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October 4 2012
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PDD

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CMF Trend: is Expanded Polystyrene having a comeback?

Expanded polystyrene has not exactly got a good reputation, but I’ve seen a few things recently to suggest that this maligned material may be on the verge of a comeback.

Slated for being bad for the environment, bad for your health and bad for the polar bears, expanded polystyrene is synonymous with over-packaged products, cheap disposable cups and other types of ‘low value’ items. So why am I seeing so much of it around at the moment?

It all started with The Milan Furniture Fair held earlier this year where we saw designers use expanded polystyrene to build up their exhibitions stands, such as Ingo Maurer…

Featured image credit: Deiby via Flickr, above image credit: PDD

… To actually making their products out of the stuff, like Arakitalia’s Baum Lamp

… And even mimic it – Features of a Material by Katja Pettersson is a series of furniture that looks like it is made out of expanded polystyrene, but they are, in fact, metal…

And it doesn’t just stop at models and products. This Hyper-Matrix installation by Hyundai Motor Group uses polystyrene to great effect, creating an amazing programmable wall. Click here to watch the video – just great!

Image credit: Motortrend

So what is the attraction? Perhaps it is because expanded polystyrene is relatively cheap, it is incredibly light-weight and you are able to craft it fairly satisfactorily. I wonder if there is also a subconscious draw to it, as many of us would have grown up having our precious products lovingly kept safe by this white wonder, using it to insulate our roofs, or breaking it up into little pieces and getting shouted at by mum for making a mess.

But remember, if you are going to use this cheap, light, sculptural foam then please be careful and be responsible – it does take 100 years to biodegrade!

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Posted by PDD
@pddinnovation

Languages spoken: Global.
The last thing that inspired me: Design and Innovation.
My dream project: A project that makes a difference in the world.
My obsession: Develop successful, award-winning and world-first products and experiences.

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