In our last issue, we began discussing our discoveries at Orgatec’s materials exhibition. Beautiful espresso cups made of ground coffee beans, which would normally end up in the trash, got our attention, and from there we gathered information on several products to stir up some inspiration.
With nearly 9 million bags of coffee exported in September 2016, it’s exciting to see new possibilities for coffee ground waste. The Kaffee Form espresso cups reveal a nice solution, an everyday reminder that nearly anything can be recycled or upcycled. PLADEC, a registered trademark of the Portuguese company POLO JCP LDA, manufactures high-end architectural and decorative MDF panels for wall coverings and furniture applications. They showed how coffee grounds can be reused to create a useful product by fabricating panels out of the material.
The exhibition presented a canteen tray with husks of camelina sativa by Transferstelle Bingen (TSB), German biogenic materials specialist firm; Clarkson University (in upstate New York) explored harvesting energy with lobsters and crabs; Customind designed its Bastiaen Cargo, a light, strong and agile bicycle for urban transportation demands, coming to the market in 2017. Sustainability-centered manufacturer 8 Pandas launched a series of breakfast tableware made out of bamboo that is ground into a fine powder and heat-molded into shape.
Aiju Technological Institute (Spain) developed new plastic colorants based on biodegradable polymers with almond shells targeted to the toy and auxiliary furniture industries. BioLite exhibited its energy-generating camp stove that turns fire into electricity, originally released in 2013 and making its way around the globe. As always, it’s an incredible time in the materials sector. Here’s more on some of our favorites:
The World of Insects
“Humans are principally scared of insects and this project may help bring together the beauty of our living with the mini,” Marlene Huissoud stated in a press release for her project From Insects.
French-born and British-based experimental designer Huissoud comes from a family of beekeepers. “I’m interested in two insects that we currently farm: the common honey bee, which produces propolis, a natural biodegradable resin, and the Indian silkworm, which discards its hard cocoon when it reaches maturity.”
She decided to investigate how people could work with insects and explore how their natural waste streams could be harnessed in the production of valuable products. For the exhibition she presented part of her collection of vessels from propolis to show the results of different glass techniques used, “because black propolis is similar to glass.”
“From Insects was first completed for my graduation project in June 2014 at Central Saint Martins in London for the Graduation show.”
Listen to Huissoud in an interview with ArchiExpo e-magazine. She discusses her experimenting and what this project has since led her to accomplish.
Upcycling from the Food Industry
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end,” Ernest Hemingway.
Journey of Things part 3 exhibition in Milan last April showcased Joa Herrenknecht’s Nani bench topped with salmon leather, which appeared in Milan’s design week the previous year. From Milan to Cologne, the Herrenknecht presented his bench during the materials exhibition at Orgatec.
Eco-friendly salmon leather, a by-product of the food industry, which was carefully upcycled, dyed and sewn together, tops a solid oak bench. It comes in different fish leather dyes and is €2,300. Included in Azure Magazine’s 6 Designers Exploring Strange and Sustainable Materials and Interior Design’s 15 Emerging Designers to Watch from Milan Design Week 2015, Herrenknecht talks to ArchiExpo e-magazine about the “journey” of making the Nani chair.
Rain Indicates Air Quality
Textile artist Dahea Sun revisited South Korea after the earthquake and nuclear power plant explosion in Japan in 2011. “People were surrounded by fears of radiation rain and acid rain that might have come from Japan,” she explains in her 2012 Rain Palette project description.
Fear resulted in the closing of many schools. “Groundless rumors were spread throughout the Asian countries while actually an extremely small amount of radioactivity was detected from rain in a particular area. I thought the fear would not have been as high if they had been able to check actual data easily by themselves, without depending on news or articles.”
Dahea came up with a way to make this happen. Rain Palette visually provides data on air quality as rainwater touches Sun’s textiles. She created a natural dye based on material exploration with red cabbage that changes color in reaction to the pH levels of rainwater, and she applied this to apparel textiles that she developed. “I focused on making exquisite samples combining traditional craft skills such as knitting, embroidery and crochet.”
This project aims to provide an at-a-glance indication of atmospheric air quality, with the potential for wearers to record and upload rain pH readings online to create a global database of real-time environmental data. Having been included in the materials exhibition this year, ArchiExpo e-magazine got in touch with Dahea to discuss what’s going on with her project.
“As the fabric is naturally dyed and hypersensitive to pH, it has a lot of restrictions to manufacture it,” Dahea said. “I’d like to find partner like an engineer or chemist to develop the project together, but it has not been easy since I came back to Seoul.”
Submit Your Material Ideas
For the 10th year running, the Innovation Award “Bio-based Material of the Year“ will be granted to the young, innovative bio-based chemicals and materials industry for finding suitable applications and markets for bio-based products. Producers and inventors of innovative bio-based materials are invited to hand in their application until end of February.