Rubber, a design material
By Eline van Dijkman
Waalwijk, The Netherlands (November 1, 2023) –
In October of each year, Dutch Design Week takes place in Eindhoven, one of Europe’s biggest design events. We are proud to share the work of Eline van Dijkman, who collaborated with DRI Rubber as part of her graduation project. She created circular rubber furniture made from our upcycled and fiber reinforced rubber materials. With her project, Eline not only graduated from the Design Academy as Product Designer, but also received invitations for the popular design shows in Milan and Paris as well!
Circular rubber furniture
Eline’s graduation project ‘Rubber, a design material’, proposes a series of circular furniture made from recycled rubber waste, that displays the material’s unique properties and sheet material. Eline created a total of 17 furniture pieces, (mainly for outdoor use) with the idea of using recycled rubber for everyday objects, such as chairs and lamps.
Working closely with DRI Rubber, Eline explored the circular economy of rubber as an opportunity to create new and innovative products which fit into the world of design. Eline: “The goal was to reuse materials and understanding what I, as a product designer, can create with rubber.”
Can you tell us more about your collaboration with DRI Rubber?
Eline: “It all started with my graduation project. I wanted to delve deeper into the question of what types of waste we have and what I can use it for. During the first month of my research I gained interest in industrial waste. That is something we usually frown upon, but I believe it holds lots of potential. Eventually I came across rubber and got into contact with DRI Rubber. I was fascinated by the unique ‘waste-to-product‘ process of the company, and luckily DRI showed interest in me and my project as well! I visited the company a couple of times and with the help of Robert and Marianne I learned more about the rubber recycling process and the types of upcycled and fiber reinforced rubber material DRI produces.”
How did you came up with the idea to create circular rubber furniture?
“Rubber is a very strong material, especially the upcycled and fiber reinforced materials DRI produces. Normally DRI would use its materials to manufacture rubber mats for agricultural use. That is where I thought, ‘why not create something that can be used in our daily lives’. So that is how I came up with designing furniture. In the end I was able to create 17 rubber furniture pieces, such as chairs, tables, lamps and candle holders. They are extremely durable and weather-resistant and can be used both inside and outside the house. The furniture pieces are 100% made from the mats and other recycled rubber materials, enabling us to reduce waste in the process, just like DRI Rubber always does!”
What did you learn about rubber?
“I learned most about the properties of rubber and how versatile it can be as a material. I also didn’t realize that rubber actually is very easy to recycle, that should happen way more often. Some people in the design world might think that rubber, and especially rubber waste, isn’t a nice material to work with, but I completely disagree. It has lots of potential!”
Now that Dutch Design Week has come to an end, what can we expect from you in the future?
“I received lots of interesting and valuable feedback on my project. Although being statement pieces, it turned out that there actually is a demand for rubber furniture. I received invites for multiple design shows in Europe, including the very popular shows in Milan and Paris next year! Of course I am very excited about what is to come and I’m very thankful for the opportunity given by DRI Rubber. My graduation project only took 5 months, but in my opinion it doens’t have to end here. Hopefully we can do more together.”
Eline was also invited to talk about her graduation project on Dutch television. The short video below is part of a live broadcast from the televion show ‘Tegenlicht’ from broadcaster ‘VPRO’. For the complete item, click here.
“Some people in the design world might think that rubber, and especially rubber waste, isn’t a nice material to work with, but I completely disagree. It has lots of potential!”
For media inquiries or further information, please contact:
Head of Marketing & Communications