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Marco Federico Cagnoni Portfolio 2019 Works Collection 2016-2019 • Plastic Culture • The Bone Project • Upside-down Roof • Recycled Webcam

Plastic Culture 2018 The discovery of Black salsify (Schorseneren in Dutch) and Dandelions as a viable source of bioplastic as well as of food, for people and livestock. Latex is a natural polymer produced by over 12,500 plant species. Marco Federico Cagnoni narrowed this group down to two species that are ideal for making bioplastic. Flexible and long-lasting, this material can replace most synthetic polymers. The plants are also highly nutritious, so you can make plastic and produce food, instead of using valuable staple foods to make plastic. Rice, potatoes, corn, cassava and sugarcane are the most common sources for current bioplastics. But, with a rapidly expanding global population, turning carbohydrates into plastic is not logical or ethical. Why waste food on bioplastic when you can make bioplastic and food from one plant?

The “Robotic Picker” It has been realized in collaboration with the Mechatronic department of Fontys University Eindhoven. Thanks the help of the Bachelor student Antoine De Bock, Diogo Rinaldi and the engineer Dr. Mark Stappers. We built a square meter module where the plants were supervised by robots who took care of them and could be controlled remotely. The purpose of this model is to show how in the future the vertical farm can be managed through smartphone applications by any user who can rent a part of the vertical farm to produce their own bioplastic, but also to grow local vegetables.

The vertical “bioplastic” farm in an urban area: The vertical farming will revolutionize the agricultural world, and therefore we will have the possibility to create autonomous and independent machines, remotely controlled by artificial intelligence. In addition to following the various stages of plant growth, the latter will reduce both energy, water consumption, and human labour [...] The structure will have to be financed by the participation of the citizens and the ocal government, in this way, the citizens-prosumers, (producers, and consumers) will avoid to nourishing the capital/logistic system which in itself is around 84% of the cost of every vegetable produced.




The Scorzonera Hispanica (Black Salsify), Dandelion and Chicory are just some of the dozens of plants that produce abundant amounts of latex but can also be used as a delicious food source since they are edible and have been consumed and harvested in Europe for centuries. In particular the Scorzonera (Fig.1) very popular in the Netherland, which for each root contains 40% of biopolymers per dry weight. I extracted the latex (Fig.2) and analyzed in the laboratory using the spectrophotometer (Fig.3). The result was surprising the machine discovered that the latex contained in the Salsify is a “new material” similar to 70% of the Poly Ethylene-vinyl acetate P.E.V.A, which is a non-toxic, antibacterial and potentially biodegradable thermoplastic. The PEVA is a material that can behave like an elastic, flexible, spongy and resistant, long-lasting matter and it can replace most of the synthetic polymers produced nowadays. The Black Salsify is plant that it’s growing fast, is rich in latex, and has good-high nutritional value. Is the perfect vegetable that i could extract the Biopolymer for the Bioplastic research and use the “waste” the left over of the roots to make flatbread, pizza, pasta in the shape of Tagliatelle (Fig.4). The videos of Plastic Culture are on Vimeo:


In this image we see a large block of biomaterial extracted from the Taraxacum Kok-Sagyz which is a species that belongs to the same family as the Black Salsify.

Soviet Union: The Russian dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz) and the Scorzonera Tau-saghyz was discovered in Eastern Kazakhstan in 1931. The plant has the yellow flowers characteristic of the dandelion genus, but the roots contain a higher percentage of rubber than the familiar species of dandelion found in Europe. Soon after its discovery, the Soviet Union began large-scale cultivation of T. kok-saghyz to extract the rubber and end the country’s dependence on imports (see Göbel & Gröger, 2016). When the Japanese seized rubber plantations in Southeast Asia during World War II, other countries, including the USA and Germany, started farming the Salsify as an alternative. When the war ended and supplies from the rubber tree, Havea Brasiliensis, became available again and research on the Russian plants ceased.

The photos show the complex of greenhouses inside the botanical garden of the city of Utrecht. Where Professor Han Wonsten kindly granted me the use of one of the greenhouses (No. 25) for half a year to conduct my experiments on the plants that produce latex. The greenhouse and the botanical garden are located within the campus of the University of Utrecht, and therefore 5 minutes away from the analysis laboratories where I will study the properties and possible applications of the material that I discovered in the Salsify. The area number 30 on the map will be the place where I will organize workshops and the sale and distribution of food products derived and extracted from plant waste.

The picture are from the recent exhibition at Framelab with Frame magazine. Where Plastic Culture had the possibility to made two food demostration in collaboration with Cucina Italiana Eindhoven and the Chef Giovanni Zorzolo we prepared Piadina (flatbread) and the Tagliatelle. For both dishes we used only the flour extracted from Salsify and as a sauce we’ll use ground leaves in order to obtain Pesto. In this case nothing is wasted, everything is reused in my ideal bioplastic production, creating a “circular food” in a circular economy system.

The bone project 2017 For ethical, economical and sustainable reasons we going to harvest meat in laboratories instead of raising and killing animals due to the food industry and intensive breeding. This is possible thanks to the technology of stem cells, which allow to artificially recreate an entire muscle tissue starting from a single cell taken from the animal without using any kind of violence or mistreatment. The Bones Project is aiming to artificially reproduce a scaffold where the stem cell can found the ideal substratum to grow. But this artificial bone can also be used as it has been used for centuries, simply as a tool for eating.

The bones were the first wasted/recycled material used by humans. The Neanderthal flute known as Divje Babe is the first artefact ever made by a human (around 85.000 years ago), and came from a “recycled” femur of a cave bear. But also as Stanley Kubric teaches us in Space Odyssey, the bones was used as the first weapon ever. But if we talk about the bones we immediately think about the food. Indeed another interesting aspect is that despite thousands of years of civilisation our approach to eating meat is essentially the same. When we eat a chicken leg we use our hands and use the chicken bone as a cutlery. In fact what has radically changed over the centuries aren’t our gestures, but the way of producing meat. In near future the meat will be grown in the laboratory using stem cells to reproduce the muscle tissues of the animals. But at this point what will happen to the bones? My research aim is to print bones in 3D, from known chemical elements of Hydroxyapatite. This is for four main reasons: the first is structural (the stem cells need a scaffold to grow), the second is nutritional (the bones give to the food the essential mineral elements), the third is physical (we need to rip and chew the meat to keep the facial muscles trained), and last one is psychological (the food has to be recognise as such). As a designer, my role is to contextualize and anticipate the future of food production and consumption. What will be our next way to eat? which tools we are going to use? Use based on the socio-cultural change and the impact of new technologies. The Bio-design workshop and exhibition was curated by Eric Klarenbeek

The bones collections, realised with SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) is a 3D printing technology that uses a laser beam to sinter powdered material. Thanks to this technology i had the possibility to recreate the bone’s powder using the known component called Hydroxyapatite, that is a naturally occurring mineral form of calcium apatite with the formula Ca5(PO4)3(OH).

UpSide-down Roof 2016

The Video available on vimeo:

Upside-down roof is a project realized in collaboration between the Design Academy of Eindhoven and the Luma foundation of Arles France. As suggested by the name of the object, it is a “upsidedown roof” that serves as a sink and fountain. The goal was to furnish the residence for the artists who work in the Luma exhibition spaces using local materials including rice, metal, paper, salt and straw. Among these mentioned I chose straw because logically it was the only material that guarantees good resistance to water and humidity and has excellent waterproof characteristics. In fact, on a layer of straw 30 centimeters thick, the water only enters the first seven, leaving the remaining twenty-three completely dry. And all this for a maximum duration of 30 years, before the replacement is necessary. Is an excellent strong, renewable material resources. The other reason why I used straw because i found curious that both Arles and Eindhoven have houses with thatched roofs. This is because historically there is a secular trade between the region of Provence and Brabant. The Dutch buy the straw that grows around Arles and in exchange sell the metal and the tools to build the roofs. so the beginning of my research starting from a small village near Eindhoven called Sint Oedenrode, where I spent several days together with local artisans, who taught me the secrets and techniques to build thatched roofs. Once back in France I built the fountain with the function of sink, and as an “upsidown” roof, the water will drop from the ceiling simulating the rain will fall over the sink and over the straw and will be collected from shingles that will unload the sewer. People will use it to cool off from the long and hot summer days and wash the body, face, armpits, and why not even teeth, on the other word is a sink.

Recycled Webcam 2016

Recycled web-camera is a project made with the recycled components of an old computer. When we throw a PC because it does not work, actually there are many components inside that can be recycled and reused. Beside all the compontnes I started with the reuse of the Webcam, with the aim of creating the “cheapest digital camera in the world”. I disassemble the monitor of an old Laptop that has the camera attached to the back space, then I connected it to a Raspberry PI and a PowerBank and it’s surprisingly started to work! I made the body of the camera by reusing a cardboard box that I found on the street, and then I shaped the 14 layers with a laser cutting machine. Once assembled all the different layers containing the electronic components, I went around Europe: Holland, Belgium and Italy having fun making photos. The photos are automatically uploaded online via a wifi stick, and the whole project is OpenSource and the codes are openly shared in a way that everyone can simply design his own digital camera.

These are some of the photos taken with the digital recycled webcam, the total cost of the whole object is 23.56â‚Ź. The most expensive components was the new microcrontroller Raspberry PI and the Powerbank. Ther rest I got for free. Maybe will be even cheapest digital cameras available in the marketor in secondhand store. But still the aim of this project was to raise the awerness of reconsider the quality of the eletronic waste, and with that reconsider our behavior/ relation taward the object that we use and consume.

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Portfolio 2019  

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Portfolio 2019  

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