Pearson Lloyd, a design studio headquartered in east London, recently teamed up with Amsterdam- and London-based startup Batch.Works — which specializes in 3D-printed, distributed manufacturing of consumer goods from recycled materials — to make a collection of desk accessories for Bene, the Austrian office brand. Bene has given the name bFRIENDS to the product line, which is now available for purchase. Batch.Works produced the bFRIENDS collection entirely from recycled food packaging composed of polylactic acid (PLA).
Pearson Lloyd co-founder, Tom Lloyd, commented to Dezeen, the architecture and interior design magazine, “…in nearly 20 years [3D printing has changed] from an exotic and expensive tool that we used to replace hand-carved form models…to an affordable way of prototyping rapidly with the studio.” Julian Vaissieres, CEO and founder of Batch.Works, told Dezeen, “We are really proud of the fact that the products made at our new Amsterdam site are as close to net-zero as you can imagine.”
The bFRIENDS line consists of 21 different products, which come in 10 standard colors, though custom colors are also available upon request. The products include pen cups, pen holders with individual slots for each pen, cell-phone stands, and stationary trays. Reminiscent of the production process behind the upcycled chair we covered last month, made by The New Raw, the bFRIENDS collection is manufactured according to a method whereby the printer nozzle traces each product’s shape in a single continuous line.
In a press release for Bene, Luke Pearson, co-founder of Pearson Lloyd, observed, “Using 3D-printed post-consumer bioplastic fits into the new models of production and consumption that we all need to embrace in our search for viable responses to the climate emergency.” CEO of Bene, Michael Fried, added, “The circular manufacturing model being pioneered by companies such as Batch.Works offers real hope for the sustainable future of design and production — and this collection is proof that it works.”
Fried hits upon the most exciting aspect of the bFRIENDS accessories with his mention of the planned circular economy involved. Bene will make it possible to send the products back once they’ve reached the end of their life-cycle, or even simply drop them off at a Bene showroom. After that, the discarded products will be returned to Batch.Works, to be recycled into source material for new production runs. Built into this concept is the color scheme for bFRIENDS: each product’s solid color tone will make it all the easier to transform the returned goods into “new” source material. The more the consumer side of 3D printing evolves, the more apparent it’s becoming that the greatest advantage to the technology — for makers, sellers, and buyers — will involve products embedded in circular economies.
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