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Show RCA 2019

Ewan Alston

Show RCA work

Major project:


GoodWaste is an initiative located in Park Royal (London’s largest industrial site), which would collect the offcuts and waste materials from the area's diverse manufacturers — materials such as marble, steel and Corian — and use it to produce furniture and homeware for the 25,000 new homes that are currently being built in the neighbouring town. 

This represents a new model of manufacturing that is highly local and highly circular; dissolving the area’s waste problem, while preventing an influx of low quality, mass-manufactured goods, which must be shipped across the world. The project highlights the potential of the so-called waste materials as a valuable local resource. While the initial test for the project was in Park Royal, the model could feasibly be replicated in any other city, with the the materials adapting to the local manufacturing of that area.

The exemplar objects are all made from Park Royal waste, and the designs celebrate this. Some are engraved with the name of the original manufacturer (and source of material), while others maintain the raw edges from the original off-cuts. In line with our design principles, each object is made from the leftovers of a previous object. 

The project was a collaboration with Ambra Dentella and Rafael El Baz, where we had a shared research phase and system concept, but with individual object outputs. 


  • My practice centres around improving the design and production of products for lasting social and environmental impact.

    I'm particularly interested in the production systems that define products and their footprints. Much of my work at the Royal College of Art has focussed on how cities can move towards local, circular manufacturing. One of the main skills I've honed in my MA is the ability to materialise complex systemic solutions into a few key narrative objects.

    In my final year I've explored two approaches to the problem of industrial waste. In the first, my team proposed an initiative that would collect the waste from an industrial site (high quality materials like marble) and use it to produce furniture for the neighbouring housing development. The second approach imagines a series of lamp designs, which can automatically adapt to whatever metal offcuts are locally available at any given moment.

  • Previous degrees

  • MEng Product Design Engineering, Glasgow School of Art, 2014
  • Experiences

  • Circular Economy CoLab fellow, IDEO, London, 2019; Industrial design engineer, Filament, Glasgow, 2015–2017; Industrial design intern, Bauhaus Luftfahrt, Munich, Germany, 2014
  • Exhibitions

  • Ventura Future, Milan Design Week, 2019; Object Resurrection, Hockney Gallery, London, 2018; Distributed Design Challenge, Tala, London Design Festival, 2018; The Future is..., RCA Courtyard Galleries, London, 2018; Blend House, Floristeria, Milan Design Week, 2018
  • Awards

  • Industrial Design Studentship, Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, 2018; Napier Prize, Best Design Graduate, University of Glasgow, 2014
  • Funding

  • Industrial Design Studentship, Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, 2018; Grant for Postgraduate Studies, Sidney Perry Foundation, 2017
  • Collaborators

  • Ambra Dentella, MA Design Products; Rafael El Baz, MA Design Products
Royal College of Art