Blog : eco-friendly design

Creative New Products from Recycled Ocean Debris

Creative New Products from Recycled Ocean Debris

Looking for a new pair of shoes? You’ve come to the right place. Tlejourn, an ocean-friendly brand of footwear, has unveiled creative new products made from waste recycled from the ocean.



Story: Samutcha Viraporn / Photo: Sitthisak Namkham

Before and after. Nattapong shows his work, an old rubber flip-flop he found at a beach, left; and a new sandal after a complete makeover, right.

Tlejourn is the brainchild of Dr. Nattapong Nithi-Uthai of the Rubber Tech and Polymer Science Department, Faculty of Science and Technology, Prince of Songkhla University at Pattani. He’s co-founder of Trash Hero Pattani, an active environmental group in southern Thailand.

Trash Hero Pattani is the spearhead of a program that collects waste materials washing onto beaches every Wednesday. A lot happens from there. First, marine trash is separated into two categories. Then, non-recyclable items are put through the proper channels, while rubber parts from old shoes, boat fenders and side protectors are converted into reusable raw materials. The recycling process includes reducing them to fine particles and putting them through a heated press to make rubber mats. They become the raw material from which Tlejourne sandals and other products are made.

Dr. Nattapong Nithi-Uthai (left) and Dr. Singh Intrachooto (right) collect pieces of waste on a beach. Photo: Facebook Singh Intrachooto
Pieces of ocean waste are pulverized, mixed, and put through a heated press to make rubber mats, the first step in the recycling process.
Recycled rubber mats from a heated press on their way to the assembly line.
Recycled rubber mats are cut using die cutting tools, a step in the manufacturing process that’s passed on to cottage industries in the local community of Pattani.

Besides its in-house footwear industry, Tlejourn also supplies reusable raw materials to leading manufacturers, among them the Thai-American designer Pring Paris. Tlejourn footwear products are available at Soda, one of Thailand’s well-known fashion houses.

The brand also offers women’s shoes by means of co-branding with the designer group Muzina of Japan. Known as Muzina x Tlejourn, their joint products recently made its world debut in a fashion show that was part of the annual Tokyo Fashion Week. Tlejourn is collaborating with the shoe manufacturer Nanyang to offer the Khya brand of sandals made from recycled ocean waste and materials left over from the industry.

Ladies slippers with recycled rubber sole and fluffy hair from the Thai-American designer Pring Paris. Photo: Press
A Muzina x Tlejourn joint product makes it world debut at the Tokyo Fashion Week. Photo: Press
Colorful Khya flip-flops, a joint product from Tlejourn and the leading footwear manufacturer Nanyang. The sole is a mix of recycled rubber and materials left over from the industry.
Designed for everyday wear, Tlejourn casuals are made by co-branding with local footwear manufacturers.

On the future of the natural environment, Dr. Nattapong said: “We know that in the next three decades, ocean trash could be more numerous than marine life. In three months, Trash Hero Thailand volunteers collect more than 80 tons of trash washing onto beaches, of which about 8 tons are old shoes and other footwear that people have discarded.

“In the last four years we sold more than a hundred thousand shoes. As a result of that, a half of ocean trash have disappeared from local area beaches. but heaps of refuse remained. It’s an almost incredible tale of a waste crisis. Everything is on a grand scale. By making Tlejourn footwear out of recycled ocean waste, we join other environmental groups in a wider effort to rid the ocean of discarded materials. It’s a formidable challenge. Everyone can chip in to make the problem go away, and we are campaigning to turn those heaps of ocean waste into creative products, not just shoes.”

Tlejourn founder, Dr. Nattapong Nithi-Uthai of the Rubber Tech and Polymer Science Department, Faculty of Science and Technology, Prince of Songkhla University at Pattani.
Flip-flops and keychains in lively colors are made from recycled ocean debris.

Needless to say Tlejourn has turned crisis into opportunity. As countries in the ASEAN membership struggle to cut down waterborne debris, each and every one of us must do our share of the joint campaign. Let’s make the sea beautiful again.

A pair of Tlejourn sandals with recycled rubber sole. Photo: Press
Trash Hero Thailand volunteers gather for a good cause. Photo: Trash Hero Thailand

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Modern Vernacular Homes
Top 10 Houses to Beat the Heat / Tropical House

Top 10 Houses to Beat the Heat / Tropical House

Hot and humid climate being one of the inevitabilities of life, architects across the Region aptly responded with a range of ingenious designs from the cool traditional to the energy-efficient modern. Living ASEAN presents top 10 houses well suited to the circumstances. Check them out.

 /// ASEAN ///

The Energy Efficient Home

The Energy Efficient Home

The hot and humid climate in Thailand is inevitable. But where there’s a will, there’s always a way. Just as this energy efficient home demonstrated.

/// Thailand ///

Architect: Assoc.Prof.Tonkao Panin, Ph.D., and Tanakarn Mokkhasmita /// Photo: Sungwan Phratep


Living Space
The floorboard is crafted of prefab concrete slabs on steel structure. The terrace is made of glossy finish concrete.

This property belongs to Assoc.Prof.Tonkao Panin Ph.D, a teacher at Faculty of Architecture, Silpakorn University. She revived an old abandoned building into an airy, well-ventilated house.

The car park is underneath the house. A short driveway makes it possible to widen a garden area.
There is no need to fill up the entire plot. Instead, leave just enough space for air circulation.

Flanked by a canal, the long-term problem arises. Floods tend to happen often, this was the main reason to tear the old thing down to start anew.

We have full-grown trees in the land, which we intended to keep. So, the architects designed the building around them. Because of some limitations, traces from the old connecting building is still remain. The space where tall trees is standing now was made into an atrium.”

The staircase leading to the second floor is equipped with simple looking handrails that match the style of the house.
Passageways on the property are designed to be semi-outdoors for increased exposure to the sun and the wind.

“I want a home that is open and airy – a house that breathes. The new design calls for wide corridors and ample spaces underneath the house. The low land is now filled up to street level to create a semi-outdoor multi-purpose area.”

The energy-savvy double-wall corridor connects all interior spaces.

Tonkao chose steel for the main structure. Because they reduced construction periods and enable a flexible construction schedule.

The two-story, L-shaped home splits into two wings located on either side of the warm and lively center court. The canopy of tall trees keeps the entire living spaces cool and comfortable all day long. Exterior walls are made of hollow bricks to block the sun while leaving a space for the wind to flow in. Long overhangs protect the house from heat waves, while stilt floor improves ventilation.

A sliding door separates the office and sitting area on the second floor. The two rooms become one when the door is opened.

“We sleep soundly in a compact bedroom. A wide corridor helps when we walk pass one another. Semi-outdoor walkways keep us informed of current weather conditions and we don’t need any air-conditioning machine.” Tonkao mentioned her home with content.

Louver windows are ideal for increased air circulation. Clear glass alternates with translucent panels add curb appeal.

Courtesy of the energy efficient home, residents are able co-live happily with the nature.

High-rise windows give a sunny bright light and accentuate the vertical design. /// The all-white bathroom, which is contiguous with the bedroom, is designed with ease of maintenance in mind.














Nature Meets Concrete House

Nature Meets Concrete House

When nature becomes a part of our home, our souls are nurtured. This concrete house in Malaysia took its first step of creating a sanctuary of mind.

/// Malaysia ///

Architect: Seksan Design /// Photo: Soopakorn Srisakul

Steel structures are used in remaking this new house. Steel technologies provide a fast and convenient alternative.

“Sekeping Tenggiri” searching on the Internet, you can see the amazing place. It is where Malaysians love to shoot their pre-wedding photographs. A part of it is remade into a guesthouse for those to stay. The house belongs to Ng Sek San, founder of the landscaping and architecture firm Seksan Design.

Plants and natural light combine to soften the harsh surfaces of building materials, making it a warm and well-lighted place.

Located in Jalan Tenggiri district of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, the part of the small plot of land. Nonetheless, the owner effectively incorporates plenty of natural features in this architecture. The owner tells us that remake from what used to be two adjacent houses. He obviously made a clean sweep. Ng is also an art collector. That explains why one side of it is devoted to enviable art collections, which are public open. No admission charge.

The same building materials are used on both the exteriors and interiors to create visual continuity intended by the architects.

The two-story home has a full array of functional areas, from the sitting room, dining room and kitchen to a swimming pool and seven bedrooms. The owner is a landscape architect. Working on this house, he starts small from a humble garden and gradually makes inroads into bigger projects on the interiors. To him a garden is a room and his exterior design spaces more look like an extension of the interiors too.

The ground floor features a dining room that connects immaculately with the swimming pool and the garden at the far end. Thanks to the canopy of tall trees, cool breezes can be felt all day.
Floorboards and concrete roofs. In general, are built 10 centimeters thick, but it is only 7 centimeters here. There are gaps, about 5-10 centimeters, between the ceiling and the top edge of the wall for good ventilation.

A good example of Modern Tropical style, the house is designed to reduce heat and prevent problems due to moisture. As long overhangs and awnings, which protect against scorching sunlight. Exposed roof sections and plain floors make a simple seeing. The materials used are quite commonplace, such as concrete masonry, bricks, wood, and steel. The main structure is steel-reinforced concrete. Other details allow the nature to participate. To a comfy living space. Upstairs bedrooms are mode cool by air circulation resulting from raising the floorboard 40 centimeters from concrete floors. Opaque walls are out, while glass Louvre windows are in, resulting in light and airy interiors. Parts of the roof are made of transparent materials to allow for more sunlight, especially over the swimming pool.

The master bedroom on the second floor is simple and raw. Exposed brick walls, crude concrete floors, and windows that open wide from one corner to the other combine to enhance visual continuity with the natural surroundings.
Who says underneath the window has got to be an opaque wall? Not true. Here, Louvre windows are used to promote air circulation.
A renovated bathroom features a raised floorboard to accommodate new plumbing. The dry section is open to wide variety of materials, but for the wet section easy-care products, such as tiles, are a smart choice.

This concrete house has plenty of passageways that promote air circulation. For example the air passages between wooden floorboards, along the corridors and exterior walls. They also make the house appear uncluttered and incredibly relaxed.

Skylights installed above the bathroom help indoor plants flourish. /// The house and surrounding vegetation combine into one. Natural building materials no doubt make for comfy living conditions.