Designers are beginning to invent new ways of using old plastic—from melting old lunch trays and mixing them with resin to create ethereal furniture to knitting plastic pulled from the ocean into Adidas sneakers. But Milan-based designer Libero Rutilo is repurposing plastic bottles by leaving them just the way they are: His flower vases are made from 3-D printed external shells that fit over a half-liter water bottle, giving the ubiquitous recyclable a chic second life.
The collection, produced by Libero's company DesignLibero, includes four different designs: a crochet-inspired "Lace Vase," the woven "Knitted Vase," the wavy-patterned "Sinuous Vase," and the web-like "Spider Vase." The 3-D printed shell has an inner neck fillet, so it can be screwed onto the bottle just like a cap. Each with its own silhouette, the lattice structures masks most of the bottle, transforming it into a unique decorative object. They're available from the 3-D printing service Make It Leo, where they can be bought whole and shipped. Or the file can be purchased and the vase printed anywhere—a method that's being adopted by other shops to bypass the problem of leftover inventory.
As far as repurposing plastics go, this is a small-scale endeavor; after all, you're only repurposing one plastic bottle at a time. Still, it's an inventive idea for reusing a product that already exists—and a lovely way of realizing it.
Photos: Claudio Morelli via Design Libero