Treasured Waste

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? I’ve previously posted about garbage becoming art, and how transformative the hands of an artist can be. Although there is a special and significant role of fine art in this world, some may argue that art – just for art’s sake – is a form of consumption that cannot necessarily be repurposed. Art pieces are meant to prosper, but what comes of it when the life cycle is over? Unfortunately it becomes trash, just like any other product.

Insert a design company called Gomi. They’re currently still on Kickstarter (check it out here), but they are selling portable speakers made out of 100% recycled plastic. Not only do they look mesmerizing, but they are all handcrafted – every single piece is completely unique. In this day and age, it’s inevitable that we all have clothing, accessories, tech gadgets, and more, that are all mass produced. As someone who despises matching other people, I avidly seek out thrift stores and original-esq pieces that are curated to my lifestyle. So, me, being someone who clearly has individuality issues, this company speaks to me in many ways.

Not only is their philosophy of sustainability fantastically refreshing, the process of their work really speaks to their passion and craft. Exhibit A: they hand collect all of the flexible plastic (plastic bags being one of the worst cases of non-recyclability today) around their city in Brighton, UK; once collected, they melt it down (about 100 bags per speaker) and press it in their molds; each piece is then signed by the artist that creates it, adding, yet again to the uniqueness factor.

I really hope this company succeeds in their fundraising goal. It’d be amazing to see this product shake up the art and design industry!

Packaging as a product


It seems like everything has been invented. At least most of the things we use on a daily basis. When was the last time we were so blown out of the water by a product that the whole world actually changed? I’m talking, man on the moon, origin of the internet, kind of monumental moments.

Doesn’t seemed to be very progressive as of late. Sure, no one has reinvented the wheel, but we have Squatty Potties. Soooo, the industry seems to be moving in a life-altering direction, right? (That was extremely sarcastic in case anyone thought otherwise)

Anyways. I’ve seen a slow increase of packaging-centric products enter the market within the past year. A beer company in Florida created six-pack rings that can be eaten by marine life. Chiquita now has a sticker that can be used to track where that individual banana came from all over the globe. A wine company created augmented reality (AR) bottle labels that features characters speaking to you:

Now, clearly the fruit and alcohol markets have stepped up their games. But what’s next? We don’t know. However, packaging is increasingly a more integral part of why a product is actually purchased or not. As sustainability becomes more and more important – especially to young consumers – we see companies allocating extra time to their packaging, and not just the contents.

QR codes “died” a few years back, but with the fairly new iOS11 update for Apple products, users can simply snap a picture on their camera and pull up a QR code’s information. Before this update, you’d have to subject yourself to ad-infested apps that essentially took up space on your home screen for only a 2 minute usage every few months. So, with the ease-of-access modernized, these simple yet effective coding mechanisms could revolutionize the new-wave of packaging to come.

I’m not saying edible beer can rings are equivalent to Facebook or the Spork (very revolutionizing, guys). But with things like this, we could be heading into a whole new product sector – taking the packaging and making it its own product. Check out the new Loop startup that just announced its eco-friendly platform for 2019. Packaging no longer has to be purely disposable, wasteful, and obsolete. Now that’s pretty world-changing.

Every day. Sustainability. Proven.

As I’ve transitioned from Industrial Design into CMF Design, more often than not, I’ve received skepticism. Doubts about the field itself, whether the subject matter has a weight in an already saturated art industry, or the fact that most people think it is pure fluff. Whenever someone asks me to describe what I do, I struggle to find words that can capture what Color, Materials, and Finishes is all about. Sure, we choose color. Sounds easy. Yes, we pick materials. Anyone can do that, right? A few of us would beg to differ. But how can I describe to people what the field is truly about? I finally found a company I can use as an example that has made CMF an integral part of their design, business plan, and way of life. Nespresso.


My mother recently bought a machine and has absolutely raved about it since the day she opened the package a few months ago. I had the biggest sneaking suspicion it was just like any other overpriced coffee machine you could buy. Until I tried it today.

The machine itself is great. Nothing to really report on there. Seems easy to use, well made, and efficient. I make a cappuccino and my mom starts taking the discarded pods from the back of the machine and placing them into a plastic bag with a mailing address on the front. My mom has never been a stickler for recycling in the past, so I ask what it was. She explains to me how Nespresso takes back all of the used pods to be reprocessed. I’m fascinated. I research the company and find a campaign titled “capsule end-of-life.” I’m not sure if that phrase is still used, but check out the hyperlink. They have great visuals accompanied by concise and well-done content.

Their pods were chosen to be made out of aluminum for several reasons. One of the biggest being its flexibility in application and recyclability. Nespresso has created a business plan that was founded on the premise of cyclical thinking. More than probably 90% of the time, a company sells a product to a consumer, and never sees it again. A company is not responsible for the way a product is disposed of; completely defeating the purpose of those “green” materials they invested in towards the beginning of the process. Nespresso is changing that mindset and now succeeding at the most efficient and truly sustainable way of business. And I am so happy to be able to geek out about their company to the next culprit who unknowingly asks about my studies!