An 8-week-laboratory involving more than 700 kids aged 5-14 by the design studio The New Raw resulted a vibrant new collection of sustainable play-furniture. An initiative concerning the designation of Elefsina’s city as “2023 European Capital of Culture”.
As part of the ongoing research initiative by The New Raw, “Print Your City”, during this laboratory, 240kg of plastic was gathered from the kids, recycled and transformed into a collection of 8 self-standing swinging benches. “GLYPH” pays tribute – with a twist – to the archetypal shapes of building blocks found in the ancient ruins of the city” as the team states.
-text by the architects
Rotterdam-based design studio The New Raw has collaborated with local school kids to design GLYPH — a vibrant new collection of sustainable play-furniture for Elefsina 2023 European Capital of Culture.
As part of the ongoing research initiative Print Your City, which explores the concept of applying robotic 3D printing to plastic waste as a way to re-design and locally built urban space, the project is the result of a 8-week-laboratory hosted in the Greek city, involving more than 700 kids aged 5-14 from the region and welcoming over 1,000 visitors in total, with its focus on the key principles of circular economy.
Following an educational tour based on a pragmatic approach and exploring ways to recycle discarded plastic, local children were heavily involved in the design process and were invited to create drawings, which were later scanned, digitally processed and engraved on the new furniture of the city. The name of the collection, which comes from the Greek word γλυφή (carving), refers to ornamental engravings of messages or symbols on ancient temples.
In this way, The New Raw explores co-creation by employing digital craftsmanship: school kids become authors of their own cities by donating their waste material and creative input in the form of drawings.
At the end of the laboratory, 240 kg of plastic was recycled and transformed into a collection of 8 self-standing swinging benches that can function independently or in a playscape when composed in groups.
The iconic shape of the bent blocks pays tribute – with a twist – to the archetypal shapes of building blocks found in the ancient ruins of the city and allows the benches to swing. Conceived as an easy-to-apply system of play furniture to activate empty lots of the industrial city of Elefsina or other environments lacking public space, the monolithic elements are light and portable, and can be arranged in multiple ways to build a colourful and unexpected open-air playground.
“Designed to inspire spontaneous behaviour, GLYPH encourages playfulness and increases the bonds between users of all age groups through involvement, inclusion and interaction”
— explain the designers Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki.
Each geometrical piece is unique thanks to the engraved kids’ drawings and is produced in three different dimensions and colours – wheat yellow, mint green, and water blue.
The furniture was made primarily from rPP and rPE plastics commonly used in bottle caps. Collected specifically for this purpose, the plastic waste was sorted, washed and shredded before being melted and extruded with colour pigments to create the swinging benches. Printing time for each piece ranged from 5 to 7 hours.
The collection currently serves as the lounge area of the organisation and as a teaser for Eleusis 2023 European Capital of Culture. During the initiative, the pieces will be then installed in various locations, and after 2024 they will be donated to the contributing schools that participated in the laboratory.
Credits & Details
Project: Mystery 64: GLYPH – 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture
Design: The New Raw (Panos Sakkas, Foteini Setaki)
Commissioned by: Panos Sakkas, Foteini Setaki, Stavroula Tsafou, Frank Cheng-Huang Lin, Dafni Georgoula
Photography: Alina Lefa, Aspa Koulira
Video: Philippe Charpentier
Music: Byron Katritsis
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