We all hate that tragic rainy day moment, when you put all trust into your umbrella, and then suddenly, snap! A gust of wind defeats you, your umbrella, and now you’re soaking in the rain.That umbrella is immediately useless and headed straight to the next garbage can you see.
British designer Mark Howells seeks to extend the life of those umbrellas through his company ANTI, a “transformation business” that aims to breathe new life into what’s been discarded. Trashed products are used as primary materials for beautiful product design or, as the brand puts it, “designing out waste by designing with waste.”
ANTI’s hero products are variations of desk and table lamps all utilizing upcycled, recycled, and biodegradable components with only 5% coming from virgin materials. Created from discarded, lost and broken umbrellas, the lamps feature recycled metal shade rings and the upcycled umbrella stem and arms – with additional components 3D printed from recycled plastic filament. Similarly, upcycled umbrella ribs are used to reinforce the umbrella canopy shades, and the upcycled umbrella runner is used as a bulb holder as well as a recycled metal bulb holder cage.
This umbrella waste problem is one Howells saw firsthand while spending time in Tokyo and London – who knew an everyday product can create such a negative impact on a mass scale? According to ANTI, one billion umbrellas are broken, lost or discarded each year across the globe, giving umbrellas a lifespan of just six months. To make matters worse, umbrellas are rarely recycled because of the intertwining of different materials that make up one, including nylon canopies that can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.
Howells new, artful approach provides a second life to umbrellas and helps establish a circular lifestyle. ANTI’s “take back” program also allows customers to return any of their product to then be disassembled and recycled or reused for new designs.
In other design news, check out this Hong Kong basketball court made from recycled sneakers.