I wanted to do a bit of a 'brand alert' and shine a light on an innovative brand that I personally think is doing such a great job developing a versatile and aesthetically pleasing product that's also helping to reduce the environmental impact of the plastic waste. This brand is called Smile Plastics and they produce a recycled plastic material that can be used in numerous different ways throughout a commercial interior.
So who are Smile Plastics?
Designers Adam Fairweather and Rosalie McMillan are the founding duo behind Smile Plastics, a materials design and manufacturing house situated in South Wales. According to their website, their brand mission is to “change people’s perceptions around waste” and “inspire more people about sustainability and recycling”. Their hand-crafted plastic panels are made from 100% recycled plastic waste material and are also 100% recyclable as well. Amazing!
I've got a few samples of their Classics panel range, and can confirm that despite their 100% waste contents (and your own perceptions of what a product made of waste material might be like) their recycled plastic material looks and feels like any other high-end interior finish. The samples/panels are definitely worth viewing in person as photos don't do enough justice to their colour depth and detail!
And before you start thinking Hmm can I actually use this material anywhere in my commercial interior? Yes. Yes you can. You can use it to form displays for retail stores or exhibition design; you can use it as many different surfaces throughout your restaurant, bar or café; the same goes again for all sorts of surfaces and furniture in your office interior. You can check out their website or Instagram account to see all the ways that Smile Plastics is being used throughout interior design.
What are the properties and benefits of their recycled plastic material?
Here’s a nice little list to give you all the fast facts on Smile Plastics' recycled plastic panels:
The panels are dense and rigid (so great for counter fronts and tops, shelves and cabinet doors), and can also be heat-formed into bespoke shapes.
It’s 100% waterproof and rot-proof, meaning that it can be used in a bathroom or spa interior, as table tops and even has the potential to be used outside.
It has a matt or planed finish, with the potential to be polished – so is versatile enough to fit into a casual or high-end material palette for an interior project.
It’s also easy to clean, and if you do end up with any minor scratches in the surface it can be refinished - fantastic.
The panels are produced as a solid material where the colour and/or pattern is consistent throughout the thickness, so there’s no issues with the edge being on show. This is perfect for counter and table tops, retail displays and plinths etc.
These recycled plastic panels are essentially limitless in how they can be used in a commercial interior design project. And don’t forget it’s made from 100% recycled waste material and 100% recyclable, so not only a great material in your interior but also a great sustainable product that aims to have minimal impact on the planet.
Let’s find out a little bit more about their Classics range of recycled plastic panels
Have a little look below at the Classics plastic panel range by Smile Plastics – these are their standard designs, made in batches and all hand made. It’s also really useful to note that the recycled plastic waste forming all of the Classic range panels are chemically inert, meaning that they don’t give off any VOC gases.
The different colours and patterns in each Classics panel design comes down to what waste material they’re made from. What I love about these plastic panels is that due to their recycled nature, each panel has its own distinct pattern. There is good consistency within the batch production of each Classics range but each panel is still unique, much like what you get with other hand-made products such as tiles. Each subtle variation tells a story of the innovative recycling and manufacturing process.
A few of my personal favourites from the Classic range are Black Dapple, which is made from recycled chopping boards and plastic packaging, Alba made from yoghurt pots, and Charcoal which is made using plastic packaging waste. And yes, there does seem to be a bit of a monochromatic thing going on from me here.
Can I get a bespoke recycled plastic material for my interior design scheme?
Why yes you can! So you have the option to adapt any of the designs from the Classics range, or you can go completely custom by using different waste materials and/or colours in your own recycled plastic panels. You can create a solid colour, a terrazzo style or speckled effect finish. You can even add in specific waste materials that have a metallic finish to make a truly unique product.
With a bespoke material there is also the potential for your panels to have custom dimensions and/or specific technical properties related to how you plan on using Smile Plastics in your commercial space e.g. minimum heat resistance value.
Some technical info to help with your interior design project
So the standard panel/sheet size is 2m x 1m and can come in a 5mm, 12mm or 20mm thickness. These measurements are all applicable for the Classics range and can also be used for a custom material, or there is the option to alter these measurements for a fully bespoke material. Smile Plastics have been planning a larger panel/sheet size of approximately 3m x 1.2m, so if this size is better suited to your interior design scheme then it's worth getting in touch with them to find out more.
Limited stock is held as it's all made by hand, so it's best to assume that Smile Plastics will make to order with usual lead times of 6-8 weeks for the Classics range. If you're fortunate and there's enough of your required panel design in stock then you could be lucky and have lead times as short as 1-2 weeks.
Lead times for a custom recycled plastic material will be considerably longer because of the research and development time taken to create test samples for you, and then time to produce your full-size bespoke panels once a finish has been agreed on.
When it comes to pricing, a single 2m x 1m sheet with a 12mm thickness from the Classics range is approximately £265 (at the time of writing this blog post), excluding VAT and shipping. Purchasing multiple sheets is most likely to reduce the cost, so it's always worth contacting Smile Plastics and getting a quote from them if you have an initial idea of quantities.
The research and development time to create a custom material will result in a more expensive panel than choosing one of the Classics range designs, starting at £350 per sheet, so something to factor in when working out costs and budgets for your commercial interior project.
If I've piqued your interest in using a recycled plastic material for your commercial interior project give Smile Plastics a proper look as they really can be used across a whole range of furniture and finishes in a commercial interior. And what's not to love about being able to use a beautiful, sustainable material in your space.
And if you have a commercial project that I can help with the interior design, then please do get in touch.
(All images courtesy of Smile Plastics)