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June 28, 2019

Plastics for Playgrounds in Mexico City

In 2018 Mexico City was named the Design Capital of the World.  So it is fitting that a Alejandro Curi Chavez, an innovative designer, is using old tires and other plastics to build environmentally  friendly stylish playgrounds under his brand Gumi. Unlike most playgrounds around the world that have concrete flooring his provide cushioned landing for children making them safe aesthetically pleasing.  The colorful tiles are also waterproof to resist the elements and can be wiped clean. Shredded tires are used to create the bottom layer of the tiles and the coating is created from other plastics that would be thrown away by the factories producing it.  

In Mexico the government pays to shred tires.  But Mexico currently ships the tires to China where they are shredded and sent back to Mexico.  Curi finds this practice unsustainable and wants to build recycling plants to do that in Mexico.  To do this he must create a demand and the mindset that something recycled is better that new by creating something not only useful but attractive.  

To further create demand Curi also creates benches and soles for he huarache sandals.  He and other designers at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York developed the idea for a machine that would convert old tires into the affordable soles.  He has gone on to with shoe designers to create other multi colored soles. Curi also added a plastic rim to a stool for added comfort. It is obvious that Curi is a technical designer who said “the starting point is responsible design…and to stop using virgin materials”.

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