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Sam Bird Smith

BA Furniture & Product Design

As a designer, simplicity and sustainability are at the forefront of my values. I aspire to create products that are simple, reliable, high quality and environmentally friendly. I am interested in new, experimental materials and processes and how they might potentially replace more unsustainable methods.

Phyto Light

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This project explored the process of creating a light from 3D printed, biodegradable, algae-based bioplastic. Algae has numerous environmental benefits and is far more efficient at absorbing CO2 and producing oxygen than trees, whilst also being able to grow rapidly without taking up any land space.

Phyto Light is made from nuisance algae, which when allowed to spread out of control can damage surrounding marine life. This algae is extracted from the water before being dried and processed into bioplastic. The clean water is then pumped back into the source, restoring life to the area. This process not only creates a new, sustainable material, but also protects marine life and provides local areas with clean water.

When placed under a microscope, some types of algae appear in clusters of slightly distorted circles. This is replicated in the shape of the lights, which take squashed, spherical forms in an attempt to represent the origin of the material. The spheres are angled to direct light onto the surface of each other, illuminating the curved side, whilst leaving the opposing side in shadow, creating an eclipse effect.


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Plinth is a modular display stand, primarily designed to hold guitars and exhibit their beauty.
Guitars are notoriously difficult items to store, due to their size, shape and fragility, particularly if you own more than one. They are often just rested against the wall in the corner of the room where they can easily be knocked over and damaged. Another option is a guitar stand, however these are often unattractive and usually hold just one guitar at a time. Guitars are beautiful items and it is such a shame to store them away in cupboards or cases etc. They need to be out on display.
Plinth is available in 4 different sizes. The stands are modular and so can be arranged however the user chooses. The user does not have to buy all 4 stands, they can buy as many or as few as they like and create their own mini structures, by arranging them together, or have them standing alone.
The stands are all made from ash, however, they are available in 2 different finishes - natural and black, to allow the user more choice in the aesthetic of the product, whilst aligning with a modern and classy aesthetic.

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