The majority of umbrellas are not designed to last, with an average lifespan of 6 months. Anti (@antiwastedesign), by Mark Howells, disassembles umbrellas into their separate materials groups (e.g. plastics, metals, nylon) and uses them to create new products, such as desk and table lamps, giving them a second life.
What is Anti doing to tackle the growing 'fast interiors' problem?
We are an authentic circular economy brand. We design with waste that had a linear lifecycle and we transform it to have a circular lifecycle. Through our designs we try to show how waste can utilised as building blocks for new designs.
Our first products are focused on using discarded broken umbrellas. There are one billion umbrellas produced every year. They are not designed to last and they are not designed to be recycled. They have valuable metals, plastics and nylon that can be reused. We produce two innovative lamp designs using the umbrellas components.
I love these designs, but I do not want to be building them in 10 years’ time. Instead, I’d love our designs to highlight the issue, make the waste circular until the problem is solved at source by an improved design, a different system or both. Changing the design at source is also something we look at from the beginning when working with a particular waste stream. If the umbrella waste problem is solved, then there are plenty of other waste streams for us to focus on.
We also run a ‘take back’ scheme which allows our customers to return our products when they have finished with them. We can then reuse the various components into new designs. This is made even easier because each lamp is designed to be dismantled quickly.
What are your tips for limiting our impact when designing homeware pieces or decorating our homes?
Look beyond the trends. Don’t let that influence your use of a particular waste product or material. If you are reusing waste in your designs, try to focus on the basics of the material e.g., form, colour, texture and learn to unsee its original utility otherwise this will affect your decision making.
Also, anyone designing ethically or sustainably should look beyond the product, interior, home décor you are designing and think about what happens next. Ask yourself key questions, like:
‘Where does this/ these product(s) go next?’
‘How can you make sure they have a long life?’
‘How easily can they become something else easily afterwards?’
Who inspires you when it comes to decorating your own space?
I’m very impressed by the work Taiwanese design studio Miniwiz is producing, they create some very interesting interiors using post and pre-consumer waste.
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Cover image from Anti.