Upcycle: Sea Chair by Studio Swine and Kieren Jones

By now we've all heard about the gigantic floating garbage patches that can be found in the world's oceans. They're called 'gyres'.
Ocean Gyres - graphic by Studio Swine
Although these gyres are mainly the sad evidence of our human incapability of dealing with our own waste, i must say nicknaming them 'Pacific trash vortex' makes my imagination run wild. With my mind's eye i'm envisioning slowly circling masses of plastic debris stretching from horizon to horizon, so dense you could almost step on them, and with the occasional top of a shampoo container sticking out.

That that's not in fact a very realistic view of the situation, i found out with a little Wikipedia search. (short recap: the patches are not visible through satellite photography -so no use looking for them on google maps-, and mainly consist of plastics that are disintegrated into tiny polymer particles suspended in the upper water column -plastic soup-)

Photograph found on Dezeen

Enter the SEA CHAIR project by Studio Swine and Kieren Jones: collecting plastic debris out of the seas to be made into designer stools.
Extensive motivation of the project and information about the garbage patches can be found here on the Studio Swine website.

Sea Chair by Studio Swine and Kieren Jones
Image found on Dezeen

I first saw a presentation of this project at the RCA-exhibit during the Salone last year. It was one of the few things i saw that week that left a lasting impression on me in my scatterbrained state of early pregnancy.
What i remember most vividly is the gorgeous plans of the differently sized vehicles -ranging from hand-pulled beach trolleys to huge fishing trawlers- that could be used to harvest the plastic and the calculations on how many stools each ship could make in the course of a day or year.

image courtesy of Studio Swine

Can you imagine?
This would make the perfect solution to our ocean's waste patches: we would set up a few gigantic trawlers to harvest the plastic waste and turn it into wicked chairs before sailing back into the harbour. Easy as that. It might take a few years decades, but then the ocean would not be toxic anymore, but nice and clean and blue again.
Because of the tiny particulates that make up the trash vortexes it might not be that simple. But even if the Sea Chair project only filters out the larger pieces of debris, this still helps a great deal to make the oceans cleaner.

image courtesy of Studio Swine

When it comes to the design of the finished product, i love the roughness and the color (which is determined by the color of the collected debris). The little tag with the location-coordinates of the found debris shows great attention to detail.

At the time i was slightly disappointed the team only came up with one model of the chair (a little stool, in fact), but i don't care about that so much anymore, i can understand Studio Swine's preference to keeping it simple. Especially since they made the whole project open source: a detailed description of how to make the stools can be found on their website (here), inviting everybody who has the will to pick up some debris to build furnaces and produce their own stools.

The description is accompanied by this stylish video:
(which i would advice you to watch full screen)

Somewhere in the back of my mind an urge is stirring. The urge to scavenge the beach for plastic debris, build myself a furnace and create my own little stool factory.
Being realistic: i hope a lot of people share this urge and stools will soon be widely available so i can just purchase one.


My name is Jana, this is where i collect things