Appreciating the finer details of a well-arranged table — from linens and placemats to dishes and silverware — is said to enhance the entire dining experience, but when you are desperately hungry (with an embarrassingly audible stomach chorus to prove it), fingers and a sleeve trump a fork and napkin any old day. At the very minimum, using cutlery helps us to behave like civilized individuals without indulging in all of the time-consuming, pomp and Martha Stewart circumstance, but it’s a very rare occasion that we actually take pause — mid-bite — to sing the praises of this invaluable household staple. All kidding aside, who really wants to contemplate the marvel of engineering required to bring forks, spoons and knives to fruition when going about the merry business of eating is infinitely more enjoyable? London-based Spanish designer Oscar Diaz, that’s who. Go ahead and tuck into those store-brand tortilla chips drowned with Velveeta pasteurized processed cheese product sans cutlery and leave the business of fork, spoon and knife design to the expert. Diaz is apparently so enamored with these mealtime tools that he makes them from scratch using plastic blanks that he hand harvests from PET bottles. Now that’s what I call serious eco-dedication. Naturally, it would be far easier and a lot less time consuming to purchase a factory-manufactured set of silverware and call it a day, but that renders creativity null and void. Product designers like Diaz are inspired to help mainstream thinkers recognize that very humble resources can be transformed with creative effort into practical, everyday resources — and to think, it all started with a bunch of plastic detergent bottles. Scouting supermarket shelves for PET containers, Diaz selected any bottle shape that mimicked the curves inherent in conventional forks, knives and spoons. Part of what makes these implements desirable is that they accommodate the natural shape of our mouths via a slight curvature, facilitating a smooth food delivery system. The designer then wielded a black marker and drew his rough cutlery pattern onto the side of each bottle, using dish soap bottles for his knives and soda bottles for his forks and spoons. Acknowledging that each piece he produces is unique due to the fact that it is hand drawn and then carefully cut with a blade, Diaz refers to himself as an “editor” rather than a “designer,” since he takes advantage of forms that already exist rather than conjuring them up from scratch. He then hand dips his assortment of lightweight recycled plastic cut-outs into two types of liquid metal — copper followed by tin — yielding the conventional metallic effect that most of us know and love. The result of his eco-experiment, dubbed “Found,” was displayed last year at London’s Idea Generation Gallery and offers a fresh presentation for the plastic bottles that most of us would normally think nothing of relegating to our recycling bins. It’s hard to believe that anything as ordinary as a dish detergent container can take on a phoenix-like persona as part of a repurposed cutlery set, but Diaz offers tangible proof with his refined execution that absurd notions only remain as such until the most daringly creative geniuses show the rest of us how it’s done. While his innovative, hand-crafted repurposing experiment is still in the prototype stage, he insists that his pieces are remarkably durable and would hold up to the typical rigors of a three-meal-per-day household. For now, Diaz’s effort demonstrates that we have access to countless recyclable materials that are ripe with reinvention potential — we just have to kick our brainstorming abilities into high gear!
Plastic Bottles Reborn as Sleek, Handmade Reusable Cutlery
London-based eco-designer Oscar Diaz finds reuse inspiration in the smooth contours of 2-liters and soap containers.