Student creates a more sustainable way to listen to your music: PlastiFantasti

"My main focus for this project was to ‘design for the circular economy’. This means making products that ‘know’ how to go back to becoming raw materials easily and with little energy."
Lior Amsterdam
Industrial Designer

The majority of our oceans are made up of plastic with a scientific reports estimating that only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. This debilitating environmental epidemic will continue on unless we act in the future by making sustainable products. A wonderful eco-solution is the ‘PlastiFantasti’ music system by Israel-based industrial designer Lior Amsterdam.

Listening to music is a personal experience. You might enjoy trance music or the latest pop jam by Taylor Swift. But is it always sustainable? From the packaging to its mass production processes, your music systems leave a trail of carbon footprint behind. By designing for a circular economy, where the end of ones product life is the beginning of another, the sound system PlastiFantasti aims to tackle the issue of plastic and electronic waste. Creator Lior believes that positive design, collaboration, sustainable thinking and circular economy are crucial in contemporary innovation.  Scroll below to read Ayushi Shah’s conversation with Lior Amsterdam who’s graduation project has been making rounds at various green awards: 

The PlastiFantasti system
Monitors of PlastiFantasti
CNC Prep: (CNC Mills function by taking a block of solid material, such as wood or metal, and using rotating sharp tools or cutters to remove any parts that aren't needed)
Student creates a more sustainable way to listen to your music: Plasti Fantasti
Colour variations of the project

Ayushi Shah (AS): Lior, how does PlastiFantasti works?

Lior Amsterdam (LA): PlastiFantasti is a HIFI system made of CNC milled and folded sheets of recycled plastic. The end result is a culmination of a year’s worth of research and the development of new technologies for using recycled plastic. To build the project, I followed a few principles: accessibility with emphasis on product disassembly and assembly, the use of a few parts, and a limited range of raw materials. The project is designed for a circular economy by keeping into consideration its materials, construction method and affordance.

Recycled plastic has a lot of colour and character, a vibrancy that fits well with the emotions and feelings evoked by music. I gave the unique material the main stage by designing carefully and deliberately around it. The outcome is an honest, transparent, and deductive design language.

AS: Could you take us through the creative process: from the inception of the idea to the finished product?

LA: PlastiFantasti is my graduation project. When I began the process of ideation, I knew I want my project to deal with the subject of industrial production alternatives. I see this as one of the main issues current designers have to face, and it’s a privilege to be on the frontline of such an important paradigm shift. My main focus for this project was to ‘design for the circular economy’. This means making products that ‘know’ how to go back to becoming raw materials easily and with little energy. I decided to reduce the count of the parts as much as possible and increase accessibility for repair and disassembly. I also wanted to try and use recycled material for its aesthetic and mechanical properties. I wanted to prove that recycled plastic can be used as part of household products and function just as well as virgin material.

AS: What environmental problem do you hope the product solves?

There is a growing awareness of the need to change our industry and resource utilization practices. In the last few decades, the unmoderated production of plastic goods, with tons of them eventually filling landfills to the brim, has resulted with plastic becoming a wicked problem – one that cannot be simply resolved as it involves many social and economic factors. I believe in the power of design to address such complicated issues, as they are systematic by nature. This project offers an alternative to traditional manufacturing practices by carrying out a design for a circular economy. It uses a systemic approach that does not allow waste by definition, where the end of a product’s life is only the beginning of another.

AS: What were the key challenges and how did you overcome them?

LA: I decided to CNC mill and fold HDPE sheets as the basis for the turntable body and speaker enclosures. The Geometry resulting from CNC milling of the sheets enables inherent mechanical locking of the case into itself, and therefore no use of glue or screws. The main challenge with this approach was getting the sheet material to dependable consistency and thickness. I had to make several attempts before reaching the best formula for fastening the material for milling and using the correct speed and cut depth for working creases and locks. It was important for me to make the operational product in order to prove the validity of my goals.

AS: What is next for you?

LA: Right now, as a fresh design graduate, I want to expand my horizons and learn as much as I can about my field. I hope to develop this concept in the near future and have plans for higher-end production methods to take it from the prototype stage to a reliable manufacturing cycle.

This interview had been edited and condensed for clarity. All images as well as the video has been provided by Lior Amsterdam. 

On Our Radar focuses on sustainable ideas and environmental innovations. We explore intersections of design with green solutions, innovative projects to tackle issues around the environment and learn more about how green changemakers work on reducing human impact on the environment with their social enterprises and projects. 

Eco-Spotlight is a digital publication that focuses on different aspects of climate change solutions: projects and ideas focused on sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, environmental businesses, eco-friendly practices, and similar green initiatives. Through our solution-focused interviews and articles, we want to bring good news to the forefront and remind the world – without hope, there is no future. We also syndicate our content with White Print, India’s first English lifestyle magazine in Braille.

You can check other stories that are on our radar on Eco-Spotlight’s website and check Lior Amsterdam’s other projects on his website.

I'm Ayushi Shah and I co-founded Eco-Spotlight to tell stories of green innovation and remind the world (and myself) that there is hope for humanity and the planet. Reach out to me at ayushi (at) eco-spotlight (dot) com

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