Innovative ‘Joining Bottles’ Technique Empowers Designers Worldwide

‘Joining Bottles’ is an experimental joining technique innovated by Micaella Pedros using plastic bottles. Plastic bottles hide an incredible property : under heat, they shrink.Further to this, when heated they can join things together to create new functional structures.

Seen as a genuine material tool for empowerment, the ambition of the project is to give people the opportunity to make their own furniture through a recycling process. This project also aims to reveal the creative potential of plastic bottles in order to change the way we see these normally discarded material objects.  Millions of plastic bottles are used and thrown away each day. Almost everyone comes across plastic bottles, meaning they can be utilised by almost anyone everywhere in the world.

Plastic bottles are made of PET (Polyethylene Terephtalate), which is a thermoplastic. By heating it (at 300°C), it shrinks and can join elements such as different wood pieces. In order to achieve this, Pedros uses a heat-gun, but she adds it also works with a lighter or simple fire.

When joining wood elements, the strength of the joins depends on the grooves made in the wood. The deeper the grooves are, stronger the join is. Such a join allows one so build functional structures such as furniture, increase the length of timbers, join offcuts together, or repair a furniture broken leg and so on.

Because it is such an available and affordable technique, and has a strong potential of empowerment, Pedros emphasizes that this technique is meant to be shared. To do so, she worked with the R-Urban Wick community, based in the vibrant area Hackney Wick of London. R-Urban is a bottom-up strategy that explores the possibilities of enhancing the capacity of urban resilience. Therefore the project embraces its democratic value and contribute to the do-it-yourself culture. Pedros aims to run more workshops in London and make her knowledge open source.

According to Pedros, ‘ I witnessed the educational dimension of the project amongst children and the interest of people towards such an accessible and surprising technique. People were really excited about the technique. There is something quite satisfying and magical about it. Every one encounters plastic bottles and learning about a new way to make use of it inspires people to try it out themselves. It also shift our perspective on waste and contribute to raise awareness by showing a new approachable and easy-tomake application.’

A recent graduate of the RCA in London, we eagerly look forward to following her further pursuits.