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Referring to the news about the failing European energy policy, as explained in the article "Voor Iedereen een Uitzondering" in the magazine De Groene Amsterdammer on November 27, Design Column #7 'Wasted Matter' gives an overview of new designs that make use of our material resources in alternative ways.
Worldwide prosperity continues to increase, standards of living are rising and the world population continues to grow. But the earth remains finite. There is not enough space, not enough to eat, not enough water, too few resources and too little energy to continue to support the growing mass of people.
Despite this situation, it seems that we currently waste around 98 per cent of all available energy on this planet. In our existing energy system, the emphasis is on fossil fuels, with only moderate attention for green sources of energy. Because of the need to invest, new forms of energy are always considerably more expensive than traditional methods of extracting fossil fuels. And so we stick to the existing systems, in which we waste the majority of our resources. A large number of designers is concerned with this dilemma and operate outside the existing system to look at the problem from a completely different angle. This project has been made possible by the BankGiro Loterij.
Design Column #7 Wasted Matter showcases several interesting alternatives to our current use and waste of resources.
Every three months the Design Column focuses on a news item in the form of a small exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and subsequently at the Droog Gallery in Amsterdam. The column is a place where new ideas are made visible, where the power of imagination is given expression. Designers and artists are especially interested in experimental imagination. With their idiosyncratic vision, they see things differently and are capable of bringing about change. The Design Column creates a space for these innovative concepts.
The Design Column is not only a presentation but is also an opportunity for reaction and dialogue. You are cordially invited to participate in a roundtable conversation that will take place at Museum
Boijmans Van Beuningen and Droog. If you would like to participate in this conversation, please contact the curators of the Design Column at firstname.lastname@example.org and for the conversation at Droog go to www.droog.com. Watch the websites for current information on location and date. Also check out the blog at www.designcolumn.nl.
On view in Design Column #7 Wasted Matter
Lenneke Langenhuijsen has been exploring the less obvious material qualities of wood. In addition to being hard and robust, it can also be soft and supple. Langenhuijsen discovered that in Europe tree bark is a waste product, while one of the very earliest forms of textile was made from bark. For her Wooden Textiles collection, Langenhuijsen embroidered the bark with large machines to provide the necessary lateral reinforcement.
This chair by Studio Eric Klarenbeek is the first product to combine 3D printing with the cultivation of mycelium. Mycelium is the network of thread-like roots that a fungus uses to draw nutrition from the soil. The chair’s 3D-printed basic structure consists of a mix of water, powdered straw and mycelium. The mycelium grows within the structure, consuming the water. At the moment when mushrooms appear on the surface, Klarenbeek dries the chair so that it hardens. He then coats the robust construction with a layer of biological plastic, which ensures that the fungus cannot spread.
Between 50 and 80 per cent of wood is wasted in the average production process. For this reason, Marjan van Aubel collects leftover sawdust for her designs. By mixing sawdust with organic resin and water, a chemical process is initiated that results in a foaming wood mass. The foam is then placed in a chair mould, where it continues to expand to three times its original volume before hardening to form a solid structure. This project utilises waste material that would otherwise be thrown away. The chairs also serve a scientific purpose: they are part of a Life Cycle Analysis programme, which measures and compares the environmental impact of manufactured goods.
Studio Formafantasma was approached by fashion house Fendi to make a series of objects that combines traditional leather craftsmanship with other natural, hand-crafted materials.
In this collection Studio Formafantasma explores the visual and material qualities of leather and demonstrates the range of uses to which different types of leather can be put. The designers combine leather remnants from Fendi’s bag-production process with other types of leather and natural materials. There is a stool made from pigskin and tanned wolffish skin, spoons made from shells, a carafe made from a cow’s bladder and a table made from bronze, marble and discarded Fendi leather.
For her project Invert Footwear, Elisa van Joolen turns left-over sneaker samples by leading brands inside out. She removes the soles, turns the uppers inside out and sews them onto inexpensive flip-flop soles. The sneaker sole is given a new life as a flip-flop but punching holes in the sole and threading laces through them. This project demonstrates that the re-use of waste materials can result in beautiful and interesting products.
The growing mountain of waste from electronic products is a global problem. To help tackle the problem, Dave Hakkens has conceived Phonebloks: a mobile phone made from demountable blocks. If a single component breaks down it can easily be replaced without having to throw away the entire phone. Phonebloks provides relief for the consumer and the environment.