Lowry London

Liquid Plastic – Side Tables

These pieces were made for Form&Seek’s ‘Age of Man’ exhibition in Ventura Lambrate during Milan Design Week and are the result of an observation of our relationship with materials – particularly plastics. Generally, plastic products are considered disposable, consumable, and mass produced. The impact to the earth is often a wasteful pattern of consumption. This model results from our current psychology in that we consume without really caring for those object and its production, but that we are in pursuit of the endless circle of consumption.

My pieces are designed to challenge that narrative. To do this I started to relook at plastic and see it as something that I could use in a sculptural manner. I create a composite of liquid plastic (known as growing foam), marble dust, and pigment. The material has a very short setting time and is extremely durable afterwards. The restriction on it’s manipulation became an integral part of the designs. My works take a material that commonly perceived as ugly and disposable into something that is not mass produced, but crafted and unique.

Material + Process

The pieces are made from a very dense polyurethane foam mixed with marble dust. Polyurethane foam is a thermosetting polymer in two parts. When the parts are mixed together a reaction occurs and the resulting liquid sets very rapidly. This type of foam comes in varying degrees of hardness – it is commonly available for building applications and is relatively soft but it is also possible to produce a polyurethane foam capable of withstanding massive pressures (>400kg/m3).

Marble dust (calcium carbonate CaCO²) is made from pure marble rock and is no larger than 150 microns in particle size. The dust is a byproduct of the marble industry.

The composite created for these pieces has a very short working life – it must be poured within minutes and changes it’s structural properties avery second. This meant there was a very specific window in which it could be poured. Initialy, this appeared to be a constraint, but it soon became an integral part of the designs and led to the creation of each unique piece.