Product designer Ariane Prin says that she doesn’t like to throw things away. Not in a confession about her out of control hoarding tendencies, but rather in reference to her consciously spartan way of living and working. “I’m interested in what people assume is something they should reject. I recycle everything and avoid throwing because I don’t generate much waste,” she says.
The designer makes beautiful, useful objects for the home including trays, pots and vases, out of a mixture of Jesmonite and metal filings gathered from local key shops. Each piece in the aptly named collection Rust is a unique colour, the result of metal oxidising in its unpredictable way.
The idea for Rust emerged when Ariane was working on a project funded by The Architecture Foundation to regenerate a neglected street in London. For a nominal rent, Ariane was given an empty shop from which she could create and sell her work. Ariane wanted to root her project in its environment and set about gathering waste generated by the other shops on the street – an off license, a hair salon and so on. “I would bring their waste to my shop and then make objects to sell. Each product had a label on it with the name of the shop that had given me the waste so it was some publicity for them too,” she says.
By the end of the project, she was left with a bag of metal filings from the keyshop on the street. “I had started working with Jesmonite by then and one day I emptied all the materials in the studio together to try things out, and the samples of Jesmonite with rust were the most pleasing.” she says.
The colours of Rust are speckled rather than solid and it was this “freckle effect” that captivated Ariane. “The colours are so unexpected. I have very little control over the outcome, and this way you never get bored,” she says. “There is still so much left to do with the material, it’s infinite.”
The objects are sculpture and unique because they can’t be reproduced owing to the nature of the material, but Ariane wanted to make pieces that you can use too. “If you deal with waste you can’t really do things that can’t be used,” she says. “I’m from the countryside originally and love plants and flowers. It’s unconsciously not surprising that my very first item was the cachepots.”
Her last exhibition took place during London Design Festival and saw Rust juxtaposed against bright experimental work by her friends Studio Furthermore.
She plans to keep on exploring the possibilities with Rust, noting that she’s often asked – what’s next? “Everything is always about what’s trendy, like in fashion and I see that as generating more waste,” she says. “I like to counter that.”