abel with the help of the Waag Society in Amsterdam. The mobile device developed by Fairphone contains no conflict minerals like gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten, and the plastics that are used are recycled. Also fair labour conditions for the workforce along the chain of production are guaranteed. The latest version is one of the first modular smartphones on the market.

Ploy Thongchamnan

Agar bioplastic, the experiment
Agar or agar agar is a binder extracted from the red algae species. Ploy Thongchamnan, product design student at the Luca College of the Arts in Belgium, experimented with agar as a bioplastic. She developed a do-it-yourself kit with agar filaments and an extruder to get started with bioplastic at home. Together with an open source platform to share knowledge with a wide audience.

NS / VerdraaidGoed

NS upcycle
VerdraaidGoed supports changemakers who share their vision for a world without wastage. With their validated approach they ensure that they take concrete steps towards a future-proof organisation that fits within a circular economy. They inspire, enthuse, advise and realise. With the project NS-Upcycle they turn the old timetables from the Dutch Railways into useful and surprising products, like notebooks, games, picture frames, serving trays and lampshades.

Yksi Expo

Yksi Expo is a platform that brings Dutch Design, technology, architecture and other creative disciplines together, with the emphasis on social design, sustainability and circular design. In the beautiful, industrial space of no less than 600 m2 in the very heart of Strijp-S, Leonne Cuppen (Yksi Connect) has her office, but also there are work spaces for (young) designers who provide constantly changing and innovative projects and presentations.