Oksana Bondar’s work is concerned with the concepts of circular economy, which is interpreted by Ellen Macarthur Foundation as one that is restorative and regenerative by design as opposed to the current “take, make and dispose” industrial model. Through her practice, Oksana engages with socio-economic and political challenges in the areas of consumption, manufacture, refuse management and localisation. The above is implemented through her research into such regenerative materials as natural fibres, raw matter recovered from industrial and residential waste, bioplastics as well as studio practice that involves applying circular design thinking principles that are discussed in the Circular Design Guide by IDEO and Cradle-to-Cradle methodology.
The future-forward project Food Skins responds to the recent announcement by the UK supermarkets to go plastic free and it attempts to facilitate mass implementation of zero waste food shopping through a utilitarian object. Particularly, the project explores the best way to restock liquids in a form of an expandable refillable bottle. The concept was inspired by the success of pocket size, collapsible, reusable shopping bags that have dramatically reduced the use of the plastic ones and have now seamlessly been integrated into people’s daily lives. The bottle is made out of one renewable material - natural rubber for ease of returning the raw material back to the industry or environment. The shape of the bottle features an opening so that it can be worn, making it easy to carry whilst also expressing the user’s advocacy of the waste-less lifestyle. Its round profile visually references the circular design intentions of the project.
The project Wiggy reacts to global political changes, in particular, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the uncertain future of leaving the single market in terms of socio-economic and ecological impact, through investigating the prospects of vernacular production. The designer studied local raw material extraction, tapped into urban waste streams and explored potential material recovery, which led her to identify human hair clippings as an abundant and valuable but neglected fibre. Through material experimentation, it was discovered that hair can be wet felted and formed into solid shapes by laminating it with PLA bioplastic. In order to demonstrate the material’s structural capabilities, the designer chose to create a dressing table stool. The minimum offcuts fabrication process guides the shape of Wiggy and its narrative aspires to challenge people’s perception of aesthetics of objects through their lifecycles. The cHAIR seeks to showcase the opportunities for design to add value to waste utilization through creating a circular flow of materials. The project’s framework allowed Oksana to experience the concept of designers being farmers of material, which is predicted to be an important part of the future society by Zoe Laughlin, co-founder of The Institute of Making at UCL.
Both of the projects depict Oksana’s perception of the design industry as being central to tackling complex problems the world is facing today. Her work is intended to have a hue of revolution whilst remaining independent and small scale at its core.