COMMUNI | SHELVES
A modular system made from recycled waste materials that can be used as shelving, table or planting space that activates communal productivity and encourage waste reduction.
Designed by our interior designer James Angeles, these shelves were intended to divide the restaurant's space from the waiting area, creating an even cosier dining experience and bringing a little bit of the outside inside.
While tested to be made out of cork, these versatile units can be made out of almost any waste material you can think of, with a variety of finishes from plain to decoratively painted.
These shelves were a collaborative project between us four students, and made us all think and work a little bit more out of our comfort zones. The feedback we received from our tutors and external sources like May Wild and the restaurant was really helpful in the development of this idea from a vague notion to a physical product.
Unfortunately we never got the chance to construct our final version of the shelves, but please enjoy the prototypes and plans below.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we were unable to actually construct these shelves as part of this project. However, we were working with very basic tools and materials, and reckoned that with the right materials and time, anyone could build them at home.
Dextrin is a natural, biodegradable and non-toxic carbohydrate, which we are going to use as glue for our building composite. It’s very easy to make in any kitchen, all you need is cornstarch and an oven.
Preheat your oven to 200⁰C
Spread the cornstarch out in a layer (about 5mm deep) on a baking tray and put it in the oven
Bake it for 20 minutes, then stir it around with a fork and continue baking
Repeat the baking and stirring process until the starch changes colour to a more golden brown colour. This can take a while, it took around 2-3 hours for ours
MAKING THE MATERIAL
You can choose just about anything you like for this step. We decided to use wine corks from Where The Light Gets In, but you could use sawdust, ash, pencil shavings, straw, or anything you have an over-abundance of.
This step is optional, but break down your material with a cheese grater, knife, or blender to get it to a rough breadcrumbs stage. Things like sawdust won’t need this, but our corks did.
In a container you don’t mind getting messy, mix some of your dextrin powder with a small hot water until it dissolves. You might have to mash it around with a spoon or use more hot water to do this. Add enough water to get it to a thick glue consistency.
Mix in your broken down material. You can add quite a lot at this stage, as long as it all sticks together in a clump and there aren’t any bits falling out.
Flatten out your mixture on a hard surface until it’s 4cm thick. Press it down to compact it as best you can.
Cut the pieces to shape
You can leave these to air dry, or bake in the oven at 200⁰C for up to 30 minutes to achieve different finishes
Once fully dry, sand the edges down with sandpaper and treat the surface with a thin coat of beeswax, furniture wax, or similar to make the shelving waterproof and more durable.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Assemble your shelving pieces as shown
Made in Manchester for use in Stockport
Made with love by us, no outsourcing required
SUITABLE FOR INDOOR USE
Creates a great room divider while also providing storage space
Made entirely from repurposed waste materials, with no harsh chemical processing