Designer profile

Reframing our perception and treatment of material waste by design

17 Aug 2020  •  3 min read  •  GDR First Call Projects (Part 1 of 6)


Material waste is a prevalent issue in the manufacturing industry. Many material offcuts that are produced during manufacturing are inevitably left abandoned as industrial waste. However, many of these offcuts have a beauty of their own and need not be discarded.

Materials by-products can grow into an untapped circular industry if used efficiently. In Singapore, about 7.23 tonnes of solid waste was generated in 2019. Amongst which, the recycling rates for stone and ceramic was only at 7%. This inspired industrial designers Edmund Zhang and Esli Ee to start Offcut Factory, one of the seven projects supported by Dsg's Good Design Research initiative.

Edmund Zhang (left) and Esli Ee (right)

From July 2020 to July 2021, Edmund and Esli will be engaging with craftsmen and technicians from local factories to source for offcuts, profile the local manufacturing industry and produce a collection of small, desirable home and lifestyle objects that are made from the materials sourced.

This will culminate in a showcase at the National Design Centre in August 2021 which aims to challenge the perception of manufacturing waste. An online platform will also be set up for the purchase of available offcuts and the profiling of the factories and people behind them.

The project by Offcut Factory aims to foster a spirit of sustainability by transforming waste "offcuts" into a source material, showcasing offcut materials and a collection of objects made from these offcuts, and profiling the people and factories behind it

The project seeks to foster a spirit of sustainability by transforming waste "offcuts" into a source material, thereby showcasing the local manufacturing industry and revitalising it for the modern contemporary market.

If you own or are part of a business in the manufacturing industry, Offcut Factory is keen to work with you! Get in touch with Edmund and Esli at

Edmund Zhang and Esli Ee

Founders • Offcut Factory

Offcut Factory is an initiative by industrial designers Edmund Zhang and Esli Ee. Edmund is formally trained in industrial design but believes that design is inherently multi-disciplinary and that good design cuts across boundaries. He is interested in unravelling the nuances of user behaviour to craft thoughtful stories. Esli operates at the boundaries of design’s tangibility. An industrial designer at heart, he is intrigued by the rapid paradigm shift from traditional to phygital (something that marries both the online and offline environments)  approaches in service ecosystems. His work explores the delicate balance between the two.

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