Butter Range by Gibson Karlo for DesignByThem

  • 2022

  • Product
    Furniture and Lighting

Commissioned By:


Designed In:


Focusing on sustainability and functionality, Butter offers 100% post-consumer recycled plastic seating and coffee tables in a variety of colours that are UV stable and suitable for indoor/outdoor use. Created in 2010 by DesignByThem founders Sarah Gibson and Nicholas Karlovasitis, Butter has become known for its playfulness and durability.

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  • The design challenge for Butter was to create a furniture range that was sustainable, lightweight, waterproof, versatile and UV stable. The design had to be part of a closed-loop system with minimal down-cycling or deterioration in material quality. The brief was not only to use a recyclable material, but to use a material that was recycled in the first place. It was important that the product did not look recycled so that consumers never felt that there was any compromise with the product and that sustainable design could in fact be as good as what was currently available.

  • The designers worked with a manufacturer to produce a 100% post-consumer recycled plastic material that was free of composites, able to be coloured and available in compact flat sheets. The products in the Butter range - including stools, chairs, benches, and coffee tables - are all designed to start off as flat cut-out shapes with V-grooves. This allows the designs to be flat-packed to cut down freight space and costs. Once folded along the mitred hinges, the finished product is extremely strong and robust. Any offcuts are re-pelletised to use in future sheets saving waste and maximising material efficiency.

  • The Butter range was introduced to the market over 10 years ago and during that time the design and sustainability of the product have only improved. Starting as post-industrial recycled plastic and developing to its current post-consumer waste material the design has always strived to be improved and not remain static. Originally designed as a reaction to "recyclable" plastic market offerings, the Butter range has proven that sustainable design is not only a good social practice but also one that makes commercial sense.

  • The Butter recycled plastic can be made in many different colours - both neutral and bright - and remain 100% recycled and recyclable. For its 10-year anniversary, Gibson Karlo introduced a brand new Clay colour to the collection which has seen much popularity.