What Goes Around Comes Around
This collection has been inspired by the immense amount of plastic in our oceans
Designer and circular economy advocate Ella Doran has collaborated with communications designer and environmental campaigner Sophie Thomas on a new range of cushions featuring the duo’s bespoke Clean Up Camo textile design, which not only draws attention to the huge quantities of discarded plastic in our oceans, but uses it as inspiration for a series of beautiful products.
The collection has also been chosen to accompany the Design Museum’s current Waste Age: What can design do? exhibition, which tells the story of the environmental crisis. The London exhibition, which runs until 20th February 2022, explores how trash can be transformed into new resources and how design can help usher in a new age, where there is no such thing as waste.
The new collection from Ella and Sophie features photographic designs printed onto recycled fabric, made from post-consumer plastic – as are the range’s zips and cushion fillings – and re-spun into polyester, with the textile design featuring artful arrangements of ocean plastic collected by Sophie and photographed by Ella, who explains: “From a distance, the design is reminiscent of a colourful Italian mosaic tile, with the true nature of the objects only visible under close inspection.”
Sophie has been beach-cleaning and collecting waste plastic for several years. The pieces that kick-started the project were washed up by the tide on a favourite beach in Northern Spain. Whilst helping to keep the beach clean as an immediate priority, the waste plastics Sophie collected also evoked something more: “The particular rock formation of the area helped make the waste plastic pieces particularly smooth, almost like flat pebbles, whilst maintaining their original colour.”
Ella’s image-based products use colour and shape for her own-brand homewares and for products created for institutions such as Tate and YSP and brands including Waterford, Absolut and Habitat. She is the perfect partner for a collaboration to make creative use of the waste pieces. Together, they hope the new products will help tell the negative back-story of plastic pollution with a message of hope at the end: “Whilst the end-product is beautiful and has turned non-biodegradable pollutant waste into something positive, the message is still very much that it shouldn’t be there to start with! We hope that the life cycle of the new textile will carry that message forward into the future.”