Dezeen Magazine

Pentatonic turns smartphones, cans and cigarette butts into flat-pack furniture

Start-up company Pentatonic is aiming to "radically transform consumption culture" with a range of furniture and products created from food, electrical, plastic and textile waste.

The company, led by Jamie Hall and Johann Boedecker, is working with an adapted injection-moulding process to transform waste materials into homeware.

It will launch its first collection of customisable flat-packed furniture – all made entirely from recycled materials – during this year's London Design Festival.

When it comes to making the furniture, the type of rubbish used is determined by its properties. Typical examples include smartphones, cans and cigarette butts.

"Subject to what product, finish or performance we are looking for, we select trash based upon its properties and application possibilities, and then apply this technology using a number of precision manufacturing processes," the studio told Dezeen.

With plastic, the waste is washed and sorted before being shredded into pellets, to create a new material ready to be formed into furniture.

Chairs and tables are also designed to be assembled without the need for tools – instead, the components themselves aid the construction of each piece. This means waste is minimised, and no toxic glues or resins are nececssary.

Through their new venture, Hall and Boedecker hope to "reshape the furniture industry", by showing how products can be produced from recycled materials on a large scale.

"People are more aware and informed than ever regarding the health of our planet, and the role we can all play to find a solution," Hall told Dezeen. "There's definitely a growing realisation that great products do not need to come at the cost of sustainability."

"We are seeing every day that the establishment aren't going to solve our problems for us any time soon, we need to take matters into our own hands and think more carefully about our purchase decisions."

The company are introducing a "circular economy" system. Customers can sell back pieces of their furniture to Pentatonic, so that they can be recycled and reintroduced into the supply chain.

"We're trying to radically transform consumption culture with Pentatonic," said Hall. "Our circular model, whereby we buy back our products from our consumers to recycle them into new products – that's new in a design space."

According to the Telegraph, the company has received £4.3 million in funding ahead of its launch. Investors include Miniwiz – a Taiwan and Berlin-based studio, dedicated to finding new uses for waste and reducing the impact of materials on the environment.

Other backers include the vice president of a Chinese technology investor and a German environmental lawyer.

Pentatonic will reveal its first collection at the Design Frontiers exhibition during this year's London Design Festival, which takes place across the capital from 16 to 24 September 2017.

Recycling is set to be a big trend during the event, as many designers are now searching for more eco-friendly production methods – using materials ranging from mushrooms to red algae powder.

Hall and Boedecker believe now is the time to show that sustainability can be used on a large scale and properly introduced into the mass markets.

"The viability of many technologies at scale had to be proven, just as wind power and solar energy became more efficient over the last few years," they said.

"Recycling and circular manufacturing has evolved rapidly in recent years and we are now at a point where it can offer the not just comparable, but superior performance from traditional methodologies."