Proudly making beautiful sustainable surfaces and cladding from no less than 98% recycled materials at its factory in Preston, Alusid has already won a wealth of industry awards and is currently looking to expand its business significantly over the next 18 months.
With a new website launched and a new product range featured at this week's Surface Design Show, we spoke with one of its founders, Dr Alasdair Bremner, who originally trained in Ceramics at the Glasgow School of Art and went on to be awarded his PhD in The Creative Applications of Refractory Concrete at the University of Central Lancashire in 2008.
We chatted about his venture's incredible history, their achievements so far and how they see the future of sustainability in the architecture and design community.
It's a great story, how did it all begin?
It was born out of a project at the University of Central Lancashire working with Professor David Binns called The Aesthetic of Waste, which considered the possibilities of low-value materials destined for landfill and whether they could be transformed into beautiful, high-end products for the architectural and interior market.
We were later granted funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which helped to turn our idea into a reality and a venture.
What made the subsequent products so special?
It was partly driven by the products we were using and the process we had. We were trying to find materials, in the first instance, that were readily available with plenty of supply. And they were reasonably standard, so they wouldn't change over time. It combats one of the major problems manufacturers face, which is the availability of supplies.
There are a lot of products out there that use recycled materials but combine them with resins or plastic binders. We didn't want to go down that route for a couple of reasons, partly because it would reduce the percentage of recycled content, resins are expensive and there's no interaction with how the material ends up. You just cast it and it ends up the way it is. Nothing changes.
Whereas our process uses heat and produces some interesting results. We fire the product in a kiln and that means all the materials interact with one another to produce some unique surfaces and designs.