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Dust London Transforms Tea Waste into Elegant Objects

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Dust London, co-founded by Michael McManus and Matthew Grant, is a collaborative design company transforming tea waste into beautiful homeware.

Dust London: Our latest collection transforms tea waste into elegant objects using a unique process we have developed in the studio. We make moulds using traditional origami techniques. We begin with a sheet of paper; scoring, folding and pinching to create the desired form. A key part of this technique is balancing the tension between the curved facets. We then reinforce the paper and work through a series of steps to create robust and seamless silicone moulds. Preparing the object for making the mould is a key part of the process to make sure we achieve a smooth surface texture on the finished pieces.

We separate out their tea waste into the different variations that we use. We collect the tea bags, thoroughly dry them out and blend them so that they are ready to mix with a non-toxic binder. After much experimentation, we settled on jesmonite as our binding material. A key process in the making to ensure the strength and surface finish of our pieces is balancing the radios of tea waste to the binding material. Once we have achieved the desired consistency, the material is ready to pour.

Working with tea waste allows us to do two things; the first is to create a range of natural pigments and subtle textures in the homeware we create. The second is to raise awareness of the way materials are conventionally used and to challenge the perception of what sustainable design can be. A vase made from tea waste paves the way for those conversations happen. As a nation of tea drinkers in Britain, we find that people can relate.

Currently our collection is made up of three objects; a centre piece vase, large planter and coasters. Each object is available in 5 tea variations; chamomile, peppermint, rooibos, english breakfast and black tea. We have recently been selected by the Tate Modern who will be stocking our products in their homeware and furniture shop later this year.