Taiwanese designers, including Wanting Liao, work with W Taipei and Taiwan Design Center to create a series of innovative eco-friendly design projects
The hotel industry is definitely a major culprit when it comes to producing trash, but W Hotels
is trying to make a difference with its Trash Re-design
The project started last year with a competition held by W Taipei
and Taiwan Design Center (TDC)
. Titled Trash Re-design by TDC X W Taipei
, the contest was an opportunity for talented young Taiwanese designers to learn about sustainable materials and then tap into their creativity to custom-design eco-friendly products for W Taipei. The idea was to recycle some of the waste generated by the hotel, and transform and re-design these into designer items to be sold in the hotel.
Taiwanese designer Wanting Liao, one of the winners of the competition, and the W Taipei team were in Hong Kong recently to unveil this project and also commemorate W Hotels’ sixth year as a partner of Hong Kong Business of Design Week
Liao designed an eco-friendly version of Pinball, a famous and common game in the night markets in Taiwan. The Po&Masters designer tells Perspective that after experiencing a brand immersion at W Taipei, she realised that the hotel already has a lot of design elements. “Hence, I wanted to make something different and interesting, and to bring joy and an element of Taiwan to the hotel guests,” she explains.
To play Pinball, the user swipes the balls up with his or her finger. The ball then falls through a grid and lands on the bottom of the grid. This is repeated until all the balls are used up — the aim is to make all the balls form a straight line.
While the game is straightforward and easy to pick up, the design process of the Pinball was rather more complex for Liao, as it was the first time the 27-year-old designer worked with recycled materials. “There are many types of recycled plastics. Initially, I wanted to use the plastic from PET bottles for the grid, but the ball did not move down the grid. Hence, we had to experiment with different materials. Finally, we found that that ball can move through a grid made of recycled plastic from computer keyboards.”
Achieving the desired colour for the material was another challenge too, as recycled materials tend to have a dull hue; as was trying to fit a transparent plastic cover, made from recycled bottles, with the grid.
Liao worked closely with Miniwiz
, a Taiwanese manufacturer of sustainable materials, who also offered advice on how to best use the materials.
Aiming to increase the use of eco materials in her future work, the designer is planning to make use of bamboo as her next material, given that its regrowth is rapid and sustainable compared to wood.
The other two winning designs in the Trash Re-design by TDC X W Taipei competition were Fanny Kuo’s Jewellery Holder and Yu Jui Chou’s Lollipop Coaster. All three winning products have been purchased by the hotel; Pinball and Jewellery Holder and will be available for sale at W Taipei and as a gift option available for wedding banquets from January.