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  • Synthetic and Natural Polymers Recycled to Make Matter with New Functionality and Aesthetics

Behseta, Julie, 2013, Thesis, Synthetic and Natural Polymers Recycled to Make Matter with New Functionality and Aesthetics PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This practice-led research will be accompanied by a dissertation which describes the research process and discusses the research questions and outcomes generated by the practice process.
From an initial stage of laboratory and workshop experimentation with recycling High
Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS), to a conclusion which brings experimental design practice to serve the needs of a specific user group, this research aims to show that the role of the designer in material-based research is multiple and complex. The significance of emotional experience is discovered to be of central importance to both material experimentation and the design for a specific user group.

The initial context of sustainability becomes reframed through work with a community of residents, staff and relatives associated with a care home for the aged. From addressing the needs of a twenty- first century demographic challenge the designer finds complex meaning in the ecological, ethical and political agendas of sustainability. I employed a range of research methods in this project and conclude that qualitative research practice demands the integration of technical skills, sociological enquiry and an investigation into the ‘tacit knowledge’ of craftsmanship.

I investigated the design potential of combining traditional craft and industrial technology to address the challenge of a future society and through this research into recycling plastics, polymers, textiles and other materials propose that material and meaning are closely interrelated. In my work the relationship between the visible traces of tactile sense and the presence of the hand is explored as a sign of ‘contact’ and transmission of emotion.
The encasement and display of fibre, textile and personal objects in the plastic tiles is deployed as a medium of interior architecture with the potential to represent the meaning of the experience of end-of-life wellbeing. In this way the designer can make materials which encapsulate the sense of transition, departure, memory, presence and continuity for the old, their relatives and carers. Considering the principle of ‘Emotionally Durable Design’, this research finds new uses for old material.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts > W710 Fabric and Leather Crafts
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2013 15:18
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2013 12:36
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1352

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