Evolve is a minimal chair created by London-based designer Tom Robinson. Made from 100% recycled plastic, the EVOLVE Chair is the 1st Edition in a series designed by Tom Robinson that aims to change the perception of waste materials. By designing and machining recycled plastics with care, craft and precision, Tom shows that waste materials can embody the same enduring qualities as natural timbers and stone. The piece is handmade in Tom Robinson’s London Workshop using a combination of hand craft, CNC milling and robust joinery.
Robinson focuses on providing simple and beautiful solutions to complex problems. Whilst researching for this project he discovered that in 2019, 54 million metric tons of Electronic Waste was produced globally, making it the fastest growing waste stream worldwide. With this figure expected to rise to 74 million metric tonnes by 2030, and recycled plastic in the furniture design industry often overlooked as a viable material of choice, Tom wants to reposition recycled plastic as a desirable, beautiful and enduring resource.
To do this, Tom Robinson chose to work with The Good Plastic Company, a pioneering European manufacturer who produce strong, high quality, 100% recycled plastic sheets. Black, plastic components from discarded laptops and computers (E-waste) are cleanly crushed, granulated and then fused into strong plastic panels. This process eliminates the carbon emissions, petroleum and artificial dyes commonly used for production of virgin plastics. This new reprocessed panel resembles something closer to a porous wood or stone, rather than something artificial. During early workshop tests with this material, Tom found that the deeper you machine beneath the panels smooth surface, darker semi-porous layers are revealed. These stone-like material qualities are vastly different to the visual perception of recycled plastic today, and have been intentionally machined to highlight the hidden beauty within this industrial ‘waste’ material.
Tom Robinson explains “By treating recycled materials with the same care, craft and precision as wood or stone, Evolve presents recycled plastic as a logical, attractive and robust material to build our futures. Importantly, this project shows how traditional woodworking skills and craftsmanship can be cleverly applied to new recycled materials. This provides a new outlet for experienced furniture makers and manufacturers to embody, and more importantly, evolve their craft.”