2 | ON THE COVER
Editor-in-Chief/ Creative Director
Contributing Fashion & Design Editor
Wearable Technology Editor Web Design
Erich Zainzinger James Daniel
ON THE COVER Photographer: Ruben Iglesias Creative Director: Jacqueline Carlisle
Up-cycling, reusing, whatever you want to call it, taking garbage and creating beauty isn’t just an idea for some it is a design rite of passage. Assembling a collection of designers reusing waste was a task in itself, the hunt was on to find the very best designers, creating sustainable luxury. Once uncovered there was no returning, I became invested , designers also landed in my inbox that were exactly right for this issue and the issue started to build itself. In the right hands beauty can be seen in everything, if you have vision and a good grasp for the discipline of construction. Taking something that was bound for a landfill and turning it into a beautiful item of clothing, or hotel isn’t just clever, it’s just common sense. Why shouldn’t we reuse, it’s the first choice, the only choice at this stage. With so much quality dead inventory, and reusable waste sitting around it’s a wonder Spanish industrial designer Ruben Iglesias took a basic idea such as folding paper and reused it to make furniture. Waste into inventory; what a concept, but a doable concept for the amount of talent circulating in the world of design. One could start a society in Mexico and name it Earthship where everything
Ron Arad has also dabbled in reworking items
as we see parts of cars turn into new interior
is made from recycled materials, oh wait that’s already happening and that’s in this issue too.
conversation starters. We also take a first look at wearable technologist Lynne Bruning’s coat for the visually impaired. And fashion label Mayer. Peace Collection turns out collectible items of clothing made with richer history than one could expect. As the pages increased I realised this is the biggest issue yet and it’s filled with garbage
TEXT: alexander horne contributing design editor
waNt Not To recycle or not to? When it comes to comparing the reuse of materials such as plastic and glass after their initially intended product life - the reality is a balanced debate that could be argued either way to an almost inf inite degree. Indeed, the economic and environmental costs of breaking down products derived from these materials and forming them into a new product or allowing them to biodegrade naturally is not a subject to be braised over. On the surface of the issue of recycling though, there is much to be said of the publics’ awareness and the actions of certain innovators who strive to change our preconceptions of recycling through new processes and inventions. Thrift culture is a prevalent aspect of modern metropolises such as London and Paris. While second hand clothes are deemed not decadent enough for some inhabitants, those with little income to spare on clothes
are driven to think up innovative ways of achieving a certain look on a shoe string budget. Beyond Western Europe, where a more prudent approach to spending is now becoming mandatory for a generation living through an economic slump, thrift culture can be a day-to-day living need - not just a want. ‘Flavela’ was ‘chic’ in the fashion world around the time Fernando Meirelles passionate depiction of Brazilian slumlife ‘City of God’ burst onto our cinema screens in the late nineties. However, It was a more recent Brazilian documentary f ilm co-produced by Meirelles and featuring Sao Paulo artist Vik Muniz that really catches the imagination when it comes to making the most of what we have. ‘Waste Land’ was f ilmed over three years and follows Muniz alongside a group of selfdesignated waste pickers (referred to as “catadores”) in the world’s largest
rubbish dump as they bond and live out making artwork from trash that eventually goes onto to form the basis of the second ever most visited exhibition at MAM in Rio De Janeiro. As in Muniz’s reciprocal venture, the most relevant goal of innovation is to question ‘what can we do together’
rather than what a creative can do for himself. In emerging design festivals such as Copenhagen Design Week the terminologies ‘Design To Improve Life’ and ‘Society Challenges’ are visible on the front page of their website, it would seem that design is no longer solely about furniture and interiors. Or maybe it is, only under another guise. One designer who
Ron Arad’s Curtain Call
may agree with the latter is Israeli born industrial designer Ron Arad who recently counter-argued on a BBC radio debate that his main design aim was not to re-cycle, reuse or even up-cycle (as one co-guest suggested he did). Arad’s wish was, in fact, to push innovation forward and create works relevant to each projects’ context. His famous Rover
chair re-design may hint at the thrift spirit of ‘Waste Land’ but, projects such as the spectacular ‘Curtain Call’ silicon rod screen temporarily on display at the Roundhouse in London would suggest otherwise. To Re-use or not? Perhaps one suggestion would be to think about the value of what we have and not what we do not.
Ron Aradâ€™s Rover Chair
p a p e l e r a
Ruben Iglesias, a native of Spain, with the Retrain project has spent much of his life exploring different processes for reusing raw materials to create f inished products and in many cases works of functional art. With the Retrain project the source of materials comes from his fascination with recycling waste paper to create operational furniture, containers, clothing hangers and even what he touts eco-pencils. â€œAs I was growing up, I became concerned about the problems that are transforming our planet. I realized that if we want to live in harmony with our environment, we have to recycle to remember the lost connections that we have made with the earth and the life inside it,â€? says Iglesias. By utilizing old newspapers, magazines or any component of paper, the Retrain project is founded on the idea that by means of manipulation, waste can be transformed into that of structural and decorative products. Through his studies, Iglesias discovered that by braiding, rolling and roping paper it can become sturdy enough to design sofas, tables, stools or chairs. Thin wooden rods are put to use as a core or heart of paper rolls to create a more compact version. These wooden sticks can also
22 | TEXT: Meredith Corning contributing design editor
serve as nails in the construction process. Strings of f lax are woven into many of the designs to further promote reinforcement of the f inal outcome. “Due to the increase in environmental consciousness in today’s society, parts of wasted materials are recycled, but this is not a complete solution. Most materials require high consumption of resources to be recycled, which increases its environmental footprint. Others require harmful or toxic products to recycle them with the same consequences,” explains Iglesias. Annually around 300 tons of paper is produced from approximately 4000 million trees according to the Retrain project. This takes up to 30,000 million liters of water for manufacturing as well as a host of other resources including electricity, chemicals and human resources. This paradox has inspired the Retrain project to educate the public by providing workshops and exhibitions, teaching methods that will provide alternative solutions for this issue.
Taking into consideration the weight, thickness, stiffness and brake resistance of paper materials, Iglesias is able to optimize the strength and f lexibility of his f inished compositions. The result is a striking collection of designs that resemble a mosaic collage aesthetic derived from the material itself. Certainly the objective of the Retrain project is to fabricate environmentally sound goods, but the mastery of imagination and ingenuity of Ruben Iglesias’ work has constituted him to be more than an ecological craftsman. His work can be seen as pieces of appealing art and he as an art teacher. Iglesias says, “Recently I participated in design contests, professional workshops, fairs and exhibitions, many of them associated with the Retrain project in Spain and other countries. After some time searching I found a beautiful place for my studio near the harbor (in Santander, Spain) and there I develop new ideas, organize workshops and continue with the Retrain project.” retrain.endekos.com
y a M
l l o c e c ea mayer.peace collection
. r e y
n o i t c le As sustainable fashion continues to take a strong foothold in the marketplace, German Designer Christine Mayer is on her second season aptly named Mayer.Peace Collection. A former costume director from Black Forest, she began her training
TEXT: JACQUELINE CARLISLE fashion editor
as a pelt monger, before formally studying fashion design at the University for Applied Sciences, Hamburg. Now living in Berlin with her son, Christine Mayer produces a small but tightly edited collection that could best be described as living pieces.â€?Everything we do is about love: everything, we give will f low back to us in a multiplicative manner.â€? Using discarded fabrics such as 19th century f lour bags and hand woven linen sheets, Christine tries to sense the life of each piece of fabric before applying a Japanese technique that allows her to sculpt each piece. Created entirely by hand, Mayer took her years of inspiration gleaned from experience as a costume director for various operas and plays, and transformed French army jackets and antique mangle clothes into softer, gentler silhouettes for this collection. Distinctive embroidery, coupled with romantic French stripes, and perfected patch work, add texture and contrast to otherwise heavier fabrics. While angora and cashmere offer a softer addition to coats, you cannot help but notice the strength
and correctness of a former French uniform. Inspired by her work as a costume director, people, and meditation, Christine Mayer applies her philosophy of transformation, and integrity to every garment. With a strong belief in completing the lifecycle, a portion of each collection goes to a variety of charity projects for children in Nepal and India. Everything that is life is given through Mayer.Peace Collection. As each piece is hand constructed using couture techniques, the life of the garment is once again reincarnated. There is a feeling of relaxed elegance throughout that allows the wearer to seamlessly incorporate basic items. The uniqueness of each garment makes them highly collectible and sustainable as they transcend time season after season. Neutral colours in blue, black, and a selection of creamy tones can be worn with almost every colour imaginable, while the reworked khaki jackets move easily from autumn, winter, and spring. Christine Mayer has differentiated herself as a master of draping and cutting with her f ledgling label. Mayer-berlin.com
DESIGN FUTURIST What led you to sustainable fashion?
the fashion industry, such as, the use
The fashion industry has a chaotic
of workers and the waste of natural
global supply chain that is easy to
resources. The experiences made me
ignore if you reside in the developed
aware of the great problems that
world. Many designers are behind
persist throughout the entire supply
of toxic chemicals, the exploitation
actually see how their designs are
to factories, dye houses, and textile
Are larger companies becoming more receptive to sustainable design?
mills developing new products for my
Yes, they see volatility in f iber and
clients. Along the way I was exposed
energy prices, the negative health
to the awful practices prevalent in
effects of toxic chemicals, rising
manufactured. I am fortunate that I have spent so much time traveling
TEXT: JACQUELINE CARLISLE editor
unemployment and the increasing
cost of fast fashion is externalized.
strain on limited resources as threats.
When we pay $15 for a dress, we do
The best companies recognize the
not pay the real price. Instead, the
need for change but have a diff icult
real price is paid by our health and
well being, the environment and the
lives of workers around the world.
have century old traditions that are
A shift towards more sustainable
embedded and are diff icult to alter
practices will drive up costs in some
in a meaningful way without a clear
the short-term and drive down costs
vision and commitment from the
in other areas. New technology will
leadership and its team. Currently,
play a significant role in helping us
independent designers are adopting
achieve a balance.
companies are not nimble.
sustainable practices in fashion in the most comprehensive manner.
What can we expect from companies like Calvin Klein and Donna Karan?
Will you debut a line of clothing and accessories in the future? In addition to my role as a consultant and speaker, Iâ€™ve been working with
* Iâ€™m a consultant and should not
a small team in stealth mode on an
speak on behalf of the organizations.*
innovative line of womenâ€™s fashion. My vision is to bring genuine style,
Can mandates be met without driving up the price of clothing?
simplicity and sustainability to the
Well, I suppose that depends on where
you shop. That said, today the true
modern professional. I hope to share the debut with your readers in the Design Futurist.com
Earthship to Elegance As the world moves into a time whereby revolutionary cognition is mirrored with uncustomary methods of sustainability, architect Michael Reynolds has taken his building methods to an entire new level. Not only has he produced a novel building system amidst his exquisite designs, but he has also started his own movement. His branded Earthship Biotecture utilizes an array of recyclable materials including, but not limited to aluminum cans, plastic bottles and used tires. In fact, when speaking of these methods the word “limited” is not in Reynolds’ vocabulary.
Michael Reynolds graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1969 and began experimenting with structure composition immediately based around his thesis, which was published in Architectural Record in 1971. Although he is a licensed architect, he refers to himself as a biotect. He has dedicated his life to the research and development of self-suff iciency. The benef its of Reynolds’ forty yearlong studies on this issue have positioned him as a pioneer as well as an expert. “All architects and all forms of architecture have greatly inf luenced
Kristen Jacobsen, Earthship Biotecture
Kristen Jacobsen, Earthship Biotecture
Kristen Jacobsen, Earthship Biotecture
TEXT: Meredith Corning contributing design editor
and inspired me to seek some other direction for making buildings on this planet in today’s world. This is because what is going on is so wrong in terms of earth impact and lack of secure sustenance to people that it has inspired me to almost die to f ind another way,” says Reynolds. This type of off-the-grid living coupled with the award winning documentary on these unique processes, “Garbage Warrior,” has enabled the Earthship Biotecture system to attract a host of admirers for the movement. Thus, Reynolds created a residential and educational center called The Greater World Community located in Taos, New Mexico. There they offer seminars and internships for the public to come and gain knowledge on this niche method of construction. Nightly rentals of various Earthship models are available with structure names including the Studio, the Phoenix and the Corner Cottage. Beyond the educational seminars and internships, Reynolds has expanded his mission and travels all over the world building different structures
in impoverished countries as well, teaching his methods along the way. Upon the topic of his future strategies he explains, “I will keep doing this all over the world-if it is good and right, it will take a life of its own.” Through these efforts, Earthships now exist in every U.S. state and several other countries. In addition to responsible living, free of excess by utilizing the energy given to us by nature, the plan has even developed a system to grow their own food supply. Dedicated to his vision, Reynolds’ design certainly does not lack in style and elegance although this is not his f irst priority. Reynolds explains, “Aesthetics is a garnish-something fun to do to the boat after you are sure it f loats. Then once you get good at making the boats f loat, you can sculpt as you go. This is something like, learn to walk comes f irst then learn to dance comes after.” earthship.com
Kristen Jacobsen, Earthship Biotecture
graphic design / illustration / brand HOLA@ALEXANDERHORNE.CO.UK WWW.ALEXANDERHORNE.CO.UK
Tubo Hotel Tubohotel.com
TEXT: JACQUELINE CARLISLE editor
When it comes to hotel accommodation most structures tend to be of the dull, square variety, but Mexican f irm T3Arc created one of the most unique hotels in the world, in one of the most unique places in the world. Inspired by Café Five, an arts and cultural centre, built by Mexican architect Alfredo Cano, using recycled materials only, the Tubo Hotel ran into a snag when the budget ballooned of out control, once the price was known for making their own tubes. Instead of throwing in the towel, the architectural f irm reached out to suppliers who had excess defective concrete pipes that weren’t being used. Each pipe has been left with the manufactures mark inside. “For us, this work represents a very enjoyable experience in which we ensure that the architecture does not always depend on the elements we know, and can be made with whatever is on hand.” Located in the lush sacred valley of Tepoztlan, Morelos, an undiscovered area to the average tourist, the village is surrounded by the strangely carved but climbable mountains that can be viewed from all directions. A
small, beautiful, and strange town, it is steeped in Aztec legend with a myriad of ‘Raiders of the lost Ark’ type structures to keep you amused in a variety of ways. Walking tours can be arranged by the hotel to further satisfy your curiosity, as well as cooking lessons with a local celebrity chef at a nearby villa. With eight chapels in this small village, each having their own festival, it might be possible to time your stay with local rituals for more entertainment. Each hotel room is 8ft long (2.44m) and 11.5ft (3.50m) wide, enough room for two people to be comfortable for the night. Most tubular rooms are stacked in a triangular formation with the highest room accessible by stairs only. The room consists of a fan, a desk light, and storage under a queen size bed and floor to ceiling glass for maximum light. There are two bathroom houses with private showers and toilets that are kept in the highest standard with frequent cleaning inspections throughout the day. The idea was to construct an affordable hotel priced for the urban nomad, who preferred design but appreciated comfort.
improving the quality of life for people most in need of it by thinking thoroughly out of the box
a wearable cane designed in the form of a beautiful Haptic coat for the blind Combining the feelings of Bats, electronics, fashion, and aid for visually impaired people in one sentence might seem at f irst glance incomprehensible, unrelated, and even impossible to connect. It takes a good portion of imagination, a great deal of creativity, and innovativeness to connect all these different subjects, and form an object that amazes and surprises people. Lynne Bruning did just that when she created the iconic ‘Bats have feelings too’ jacket, a wearable cane designed in the form of a beautiful Haptic coat for the blind. Visually impaired
people wearing the ‘Bats have feelings too’ jacket are guided through our world full of physical obstacles in a graceful manner, taking away the need of a cane that signals boldly and loudly the handicap a person has to live with. Incorporated into the jacket is an ultrasonic range f inder, hence the reference to Bats which use ultrasonic sound to navigate the night skies, and small vibration motors similar to the ones used in mobile phones. The ultrasonic sensor signal bounces off physical objects in different frequencies depending on the distance
TEXT: Erich zainzinger contributing technology editor
to a object, and is converted by a wearable electronic processor called ‘LilyPad’ which activates the corresponding vibration motor in the jacket indicating to the wearer in which direction an obstacle blocks the way. The use of wearable technology to create eTextiles, electrically active clothing is currently attracting a strong interest not only from artists and innovators, but increasingly from established apparel brands. Useful, practical applications of wearable technologies will be among the f irst ‘real world’ products accessible to consumers. ‘Bats have feelings too’ is one of the best examples for fashion and technology, improving the quality of life for people most in need of it by thinking thoroughly out of the box, mixing a variety of completely
different subjects to create something. Lynne Bruning in her work around eTextiles is inspiring other artists, students and the DIY community with her conventional wisdom challenging techniques and designs. She is also embracing the open source idea to the fullest, making not only her ‘Bats have feelings too’ jacket design accessible to the DIY community, but also is one of the most active leaders of eTextile development. She is a teacher and an advocate connecting and supporting eTextile activities at all levels, most notable her eTextile Lounge on uStream, a weekly event where the wearable technology community around the globe meets up live via video and chat. Lynne Bruning
Published on Oct 1, 2011