Building Urban Spaces With 3D Printed Furniture From Plastic Waste

Amsterdam's latest street furniture: the XXX bench is produced using plastic waste

The Print Your City Project is transforming the city of Amsterdam by 3D printing urban furniture from plastic waste.

Autor*in Ana Galán Herranz, 12.19.17

The Print Your City Project is transforming the city of Amsterdam by 3D printing urban furniture from plastic waste.

According to the European Union “improving plastic design and plastic product design are all essential contributors to help achieve ‘zero plastic to landfill’ and move to a circular economy. Plastic products and plastic waste are two sides of the same coin and recycling already starts in the product design phase. Designers need to be involved in the reflection on the entire life cycle of products including the waste phase.” And that’s exactly what this project is doing.

Created by The New Raw, a research and design studio based in Rotterdam and run by the architects Foteini Setaki and Panos Sakkas, the XXX bench is the first prototype to come out of the Print Your City project. The project aims to give household plastic waste another use: transforming it into useful urban furniture, helping to create circular cities, and also raise awareness about our current waste-intensive ‘throwaway’ lifestyles. The project was launched in 2016  and it is part of the AMS Institute’s Circular City Program and is supported by TU Delft and AEB Amsterdam.

Created by architects using a large scale 3D printer, the benches are produced from reprocessed plastic pellets. Designed to grace the streets of the Dutch capital, the first few – which can fit up to four people – were installed in late October. Each are in the shape of a double-sized rocking chair and visitors need to use their energy to rock each other and find their balance, encouraging users to collaborate and also start a conversation.

Each weighs 50 kilograms and measures 150 centimetres long and 80 cm wide, is 100% recyclable and can be customised in shape and size as well as to include logos and messages. According to the project’s website, in Amsterdam alone, Amsterdammer create an average of 23 kilos of plastic waste annually – enough to 3D print a bench for every two residents each year.

After this bench, the architects are planning to move on to other kinds of urban furniture, to keep up the city’s circular stream going, engaging its citizens and emitting less CO2. Next step? Bus stops, playgrounds and recycling bins. 

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