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Getting creative with waste

 3 February 2011

Welsh designer Angela Gidden explains how the fabric and leather offcuts from her furniture design business became a separate creative company.

"We've been producing furniture for a number of years, we've been hoarding off-cuts of fabrics and beautiful, character-rich leather, and knowing that there's value in it because you have to pay for every square centimetre in the first place.

"So we weren't going to throw it away. We were going to put some time aside to create a design programme that would enable us to come up with designs to turn that waste into products of value."

Getting creative with sustainability

"We love our stuff to be cherished, not chucked. Kicking back against disposability. It's a very special part of our portfolio."

"Obviously when you're cutting a chair out of a hide, you are left with off-cuts, generally the outside of the hide.

"In the furniture industry, you tend to get anything from 25-40 percent waste, and the furniture industry is renowned for just chucking that. So coming at it from a sustainable agenda, it's 'what do we do with that waste?'

"So the first products we created were a collection of satchels. It's a bit like the Russian doll concept: we had panels about this big, so we designed and made satchels. And then you end up with smaller pieces, so you end up with a smaller bag.

"So we've got three sizes of bags. Then you end up with smaller pieces again, so we've got wallets. You end up with tiny little outside edges, and those are key fobs."

Starting a new creative brand

"As a result, it had to be its own brand, it had to be its own company. So Nomad & Nest was born.

"It was basically born out of waste. Our strapline is, 'We love our stuff to be cherished, not chucked'. "You know, old-fashioned, traditional thinking, and kicking back against that whole sort of disposability. It's a very special and important part of our portfolio."

Design opportunites for Wales

"We're very committed to doing it here in Cardiff and Wales. I see Cardiff now as being that vibrant, design-led city that is helping to take Wales and establish itself as a creative industry as a whole within that global international market.

"That's the exciting thing here now, there is so much more design stuff that goes on on a regular basis in the city."

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