Guest Blog: Wael Seaiby – Revolutionising the way we see plastic

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Named one of the Design Council’s top designers 2015, Wael Seaiby is an innovative designer whose exciting designs and strong environmental ethics are very close to our heart. Shortlisted for the New Design Awards 2015, he will also be at Clerkenwell Design Week in London in May. We are delighted that he has agreed to produce a guest blog post for us on his PLAG project – thank you Wael!

x04Wael Seaiby is a designer and maker who is revolutionising the way we look at mundane materials by turning them into beautiful design objects. In his work, he focuses on employing innovative and unconventional processing techniques in turning ubiquitous, everyday materials, into unique, handcrafted pieces. One such example is his distinguished PLAG collection in which discarded supermarket plastic bags are turned into precious vases and bowls. Evidently, many of the materials he ends up working with are either waste materials or industry by-products, which would otherwise end up in landfills. After the overwhelmingly successful launch of his debut PLAG collection last year, he will be launching his follow-up collection called Foarms at this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, so be on the lookout.

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One million plastic bags are used every minute around the world. An average of 93% of these bags end up in landfills. These bags are made from a plastic called HDPE, one of the greatest material discoveries of the last century. PLAG takes advantage of this free resource of HDPE; through a unique up-cycling process, it turns the valueless bags into valuable objects. Recycled plastic is often dismissed as cheap or tasteless, especially aesthetically. PLAG aims to challenge that notion by delivering a line of hand-worked vessels that are reminiscent of glass or ceramic craftsmanship. PLAG was awarded the Innovation Initiative Grant as well as the Enterprise Initiative Grant from the University of Edinburgh in 2014.