AJOTO x OLIVIA ASPINALL STUDIO pen rest collection in collaboration with Lazerian
18 May 2021
Lazerian has recently worked with high-end pen brand AJOTO and Olivia Aspinall Studio (a specialist in bespoke terrazzo and surface design), to create a limited edition pen rest collection. The entire range is manufactured from a unique material made from the production waste of AJOTO’s Ebonite edition pens.
For the collaboration, AJOTO have produced two distinctive designs from an experimental material produced specifically for this collection of which are limited to fifty pieces each.
One of the objectives of the creation of this collection was for AJOTO to minimise the impact from their entire production process and also find ways to add value and repurpose previously non-reclaimable waste materials.
Sitting alongside recent efforts from Lazerian to start to make changes with regards to putting together processes for a circular economy style approach, it seemed like the perfect time and the right project to carry out.
The Ebonite used for AJOTO’s pens are produced by the combination of two core ingredients: natural rubber latex and sulphur. The mixture of these materials passes through multiple production stages before it becomes the ebonite material that can be used to precision machine. Once the machining is finished the waste comprises of boxes full of curly machining swarf.
“Unlike metal which can be easily recycled, the ebonite would need to be processed further to fully remove contaminants and shipped to Germany. Overall this has a very limited environmental or financial benefit. So, this prompted us to set out and find alternative ways to repurpose this material and potentially produce a range of products that would be both practical and beautiful" AJOTO founder- Chris Holden
Knowing that they had the potential to make their company more sustainable and to produce a eco-friendly product was, of course, exciting. However AJOTO needed to fit the high standards of design and modern craft that they always cultivate and have built their well-established and respected reputation on.
Enter Olivia Aspinall Studio– Olivia’s focus within the studio is on developing new surface finishes as well as working closely with clients to realise their ideas through colour and pattern experimentation.
Alongside AJOTO, Olivia Aspinall Studio developed a new material they call “ebonite terrazzo”. They initially tested a variety and combinations of waste materials; including silver offcuts, cork pieces from AJOTO packaging and the ebonite. After producing a range of test sheets they found that the effect from the swirls of ebonite alone was by far the most appealing.
This unique material is made in a similar way as regular terrazzo, but instead of using terrazzo chips, marble or granite, small ebonite shaving are re-purposed from the AJOTO Ebonite collection and casted with an eco-resin.
"The main challenge with the development process has been achieving the correct balance of ebonite to the binder. The challenge has been to make a beautiful surface design that is also strong whilst also not overloading the background material” Olivia Aspinall, founder of Olivia Aspinall Studios
Another one of AJOTO’s main objective from this collaboration was for the whole collection to be produced in the United Kingdom. As the original vision of AJOTO is to combine the precision of advanced manufacture with the soul of craft, it was a natural fit for them to turn to Lazerian. As Lazerian are also a purveyor of modern craft who combine traditional processes with modern techniques, a tried and tested partnership was once again reunited. Understanding the process and outcomes needed for the pen rests was important but with Lazerian and AJOTO sharing similar values and high standards, a superior, first class product was born.
Using precision machined processes, the experimental material was constructed into two different forms. Once machined the pieces were returned to Olivia in Nottingham for cleaning, hand-finished and waxing. The final step is the addition of a naturally vegetable-tanned leather base cut and finished in Melton Mowbray and attached at AJOTO’s studio workshop.
"Liam is an experimental Manchester-based artist and designer that fully understands our values and the project and worked with us to precisely carve each rest from our experimental material.” AJOTO founder- Chris Holden