Creative Design and Storytelling Through Recycled Materials - In Conversation with Dutch Design & Innovation Studio PLANQ.
Let us introduce you to PLANQ, a sustainable innovation and design studio, driven by a trio of divergent thinking creatives. Meet Anton, Dennis and Joris.
To bridge the gap between sustainable innovation and environmental awareness.
As part of our recycled materials month on Tactile Trends we are asking how we can unlock the creative potential of recycled materials. It seems PLANQ may have the answer.
Continue reading to learn how PLANQ are turning material waste streams into inspiring stories and creative products through their founding design principles of 'People, Planet, Profit'.
Dont miss the Q&A with Designer and Co-founder Anton Teeuw at the end.
Tactile Trends discovered PLANQ's furniture line Rezign at a recent visit to tradeshow Munich Fabric Start.
Rezign uses leftover textile waste such as old jeans, army uniforms, recycled coffee bags, flax and hemp to make furniture.
Images Left to Right:
// Close-up of the 'Unusual Utility Chair' made from reclaimed denim
// The Unusual Chair animated with the reclaimed textiles it is made from
// Shredded textiles from Dutch army uniforms, the raw material for the Unusual Army Chair.
// The Unusual Army Chair made from upcycled Dutch Army uniforms
During Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week PLANQ designed a recycled textile backdrop. The event took place in an old bank which PLANQ took inspiration from by making the backdrop using recycled suits from the bank. To further close the loop the backdrop wall was upcycled after the show and then made into furniture giving the materials a third life!
Drawing on the location as a storytelling prompt PLANQ are able to raise awareness and enagage us in a creative conversation about recycled materials.
Images Left to Right:
// Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week
// Recycled textile backdrop by PLANQ - made by upcycling old ABN Amro bank suits
// Close up of recycled textile wall by PLANQ
// Model stood against recycled textile backdrop by PLANQ
The storytelling continues as PLANQ reclaim jute coffee bag materials to make furniture for a co-working space called Start up Village.
'Right now most of the coffeebags that enter the Amsterdam harbour get burned. But 65% of it is still interesting for recycling. We make these leftovers into valueable products like this and show the endless possibilities of it.'
In Conversation with Anton Teeuw of PLANQ
Planq create design concepts based on the principles of ''People, Planet & Profit''. Why are these particular principles important to Planq and how do you translate them throughout your design process?
I believe it is important to have a harmony between these three principles to create a product that will last, a contemporary design product, but as well as a statement on its own. We try to create storytellers that inspire and shock at the same time, like in our Rezign label. We show how else you can deal with leftovers by innovative ways of material use, like old jeans or army clothing pressed into elegantly formed chair seats. By this we not only create a series of products which are telling an environmentally responsible message; the products itself are part of the solution as well. So, design for the world of tomorrow, healthier, less waste and bridging the gap with contemporary design for a payable price.
In your project Rezign, you upcycle leftover textiles like old jeans, army uniforms, recycled coffee bags, flax and hemp to make furniture. How did you source these surplus textiles? Can you briefly explain the process of turning scraps of textiles into the stable forms needed for chairs and tables?
The surplus of these textiles differs, sometimes we can use textile leftovers from textile recycling companies, which otherwise will be used for insulation, landfill or worse. But on the other hand we always try to close the loop of companies with clothing overstock or leftovers. Together with them companies we turn their ‘waste’ into profitable design furniture back in their offices. In this way the overstock clothing will never hit the mountain of waste and will be brought back in a second life.
Which Planq events/projects do you feel has raised the most awareness in bringing your focus of sustainable innovation and environmental awareness together and why?
One good example is a project we did for a sustainable fashion agency during the Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week. We designed and built a backdrop wall for the one evening fashion show. At the end it had to be removed again and mostly at this point, thrown away. In our design process we decided to design it in a way we could reuse it in the end.
The show took place in a corporate bank building so we recycled suits from the old company of this bank itself and included them in the backdrop wall as a raw material. The non-woven raw material was a really good decorating material but storyteller as well for this evening. A few weeks after the show the ‘backdrop wall’ was then tuned into a set of our ‘Unusual Chairs’ and can be visited at the bank right now.
What advice would you give to emerging and established brands and designers that want to raise environmental awareness through design?
I think it is important that the reason to start is really from inside-out. Always start but don’t expect you can run from A-Z you always have to hit B and anything in between first, any step you make is one in the right direction.
What is next for Planq?
Mainly we are focusing on our Rezign label right now, growing the family of products. There are a lot of very nice projects, custom made projects where we designed and built within the range; reusing rubber tires into lamps and old gym floors into tables or even whole interiors.
Can you recommend any sources of inspiration to our readers for circular design and innovative and sustainable practices (besides Planq of course:)
To me Parley is very inspiring, an organization fighting against the pollution of the oceans in any way. They gather a lot of awareness and inspiration by collaborating with big brands where they reuse ocean plastic into fashion for example. On the other hand i am always inspired by designers like Ozwald Boateng, being extraordinary in designs and mixing 2 old traditions, tailoring and fashion or even moving the whole market to a new movement or period of time.
Inspiring stuff...thankyou PLANQ!
Recycled materials give us great scope for storytelling and creative communication but this circular system is only as strong as the partnerships behind the products.
PLANQ are so effective in delivering on their message because of their leading design principles of 'People, Planet, Profit'. Their work serves on multiple levels by considering many aspects like material source, design, functionality and context (eg, recycling bank suits for installations within a bank). As designers and consumers alike we can aspire to PLANQ'S circular and inclusive approach proving that products can tell many stories and most importantly live many lives.
If you are a designer or brand what are your leading design principles?
If you are a consumer have you questioned how many lives your possessions could have?
Leave a comment below or follow us on social media to start the conversation.
To read more articles from our recycled materials month click here, we will be adding to the collection throughout January so be sure to check back or sign up to our newsletter for the full update at the end of the month.