The Creative Circle — Eco-Conscious Design and Craft

22 June – 8 September 2024

This thought-provoking exhibition fascinatingly explores how today’s leading designers and craft-makers are embracing circular economy ideas by creatively rethinking how things can be produced to make them eco-friendlier and more sustainable. Whether it is creating better industrially made products that have greater energy efficiency, longer-lasting durability or better recyclability, or mindfully fabricating one-off craft pieces from recycled waste materials into objects of rare beauty. The central aim of this visually stunning exhibition is to showcase the myriad different materials and interesting processes that are being innovatively used to make beautiful and useful things ultimately greener.

Rex, the first Dutch deposit chair. designed by Ineke Hans and produced by Circuform

Many of the designs on show are cleverly giving discarded “waste” new life, whether it is Richard Hutten’s Michael stool, the seat of which is made from 100% recycled wine cork scrap or Frietag’s colourful bags fashioned out of recycled lorry tarpaulins. Other designs are predicated on providing increased durability, because if you double the lifecycle of a product, one ultimately halves its net environmental impact, and so forth — such as Jake Dyson’s extraordinary SolarCycle Morph lamp, which incorporates heat pipe cooling technology to ensuring its LED will last for decades, Ineke Hans’s landmark Rex chair — the first Dutch deposit chair which is made from recycled fishing nets, toothbrushes, office chairs components and other kinds of industrial waste — and the multi-award-winning RePack closed-loop system of reusable and sustainable packaging from Finland, which can be reused up to 32 times.

Dyson Solarcycle MorphTM light, 2020

But more than this, this thoughtfully curated exhibition also contextualizes the contemporary eco-conscious design and craft pieces on show within the wider and historic green design movement. To do this, it explores not only the important eco-focused legacy of the Arts & Crafts Movement — with William Morris as its charismatic eco-warrior leader — but, also through a display of influential “green design” theory books, early eco-activist posters, and original Whole Earth Catalog magazines, which show how eco-awareness blossomed within design circles during the 60s, 70s and 80s. And to provide an even more insightful picture, the show also includes a few early pioneering eco-designs from the 1990s, namely Ross Lovegrove’s influential Solar Bud light and Jane Atfield’s original designs for her landmark RCP2 chair made from recycled plastic.

Bowl Table by Ayush Kasliwal is made of Matek®. (recycle fiber-based waste materials with recycled plastic waste)

Through jewellery, glass and wood we look at how todays makers are creating low-impact cutting edge contemporary craft. The repurposing of metals, rings and buttons, the joy of working with found timber and creating pieces from items found in the landscape around us.

But more than anything, this exhibition unequivocally demonstrates that designing for circularity is not only the right thing to do, but that as a captivating idea it is helping to creatively motivate both industrial designers and craft-makers to find better design solutions that inspire and delight.

As William Morris once so presciently noted:

“Everything made by man’s hands has a form, which must be either beautiful or ugly; beautiful if it is in accord with Nature, and helps her; ugly if it is discordant with Nature, and thwarts her…”

Court Barn

Church Street
Chipping Campden
GL55 6JE

Opening hours

April – September
Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm

October – January
Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm

Closed on Mondays (excluding Bank Holiday)

Share this exhibition

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin