During FIND – Design Fair Asia 2023, which took place at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, from September 21-23rd, the Emerge@FIND 2023 exhibition showcased an impressive collection from emerging Southeast Asian design talent from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Among the designers, Singapore-based Karyn Lim, founder of Karyn Lim Studio, showcased So Plast!c small table as a functional and artistic piece that challenges preconceptions of plastic waste and advocates a more eco-conscious approach to design.
Transforming Waste into Art
Plastic, once celebrated as “the material of a thousand uses,” has undergone a significant transformation in public perception. In recent years, it has become synonymous with pollution and environmental harm. This led Karyn to embark on a creative endeavour that alters this narrative, harnessing the potential of plastics to exist as permanent pieces of design art for homes and commercial spaces instead of being discarded into landfills.
In a world where plastic has become an environmental adversary, Karyn aims to spotlight plastics and give it a new lease of life.
“It’s just that sometimes we don’t use it because it takes a lot of work to clean and sort. So these are made from food and packaging waste that have been cleaned, sorted, and then broken down into small pieces and then re-melted into new panels,” Karyn shared.
Karyn Lim is an industrial designer based in Singapore. Experimenting across a variety of materials, the studio creates in collaboration with brands and craftspeople. Studio Karyn Lim has launched products ranging from objects, furniture, clothing, and accessories.
In a departure from her previous EMERGE@Find exhibit, where she showcased the ethereal abstract sculpture “Lightness of Being,” handcrafted from copper wire, Karyn opted to present a functional furniture piece this time around—a testament to her versatility as a designer.
Each So Plast!c small table utilises approximately 6kg of plastic waste, equivalent to 2,000 bottle caps. Recyclable plastics from food and drink packaging are collected, sorted, cleaned, and processed into useable raw material for the production of eco-polymer sheets that can be used to make new products.
“These products have changed their perception of the potential of plastic waste and its possibility to exist as a permanent, perhaps statement, piece in their space,” Karyn added.
Rooted in sustainable designs, each table has the potential to be recycled again at the end of its lifespan as a table, even though it is worthwhile noting that the process of recycling consumes energy as well.
Karyn’s innovative designs for So Plast!c pay homage to neoplastic principles of geometry, asymmetry, and the use of positive and negative elements. The compositions feature horizontal and vertical lines positioned in layers or planes that do not intersect; a characteristic typical to the movement.
So Plast!c was first launched at SaloneSatellite during Milan Design Week 2023.