USE - Urban Safety Daily - is an experimental 3D printed street furniture. The aim of the project is to explore how technology can help recycle plastic through eco-sustainable design.
I find it an ingenious solution: the old plastic casings become a sort of "cover", like that of smartphones, which covers the concrete barriers, transforming them into an elegant and functional street furniture. The city of Lucca gains installations for everyday social life, and the environment is found less plastic on its back.
From concrete barrier to street furniture: a 3D printer and a (brilliant) idea are "enough"
R3direct (to find out more click here) uses state-of-the-art 3D and parametric technologies to print robust, customizable objects from post-consumer plastics. The company collaborated with Giulia del Grande for her degree thesis, which focused on investigating the disconnect between fear and real risk in cities.
This was the "spring" that gave birth to the idea of covering the "new jersey" barriers in concrete, often used as a preventive measure against terrorism. The work of lead designer Stefano Giovacchini has transformed a sea of briks made of Tetrapak® into an urban furniture that also revives the perception of places.
And to think that I drank it once, with this bench
The USE street furniture, as mentioned, is made of recycled plastic. Each piece costs about € 1,50, and all the furniture is made up of 3300 Tetrapak cartons. The recycling process was handled by another company with a plant in Lucca, the Lucart. Over 75% of the cellulose recovered from plastic has been converted into FiberPack®, a material also used in toilet paper, napkins, kitchen towels and the like. The remaining 25% is made up of polyethylene and aluminum, the other materials of which street furniture is made.
after 3D printed the project, R3direct invited the craftsmen to refine every part of the barrier cover, giving it a friendlier look that matches the unique architectural environment of the city. the first prototype was installed in March 2022 and features a QR code that allows passers-by to scan and learn about the "journey" of the material used to create the furniture.
The city of Lucca is a beautiful place to visit or to live in. It will be even better with these new "smartphone" covers on the concrete barriers. They are not only beautiful, but they also have a function.