While circularity and upcycling are becoming more regular topics of conversation – more frequent ways of working with materials – there are few who can claim to be pushing those ideas forward so much as Bali-based Space Available.
The brand – or studio, or museum, or school, depending on the time of day – is dedicated to a “work with what we have” philosophy; to creating from that which already exists and which, without intervention, would go on to cause environmental harm. The volume of ocean-bound plastics Space Available has transformed into desirable homeware objects through its unique creative alchemy is nothing short of staggering.
Unlike the alchemists of days gone by, however, founder and creative director Dan Mitchell isn’t a fan of hoarding knowledge or keeping secrets: a key part of Space Available’s whole reason for existing is to pass that wisdom on at a community level.
Having popped up in locations across the physical world and via the internet as a successor to other workshops, the studio’s Circular Design Academy is the manifestation of these philosophies – proof, if you need it, that this is more than just a clever contemporary marketing plot to sell clothes and aesthetically-pleasing trinkets.
Having last taught “Radical Recycling” in Paris, working on the ground level to turn trash into something more interesting and less harsh to the health of the immediate surroundings, the latest CDA (CDA003) moves on to “Radical Upcycling” – a small but essential variation on the theme.
Taking place in Bali, Space Available’s home turf, the workshop will focus on electronic waste – a distinctly modern phenomenon – turning discarded parts into upcycled accessories like gloves and glasses.
“Our mission is to change the perception of waste. And we feel these educational workshops are a great way to fuel people’s creativity and to inspire us to rethink our relationship to material and design,” explains Mitchell, of this latest class and the CDA project as a whole.
In terms of CDA003’s specific content, “It is estimated that 75% of all computers ever sold are destined for landfill,” Mitchell tells us, “this is a staggering statistic and in our own small we we are using collaboration and creativity to highlight some of these issues.”
It is, at the end of the day, another way to spread not only Space Available’s message of community-minded, Earth-friendlier creativity, but also to put tools in the hands of those who need it most.
“We are building a school in Bali and set to open in january 2024,” Mitchell explains, “between now and then we are launching pop up workshops in from Bali to Tokyo, London and LA, across our pillars of recycling, upcycling and bio-design.”
The workshop, co-hosted by upcycling artist Alfaz Syam, is limited to twelve participants and is – as you’d expect – fully booked. As always, though, it won’t be long before the results of this event’s labor are available to enjoy online as a testament to what’s possible with waste when we rethink what, exactly, that word means.
Oh, and while we’re here, the brand just released a very limited drop of upcycled tees. So, if you’re still reading, collect your reward via the Space Available website.