Bottletop: shiny new store
After devastating scenes of the effects of plastic pollution on sealife in Blue Planet II, the world is scrambling to find ways to dispose of old plastic. Bottletop has opens a store on Regent Street that illustrates a few possible solutions.
The luxury bag brand already has currency in recycling waste. Launched in 2002 with British accessories brand, Mulberry, the company used only upcycled materials - old Kenyan bottletops and Mulberry leather off-cuts - to make its bags.
It was, at that time, a curious confection: waste product turned into accessories that any fashionista was happy to sling over a forearm at Fashion Week. But since then, Bottletop has gone on to develop its own collections based on other sustainable materials including upcycled metals and certified zero deforestation leather from the Amazon.
Now, in partnership with London-based design studio Krause Architects and 3D printers AI Build, the store turns the brand's philosophies into architectural form, imagining a future of ecologically responsible construction through zero waste design.
In the store window, a 3D-printing mechanical arm by leading robotics maker Kuka live-produces charms and keyrings. Inside, larger Kuka robots are 'printing' the store's interior - using filament from Reflow, made entirely from plastic waste - with repetitive three-dimensional patterns.
The process is deliberately slow; visit the store on another day and it will look completely different as it changes and completes.
Overhead, the brand's trademark metal canopy, created with thousands of cans embedded into a 3D printed lattic structure suspended from the ceiling, hangs over latest collections. The floor is made from up-cycled rubber tyres.
"This is so exciting for us as our customers can watch the transformation of the store,' enthuses co-founder Oliver Wayman. “For the first time, visitors to our store will be able to witness the sustainable use of this technology first hand while learning about our brand.
"The store offers an inspiring immersive experience that blends future-facing ecological conscience with time-honoured craftwork," he says.
Sight and smell are included in this brand equation: customer can experience a bespoke in-store scent from perfumer Timothy Han, and a series of playlists from record producer Mario C, the visionary behind Beastie Boys and Bjork recordings.
As pressing issues of waste hit the news, the store's opening is timely and prescient; the audience for solutions has never been so significant - or so hungry for answers - and presenting them, as Bottletop does in Regent Street, with an eye to the future makes them more compelling than ever.