RCP2 Chair

Jane Atfield

Provenance: Bought directly from designer

Literature: ‘Plastic meets Pollock’ by Martin Wright, Guardian (Weekend, Homes and Garden) 28 October 1995, p.68

Exhibited: Reclaimed Recycling in contemporary British Crafts and Design, The British Council, London 1999

Collections: V&A, London


This chair, despite its painted appearance, was made using only recycled plastic bottles, which contained liquids such as shampoo or washing up liquid. The plastic bottles came from community collections and were then cleaned and made into chips.

These chips were then pressed and heated so that they combined into a hard surface board, with each differentiation in colour denoting a different plastic bottle. Jane Atfield designed and made this chair in Britain, but inspiration lies in designs by Gerrit Rietveld. Although, a simplistic construction it is a very strong and stable chair designed to be used. The chair has now gone on to be a symbol of the beginning of the environmentally friendly design movement of the 1990s. There are thought to have only been 80 to 100 of these chairs made by Made of Waste London, 1996. Atfield, previously executed an earlier design that was dedicated to her tutor Eric de Graff, which was displayed at her graduate show. It is interesting that this work, which was made almost 30 years ago, and we are now just embracing the notion of making furniture from recycled materials.