Sarah Mair

Polyphase 10



Recycled polystyrene & Plywood offcuts



Polyphase 10 is a result of ongoing discussions and research into waste, offcut and discarded materials interested in producing functional everyday objects that encourage users to think beyond the individual to the systems of waste that allow and limit our sustainable futures.

Polyphase 10 addresses radical forms of material sustainability through shifting form, process and materiality – all moments of abundance and creative potential – in the creation of everyday objects.

With Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) production set to grow to 10.6 million metric tonnes over the next 5 years, Polyphase seeks to articulate the availability and discomfort of this material consequence by intercepting the short-term value of abundant waste streams while stoking long term aspirations for unsustainable material reliance change.

In the past, the fabrication of polyphase objects has been characterised by the highly efficient curing process of recycled EPS that necessitates designs that can be formed entirely in situ and require very little post-production.

In the case of Polyphase 10, the process of production breaks away from the purely in situ methods that have characterised early projects and marks the beginning of a series of post-production material tests seeking out complementary solutions for refinement.

This shift is a result of new grounds for investigation at the Queen Victoria Market. The nature of operations means the material experiences greater levels of organics contamination resulting in a lower grade, more variable product that lends itself to post-production.

In keeping with site specific form creation, a crude disk of extruded polystyrene was shaped between two boards before being refined on a lathe to produce the seat, with the two plywood offcuts that acted as formwork becoming the frame on which the reformed polystyrene is seated.

In transforming EPS into an everyday object Polyphase 10 intends to challenge our perceptions of waste, awaken our senses and question associations between waste, beauty and the every day, and formalise the possibilities of a material-oriented, sustainability-driven furniture. 



Sarah Mair is the designer and maker behind Melbourne based project Polyphase. Her furniture practice embodies a crafted, process-led approach to design that employs existing methods of recycling to inform unique outcomes for everyday use. Her work reconsiders the oft-neglected resources around us to challenge the notion of ‘waste’. Her works reflect an ongoing fascination with extended material narratives and shifting perceptions of the material world. Sarah’s work has been exhibited at Linden New Art as part of Design Fringe, Qality for Melbourne Design Week, MPavilion, Testing Grounds and Chapter House.


More info