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Zuzanna Gasior
Jun 6, 2024

We+, a contemporary design studio founded by Toshiya Hayashi and Hokuto Ando, unveils Refoam – a series of furniture pieces that challenge our preconceived notions of waste and materiality.

In the perpetual deluge of waste materials cascading through the modern metropolis, an innovative design studio has boldly stepped forward to redefine our relationship with the discarded.

Rooted in their "Urban Origin" research project, Refoam regards Tokyo's cast-off materials as a vernacular language, beckoning us to reconnect with the primordial bond between humans and their surroundings. By embracing the modest styrofoam, a material often dismissed as disposable, We+ invites us to rethink our perception of value and worth.

The concept's ingenuity lies in its simplicity – streamlining the complex recycling processes that plague our current systems. Typically, Tokyo's waste styrofoam undergoes a labyrinthine journey, melted into ingots locally, then exported to Europe and Southeast Asia for granulation and transformation into inexpensive recycled plastic products, many of which find their way back to Japan's ubiquitous 100-yen shops.

Refoam, however, subverts this convoluted cycle by proposing a more direct approach: manufacturing furniture directly from the ingots produced in Tokyo's intermediate treatment plants. This bold move not only simplifies the recycling flow but also imbues the once-discarded material with an entirely new, elevated purpose.

Each piece in the Refoam collection is inviting us to shed our preconceptions and embrace the beauty that lies within the oft-overlooked remnants of our urban existence. With this craftsmanship, We+ transforms the common styrofoam into sculptural pieces, their organic forms a stark contrast to the material's industrial origins.

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Zuzanna Gasior
Jun 6, 2024

We+, a contemporary design studio founded by Toshiya Hayashi and Hokuto Ando, unveils Refoam – a series of furniture pieces that challenge our preconceived notions of waste and materiality.

In the perpetual deluge of waste materials cascading through the modern metropolis, an innovative design studio has boldly stepped forward to redefine our relationship with the discarded.

Rooted in their "Urban Origin" research project, Refoam regards Tokyo's cast-off materials as a vernacular language, beckoning us to reconnect with the primordial bond between humans and their surroundings. By embracing the modest styrofoam, a material often dismissed as disposable, We+ invites us to rethink our perception of value and worth.

The concept's ingenuity lies in its simplicity – streamlining the complex recycling processes that plague our current systems. Typically, Tokyo's waste styrofoam undergoes a labyrinthine journey, melted into ingots locally, then exported to Europe and Southeast Asia for granulation and transformation into inexpensive recycled plastic products, many of which find their way back to Japan's ubiquitous 100-yen shops.

Refoam, however, subverts this convoluted cycle by proposing a more direct approach: manufacturing furniture directly from the ingots produced in Tokyo's intermediate treatment plants. This bold move not only simplifies the recycling flow but also imbues the once-discarded material with an entirely new, elevated purpose.

Each piece in the Refoam collection is inviting us to shed our preconceptions and embrace the beauty that lies within the oft-overlooked remnants of our urban existence. With this craftsmanship, We+ transforms the common styrofoam into sculptural pieces, their organic forms a stark contrast to the material's industrial origins.

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