Materials from retired A380 aircraft upcycled and given new lease of life

The team from Nanyang Girls' High School won the top prize in the pre-tertiary category with their Leathair Bag. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Premium leather seat covers and seat buckles from retired Singapore Airlines (SIA) A380 aircraft were among materials converted to make a backpack, dog accessories and other lifestyle products.

The backpack project bagged the first prize in the pre-tertiary category in the Upcycling Challenge, while the dog accessories project came out tops in the tertiary category.

The winners were announced on Friday (April 29).

The challenge was jointly organised by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and SIA, and was held at the SUTD campus in Changi.

It seeks to promote awareness about design and upcycling among tertiary and pre-tertiary students.

The prizes were sponsored by SIA’s lifestyle rewards app Kris+. First prize winners in both categories were awarded $3,000 worth of KrisPay miles, second prize winners received $2,000 worth of the miles, and third prize winners got $1,000 worth.

Nanyang Girls' High School won the top prize in the pre-tertiary category.

The six-member team's project was called Leathair Bag. They used business class leather dress covers as well as a seat buckle to create a backpack large enough to carry A4 paper and laptops .

Secondary 4 student Pang Hui Ren, 15, who led the team, said: "It was challenging when we received the materials, as we had to conceive and visualise how they could be put together.

"This competition has allowed us to see how we can repurpose things meaningfully, as we did not expect that the seat covers could be converted into new bags."

Mr Lucas Goh, 22, led his team Airborne to the top prize in the tertiary category.

His team designed aviator-themed canine products, which included a leather training sling bag and a chew toy, targeted at aviation enthusiasts and dog owners.

The SUTD first-year student's team comprised another student from SUTD and one from the National University of Singapore.

Team Airborne members (from left) Lucas Goh, Brayden Tang and Lian Kok Hai with their aviator-themed canine products. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Mr Goh said: "The greatest challenge was probably putting the products together. We were limited by (having) one sewing machine, so there was only a certain amount of layers of leather or fabric we could use.

"We had to work around that constraint and make as few stitches as possible to make our products look neat and presentable."

Dr Peter Ortner, assistant professor of architecture and sustainable design at SUTD, who was the judge for the pre-tertiary category, said upcycling is an important topic, and he was grateful that SUTD could collaborate with SIA to organise the competition.

He said: "Things that are typically treated as waste are actually valuable materials.

"If we deal with them in the right way, we can generate new value from these things that would normally get disposed off. They can actually be drivers for new businesses and products."

This challenge is part of SIA's ongoing fleet renewal programme to progressively retire some of its older aircraft.

The converted aircraft parts may be shortlisted by the Upcycling Challenge's retail partners for sale after the competition.

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