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Jason today fulfilled a long-held ambition to make his very own Cohda "Roughly Drawn" chair – with a little help from the chair's designer, Richard Liddle.

Not only that, but he got to make one of the first of a brand new design – a version of the RD4S (stacking) chair that has separate "legs" rather than being filled-in all the way round.

Richard has exhibited each successive generation of Roughly Drawn chairs with us - starting with one of the earliest at [re]design 05, after we'd spotted it at the RCA show. It's been fantastic to see how the seats, and Cohda's "U.R.E" recycling process, have been developed and refined.

Jason's chair has now taken pride of place in [re]design's own container at CONTAINS, and will be coming home with us too... thanks Richard! 

Jason (left) making the chair, with help from Richard Liddle


Today I was introduced to the art of "proggy" (a typically North-Eastern rag-rugging technique) by one of its foremost practitioners, Ali Rhind, at a workshop held as part of the Delight in Design exhibition at the Live Theatre, Newcastle Quayside. Traditional in mining communities, proggy was widespread until about 40 years ago and was done by the whole family together, both male and female.

Above: Ali trimming my design - a seat cover made from old blankets and jumpers cut into strips and poked through hessian.

Below: this fantastic cat (seen here from the back) was made by two brothers aged 4 and 6...

Hannah's design being trimmed

Proggy cat

The Dott 07 Festival at Baltic Square showcases Designs Of The Time, an ambitious year-long programme of community projects and events based in North East England, exploring what life in a sustainable region could be like – and how design could help create it.

Looks like they've had a busy year! There are several zones tackling big themes such as Energy, Food, Movement, Schools and Health. Pick of the projects include the ECO Design Challenge for schools, the Low Carb Lane energy-saving project, Urban Farming in Middlesbrough, and Move Me looking at how a rural community can better meet its transport needs.

Above: the Move Me Map showed where visitors to the Festival had travelled from (with stickers), while the interactive installation showed how much money you could save by car-sharing – the more places were filled in the imaginary car, the cheaper it got.

Move Me Map at Dott07 exhibition

We paid a visit to Cohda's Plastic Recycling Factory last night. Outside the "factory" hangs a gigantic spherical pendant lamp (2m across) all made of recycled HDPE.

Cohda's giant recycled plastic lampshade

Inside we found Richard Liddle at work on the latest incarnation of his Roughly Drawn chairs, using waste bottles and packaging brought in by the public which he melts down and extrudes onto his specially made mould. He'll be there until Sunday 28th October, creating an evolving exhibit with a series of designs – do go along if you get a chance, and take your HDPE waste with you! Click here for dates and times.

Richard at work on an RD4S chair

The Recycling Factory is housed at Newcastle's old Fire Station alongside Launch - "one of the North East’s leading three dimensional design showcases" who also host rather good parties. Right: the duo who entertained us at Launch's opening...

The Launch party band

[re]design intern Anna West contributed her inspired "biscuit currency" concept (below) to the If You Could feature (in answer to the question, "If you could design anything to improve the way we live, what would it be?") She has already prototyped the idea by managing to exchange a biscuit for a bag of chips, in the absence of cash. Much time was passed debating the relative values of different biscuits – the notes are creams, obviously... Anna's biscuit currency sketch



Anyone strolling / stumbling through the centre of Newcastle in the (very) early hours of Thursday morning might have caught sight of a flock of eight blue shipping containers being lifted into their places (carefully chalkmarked out the night before) on Grainger Street near Monument. We couldn't have asked for a better spot.

container being lowered into position
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