GoodWaste explores design through material leftovers
Launching its collection as part of Selfridges’ Bright New Things, the London-based collective proposes a new model for circular, super local design manufacturing
Selfridges presents the latest installment of Bright New Things, an initiative born in 2018 to support and celebrate emerging talent with a focus on sustainability and innovation. Closely linked with the London department store’s Project Earth programme (cementing its commitment to a new business model based on more sustainable and responsible retail), Bright New Things offers a novel outlook on food, homeware and fashion.
Part of the store’s selection is GoodWaste, a London-based brand founded by Ambra Dentella, Ewan Alston and Rafael Muldal el Baz, a group of RCA Product Design Graduates whose homeware pieces feature marble offcuts, leftover concrete and stone from building sites and other found and recycled materials which the collective reimagines into contemporary objects.
The project was kickstarted by a brief the designers worked on during their studies, which involved exploring and designing a response to the area of Park Royal in West London (one of Europe’s largest industrial sites). ‘While exploring, the three of us shared the insight that there was an incredible amount of high-value and diverse materials that were leaving the area every day as waste; most of which were offcuts from manufacturers who simply had no business-need for a piece of that size,’ explains Alston. Their first response to this observation was a new model of localised circular manufacturing and a collection of objects created using waste materials sourced from the skips of Park Royal manufacturers. The inaugural collection primarily featured marble offcuts (‘we felt it was particularly amazing that such beautiful pieces of marble were considered waste,’ observes Alston), and the pieces were noticed by Selfridges who supported the project and helped the trio with a launch in 2019.
Now presenting their second collection for Selfridges, GoodWaste has looked at the store itself and the surrounding area to source new waste materials, creating an impressive material library as the starting point for the designs. As well as a series of perforated steel sheets that had been stripped out from a recent pop-up shop (which inspired two different lamp designs), the group also used rubble sourced from building sites around the store to make a bowl, waste Corian sourced from West London manufacturers and wax from nearby pubs, restaurants and churches which became a series of candles. This was an initial step towards a ‘super local’ production loop, the brand’s ultimate goal.
‘Finding manufacturers that are happy to work with reclaimed materials is a real challenge,’ continues Alston. Another challenge, he notes, is to design around the imperfections of a certain found material, something that has at the same time inspired the group to test their design skills and approach in a new way. ‘In terms of creativity, it can actually help,’ he says. ‘We enjoy the challenge of figuring out the most interesting ways of working with just one material, and with local production methods. It forces us to be more creative, as we can’t just default to the "normal" means of designing or producing.’ §