Michelle Brand works on a design in her studio. Photo Courtesy of Michelle Brand.
Green isn’t a just a color or a trend for Michelle Brand; it is the British designer’s personal and artist philosophy. Brand creates sustainable lampshades, window screens, decorative LED indoor lights and room dividers out of used plastic bottles. Brand’s pieces are eco-friendly for numerous reasons, such as her material selection, how the piece is made and most importantly, why it’s made.
Brand’s labor intensive process of collecting enough materials, washing and sanding them, and assembling them by hand reflects her philosophy of slow design. She says the process contrasts today’s fast pace consumer mentality.
She gives ordinary, overlooked and mass-produced objects a second life by creatively diverting materials from landfills. Brand’s collective work serves as a social commentary, highlighting our disposable mentality towards objects. She achieves this through an unmistakable material choice and a natural fluidity of pattern, rhythm and line.
Light Chandelier. Photo Courtesy of Michelle Brand.
Brand impeccably constructs forms like her light chandelier. This repetitive shape is engraved in the viewer’s mind to think about our own disposable attitudes. Brand takes a common object, transforms it and in the process she alters the way we see and think of discarded materials.
Although the enthralling effect works like her chandelier piece have on people, Brand’s underlining message is the environmental and the problems we have caused to it. This eco-artist views her work and her process as part of a solution. Brand works closely with Emerge Recycling in East Manchester as its research designer in residence. Brand says her relationship with the recycling company is a mini ecosystem.
Photo Courtesy of Michelle Brand.