Micaella Pedros explains how to make furniture using discarded plastic bottles

Graduate shows 2016: design graduate Micaella Pedros demonstrates how heat-shrunk plastic bottles can be used to create stable furniture joints in this movie filmed by Dezeen for the Royal College of Art (+ movie).

Joining Bottles by Micaella Pedros

Pedros' Joining Bottles project, which she presented at the ShowRCA 2016 graduate exhibition, explores how discarded plastic bottles can be repurposed to build wood furniture.

Micaella Pedro's bottle joining at RCA graduate show 2016

The MA Design Products student has developed a heat-shrinking process to lock pieces of wood together with plastic rings cut from the bottles.

Micaella Pedro's bottle joining at RCA graduate show 2016

"I am presenting an experimental joining technique using plastic bottles," Pedros explains in the movie.

"The idea is about taking a plastic bottle, cutting it, and then putting it around two pieces of wood. Then I heat it so it shrinks and creates a joint."

Micaella Pedro's bottle joining at RCA graduate show 2016

Pedros uses a heat gun to shrink the plastic. She carves notches in the wood to create a more secure hold.

"Carving is key to the strength of the joints," she explains. "By creating small irregularities, the plastic locks itself with the wood."

Micaella Pedro's bottle joining at RCA graduate show 2016

Pedros has used the technique to build a range of furniture pieces made from wood scavenged from around London.

Micaella Pedro's bottle joining at RCA graduate show 2016

However, she says the primary aim of the project is to teach others how to create their own furniture using the technique.

"The core idea of the project is not to sell the products I'm building but more about sharing the principle and sharing the technique," Pedros explains.

Joining Bottles by Micaella Pedros

Pedros worked with a community group called R-Urban Wick based in Hackney Wick, London, to run workshops teaching people how to use the process.

Joining Bottles by Micaella Pedros

"The idea was to allow people to come and build a small piece of furniture quickly that they can take it home," she says. "All the people who do it always have this big smile because there is something sort of magical happening."

Joining Bottles by Micaella Pedros

Because of the universal abundance of plastic bottles, Pedros hopes to teach people around the world how to use the technique to create their own unique furniture quickly and cheaply using local materials.

Joining Bottles by Micaella Pedros

"The plastic bottles are always going to be the same everywhere," she says. "But you can imagine if I'm in Guatemala, for example, I am not going to find the same type of wood, so you will have a completely different language."

Micaella Pedros
Micaella Pedros. Copyright: Dezeen

This movie was produced by Dezeen for the Royal College of Art. Additional footage in the movie and photographs used in this story are by Micaella Pedros, unless otherwise stated.


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Joining Bottles was on display at the ShowRCA graduate exhibition, which took place from 26 June to 3 July 2016 at the Royal College of Art's Kensington campus. Dezeen was media partner for the event and we will be publishing more video interviews with graduates in the coming weeks.