Sustainability, circular design and recycling are some of the buzzwords that regularly greet us on our social media feeds, weekly newsletters and even daily conversations. While their usage might get gimmicky at times, the popularisation of this idea and concept against blatant consumerism surely impels designers and innovators into action. A recent initiative in this realm includes the Fluff Stacks collection by Lenny Stöpp. Objects making up this product design collection are crafted using denim discards. An unconventional raw material as it might be for building something sturdy and solid like furniture design objects, it proves its mettle and scope as an entity that can have an extended life in the arena of industrial design, beyond their designated usage.
The Fluff Stacks furniture series, created by Netherlands based designer and artist Lenny Stöpp in collaboration with luxury denim brand G-Star, can be viewed as an extension of the Dutch designer’s experimental design practice. Stöpp chopped up discarded denim pieces into little bits and then crunched them in an old paper machine to create the denim pulp. He then mixed the pulp with a natural binder made up of cornstarch and water and moulded the fluffy concoction to create stackable blocks. An arrangement of these blocks in different configurations gives shape to Stöpp’s series of unique recycled products made out of denim. “I always look at the material, what the properties are and how it wants to behave. I was making this new material with the denim pulp and noticed that it was very strong. I wanted to see how much it could take,” says Stöpp, who regularly experiments with different materials to discover their alternate attributes and usages in his Rotterdam design studio.
The Fluff Stacks collection comprises a side table, a stool and a lamp. Composed into abstract rectilinear forms that sit well under the contemporary design bracket, these pieces with their rough texture and muted tones, feature as subtle elements perfect for modern spaces. Their corrugated skin gives the pieces an edge over modern furniture that is characterised by smooth and shiny surfaces and clean edges. Although Stöpp has created only three objects in this sustainable design series, his experiment with the material exposes the scope of denim waste as an upcycled design entity.
Stöpp likes to play with traditional materials to create something unique and detached from the original or inceptive product. He likes to intrigue and confuse users and viewers with the texture of the final product that he creates, such that a wooden item does not appear like wood or the texture of a ceramic item stands in dissonance with its characteristic finish. “My work and designs are shaped by repurposing existing techniques. By researching and experimenting with these techniques, I give them a new value. My perfection in the design process is looking for a raw refinement. In the outcome of the design, I find it important that the human action remains visible,” the multidisciplinary artist says.