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Sungai Design Makes Waves with Debut Furniture Line from Recycled Plastic Waste

FDT Bureau

Sungai Watch, a non-profit organization based in Indonesia, recently unveiled the debut furniture line from its design studio, Sungai Design. This initiative aims to repurpose the massive amounts of plastic waste collected from Bali’s rivers on a daily basis. The flagship product of this collection is the Ombak lounge chair, a collaboration with American designer Mike Russek. Each chair is crafted from a sheet material made entirely from discarded plastic bags, with approximately 2,000 bags needed for its construction. Know more about it on FURNITURE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY (FDT).

Sungai Watch has been diligently working to combat ocean plastic pollution by deploying floating barriers along Indonesia’s rivers to capture waste. Over the past three years, they have installed 270 barriers and collected more than 1.8 million kg of plastic, resulting in a substantial stockpile of material. Recognizing the abundance of plastic bags in their collection efforts and their low future value, Sungai Watch decided to focus on creating useful products from this readily available resource.

According to the studio, the motivation behind Sungai Design’s furniture line is by emphasizing the importance of finding sustainable solutions for plastic waste. The Ombak lounge chair, available in variations with and without armrests, is manufactured in Bali using processes designed to minimize waste during production. The plastic bags undergo a thorough cleaning process before being shredded and heat-pressed into durable sheets.

Precision CNC cutting machinery is then used to carve out the chair components, minimizing material use and waste. The panels are connected using concealed metal structures, resulting in a visually lightweight form with a simple slatted construction. Although the chairs are available in different colours, slight variations in tone and texture occur due to the upcycling process, giving each piece a unique character.

The name Ombak, meaning wave in Indonesian, symbolizes Sungai Design’s commitment to cleaning up rivers and oceans. In addition to minimizing its carbon footprint, Sungai Design tracks the sources of the plastic used in its products and plans to release more items using the same material. As a social enterprise, part of its revenue will be donated to Sungai Watch to support ongoing river cleanup efforts in Indonesia and beyond.

Image credit: Sungai Watch




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