PET bottles in unfamiliar roles: exaptation
Our everyday lives are full of routine, the same things day in, day out, our working hours are always more or less organised for us. And to a certain degree we’ve got used to this, perhaps even grown to like it. But let’s be totally honest about it: isn’t it also exciting to come up against something new occasionally? Last year we got involved with something new, or to be more precise something very out-of-the-ordinary, in terms of PET packaging.
You see, we had an opportunity to participate in a project of the PET-MAT Group, to which one of our clients had drawn our attention. PET-MAT is a team composed of architects and designers, who are examining how recycled PET bottles can be used in architecture and construction work. The team of 5 is mainly engaged in investigating the artistic and practical uses of PET bottles. From a chair made of PET bottles, the PET(ch)air, a counter made of PET bottles, the PET(b)ar or a Christmas tree made only from PET bottles, called the PETREE – the creativity of these young minds is quite manifestly limitless!
PET(b)ar and PET(ch)air is based on their idea of what is called PET(B)BRICK, a building block made of PET, whose manufacturing process resembles that employed for a beverage bottle: a rectangular container which thanks to special design elements forms a stable bond with other identical bottles , without any other materials being needed. So much for the basic idea to start with. But as is always the case with theory, there was a long way to travel from the original idea to the finished product.
And this is where we came in. My colleagues were able to contribute our knowledge and expertise at this point. We were asked, you see, to blow-mould the bottles for the PET(B)RICK project. Following appropriate trials, we modified the bottle’s design to suit the production process involved, so that ultimately very good bottles could be manufactured in a stable process. We also discussed the preform design. “Preform”, by the way, is the designation for the semi-finished product used in bottle manufacturing. In a final step, our blow-moulding pilot plant produced the PET(B)RICKs, enabling them then to be used for creating various objects. The result impressed the Project Manager, Dr. Katerina Novakova, when during a visit together with Dr.Dana Matejovska and Šimon Prokop she inspected the finished bottles for herself.
Yes, and where can these PET(B)RICKS actually be found? They were already on show at the Expo in Milan, where seating products made of PET(B)RICKS were spotlighted. Tables and cases are now exhibited in Academy of Science in Prague. And who knows, perhaps this interesting project will in fact give birth to something of widespread utility in the future.
However that may be, it was a brilliant experience for us, and an interesting project where above all we learned one thing: to give familiar perspectives and everyday normalities a conceptual shake-up and see them in a new light – embracing the new and unusual.