In the project Print Your City!, urban dwellers transform their plastic waste into raw material for public space, creating a circular stream within the city. This is achieved by recycling household plastic waste with robotic-3d-printing and producing components that upgrade the built environment through citizen involvement and the principles of circular economy. The city provides a suitable field for large, long-lasting and easy to reprocess applications for recycled plastic. At the same time, the technology of robotic-3d-printing enables a short recycling path and a zero waste production process that can combine modular repair and mass customisation; and can maximise the use and value of the material resources. Furthermore, involving citizens in the material collection and the design process increases recycling rates and results in customizable parts that fit the needs of the neighbouring area. This circular city strategy boosts the local economy by locally sourcing materials and locally producing goods. The built environment develops sustainably by accommodating the demand for plastic from local resources, and simultaneously solves municipal disposal problems and involves citizens in the production process of public space.
The New Raw is a research and design studio based in Amsterdam run by architects Foteini Setaki and Panos Sakkas focused on large-scale 3D printing and the closing of material cycles through circular models, mostly plastic waste in cities. For the project Print Your City, they collaborated with PlasticTwist, an open platform for plastic lifecycle awareness and monetization that provides crowdsourcing tools, blockchain-based facilities and a marketplace, amongst others. The process of the residency implied the engagement of a targeted community. Through a cycle of workshops, its aim was to educate people to move from waste to resource. The focus was put on the public space and the urban environment, initiating a citizen reflection on what could be done out of the revaluation of this plastic waste in a common benefit and rewarding engagement.
The final outwork is a locally-sourced and locally-produced massive piece of urban furniture, co-designed by the citizens in regard of their needs and 3DPrinted out of the community’s plastic waste. The goal of the residency was not the artwork in itself, but to use it as a statement to raise awareness on the potential value of recycled plastic as a relevant and marketable raw material to make money &/or build things.
For Plastic twists, the real challenge was of various nature. First in the linking of the physical to the virtual: how to provide a digital, relevant tool to turn raw material into digital, to material back again? How to reevaluate plastic waste material into a valuable trade good, currency, back into something beneficial? As they came in response to the expressed need of the population to change their habits in plastic consumption/recycling, they also needed to understand the social fabric behaviour, habits, needs, in order to give their tools, the right shape. The major interest of the artists was to enrich their Co-design methodology through the use of new technical opportunities. In PlasticTwist’s point of view, the residency had a good effect on PlasticTwist in boosting awareness of what is possible and made crystal clear the added value of involving creative innovators, such as The New Raw studio, in the research and innovation process in order to extend vision and potential.
Residency Final Video