Newcastle upon Tyne, an industrial city in northeast Britain, is where Richard Liddle set out to solve one of England's ugliest problems: plastic waste, or, as he would call it, "dead energy." "When I first started looking into sustainable design as a student, I found recycled wood panels and plastic sheeting, but you're limited in what you can produce from them," says Liddle. "More importantly, they're all imported. Our waste was still being wasted." The designer spent two years at London's Royal College of Art studying the problem and developing a solution -- a proprietary process that melds plastic recycling and manufacturing into a single, seamless process he calls the Uncooled Recycled Extrude (URE). In addition to diverting used plastic from landfills, the URE process saves enough energy to run a 60w light continuously for two months.
COHDA's first commercial product, the RD4 (or "roughly drawn") chair, was shown at the pop-up exhibition HauteGreen during New York's International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Formed of woven strips of plastic, the chair is both 100% recycled and 100% recyclable, but it made an impact as much for its looks as for its green quotient. As HauteGreen co-producer Kimberly Oliver says: "The concept of making something new and beautiful from scrap materials is popular in green design, but the transformation of plastic waste into something as iconic and high-end as the RD4 is unique. Cohda takes recycled design into the realm of art."