Dezeen Magazine

Plastic Relics by Committee for Cibone Editions

Tokyo 09: London designers Committee launch a collection of lacquered containers with plastic lids for design brand Cibone Editions in Tokyo this week.

dzn_Plastic Relics by Committee 15

Called Plastic Relics, the collection envisages a time in the 27th century when today's discarded plastic components become objects of value and interest.

Each box incorporates a found plastic component as its lid.

A hand-made lacquered container is formed by extruding the profile of this plastic piece.

Tokyo Designers Week continues until tomorrow, 3 November.

Here's some text from Committee:


Being fond of using devices of the imagination to aid their search for original work, Committee has chosen to place themselves in a future age, (perhaps a post-apocalyptic one) for this project. Oil has run out and the material world is no longer as we know it. The left over plastic items, which today we take for granted, are a source of fascination and archaeological interest, perhaps even great value.

This approach prompted Committee to select examples of humble plastic parts that could possibly come to represent the relics of this age and imagined them as strange curios that might inspire a craftsman of the time to utilise them in a far more precious way than the one they were intended for.

Released from their intended service and isolated from their 'sibling' components, the functional detail of these plastic parts becomes pure abstract decoration and the items become venerated for their mystery instead of being overlooked and discarded.

Committee’s instinct was to suggest that this fictional craftsman might choose to re-use each item as a decorative lid for a series of ornamental tabletop containers, since this would show them off adequately to the 27th century viewer.

In juxtaposition to these once mass-produced curios, the lower half of the boxes would be fashioned from traditionally produced Japanese lacquer-ware.

The supporting box shape being designed as a black plinth, which is an exact extrusion of the lid profile, making it a shadow of the item cast through time, right back to its deep past in lakes of black oil.

Committee approached Cibone Editions of Tokyo to collaborate on the project as they have a strong interest in forging links between traditional Japanese crafts and new design. The resulting production saw a mingling of skills with 3D scanning and CAD design taking place in London and the traditional urushi lacquering hand applied by craftsmen in Wagima province of Japan.

The boxes created are a peculiar blend of old and new, the lacquer-ware surface making a fitting companion to the plastic since both materials seek to deny the mark of manufacture and to create a super-smooth and idealised finish.

But the plastic does so through the use of science and industrial manufacture and the lacquer through a craftsman’s skill and experience; these works pit man against machine. As with their other exploratory projects, Committee hopes that the Plastic Relics turn well accepted aspects of material value on their head, in order to cast a light on our current situation.