The Leading Journal for the Tyre Recycling Sector

The Leading Journal for the Tyre Recycling Sector

DRI Rubber as a Design Material

DRI Rubber supported Dutch artist Eline van Dijkman, as part of her graduation project creating circular rubber furniture made from its upcycled and fibre-reinforced rubber materials

With her project, van Dijkman not only graduated from the Design Academy as Product Designer, but also received invitations for the popular design shows in Milan and Paris.

Van Dijkman’s graduation project; ‘Rubber, a design material’, proposes a series of circular furniture made from recycled rubber waste, that displays the material’s unique properties using sheet material. Van Dijkman created a total of 17 furniture pieces, (mainly for outdoor use) with the idea of using recycled rubber for everyday objects, such as chairs and lamps.

Working closely with DRI Rubber, van Dijkman explored the circular economy of rubber as an opportunity to create new and innovative products which fit into the world of design. Van Dijkman said; “The goal was to reuse materials and understand what I, as a product designer, can create with rubber.” 

When researching the graduation project, van Dijkman wanted to see what types of waste were suitable for the challenge. Van Dijkman says; “During the first month of my research, I gained interest in industrial waste. That is something we usually frown upon, but I believe it holds lots of potential. Eventually I came across rubber and got into contact with DRI Rubber. I was fascinated by the unique ‘waste-to-product’ process of the company, and luckily DRI showed interest in me and my project as well. I visited the company a couple of times and with the help of Robert and Marianne I learned more about the rubber recycling process and the types of upcycled and fibre-reinforced rubber material DRI produces.”

The material is very strong, as we can see every day from its use in tyres. If the fibre-reinforced material from DRI Rubber is considered, then that strength is much greater still. Van Dijkman thought; “Why not create something that can be used in our daily lives”. So that is how she came up with designing furniture.

In the end van Dijkman was able to create 17 rubber furniture pieces, such as chairs, tables, lamps and candle holders. They are extremely durable and weather-resistant and can be used both inside and outside the house. The furniture pieces are 100% made from the mats and other recycled rubber materials, enabling us to reduce waste in the process, just like DRI Rubber always does.”

Working with rubber for this project was a learning process for van Dijkman; ““I learned most about the properties of rubber and how versatile it can be as a material. I also didn’t realise that rubber is actually very easy to recycle; that should happen way more often. Some people in the design world might think that rubber, and especially rubber waste, isn’t a nice material to work with, but I completely disagree. It has lots of potential.”

Van Dijkman received a lot of interest in her project and although these were designed as statement pieces, it appears that there may actually be demand for rubber furniture. Van Dijkman adds; “I received invites for multiple design shows in Europe, including the very popular shows in Milan and Paris next year. Of course, I am very excited about what is to come, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity given by DRI Rubber. My graduation project only took 5 months, but in my opinion, it doesn’t have to end here. Hopefully, we can do more together.”