G I D W I P 2 0 | L O S T A N D
F O U N D
Royal College of Art / January 29th — February 2nd A research report with an outlook on design obstacles and responsibilities of global designers.
M A T E R I A L R E S E A R C H [P A L M S H E A T H]
A project by Hanne Viehmann
G L O B A L O U T L O O K
O F D E S I G N]
[C O M P L E X I T Y
[C U L T U R A L A P P R O P R I A T I O N] In collaboration with Nanyang University, Singapore
[D E M O C R A T I C D E S I G N]
M A T E R I A L R E S E A R C H [P A L M S H E A T H] [S O U T H E A S T A S I A ]
G L O B A L O U T L O O K [C O M P L E X I T Y O F D E S I G N] [C U L T U R A L A P P R O P R I A T I O N] [D E M O C R A T I C D E S I G N]
leaf base “sheath”
M A T E R I A L R E S E A R C H [P A L M S H E A T H] The Material How might we create new materials out of leaf sheaths, to be manufactured in traditional and cultural valuable techniques ? Palm trees grow in tropical or subtropical climates, like Southeast Asia. All around the world, 181 genera with around 2600 species are known which show a diverse range of physical characteristics and compounds. The largest leaf sheaths can be found on palms with a distinctive crownshaft like the Royal palm and the most colourful ones come from the Juçara palm with its bright orangered-purple shaft. Both palm species originally belong to American regions where the sheath is used for lightweight composite materials. The oil palm, which is the most planted genera and forested in Indonesia, unfortunately does not have comparable leaf sheaths. New materials, made out of the still unexplored and complex part of the palm tree – sheath, could mean a great opportunity not only for the craftsmen in Southeast Asia but also America and other tropical regions. The leaf sheaths have got a similar colour to the trunk on the outside and show a range of brown-orange-red-purple on the inside. The appearance has a great natural beauty and the diverse properties of the sheath are great inspirations for design and craft. The new materials could continue on the local crafts and business opportunities for the locals, the freedom of creation and support the development of future solutions.
techniques and increase available possibilities. The new products could extend
F I E L D R E S E A R C H [C R A F T S I N S O U T H E A S T A S I A ] The Region Designing products “Made in Southeast Asia” Getting to know local crafts, traditions and designs made out of natural fibres. On the Philippine island Cebu, The rivers of Thailand are overgrown by
the craftsmen manufacture
water hyacinths. The leaves are a great
with different natural fibres like
material for weaving hats, baskets, after
bamboo and pandan (the plant
drying the leaves for two month.
for green food colouring). They
Thailand is most famous for their silk
are weaving mats and hats as
production and weaving silk fabrics.
well as knotting baskets.
The Philippines, Cebu
Singapore Singapore is a young country and a broad combination of many cultures, like Malay, Indonesian, Indian, and Chinese. The local crafts are a diverse and modern mix of traditions and techniques. Indonesia, West Java Java traditionally manufactures wooden shoes with rich ornamental carvings and a recognisable construction with a wooden ball to support the heel. Many regions are also known for their outstanding and unique techniques in weaving bamboo baskets, hats and bags.
G L O B A L O U T L O O K [C O M P L E X I T Y O F D E S I G N] A bit more complex, please ! The questions “how to sustain heritage on the global market” and “what are the responsibilities of the global designers “ refer to different theoretical design approaches that deal with challenges such as the growing complexity on a global level, a global understanding of values and quality, the democracy of design, ubiquitisation (Ashley Hall), cultural appropriation, colonialism and the risk of losing heritage in progress. The future of design is in clarifying complexity. Design is everything: the forest, the tree and the wood. Which arises the question as to what is the role of a designer, as well as what are the responsibilities and the designer’s position in this complex world. Reflecting on international showcase projects, like the palm sheath material experiments, I critically observe local opportunities and research on global design possibilities , responsibilities and communication methods, including aesthetics. I want to support the local crafts to define their position in globalisation and to publish their work to present their cultural heritage and to support this in future. With my future answer to “how to sustain
C A N YOU I M A G I N E .. .
heritage on the global market”, I would like to take a stance calling for more cultural responsibility during the progress of globalisation.
W H A T D O Y O U T H I N K ?
H O W M I G H T W E I N C L U D E A N E W M A T E R I A L I N T O VA L U A B L E T R A D I T I O N S A N D C U L T U R A L A E S T H E T I C S W H I L E C R E A T I N G A N I N N O VA T I V E I M P A C T ?
C U L T U R A L A P P R O P R I A T I O N 2020. The global attitude changes to more diversity, presents new laws for gender equality and design gets inspired by folklore and nature. Design has the task of capturing the zeitgeist and offering innovations, but also placing authentic products, including the aspects of sustainability, to the relevant market. The history presents that globalisation and diversity include a view risks designing for foreign cultures as well as using cultural symbols, forms or traditions in a design for a different market. It requests a certain sensitivity for the culture but as well a critical perspective to designing the future.
D E M O C R A T I C D E S I G N The global attitude changes for more sustainability and gets inspired by cultural heritage. It reinterprets traditional production techniques and focusses on natural materials. Many solutions are made of new composites of natural fibres and created based on the long-time knowledge and abilities of local craftsmen. The impact of innovative natural materials and products on the global market might be positive but could effect a negative change in the producing countries. A production for the global market requires a larger volume and a consistent economy. This might exploit resources and increase their price level as well as of local products. The higher prices of those resources and products might cause a re-democratisation of traditional goods.