Sungai Design: From River Plastic to One-of-a-kind Products

Social media are filled with videos where trash is washing up Bali’s beaches and rivers. This is mostly an annual phenomenon that takes place during the wet season. However, most of the plastic doesn’t come from Bali itself – it comes from the ocean.

To deal with the phenomenon, the government and the local communities have opted for band-aid solutions such as regular clean-ups on the beaches. However, the ultimate goal is to cope with the problem from the ground: the island has already tried to ban single use plastics, yet it is worth to mention the role of the business community, which is helping to deal with the waste by taken action in many creative ways.

Sungai Watch, for example, has helped to remove 1.8 million kg of waste plastic from the waters of Indonesia.

Source: Sungai Design.

Sungai Design, an offshoot of Sungai Watch, comes up with an innovative project by making chairs from the plastic captured from the ocean and rivers around Bali. As stated by the organization itself:

«Born from 2,000 plastic bags rescued in Indonesia’s rivers, each chair tells a tale of possibility. This isn’t just any material – it’s a testament to show that we can protect our planet – one up-cycled plastic bag at a time».

The “rescued” plastic bags go through an intensive cleaning process, carefully washed and removed by any remnants from their past. Next, through shredding and heat-pressing methods, they are transformed into hard and durable sheets, forming the foundation of their chairs. Then, through CNC technology, the sheets are sculpted into a series of parametric panels that make up the backbone of the chairs. Designed to optimize both comfort and style, every panel is crafted through innovation to be as sustainable as possible, leaving no offcuts behind. The chairs are then carefully polished and assembled by artisans.

The project is more than just furniture; it’s about meaningful craftsmanship and ethical practices, saving Bali rivers’ plastics. Every chair “emerges” from the collective passion of a dedicated team, working for the purpose to leave rivers cleaner than they were.

Through the selling of their products, the organization aims to help fund river clean-ups around the world. Doing so, Sungai Design is paving the path for a new era of sustainable design and products.

Cover image: © 2023 Colossal