Credit: Q Designers

Designer industrial waste...

Posted on 20 July 2017.

Based in Prague, Q Designers turns industrial waste into original designer pieces. It has even created a lighting collection from the waste generated by road signs!

Jindřich Fialka, the founder of the Czech design studio Q Designers, stands also behind the mark Contiqua, which uses design to reduce waste. Contiqua deals with the design of original products from leftovers from industrial production.

One light saves the leftovers from the production of 20 to 30 traffic signs.

Lighting from old road signs

The first company to give them a commission in 2014 was 3M, the American multinational known in particular for two iconic brands - Scotch and Post-it. One of the great innovative products designed by its researchers is the 3M Diamond Grade™ Reflective Sheeting used in the production of traffic signs because of its remarkable weather resistance and high visibility.

During the industrial process, the shapes of the panels - squares, triangles, circles - are cut from the sheeting, leaving lots of unusable off-cuts. It is a waste in economic but above all in ecological terms because what’s left is non-biodegradable and not recyclable industrial waste.

To avoid the leftover waste being dumped in landfills, Contiqua came up with an idea – to use the reflective waste in lighting design. They developed the "Infinite Light" collection of lampshades and light fittings. Modern, designer lighting from industrial waste. A single lamp uses the leftovers from the production of 20 to 30 traffic signs!

These lights have been fitted in 3M’s Center for innovation in Prague and also in the capital’s Center for Innovation InnoCrystal. Better still they found a home in the Czech pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan!

Design serving ecology

Q Designers now collaborates with numerous other global brands to enhance their industrial waste. For example, the team has designed a collection of wallets, card holders and smartphone covers from the leather scraps left over from the Wiesner-Hager Group's furniture production.

Jindřich Fialka has a new approach to design – he sees it as a tool for positive innovation as finding solutions to ecological issues and promoting the circular economy. Industrial waste definitely has a promising future!

Find out more:

When industrial waste turns into art