Some very singular alchemy goes on in London’s Glass lab - Diana Simpson transforms glass bottles into sophisticated furniture!
Diana Simpson Hernandez is a young designer originally from Mexico. Convinced of the often overlooked value of waste, she set up a special laboratory in the heart of London. The Glass lab is entirely dedicated to recycling bottles in Soho, where Diana has her design studio in the 19 Greek Street gallery.
According to a Major of London report, only 52% of waste from the industrial and commercial sectors is reused, recycled or composted.
"As a designer, I’m interested in waste as a potential resource for creating alternative economic systems that will help develop small businesses and support local communities," says Diana, who graduated from the Royal College of Art.
Glass lab starts by collecting used bottles from local bars and shops in Soho. They are happy to cooperate because it is free, efficient and non-polluting. A low consumption electric vehicle collects the bottles, which are immediately crushed on site to save space - broken glass takes up less space - and time.
Diana then reassembles the crushed glass in her laboratory, exploring colors and thicknesses to make a wide variety of objects. She uses plant bio-resin to bind the crushed glass and make a paste that can be molded into various shapes: floor tiles, outdoor or indoor lighting - even table tops. The paste hardens as it dries at room temperature and is very hard-wearing. Unlike conventional recycling processes, there is no need to melt the glass, which saves a significant amount of energy and enables the making of decorative objects through an economical and environmentally friendly process.
The sale of Diana’s products helps fund the laboratory and gives a trendy and colorful recycling style to both public and private institutions in Soho. The very exclusive Library Hotel has new translucent glass bar tops and multicolored mosaic tiles on the restroom floors.
The Glass lab is part of Diana Simpson’s larger vision to establish 5 "Waste Labs" - one for each of the top 5 categories of waste. Veolia UK is very interested in the initiative and shortly hopes to work with the designer on a new recycling program. It is one of the most encouraging initiatives in the British capital, where only 52% of waste from industrial and commercial sectors is reused, recycled or composted.
Find out more:
- Golondrina Design, Diana Simpson’s design platform
- The London Mayor’s report on business waste management
Main picture: TRASH Surface Bureau. 2014. All Rights Reserved.