Starting a start-up
When I teamed up with Professor David Binns at the University of Central Lancashire for our collaborative project ‘The Aesthetic of Waste’, our main aim was to explore how low-value materials could be diverted from their pre-destined end-of-life in landfill, to instead being transformed into high-quality products for use in interior design schemes. Rather than signify a new end-of-life, the designs would be created in a way that would allow a circular lifecycle, where as well as being durable and beautiful enough to be used in-situ for many years, they could also be recycled for future lives again and again.
Following a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, we were able to turn this concept into a reality, and Alusid was born. Using ‘waste’ material that was readily available, we began with longevity and scalability in mind. While there are many different streams of ‘waste’, we wanted something relatively ‘standard’ so it wouldn’t change over time. This led us to post-consumer glass, and factory ‘waste’ porcelain. In addition, we don’t use any chemicals or resin binders, and the manufacturing process produces zero waste.
Our first products were SilicaStone tiles in different collections including Strata and Incline. Plus, our Solid Surface offering for larger projects. While these ranges were embraced by the architecture and design community – for use in hospitality and workspace projects such as Nando’s and the Four Seasons, we were always faced with limited capacity. Until now. Our ‘in principle’ concept, to transform ‘waste’ material into stunning products with an unlimited lifespan, on a mass scale, became an actuality in the Principle collection.