Plastic: Material for Modern Interiors and Consumer Products

Plastic: Material for Modern Interiors and Consumer Products

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The built environment, architecture and the interior have known various historic periods in which they were dominated by a set of specific materials, their production and construction requirements.  Twentieth-century material culture has been deeply influenced by the application of plastic, in the interior and even more widely in consumer products. After the invention of Parkesine (Celluloid) in 1855, Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in the 1870s, arguably the biggest breakthrough was the invention of the first synthetic plastic ‘Bakelite’ by Leo Baekeland in 1907. Since then and especially after WWII, many types of plastic have been developed. While all traditionally derived from petroleum, today’s research focusses on natural or recycled raw materials. The growing concerns about sustainability has called into question many aspects of the old production processes, as well as consumer behaviour. Issues such as re-use, re- and upcycling, Cradle 2 Cradle and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) have taken centre stage in the current discourse. Awareness has increased on how to deal with existing materials and products, and how to design our future environment. This collaborative project will consist of an international conference, workshops and tours on March 5th-9th 2018 in Antwerp. It aims to further inform young designers and professionals about the use of old and new plastics by providing 5-day-programme of theoretical and historical information, combined with workshops dedicated to restoration, re-use and creation.

A collaboration of the University of Antwerp (Interior Design, Monument Care, Conservation & Restauration), ADAM Brussels Design Museum, Docomomo International Scientific Committee on Interior Design, Docomomo Belgium and Netherlands, and the TU Delft.

A2I researcher working on project: Zsuzsanna Böröcz

Image source: ADAM Design Museum Brussels