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Katie Treggiden’s book Wasted celebrates the designers turning trash into everyday products

Photography By Ludion

Welcome to This is Cool, a new series from the RIISE team that shares the people, brands, products and initiatives that are, you guessed it, cool.

When I see rubbish cascading from my kitchen bin or pass plastic debris while swimming in the ocean, I’m not exactly inspired by the sight of it.

Waste makes me anxious. I feel guilty about my daily contribution to the problem (credit to any zero-waste environmentalists reading this), and, when I think of it as a global issue, it feels overwhelmingly gargantuan. 

I’m sure award-winning craft and design writer Katie Treggiden once felt the same. But, rather than despair (like me) over the all-consuming topic of waste, she wrote a book about how it could become an environmental solution. Or, as she puts it, “the raw material of the future”.

Images supplied by Ludion

Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (RIISE’s new favourite coffee table book) features 25 pioneering designers, makers and manufacturers who are exploring the potential of waste as their primary material. In their hands, what was once seen as trash is turned into meaningful and long-lasting products. Basically, discarded items become desirable. 

This was a book Treggiden admits she always wanted to write. “It not only captures the scale and the horror of the problem but suggests a way forward,” she says. “There is hope in the solutions proposed by a new generation of optimistic designers and makers. Indeed, they are perhaps the only hope we have.” 

While Wasted doesn’t shy away from the ugliness and scale of the issue, it does offer a refreshing perspective: that there is value, even beauty, to be found in waste. The pieces featured are chic and cool. Items you wouldn’t think twice about adding to your interior: a lounging chair upholstered with “end of roll” fabric from an old Marc Jacobs collection, colourful rugs made from residual wool and stone-like tables crafted from recycled ceramics and glass. Treggiden’s Wasted is an ingenious snapshot of inspiration and creativity, a book that will hopefully change the way you view the contents of your bin. 

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