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*Architecture � Design � Art � Travel � Entertaining � Beauty & Grooming � Transport � Technology � Fashion � Watches & Jewellery AUGUST 2020 The Re-Made Issue Design for a Better World

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think imagine purpose connect engineer model Made

august 2020

Design for a Better World


CHANEL.com


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AUGUST R   e- Made Design for a better world 026 Light installation Timon & Melchior Grau and Tobias Grau 028 Modular sofa Muller Van Severen and Kassl Editions 032 Water fountain Yasmin Bawa and Axor 037 Beauty kitchen Doshi Levien 038 E-trike and trailer Konstantin Grcic, Hydro, Cake and Polestar 042 Food delivery packaging PriestmanGoode and collaborators 047 Seedling incubator Phoebe English 047 Scented masks Ma-tt-er and Ponsont

Timon & Melchior Grau preview their lighting installation for Re-Made with a series of conceptual images, page 026

048 Eco-aware personal care Made Thought 050 Weighted blanket Studio Ossidiana 053

Urban gardening kit Piuarch

056 Mycelium packaging Nina Bruun, Astep and Grown 058 E-waste watch Vollebak 061 Uniforms Roz Barr and Ssōne Research for Faye Toogood and The Shellworks’ calming lamp, with a bioplastic shade made from shellfish waste, page 070

062 Red mud tiles Tonkin Liu and Studio ThusThat

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AUGUST R   e- Think Researching a better world 082 Formafantasma Can we make fuller use of ephemeral things? 088 Afterparti Who holds the power to shape our cities? 094 Paul Dillinger Is fashion fixable? 098 Map Project Office Can you create a perfect circle? 102

Fernando Laposse What’s the problem with crushed avocado?

106 Christien Meindertsma Can lino live forever? Among material research in Nina Bruun’s studio, mycelium samples for her packaging project with Astep and Grown, page 056

065 Portion plate Jean-Baptiste Fastrez and Chipsboard

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Nate Petre Is micro-making the future?

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Re- Connect The Wallpaper* Re-Made reading list

065 Compost bin High Society and Black Cow 066 Hand sanitiser Odd Matter, Dust London and Kinfill 068 Solar harness Stefan Diez 070 Calming lamp Faye Toogood and The Shellworks 072 Shelving system Asif Khan and BioMason 074 Knife sharpener Jenkins & Uhnger and Victorinox 076 Textiles and dyes Kaiku and SaltyCo

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Formafantasma explores the impact of temporary exhibition design, here with a repurposable set for the Rijksmuseum, page 082


Nature. Form ed. THE MERCY COLLECTION

W W W.G E O R G J E N S E N .C O M CO P E N H A G E N • STO CK H O LM • LO N D O N • N E W YO R K • SY D N EY • TO KYO • MU N I CH • S I N GA PO R E • TA I P E I


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ReReReReReReRe-

think imagine purpose connect engineer model Made

august 2020

Design for a Better World

*Architecture � Design � Art � Travel � Entertaining � Beauty & Grooming � Transport � Technology � Fashion � Watches & Jewellery

This magazine is storing approximately 665.19g of CO2

*Architecture � Design � Art � Travel � Entertaining � Beauty & Grooming � Transport � Technology � Fashion � Watches & Jewellery

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August 2020

Limited edition cover by Formafantasma

Design for Life Newsstand cover Our newsstand cover introduces a mantra for Wallpaper* Re-Made, a seven-step programme towards design for a better world

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Welcome to the August issue, where we introduce Wallpaper* Re-Made – our new flagship project and an evolution of Wallpaper* Handmade, our decade-long initiative connecting designers, creatives, makers and manufacturers. We have pushed ourselves and our creative collaborators to absorb the lessons of decades of activism, environmentalism and innovation, and to focus more sharply on inspiration and intent. Last April marked the tenth anniversary of Handmade, and after 587 projects and 1,085 collaborators, we had already started planning its evolution. Many times during the past year – whether visiting ‘Broken Nature’ at Milan’s Triennale, re-reading Victor Papanek’s Design for the Real World (over 20 years since I studied it at university), or talking with contributors and members of the team, I’ve realised the urgent role that we have to play. It struck me that Wallpaper* has always stood for Design for Life. The best things last a lifetime, accompanying our journeys and enriching our lives. So we shouldn’t simply be making more beautiful things, we should re-examine how, what and why we make and consume. With Re-Made, we’ve maintained the fundamental premise of Handmade: pairing the best designers, makers, architects and engineers to create thought-provoking and inspirational projects. Now we’re re-focusing with a greater emphasis on design and creation that can enrich and endure. And rather than presenting their work up front, we want to first invite them to share their research and creative process. And so, in this Re-Made issue, we preview 23 projects that will be shown in Milan next year, to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Salone del Mobile. They include an e-trike and trailer by Konstantin Grcic, food delivery packaging by PriestmanGoode, a shelving unit by Asif Khan, a water fountain by Yasmin Bawa, an urban gardening kit by Piuarch, and an e-waste watch by Vollebak – all eco-conscious takes on common typologies. At the moment, they are incubation projects, works in progress, a starting point for conversation about common problems and possible solutions. And in that spirit, the dialogues around them will live on after the Milan event, digitally and otherwise, to spark further ideas and innovations. We have also invited creatives from different fields who have taken a research-based approach to current issues affecting the design industry. We will collaborate with these studios to further expand their work, and present it alongside the 23 projects in Milan. They include Formafantasma, Christien Meindertsma, Fernando Laposse, Nate Petre and Map Project Office. Meanwhile, Afterparti, a collective of young BAME architecture writers, looks at problems of power and representation within urban spaces, and Paul Dillinger, Levi’s VP of global production innovation, tackles some of the sustainability issues facing the fashion industry. I hope Re-Made will strengthen your belief in design as a problem-solving tool for environmental and social challenges, a driving force for better principles and healthier behaviours. Design for Life feels like an appropriate – perhaps even overdue – evolution of Wallpaper’s initial tagline ‘The stuff that surrounds you’. Let’s use this as a platform to re-think, re-connect and re-make. Sarah Douglas, Editor-in-Chief

Limited-edition cover by Formafantasma The designers’ cover features a microscopic view of paper fibres from eucalyptus, often used for paper production, and an estimate of the CO2 contained within each copy of this issue of Wallpaper*. Keeping it longer will postpone the release of CO2 into the atmosphere when it is eventually incinerated. See more from Formafantasma on page 082 Limited-edition covers are available to subscribers, see Wallpaper.com


FLAGSHIP STORE - BÄRENGASSE 10 - 8001 ZÜRICH HIERONYMUS-CP.COM SCULPTURE PEN | GOLD


„ LACQUER EPITOMISES HISTORY, CULTURE, AND STYLE; IT GIVES THE OBJECT DEPTH.“ SEBASTIAN HERKNER

CHAIR 118 SEBASTIAN HERKNER

thonet.de


ReWallpaper* Re-Made is where we bring together the best and the brightest – designers, architects, artists, technologists, scientists, makers and manufacturers – to re-think the possible. It’s a space to imagine ways of making and doing that are kinder, smarter, cleaner, and less exploitative of people and resources. It’s been a long time in the making. For the last ten years, this issue has been a celebration of the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition. A showcase for creative collaborations, high craft and smart engineering, Handmade had a great run and we are proud of what it achieved. But we knew it was time to push that model in a new direction and set new challenges. Re-Made is an ideas lab intent on tackling fundamental problems: fixing our broken relationship with the things we buy and use; ensuring they have the longest lives possible, and short and happy afterlives; limiting the environmental cost of the way we move and the places we live and work; exploring the possibilities for circularity in manufacturing and materials; and providing equitable access to creative education and professional opportunities. This issue looks at 23 Re-Made projects that we will present in Milan next year, during Salone del Mobile. They are works in progress. There are problems left to solve, processes to devise, materials to explore, dead ends to back out of, and new routes to establish. And they make something very clear. There are no easy wins, no single big fixes. But there are ways to do things better and the energy, ingenuity and will to try.

Made

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Conceptual images, featuring and art directed by Timon & Melchior Grau, offer a preview of their installation for our Re-Made exhibition in 2021, which will explore the emotive powers of fire and light

When we approached Timon & Melchior Grau to create a device that would alleviate seasonal affective disorder, we expected a lamp. Instead, the brothers went beyond the call of duty to propose an installation at our upcoming Milan exhibition, exploring the emotive and therapeutic qualities of light. Timon and Melchior are the sons of designer Tobias Grau, founder of the eponymous German lighting label. Taking the creative reins of the family business in 2017, they’ve since reinvented its visual identity and picked up a Wallpaper* Design Award for their first lighting design, the cordless ‘Parrot’ lamp (W*250). But they’re also an artist duo in their own right, and recently participated in a group show organised by the Berlin gallerist Robert Grunenberg. ‘Our art practice reflects a lot on the influence of design on

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humans. In a wider sense, what makes humans really human is the way we reflect our environment, and shape it in return. That’s what design essentially is,’ they say. The idea of a SAD lamp – which emits a strong bright light to soothe the winter blues – had the brothers thinking about fire, a natural element that was tamed by early humans to become a source of artificial lighting. Beyond visibility and warmth, fire also offers strong emotional connotations: ‘from love and freedom, to power and danger’, they say. For Re-Made, they are combining their talents in design and art to create an installation titled ‘Fire’, using artificial light sources to convey the same moods as a flame. Behind this sensorial goal lies a series of technological challenges, which the Tobias Grau brand is well placed to take on:

expanding the capabilities of LED lighting, in terms of intensity, colour spectrum and colour rendering index. Then there are practical questions to be answered: what sort of light source, how it’s framed (glass, because of the role that fire plays in shaping it, but in what form?), how it’s manipulated, and whether it responds to the movements of visitors. On these points, the brothers are reluctant to divulge details before they’re further along their design process. They are, however, unequivocal about their ambition to inspire awareness of the transformative powers of light. ‘Light can transform spaces, so they appear different, so they feel different, so they react differently to the person inside,’ they conclude. ‘It’s much more than lighting up a space and enhancing visibility.’  grau01.com; tobiasgrau.com


Art

Light

installation Timon & Melchior Grau’s conceptual SAD lamp packs an emotional punch

PHOTOGRAPHY: PAUL HUTCHINSON WRITER: TF CHAN


Design The sofa, made from Limonta fabric left over from fashion designs, is light and easy to move around. Its form, conceived by Muller Van Severen, is inspired by Kassl Editions’ bag designs

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For a small fashion brand, Kassl Editions has big ideas. Launched in 2017 – by fashion agent Bart Ramakers and colleague Charlotte Schreuder, Antwerp concept store Graanmarkt 13 founders Tim Van Geloven and Ilse Cornelissens, and former Delvaux CEO Christian Salez – the label embraces the ethos of ‘doing one thing and doing it well’. Since their first piece, minimalist outerwear inspired by an old fisherman’s coat, the founders have been experimenting with oiled cotton canvas, each season creating variations on a theme. Then they introduced padded bags made in an oil-coated cotton from Italian textile weaver Limonta, left over from the production of coats (the bags are now so successful, some fabric also has to be ordered in to supplement the supply). The bags became the starting point for Kassl Editions’ next idea: a multipurpose piece of furniture with a modular design made from durable materials. To develop the concept, Cornelissens and her team enlisted Belgian design duo Muller Van Severen. ‘Fien Muller and I had been discussing a collaboration for some time,’ Cornelissens says. She and Van Geloven had bought the ‘Crossed Double Seat’, from one of the designers’ early collections, for their home. The two couples had since become friends, and Muller Van Severen’s work for Valerie Objects is available through Graanmarkt 13. ‘After the launch of our bags, we felt it was time to start thinking about something in between fashion and interiors,’ continues Cornelissens. ‘We had a meeting with Fien and Hannes [Van Severen], and I brought three bags with me. We were discussing something modular, something movable, something easy. The bags were piled in the  »

Modular sofa

Surplus fashion fabric finds new life in playful seating by Muller Van Severen and Kassl Editions RENDER: FIEN MULLER WRITER: ROSA BERTOLI


Design

Above, a render of the modular design, which grew from the idea of bags stacked like cushions to form a seat and a backrest. The cushions are held together by integral bands, photographed left, and feature a playful colour palette, as detailed in the sketch by Muller Van Severen, below

corner of the room and all of a sudden Hannes started drawing. Like always, the first idea is the best!’ Based on Van Severen’s sketch, the sofa (the first by the Belgian studio) is simple in its execution: it is essentially made of three bags that attach to each other, forming an archetypal seat and back structure. The single module works as a solo seat, or as the starting point for a composition of multiples. The leftover Limonta fabric was the start of the design process. ‘The way the fabric falls brought us to the idea of this type of sofa,’ says Muller. It’s the flow of the textile, she adds, that brings together the worlds of fashion and design. ‘You want to feel the fabric, lie in it or even hide in it.’ The modular structure allowed the designers to play with colour, creating chromatic compositions in a palette of black, white and camel, accented with sky blue, navy, green and bordeaux. For Cornelissens, the design and concept embody her idea of a contemporary lifestyle. ‘It feels like something really new,’ she says. ‘You can use this sofa in your home, but also take it outside and read a book on it. Functional, comfortable, sustainable and multi-usable design is future living for me.’ Cornelissens applies the same approach to Kassl Editions’ fashion line, and believes it

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will find resonance in a post-pandemic world. ‘People have everything and nobody needs anything, so to evoke desire, you need radical quality: one item that lasts for a lifetime,’ she says. ‘This is our opportunity to make a positive change in fashion. We are joining forces with many others in the industry right now to set aside previous rules and align our decisions with our values.’ From a design perspective, Muller shares this sentiment: ‘We don’t want to make objects that are being replaced after a few years. We want to create things that you buy to keep and pass on to your children.’ The collaboration is now continuing with a new, even more portable design on the cards in time for Wallpaper’s Re-Made exhibition in Milan next April. ‘We would like to develop something that is light, easy and usable both indoors and out,’ says Cornelissens, adding that the team is experimenting with hammocks and mats. Meanwhile, the sofa is set to become an integral part of the Kassl Editions offering. When asked about a favourite moment in the project so far, the collaborators mention their children enjoying the piece, whether they played with it during development, or tried it at home. ‘I already miss it, the kids loved it. That says something to me,’ says Muller.  mullervanseveren.be; kassleditions.com

PHOTOGRAPHY: MARTINA BJORN RENDER: FIEN MULLER


Design

Water fountain Artist and designer Yasmin Bawa teams with Axor to get both sculptural and functional with hempcrete PHOTOGRAPHY: MARINA DENISOVA WRITER: ROSA BERTOLI


Yasmin Bawa inspects the sculpted curves that house a spout of her unfinished hempcrete fountain, above. Its base is made up of various hempcrete components, seen in progress in Bawa’s Berlin studio, opposite

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Far left, the fountain is shaped from hempcrete, a mixture of the chopped-up core of the plant and lime, which is then coated in lime and clay plaster Left, initial ideas for the piece include fountains at two heights, the lower accessible to wheelchair users

I

f you know anything about hempcrete, it’s probably because of Yasmin Bawa. The Berlin-based artist and designer has become a sort of spokesperson for the hemp-based composite material, demonstrating its potential in a quiet but appealing way. Bawa discovered hempcrete a few years ago and was instantly hooked. The former accessories designer had left her job at fashion brand Acne in 2015 to pursue personal creative projects, moving from Stockholm to Berlin. ‘I used this time to research what I wanted to create. What inspired me was this grey zone between art, sculpture and functional design, creating objects that fit both the physical and poetic needs of the user.’ She started looking into alternative materials for sculpting, and discovered hempcrete while researching house construction online (‘I have larger dreams of building a house,’ she says). A family had built their home in hempcrete with pleasing results: ‘The house itself and the quality of the lime plaster finishes were just beautiful,’ recalls Bawa. Hempcrete is a mixture of hemp, one of the world’s strongest natural fibres, with clay and lime binder. Industrial hemp (varieties grown for non-drug use) requires approximately half the water needed to grow cotton, and its plant absorbs more carbon dioxide per hectare than trees: an environmental win-win. Intrigued by hempcrete’s potential and by Bawa’s monolithic forms, Wallpaper* tasked the designer with creating a fountain, a sculptural bottle-filling station made from her signature material. For the technical expertise to bring the project to life, we called on water-flow specialist Axor. ‘I saw a great chance for Axor to feature its competencies,’ says Benjamin Holzer, the brand’s head of product management. ‘We liked the sustainability aspect, but also the idea of designing something meaningful for the future, which examines our relationship to the objects we use.’ Although Axor is not new to design collaborations – its collections are created by the likes of Barber Osgerby, Philippe Starck and Patricia Urquiola – a project with an up-and-coming creative who had never worked with water felt at once a challenge and an opportunity. ‘Our

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mission was to understand Yasmin’s approach, her material, her first ideas, and then to see how we could make that happen with the technology and innovations we already had available,’ continues Holzer. His team and Bawa had weekly calls. Bawa’s artistic, free-form process met Axor’s rigorous approach to product development. The designer researched fountains, and the use of communal water pumps in contemporary communities, both as a way to reduce plastic waste and as a shared resource. This she combined with her ongoing research into the sculpture of Joan Miró, Henry Moore and Danish modernist Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, among others. Hempcrete is at the heart of the project. Bawa’s process mixes hemp shiv (the chopped-up core of the plant) with lime, then uses this material to hand-build a structure that, once dry, she covers in a mix of lime and clay plaster before adding a textured or polished finish. ‘We were a bit worried in the beginning, because we didn’t have experience of pairing this material with water,’ says Holzer. ‘But its natural aspect and its flexibility triggered our exploratory urge.’ Challenges have included the need to incorporate very technical elements into the sculptural design, and the desire to create a piece that is wheelchair accessible. ‘I also realised I wanted to create some features that would bring a sense of lightness,’ adds Bawa, pointing to the circular shapes concealing the spouts. The initial design features two distinct fountains made of stacked volumes, each with water features at different heights. Bawa has been experimenting with rough and smooth finishes. For the final colour, she used waste material from a local cannabidiol manufacturer, a green powder she mixed with pigment for a speckled effect. The piece will be further refined and assessed, with a functional fountain ready to be used in Milan in April 2021. As the first public drinking station made by Axor, and perhaps Bawa’s most ambitious project to date, it not only explores the potential of hempcrete as a building material, but also gives new, experimental form to issues of circularity and waste. yasminbawa.com; axor-design.com


DESIGNED TO BRING NATURE CLOSER | BM OUTDOOR SERIES |

BØRGE MOGENSEN | 1971

FSC C135991

Originally designed for Børge Mogensen’s private balcony, the Outdoor Series is a testament to the beauty of simple, functional design. Now reintroduced by Carl Hansen & Søn, the foldable designs in untreated, FSC ® -certified teak bring lasting beauty to outdoor spaces thanks to their considered combination of careful craftsmanship and lasting, high-quality materials.

ABERDEEN: CHAMELEON | BELFAST: LIVING SPACE | BERKSHIRE: BENCHMARK | BIRMINGHAM: EXISTENZMINIMA, HEALS | BOURNEMOUTH: SO. FURNITURE | BRADFORD: THE HOME BRIGHTON: HEALS | CAMBRIDGE: EVE WALDRON, TOMAS KITCHEN PLUS | COTSWOLDS: TREACLE GEORGE | DUBLIN: ARNOTTS, LOST WEEKEND | EAST YORKS: INNES | EDINBURGH: MOLETA MUNRO, STUDIO ONE FURNITURE | HARROGATE: CIMMERMAN | LIVERPOOL: UTILITY LONDON: ARAM, CARL HANSEN & SØN FLAGSHIPSTORE, CHAPLINS, DO-SOUTH, HAUS, HEALS, HOLLOWAYS OF LUDLOW, E_PORTA.COM, SCP, SILVERA UK, SKANDIUM, THE CONRAN SHOP, TWENTYTWENTYONE MANCHESTER: FERRIOUS | NOTTINGHAM: ATOMIC INTERIORS | SHEFFIELD: NEST.CO.UK, OLSON AND BAKER | SHEPTON MALLET: BEUT.CO.UK | WEST YORKSHIRE: HEALS


Piazza Borromeo 12 www.antonini.it


Wellness Inspired by Ayurvedic treatments that harness the cosmetic and nourishing properties of food, Doshi Levien’s Beauty Kitchen encourages the use of readily available ingredients, tools and utensils to create homemade natural skincare with zero packaging

Beauty kitchen

Doshi Levien’s homemade natural skincare DRAWING: NIPA DOSHI WRITER: SUJATA BURMAN

When Doshi Levien first thought up its Beauty Kitchen concept, we weren’t using our homes half as much we have been over the past months during Covid-19. The London design studio was keen to re-think chemically boosted skincare wrapped in excess packaging, and investigate how we can use natural ingredients to cut, smash and grind our own. ‘The idea is more relevant than it was when we first proposed it for Re-Made,’ says Jonathan Levien when we talk on Skype. ‘People are doing more activities at home, and getting creative with the resources

they have. Gardening, in particular, has seen a boom.’ Inspired by Ayurvedic treatments, Nipa Doshi has been devising recipes and formulas that use items like chickpea flour, turmeric, milk and lemon to create face masks and scrubs. Kitchen utensils and locally sourced tools and materials, such as marble offcuts, can then be used to transform ingredients into life-enhancing products. The kitchen becomes not only a place to prepare food to eat, but also a lab to create everyday rituals of personal care. doshilevien.com

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This page and opposite, renders show Grcic’s vision for the recycled aluminium Hydro-Truck, as he is provisionally calling it, a simple electric trike with a battery set behind the saddle stem, and a roomy articulated trailer


Transport

E-trike and trailer Konstantin Grcic, aluminium producer Hydro, e-motorbike pioneer Cake and electric performance car maker Polestar pedal their clean, not-so-mean machine

Renders: Konstantin Grcic Design

WRITER: NICK COMPTON

The Covid-19 crisis seems to have put a kink in history, compacted time, accelerated and re-directed existing trends, prematurely tipped tipping-points. It has made what were already good ideas more vital and urgent. Konstantin Grcic’s designs for a new kind of delivery vehicle – a lightweight, simple, flexible, super-functional trailer pulled by an electric trike – is that kind of idea. When we first started plotting the launch of Re-Made, Grcic was inevitably among the first names on our wish list of collaborators,

and the first to sign up. We knew scalability was vital, that whatever we came up with had to be possible and viable in many multiples. And Berlin-based Grcic is not just a premier league product designer, he is an avowedly industrial designer. Grcic works with big numbers. Then we needed a maker, a material and a process that Grcic could run with. Hydro, the Norwegian aluminium production giant – like Grcic, a veteran Wallpaper* Handmade collaborator – seemed like a good fit. Hydro

has 35,000 employees in 40 countries. Its aluminium can be found in buildings, boats, cars and much more and pretty much everywhere. It has also been investing in and developing recycled and lower-carbon aluminium. Hydro Circal 75R is at least 75 per cent post-consumer scrap. As well as avoiding the environmental impact of extraction, the production of recycled aluminium requires just five per cent of the energy required for primary aluminium. (Aluminium recycling is nothing new, of »

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Transport

course. The material can be infinitely recycled without a loss in quality, and there was a huge aluminium recycling drive in the US during the Second World War. It is estimated that almost 75 per cent of aluminium ever produced is still in use.) Unfortunately, there aren’t sufficient supplies of recycled aluminium to meet demand. Hydro’s Reduxa primary aluminium at least has a lower carbon footprint than the industry average. Carried out exclusively at Hydro’s Norwegian plants, which are all run on renewable energy, the manufacture of Reduxa creates 4kg CO2-equivalents per kilogram of aluminium, a quarter of the norm. Suitably matched, Grcic got to thinking about what he could do with Hydro’s more environmentally conscious aluminium. He was intrigued by a production process called friction stir welding (FSW), developed in the UK in the early 1990s and first employed on an industrial scale by Hydro. The technique means that two pieces of aluminium alloy can be fused together by a rotating tool that creates heat through friction. ‘That was the spark of the idea,’ says Grcic. ‘I’m familiar with an aluminium profile

casting and all that, but I hadn’t heard of friction stir welding. So I looked into it. Welding aluminium is not easy because of its high conductivity. But friction stir welding manages to keep the heat very local and creates the right doses of heat for what you need. So it’s a very precise, very clean way of bringing aluminium pieces together. And you don’t get those ugly joins that you have to live with or machine away.’ ‘Every designer I talk to is fascinated by this technique because it feels like it just melts the material together,’ says Hilde Kallevig, Hydro’s head of group brand and marketing. ‘And, of course, there are cost benefits, because you don’t have to add another material, and a sustainability benefit, because the fewer materials you use, the easier it is to recycle.’ Now Grcic had to come up with a design that made good use of that process. ‘Hydro developed FSW for the shipbuilding industry in order to create large aluminium platforms, made up of welded-together profiles. So we discussed what we could do with that. We could have taken it to an architectural scale, but, in the end, we are not architects. So I thought, OK, let’s design something that is

smaller than a house but bigger than a piece of furniture. And aluminium is strong and lightweight and perfect for vehicle construction. So we decided to look at the typology of cargo bikes.’ Grcic started to develop the idea of a utilitarian electric-powered delivery vehicle, scaled somewhere between the UPS/Amazon or similar delivery van and smaller pedalpowered mobile boxes. His original design – taking inspiration from the Piaggio Ape, a three-wheeled minivan first produced in Italy in 1948 and still in use there and around the world – was for a single-unit threewheeler, made entirely of aluminium profiles, with pedals up front and batteries connected to the rear wheels. An updated design separated the 1.6m-long trike and a 2.4m by 1.4m articulated trailer, with a large battery pack now housed behind the trike’s saddle stem. This core design was kept as simple and economical as possible, though Grcic imagined that covers for the loading area, a driver’s cabin, a suspension system and even solar panels could be added if required. ‘Other people are developing these e-cargo bike delivery vehicles; DHL and UPS have

Photography: Hydro/Jarle Andersen, Hydro

‘You could deliver furniture with it or turn it into an ice cream van or vegetable stall. It could be anything really’


done them, Deutsche Post, too,’ says Grcic. ‘But they are designing them exactly for their needs. Our idea was to create something much simpler, more adaptable and not so purpose-made; to offer a very basic chassis that people could then play with. And you could deliver furniture with it or turn it into an ice cream van or vegetable stall. It could be anything really.’ We began this project before the Covid-19 crisis. And since then, bicycle sales around the world have boomed: first as people looked for ways to take exercise and enjoy roads emptier of cars and vans than they had been since the 1950s; and then as a way to avoid public transport as they slowly returned to work. And cities, London, New York and Milan included, have looked at ways to make the shift to pedal power more permanent and avoid combustion engines returning to the streets in the same, if not greater, numbers than before the crisis. A switch to electric bikes and light electric vehicles is seen as central to this cleaner restart for urban transport. The Hydro-Truck, as Grcic has provisionally tagged it, suddenly has fresh and serious momentum. From the beginning of the project, though, it was clear that at some point we would need extra input, expertise and manufacturing muscle, a company at the forefront of research and development of battery power and electric vehicles. We had to develop a

drivetrain and work out what kind of battery we would need to pull a fully loaded Hydro-Truck – and Grcic imagined loads of somewhere between 200kg and 500kg – up a hill in San Francisco. We would also need someone who could help us put a working prototype together using Hydro’s parts. But we had what felt like a simple yet compelling idea, now extra-ripe with promise and potential. And we used it to pull in not one but two perfect partners. Thomas Ingenlath, the former design chief at Volkswagen and Volvo, is now CEO of Polestar, Volvo’s standalone performance electric vehicle brand. He also studied industrial design alongside Grcic at the RCA in London. The pair had lost touch but followed each other’s careers at a distance. Polestar has also been developing strategic links with Cake, a maker of beautifully designed e-bikes and electric motorbikes, founded in 2016 by Stefan Ytterborn and, like Polestar, based in Gothenburg. A serial design entrepreneur, Ytterborn founded the cycle helmet company POC, another Wallpaper* favourite, in 2004. A former Ikea designer, he launched the design agency Ytterborn & Fuentes in 1996. The agency’s clients included Iittala, leading to a collaboration with a certain Konstantin Grcic. Reintroductions made, it quickly became clear that there was now a team in place who

were suitably charged up, connected and qualified to take the idea forward. Talk quickly turned to gaps in the market, HydroTruck’s potential appeal everywhere from New York to New Delhi, possible ownership and rental models, whether the truck needed pedals, and the possibility that solar panels could unplug it from the grid. Ingenlath suggested that a team of engineers who joined Polestar from its sister brand LEVC (the London Electric Vehicle Company, the firm behind the new electrified black cab) could work with Hydro on the practicalities of manufacturing. LEVC’s TX Electric Taxi has an entirely aluminium frame. Meanwhile, Ytterborn and Grcic could refine the design and work on developing the battery and drivetrain. Hydro-Truck, everyone agreed, could go places (even if exactly how was still in the works). ‘There’s a whole casserole full of good ingredients there that we can use to create storytelling around the truck,’ says Kallevig. ‘Now we have to create a prototype that is affordable, manufacturable and more sustainable.’ Ytterborn is positive that can happen, with an eye to Wallpaper’s 2021 exhibition during Salone del Mobile: ‘I’m absolutely convinced that we can get to Milan and show something that makes a difference’.  konstantin-grcic.com; hydro.com; ridecake.com; polestar.com

Right, the friction stir welding of aluminium at a Hydro facility in Fingspång, Norway. Grcic was attracted to the technique, which is used to join together pieces of aluminium without the need for filler material and at a relatively low temperature, making for a clean, strong finish Opposite, aiming to produce aluminium as cleanly as possible, Hydro generates renewable energy, such as at its Vigelandsfoss plant on Norway’s Otra River, in order to power its refineries

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Design A render shows PriestmanGoode’s vision for the alternative food delivery bag and re-usable containers, designed using the studio’s pick of innovative, planet-friendly materials from a range of collaborators

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1. BAG LID IN PIÑATEX, BY ANANAS ANAM Ethical entrepreneur and Ananas Anam founder Dr Carmen Hijosa developed this natural, non-woven substrate made from an existing by-product of pineapple agriculture – pineapple leaf fibres. Piñatex, which has already been used widely in the fashion industry, not only provides a viable, pliable, breathable and water-resistant alternative to leather, but also offers a second stream of income for those working in pineapple agriculture.

2. HANDLES FOR FOOD CONTAINERS AND BAG

ananas-anam.com

euphoam.com; yulex.com

4. FOOD CONTAINER STRUCTURE IN COCOA_001, BY PAULA NERLICH Using circular design principles, Berlin-based designer Paula Nerlich demonstrates how food production surplus can be used as a resource for new products. Her Cocoa_001 bioplastic is created with vegan and biodegradable materials, including 50 per cent from industrial chocolate production waste, and is water-repellent and washable. For this project, Nerlich has also explored using other food production waste, such as potato peel and avocado seeds.

5. INSULATION IN MYCELIUM, BY TYˆ SYML This experimental Cardiff-based design studio seeks responsible solutions to ever-increasing packaging waste. Created using the root system of mushrooms combined with waste such as wood chips, brewers’ spent grain, textiles and paper, its mycelium is a strong, lightweight, 100 per cent natural, recyclable and fully compostable material. For this project, the studio is developing a mycelium alternative to Styrofoam, with thermal properties.

6. CLING FILM IN DESINTEGRA.ME, BY MARGARITA TALEP The Chile-based designer has created an alternative to single-use plastics using agar, a polysaccharide extracted from red algae. Using an all-natural composite including extracts from the skin of discarded fruit and vegetables, the material can be tailored to create both rigid and elastic structures. It takes three to four months to degrade, without the need for industrial composting. Here, it will be used like cling film, pressed between containers to keep food fresh.

paulanerlich.com

tysyml.co.uk

margaritatalep.com

IN LEXCELL, MADE WITH YULEX, BY EUPHOAM

Developed by US company Euphoam as an alternative to environmentally hostile neoprene, Lexcell is a high-performing, plant-based material, often used for sports items, from yoga mats to wetsuits. The closed-cell foam – created by purifying natural rubber in a process called Yulex – is laminated in fabrics made from recycled yarn using water-based adhesive.

3. BAG STRUCTURE IN NUATAN, BY CRAFTING PLASTICS STUDIO To create its oil-free bioplastic, interdisciplinary designers Crafting Plastics Studio, based between Berlin and Bratislava, collaborated with the Slovak University of Technology and research company Panara. Nuatan, as the material is called, can withstand temperatures of more than 100°C, is highly durable and can fully biodegrade in industrial compost with no microplastic residue. craftingplastics.com


Food delivery packaging PriestmanGoode puts material responsibility on the menu and recruits like minds to re-think the future of the takeaway

Render: PriestmanGoode

WRITER: HARRIET LLOYD-SMITH

Food takeaway deliveries have boomed in the past decade. With smartphone apps came a seamless, centralised formula of on-demand buffets at home, and a small army of box-bagged, traffic-dodging deliverers mobilised at the tap of a screen. A report released in 2019 valued the global online food delivery and takeaway market at over $53bn. With convenience, rapidity and choice came another ingredient: plastic, and lots of it, from boxes, to cutlery, down to sachets of sauce. But the intensifying war on waste has brought mumblings of change. The takeaway titans are beginning to vie for a slice of sustainable pie – Deliveroo has launched an eco-friendly packaging range, and Just Eat is trialling a seaweed-lined container. In its aptly-titled ‘Zero’ concept for Wallpaper* Re-Made, London-based industrial design agency PriestmanGoode hasn’t just brought a new box to the table. In collaboration with a series of sustainable material partners, it has devised a holistic solution to re-think the entire takeaway food delivery system, aiming to change consumer behaviour through circular design, and to make packaging desirable, not disposable. PriestmanGoode is no stranger to confronting pressing and complex design challenges. Since its conception in 1989, its portfolio has included aircraft interiors, high-speed trains, small-scale consumer goods and future-thinking projects that focus on accessibility and sustainability. And the Re-Made project is not its first foray into more responsible food ware. Earlier this year, the designers bagged a Wallpaper* Design Award for ‘Get Onboard’, an in-flight meal tray solution to curb plastic waste (W*251). ‘We always used to think about design as user-centric, and increasingly it’s becoming planet centric, too,’ says Jo Rowan, associate director of strategy at PriestmanGoode. ‘People are increasingly concerned and conscious about their

environmental habits and we felt design had a place to explore a different behaviour.’ The ‘Zero’ concept comprises a range of reusable, planet-friendly food containers and a delivery rider bag. For PriestmanGoode, it wasn’t about finding one material that could do everything, but the most suitable food-safe plastic alternatives for each element. After rigorous research, the team settled on a menu of six materials, each handpicked for their attributes, from transit durability to temperature control. ‘Our criteria were that the materials either came from renewable sources, or were composed of byproducts and would be biodegradable, commercially compostable or reused,’ says Maria Kafel-Bentkowska, head of colour, materials and finish at PriestmanGoode. ‘When you list all the properties that you need, the materials kind of select themselves.’ The delivery bag, which will niftily attach to the rider’s bike, will be formed of bio-based, 100 per cent renewable raw resources made by Crafting Plastics, a Berlin and Bratislava-based design studio that specialises in the development of bioplastics. The bag has been designed to withstand high temperatures and the impact of being dropped. Its lid is to be made using Piñatex, a natural leather alternative comprising cellulose fibres from pineapple leaves, developed by London-based Ananas Anam. Handles will be produced in Lexcell, made with Yulex, a plant-based neoprene alternative developed by US company Euphoam. The bag contains a compact stack of cylindrical, tiered, bento-style food boxes. These slick, ribbed, dishwasher-proof dishes – including a pizza box – will be composed of a bioplastic designed by Berlin-based Paula Nerlich using by-products from the chocolate production industry, and can be arranged to suit quantity requirements. The containers stack, meaning fewer lids are required, and a smaller amount of packaging overall. These slot neatly into lightweight  »

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Design Sketches, prototypes and material samples are perused at PriestmanGoode. The containers are intended to stack, meaning fewer lids will be needed, and to look appealing to serve and display food on the table

mycelium insulators, which will be created by Tŷ Syml, an experimental design studio based in Cardiff, from industrial waste. The team also selected material designer Margarita Talep, who will create an algaebased alternative to single-use plastics (such as cling film) to prevent leaks and spills and keep food fresh. This closed-loop system applies not only to the materials, but to the entire takeaway process. Once customers have finished with their packaging, it can be washed and returned to the food provider for a second, industrial, food-safe clean before being looped back into the system. But circularity presents its own set of challenges in the wake of Covid-19 and, for the foreseeable future, hygiene and safety will top the food sector agenda. Though this project was conceived before the pandemic took hold, PriestmanGoode has focused on how to adapt its project to the new reality without losing sight of the core goal. The team have been in conversations about creating planet-friendly antimicrobial coatings to apply to materials to enhance safety. ‘We cannot focus on hygiene at the expense of the environment; the two things have to go hand in hand,’ says Rowan. ‘Zero’ also brings a solution to the historically less-than-sightly takeaway packaging aesthetic. ‘This was about creating something that felt more like dishes you have in a restaurant and can use to display food,’ says Rowan. ‘Something that can contribute to a sense of occasion, that is beautiful, practical and sustainable.’

But aesthetics alone aren’t enough to re-think a singleuse plastic culture. Rewards and penalties – the carrot and the stick – could be vital to success, recent history has proved. Think the reusable cups’ discount at major coffee chains, exchanging plastic bottles for travel credit on the Rome Metro or even the 5p (and subsequently 10p) plastic bag charge brought into England in 2015, which reduced plastic bag consumption by 90 per cent. ‘It’s not just that it’s 5p; it’s the guilt. It’s the mindset of being penalised for something,’ says Rowan. Incentives are built into the ‘Zero’ concept. Customers will pay a ‘sustainability deposit’ upon ordering food, which will be reimbursed once containers are returned to the delivery service. There will be a reward scheme – such as discounts on future orders – for those returning packaging. ‘One of the drivers of this project was looking at the monetary value of recycling culture in European countries. That’s a system that has worked well in incentivising people to think about the way they dispose of or reuse things,’ says Rowan. There is no doubt that the takeaway food delivery sector needs to wrap its mind, and packaging, around a new system. A meal may take 30 minutes to arrive, but the plastic it includes may take up to 1,000 years to disappear. A circular concept like ‘Zero’ may just be an answer for takeaway food deliveries and beyond. It’s a chance to call last orders on an industry whose plastic use is nearing its expiry date, and offer a formula its users will want to bring to the table.  priestmangoode.com

‘We cannot focus on hygiene at the expense of the environment; the two things have to go hand in hand’

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PHOTOGRAPHY: CAROLYN BROWN


* Founded in St-Tropez in 1971

Fondé à St-Tropez en 1971*


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Design

Seedling incubator Phoebe English turns from fashion to food production

With her namesake label, fashion designer Phoebe English has ambitions to shift from merely sustainable design to regenerative design, to create self-replenishing systems of production. For Wallpaper* Re-Made, she brought this circular approach to the concept of a seedling incubator, ‘a space that can grow plants for consumption, with a self-watering and a self-heating system’, she says. It will be built from glass and metal, materials that can be repurposed multiple times. ‘As a clothing label, our priority is to use material from nonvirgin sources. I hope we can build that into this project.’ The incubator offers a tool for greater autonomy, and the hope of a gradual migration from wasteful, unsustainable food supply systems.  phoebeenglish.com

An initial sketch of English’s glass and metal ‘self-contained growing space’, with adjustable windows for air circulation

Scented masks

Ma-tt-er and Ponsont create a fragrant boost to wellbeing

Material research for the masks includes, clockwise from top left, bioplastic, coconut leather (beige, beneath), tree bark, coconut leather (maroon), pineapple leather (grey),

cotton cord and natural rubber, coconut leather (multicoloured), pineapple leather (cream), lupine fibreboard, and, centre, casein and chalk plaster, and denim offcuts

WRITERS: DIANE THEUNISSEN, MARY CLEARY

Seetal Solanki, founder of London-based material research design studio Ma-tt-er, and Justin Vaughan, of scented paper brand Ponsont, have used innovative materials and fragrances to transform the face mask, currently a symbol of illness and anxiety, into an object of tranquillity and beauty that aims to help the user navigate the future. The masks come in three ‘archetypes’, to be worn in succession to inspire a meditative journey. ‘The Oracle’, in biodegradable coconut leather and coated in jasmine sambac absolute, prepares you for new experiences. It’s followed by ‘The Cartographer’, formed of fractionated oils, and finally ‘The Composer’, a mixture of natural and synthetic scents to ‘recompose’ your mind into a peaceful state. ma-tt-er.org; ponsont.com

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Design Create a more desirable future. Fast. This is the aim of London-based creative collective Made Thought. When Wallpaper* invited the studio to work on a project that re-thinks how we recycle, we did not expect it would come up with a fully fledged brand, aimed at transforming how we consume in our everyday lives. But Made Thought’s talent lies in creating and developing brands, so it was natural that they would take this approach. ‘We see this as an opportunity to reinvent systems,’ says co-founder Ben Parker. His goal when he started Made Thought with Paul Austin in 2000 was to bring together intelligent thinking and beautifully crafted design, which his team has done for clients such as MoMA, Adidas and GF Smith. Over the years, Made Thought has also developed a decisive environmental slant, working with clients that have a focus on circularity and new systems (most recently with campaign organisation A Plastic Planet). The studio hired a sustainability advisor in 2019. For Wallpaper* Re-Made, the team are focusing on reinventing the personal care space. They started by creating a B Corp (something they now advise all their clients to work towards) as ‘a ready-to-go brand that delivers a system’. Their idea is to develop ecologically responsible versions of products people use every day. ‘The first thing we do in the morning is head to the bathroom, where we have a plethora of stuff that goes into the bin,’ says Parker. ‘The whole lot is moments away from ending up in landfill.’ Eco-friendly products shouldn’t be a privilege but a basic necessity, he adds, so the team will make the brand accessible in terms of distribution and a price. ‘This way, the customer has no choice but to make a better choice.’

Eco-aware personal care Creative collective Made Thought conceives a new brand to inspire better choices WRITER: ROSA BERTOLI

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Called Common Good, the brand is framed within the studio’s newly formed Made Thought Labs, a division aimed at breaking industry conventions – working immersively on new brands and products, as well as collaborating with well-established corporations, not just from an aesthetic perspective, but re-thinking and re-inventing their business models to make positive change through creativity. ‘Our power lies in behavioural change, how we can influence people,’ says Parker. Common Good’s ecosystem of personal care items includes the razor (one of the most evil bits of disposable plastic we use), waterless handwash and toothpaste, solid shampoo, hand cream, deodorant and feminine care. The brand will also be genderless, eschewing what they observe to be the industry’s appalling (and very dated) gender bias. Every element will be created responsibly; materials will be biodegradable and include permanent containers for refills. The most important element of Common Good is its accessibility. ‘If we influence people in the way they do things every day, we can encourage change,’ says Parker. The brand is not so much focused on the products themselves or their design (created to be ‘differently familiar’), but on communicating the key ideas behind its launch. So as a starting point, the team have created the graphic seen here, serving as an advertisement of sorts that clearly illustrates the thinking behind the concept. ‘We are consciously trying to bring this into mass appeal,’ says Parker. ‘Our energies should be used to make more impact on the world.’  madethought.com


Weighted blanket

Studio Ossidiana explores feathering future nests with new forms of covering

PHOTOGRAPHY: SZE-WING CHAN WRITER: ROSA BERTOLI

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Widely endorsed by the medical community as a tool for aiding sleep and encouraging relaxation among people with autism and ADHD, weighted blankets have become increasingly popular for their purported therapeutic effects. Keen to explore this further and create our own version, we called upon the Rotterdam-based Studio Ossidiana, founded in 2015 by Giovanni Bellotti and Alessandra Covini. Working across multiple scales, they like to blur the boundary between architecture, design and art, ‘focusing on the materiality of things, but bearing in mind the larger narratives, politics and geographies they reflect’. Their projects create alternative worlds through multisensory landscapes, as seen in a recent playground for a school in Utrecht, or their multiple habitats for birds. Bellotti and Covini started researching weighted blankets, becoming particularly

interested in their possible role helping with insomnia and reducing stress. ‘At the same time, we began to think of the blanket as a sort of nomadic house, a thing of comfort you can carry with you,’ says Bellotti. In addition to being well-versed in architectural structures and solid material design, the pair also have recent experience working with textiles, including a colourful installation at Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan, and a research project working on a solar textile prototype. The blanket, they say, was a great way to further develop the thinking behind the latter project. ‘We began by thinking of the two “scales” of the blanket: as the most intimate interior, the most comfortable retreat, and also the textile itself as a potential home, rolled out as a surface for a picnic, or folded into a canopy or tent,’ says Bellotti. They also explored


Wellness This page, Studio Ossidiana’s weighted textile can be used as a blanket, worn as a dress, or folded to create a canopy or tent Opposite, the studio took inspiration from a variety of sources, including The Magic Flute‘s Papageno, Sioux teepees, Ottoman tent palaces, and a timber-shingled shelter designed by Toyo Ito and Maki Onishi

‘We began to think of the blanket as a sort of nomadic house, a thing of comfort you can carry with you’

new material possibilities for the blanket: weighted blankets are normally filled with glass or plastic beads, and the pair took that as a point of departure. ‘We could use seeds to add weight, imagining it as a sort of garden you can sleep in,’ says Bellotti. In the studio, Bellotti and Covini started prototyping with small paper and textile models, creating origami folds and testing the various shapes’ resistance and stiffness. The weights are contained within a series of textile shingles covering the blanket surface, exposing the piece’s normally hidden powers. Reference material for the blankets included Sioux teepees, Lina and Adolf Loos’ bedroom, a timber-shingled shelter designed by Toyo Ito and Maki Onishi, and Papageno, the feathered birdcatcher from The Magic Flute. Through experimenting with shapes, the blanket slowly took on a dual narrative:

on one hand, it became a bird-like livery, with the shingled surface mimicking a coat of feathers to wear around the body. On the other, the same surface was a nod to buildings’ roofs and façades, the blanket becoming almost architectural in ambition. The project developed into ‘something between a dress and a home’. This dual identity was shaped, or at least sharpened, by domestic life during the Covid-19 crisis, ‘a time in which our homes were becoming both precious and public, as our existences migrated online and our interiors were increasingly shared with others’, says Bellotti. These new levels of seclusion and digital scrutiny created a different focus for the project, ‘the blanket as an intimate space, and as a threshold to the outside world’. While developing the narrative behind the object, the two have also been working

to perfect its technical side, studying weight distribution, durability and ease of use in its multiple functions. In the coming months, the designers will further develop the piece, working with material and manufacturing collaborators to bring their vision to life. ‘We are interested in working with seeds and materials of a horticultural nature – this will come through in our choice of pigments for colouring,’ say the pair, who frequently experiment with spices and other organic powders. ‘Environmental concerns are not an issue that we can choose to address or not – they form a cultural and tangible backdrop to everything we do,’ concludes Bellotti. ‘We find that the most impactful way to address this is to address the material culture of our projects, almost as a project in itself.’ studio-ossidiana.com


Architecture

Urban gardening kit

Photography: © Daniele Cavadini, Matteo Carassale

Milan studio Piuarch moves from green roofs to a multipurpose module for city dwellers, offering planting, workstation and wellness space in one

Milan has long been a city of secret gardens. In this dense, industrial, grande dame of a metropolis, composed of large apartment blocks and walled-off palazzos, one of the great joys of wandering aimlessly is accidentally discovering the planted clearings and courtyards that offer respite from its fabricated scenery. Still, many such green spots remained private and off-limits to most until recently, when more parks and community vegetable gardens slowly started to make an appearance. Milan Green Week in 2019 and local organisations such as Clever Cities and RoofMatters have been helping to foster sustainable practices in the city, including a culture of green roofs. Brera-based architecture studio Piuarch has been cultivating its own planted roof since 2015, titled Garden Among the Courtyards – enhancing liveability, wellbeing and social relations for both employees and the local neighbourhood. Directors Germán Fuenmayor, Gino Garbellini, Monica Tricario and

WRITER: ELLIE STATHAKI

Francesco Fresa believe that while the design community is aware and engaged in the dialogue about creating more green space in their city, there’s still much to do. ‘It is not only about urban planning but also about subverting social, cultural and educational policies within the city and people,’ says Fresa. Their Re-Made response? An urban gardener’s survival kit, conceived as a design object that bridges functionality and aesthetics, while providing a muchneeded horticultural solution for city dwellers with no access to green spaces. The aim is to develop ‘a modular totem of urban agriculture for individuals living in cities’, explains Fresa. ‘The module combines multiple functions, becoming a sort of multi-tool, a place to read, work, meditate, listen to music and work out.’ The practice is no stranger to exploring the environmental and social aspects of architecture. ‘For us, the very concept of sustainability has many different meanings, not only in terms of energy and preserving  »

Among Piuarch’s previous urban gardening initiatives is Garden Among the Courtyards, created in 2015 on the studio’s own rooftop in Milan. A modular system of pallets makes for a network of pathways and wider spaces, planted with vegetables, fruit, aromatic plants and flowers

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Architecture the environment, but regarding landscape and social elements, too,’ says Fresa. ‘That is why cities have kind of lost their sense of place in their attempt to be smarter than ever. They are losing contact with both the human and the natural dimensions.’ The team has been involved in a variety of projects around urban agriculture and sustainable food production. Examples include the vegetable garden on their own green roof, conceived as an ecosystem that fosters biodiversity, improves the food supply chain and guarantees quality products; Espaço, a 2018 installation in São Paulo, aimed at restoring neglected urban areas and empowering the local community, especially children, involving them in play-training and food gardening activities; and Synergy Gardens, a 2018 network of urban edible gardens on rooftops of Chicago Public Schools, in the so-called ‘food deserts’, low-income neighbourhoods with limited access to nutritious food. For Piuarch, this Re-Made project is part of a wider discourse about reimagining cities and envisioning a more sustainable future for all. ‘The kit aims at creating a domestic Eden to grow plants and bring nature back into people’s lives, as well as taking care of wellbeing, and fostering healthy and enriching activities in a small place. It’s a sort of cabinet for multiple uses,’ says Fresa. ‘While we all

agree on the benefits of open-air activities and consuming healthy organic food, we also know that not everyone living in big cities is able to do that on a daily basis. It can be an issue of time, space, money or the recent pandemic.’ While the project was developed before Covid-19 hit, the Milan-based team’s recent experience of lockdown has given the concept – a product to improve small-space living – new meaning and importance. ‘It can become a powerful tool,’ points out Fresa. The kit comes as a simple, totem-like piece of furniture, which unfolds into a little garden, complete with hydroponic system and solar panels, a table, seats, telephone charger pad, sound amplifier and yoga mat station. Inspiration came from multifunctional objects that transform to accommodate a range of uses, and even the efficiency of the old-school one-man band. The team are on the hunt for the right manufacturing partner, and they say that options such as recyclable biocomposite plastics or timber, or even renewable, intelligent packaging material, are appealing to explore. ‘Everyone should have a rooftop garden, everyone should be able to enjoy the benefit of urban agriculture,’ concludes Fresa. ‘It is challenging, pleasant and helps to raise awareness of food and ecological choices.’  piuarch.it

Piuarch has devised a blueprint for urban gardeners that embraces multiple functions. Solar power and a charging pad mingle with planting space in the fold-out module

SOLAR PANEL

SOUND AMPLIFIER

WIND INDICATOR

HYDROPONIC SYSTEM

TOOL STORAGE LIBRARY

LIGHT

TABLE AND OFFICE TOOLS

SEAT

WORKOUT TOOLS

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Image: © Piuarch

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Left, Nina Bruun’s sketches for the packaging design, and mycelium samples from Grown

Design

Below and far right, Bruun works with product designer Reeta Laine at her studio to determine the packaging requirements for Astep’s ‘Model 2065’ lamp by Gino Sarfatti Centre, from top, elements of the mycelium packaging and the ‘Model 2065’ light; once the lighting has been transported safely, the team envisage individual elements being repurposed as planters, for example, or used as a fertiliser; further examples of mycelium packaging for the ‘Model 2065’ and a new light by Francesco Faccin

Mycelium packaging Designer Nina Bruun shapes biotech firm Grown’s mushroom-based material for the safe carriage of Astep lighting PHOTOGRAPHY: MIKKEL VIGHOLT PETERSEN WRITER: ROSA BERTOLI

One of the key aims of Wallpaper* Re-Made is to re-think the way we consume, and packaging is a crucial link in this story. Last year, a chat with Alessandro Sarfatti led to a discussion about what he perceived to be an important problem. Coming from a family of lighting experts (he is the grandson of design legend Gino Sarfatti, of Arteluce, see W*218, and son of Luceplan founder Riccardo Sarfatti), and founder of a lighting brand himself, he is well aware of the amount of plastic needed to transport lighting pieces. Sarfatti, who used to be CEO of Luceplan, founded Astep in 2014, intent on creating lighting products with contemporary designs and innovative technologies to improve our domestic experience and quality of life. This included a sophisticated approach to sustainability, both with new products and, in partnership with Flos, reissues of his

grandfather’s work. ‘While giving Astep a sustainable focus, I had identified packaging as one of the main problems,’ says Sarfatti. He had already started changing things – using jute instead of plastic bags to protect some glass elements, for example – but to ensure safe delivery of fragile pieces, the bulk of the packaging is still made up of plastics, including polystyrene foam. The fungus-based material mycelium seemed to be an ideal alternative to fossilbased plastics, and a collaboration as part of Wallpaper* Re-Made offered the perfect opportunity to address a bad habit. So we connected Sarfatti with Dutch mycelium expert Jan Berbee, of biotechnology company Grown. Then Danish designer Nina Bruun joined to develop practical, plastic-free packaging for two pieces from Astep’s collection: ‘Model 2065’, a hanging light

with a glass lampshade (a 1950s Gino Sarfatti design and the company’s bestseller); and a new piece by Francesco Faccin, due to be launched later this year. But first, the science bit: mycelium (the roots of mushrooms) is fed agricultural waste, growing in a mould of the desired shape. Once the mould is filled (in four to five days), the form is baked to kill the roots, resulting in a sturdy, durable and solid volume. Berbee highlights its benefits: it has insulating and fire-retardant properties, is lightweight, shockproof, strong and abundant. What’s more, every kilogram of mycelium traps 1.7kg of CO2 during the growth stage. Manufacturing 1kg of polystyrene produces 3kg of CO2. So mycelium is the perfect candidate for the packaging of the future. Mycelium produced by Grown for packaging is already used by skincare brand


Renders: Nina Bruun Design Studio

Hæckels (see W*251). ‘Hæckels’ packaging proves that our product can be used in a reallife environment; it reduces CO2 and the use of plastic by embracing nature’s intelligence,’ says Berbee, who helped to guide Bruun in her design experiments with mycelium. ‘It’s always interesting to explore new materials that enable more sustainable design,’ says Bruun. ‘One of the best parts [of my job] is to get wiser by working with experts in the field.’ The designer started growing samples in her Copenhagen studio, testing it to understand its behaviour and potential. Rather than simply working with a finished material, she was figuring out the possibilities and limitations of the process. ‘We aimed to make packaging consist of as little material as possible, to ensure less waste,’ Bruun says. She and her team considered not only the protection and

transport of Astep’s product but the life of the packaging afterwards. The containers may be reused as plant pots, for example, or, once discarded, mycelium is a natural fertiliser. ‘It was important to us that our design enabled and encouraged this use. We wanted to make it as easy as possible to use the mycelium for [growing] plants, and we came up with concepts that supported that.’ The design of the packaging highlights the living nature of mycelium and its ability to take on organic forms. From Bruun’s designs, Grown is creating moulds for the mycelium. ‘Because the material is “alive” during the making of the packaging, there will be some unknown factors right up until we receive the prototype,’ says Bruun. ‘Nina approached the problem with a designer’s rationality, which I really liked,’ says Sarfatti. ‘She studied our product while

learning from Grown. Working on this project felt like proper design development.’ The packaging solution is looking to be a good fit for Astep’s upcoming lighting release by Faccin, Sarfatti adds. And while the slow growth of mycelium may make it impractical for use at a larger scale, if the final tests in the design lab go well, Sarfatti will start testing the new packaging in the field. ‘We’ve learned so much by working with mycelium: we’re thrilled to see how organic materials are starting to reach a point where they can be used for mass production,’ says Bruun. ‘Of course, there’s still room for improvement. But we sincerely hope that it will be more accepted, valued and used in the future. The more we work with materials like this, the easier the process of making and using them will be.’  ninabruun.com; astep.design; grown.bio

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E-waste watch Future clothing brand Vollebak’s electronic garbage watch offers a timely solution to a mounting problem Vollebak was launched in 2016 by high-adventuring twin brothers Nick and Steve Tidball (see W*205). Former TBWA creatives, and committed ultramarathoners, the Tidballs test, trial and develop clothing for extreme conditions, and credit the Special Forces, space exploration, neuroscience, conceptual art, philosophy and material technology as key influences on product development. A commitment to creating more sustainable gear has also been there from the start. During design and production, the pair found themselves consciously asking, ‘What’s the longest-lasting piece of clothing you could possibly create?’ and ‘What piece of clothing can disappear fastest when it’s buried in the earth?’ Now they are building their brand around those challenges. Their output is roughly split into two categories. There is the everyday (if your everyday involves exploring very hostile terrain) utilitarian gear, made using ceramics and carbon fibre. And then there is the more experimental, conceptual, future-focused offering, which includes the glow-in-the-dark Solar Charged Jacket, the Deep Sleep Cocoon, the justreleased Full Metal Jacket (three years in the making and made from 65 per cent recycled copper, it promises disease-resistant qualities), and the Plant and Algae T-Shirt (‘part T-shirt, part worm food’). ‘Clothing is essentially going to become physical enhancement,’ says Steve. ‘This is what unifies our two strands of clothing. One is physical enhancement today, and one is the building blocks for the future.’ We wanted to push the brothers even deeper into unexplored territories. We threw them the Re-Made brief and suggested a watch design as a suitable challenge. Nick noted, ‘There was a line in the brief about “reimagining the many and useful lives and afterlives of beautiful objects, tools and buildings”.

The ‘Garbage Watch’, above and opposite, would be composed from materials ‘urban mined’ from e-waste sites in places such as Guiyu in Guangdong, China, and Agbogbloshie in Ghana. Materials used include gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper and aluminium, extracted from circuit boards, computer chips, wiring and cables, while the design language references the inside-out construction of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, below left

And that drove me to think about all the unwanted stuff that exists in the world. Then I remembered this feature I’d seen about mountains of electronic waste.’ Only 20 per cent of electronics are recycled at the moment. And more than 50 million tonnes of e-waste is produced every year. The average smartphone contains 60 elements, including gold, silver, platinum and copper, and it’s estimated that a tonne of Apple iPhones would deliver 300 times more gold than a tonne of gold ore. But though valuable, it is also dangerous. E-waste represents only two per cent of solid waste in landfill, but accounts for 70 per cent of its hazardous material. The World Economic Forum has suggested that developing a safe, profitable method of ‘urban mining’ e-waste sites for metal extraction could be part of a much wider strategy for dealing with the problem. And the push for that could be in establishing new value chains for e-waste materials. The ‘Garbage Watch’ could be a way to make that happen. The watch’s design language – mechanical and collectible rather than digital and disposable – is what Nick calls ‘ultra-visible functionalism’, referencing the proudly out-there pipes and services of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The idea is to celebrate the potential of e-waste materials and forge a new kind of momentum around its reuse. ‘If you can create the tiniest new kind of demand, then perhaps you can create a ripple effect,’ says Nick. However, the pair understand the complexities that come with tackling something like e-waste. ‘It’s a really rich area, but it is also politically complicated,’ says Steve. ‘It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dive into it, but it does mean you have to dive into it carefully, knowing who the players are, and understanding that you don’t want to go in and actually make the situation worse for some of the world’s poorest people.’ Steve also has concerns that the e-waste story isn’t an obvious fit with Vollebak’s brand positioning. It’s a fair concern. Any sustainability initiative that doesn’t sit comfortably within a wider brand proposition is going to come off as cynical greenwashing. He is working on a storytelling strategy, though. ‘If the world ends up looking like the one in Wall-E, no one would be able to have adventures. I was talking to two friends, an astronaut and an explorer, about the idea of throwing stuff away. And they were like, “Where is away?” There is no “away”, it’s just somewhere else that you can’t see.’ The next stage of the project is finding the right partner to help pull the storytelling strands together, investigate the practicalities of securing precious metals from e-waste, and then actually make the watch. No small order but encouraging conversations are currently underway.  vollebak.com

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Model maker: Ben Millar. Photography: Franck Chazot/Explorer/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

PHOTOGRAPHY: SUN LEE WRITER: NICK COMPTON


Design


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‘Rota’ pendant lamp, Minimalux —— €492 ——

‘Gila Monster’ vase, L’Objet —— €385 ——

‘Potte Present’ vase, Michael Verheyden —— €247 ——

‘Tadao’ console table, Forma & Cemento —— €384 ——

‘Bavaresk’ chair, Dante Goods And Bads —— €840 ——

‘Cross’ side table, Case Furniture —— €510 ——

‘Carved’ vase, Tom Dixon

Swan statuette, Pulpo

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‘Neptune’s Cup’ vessel, House of Today ‘Triple Slinkie’ rug, CC-Tapis —— €9,142 ——

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‘City’ vase, Rosenthal —— €429 ——

‘Foresta’ tabletop stand, Alias —— €200 ——


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Fashion 1. The work of artist Giorgio de Chirico was pivotal in providing inspiration for the Re-Made uniforms. His 1973 fountain in the Triennale museum garden in Milan’s Parco Sempione features sculptures of bathers, a beach ball and a bathing hut, and its foundation is painted yellow with brown chevron stripes 2. A pair of glass dishes, designed in the 1940s by Carlo Scarpa for Venini, offered inspiration for the uniforms’ buttons 3. Design sketches for the brooches and pins

‘I’m interested in using scraps, mixing together lots of linear patterns’

4. Fabric swatches 5. Final sketch designs for the women’s uniforms made using an organic hard-wearing ticking stripe fabric overlaid with a chevron pattern

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Uniforms

Photography/sketches: courtesy ©Triennale Milano – Archivio Fotografico, Chanticleer Studio/Cupio Gallery, Roz Barr

Roz Barr and Ssone’s de Chirico-inspired workwear for Re-Made’s Milan showcase Architect Roz Barr has been thinking a lot about fashion recently. Last year, her firm redesigned Selfridges’ creative studios (see W*246), and it is currently updating the V&A’s Fashion Gallery. So she was a perfect fit to design the uniforms for those on duty at our Re-Made showcase in Milan next year, working in collaboration with sustainable fashion label Ssōne, whose creations also have a uniform-like feel. For inspiration, Barr looked first to the architecture of Milan’s Bagni Misteriosi, a public pool and cultural destination, named after a work by artist Giorgio de Chirico. And then to a 1973 fountain, also called Bagni Misteriosi, that de Chirico designed for Parco Sempione, currently installed

WRITER: LAURA HAWKINS

in the gardens of the Triennale museum. It features colourful sculptures of two bathers, a beach ball, a bathing hut and a fish, and its foundation is painted yellow with brown chevron stripes. Barr made a deep dive into de Chirico’s works, finding affinity with sketches and paintings of figures wearing tunics, which led to the idea of an apron design. With Ssōne’s creative director Caroline Smithson, Barr researched utilitarian outfits, looking at Irving Penn’s 1950s portraits of butchers, painters and cleaners, sporting striped aprons, boiler suits and dungarees. Smithson, who prioritises using deadstock fabrics and vintage materials, suggested using an organic hard-wearing ticking stripe fabric overlaid

with a chevron pattern, as a nod to de Chirico’s original fountain design. ‘I’m interested in using scraps, mixing together lots of linear patterns,’ she says. ‘We’re looking at creating the zigzag detail using hand painting or embroidery.’ The apron will be secured using a colourful toggle, designed in ceramic or glass, inspired by the water element of the Bagni Misteriosi. ‘Working on the V&A Fashion Gallery commission got me thinking about buttons and brooches,’ says Barr. ‘I liked the idea of something not quite kitsch, but definitely decorative. The Bagni Misteriosi fountain has a swan sculpture at its centre. The apron’s button would act as a similar kind of symbol.’ rozbarr.com; ssone.com

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TONKIN LIU’S IDEAS FOR USING RED MUD TILES OF VARIOUS GEOMETRIES AND ON VARIOUS SCALES TO REGENERATE WATERSIDE AREAS AND FOR GARDEN FEATURES 1. CONVEX CHIMNEY For wildflowers, shingle planting, and wildlife habitat

2. CONVEX WELL A cooling water feature or bird bath

3. CONCAVE CHIMNEY For shingle planting, embankment planting, and wildflowers Coast

River

Garden 4. CONCAVE WELL A seat, reflective pool, or rock pool

Red mud tiles A problematic waste product of aluminium turns planet-friendlier resource in the hands of designers ThusThat and architects Tonkin Liu WRITER: ELLIE STATHAKI

Imagine a world where manufacturing is so efficient that waste products become coveted material resources. UK-based design group ThusThat is exploring just this reality with its research into ‘red mud’ – a by-product of the aluminium production process. The studio’s Kevin Rouff and Luis Paco Böckelmann have been studying this curious and previously fairly neglected by-product of industry. ‘To make aluminium, alumina needs to be extracted from bauxite ore. The residue of this refining process is red mud, also known as bauxite residue,’ says Rouff. ‘Decades of research are now coalescing, perhaps due to the rise of material consciousness. The gargantuan amount of red mud in landfill is beginning to be seen as an abundant material resource.’ Red mud has been around since the late 19th century, when Carl Josef Bayer discovered the alumina-extraction process, and Bayer himself suggested ways of using this waste. But 130 years later, ‘only about three per cent of it is being put to use, and mostly as road filler’, says Böckelmann. There has been little economic incentive to find an afterlife for red mud; particularly as it is classified as a hazardous material.

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Accidents involving the material have given it a bad name, although advances have been made in its safe handling and treatment. Rouff and Böckelmann suggest reducing the risk around it is crucial and possible. Enter Tonkin Liu, the dynamic London architecture studio with a reputation for bringing together solid, rigorous research, a beautiful, ethereal aesthetic and clean, modern, yet often organically inspired shapes. Principals Anna Liu and Mike Tonkin have spent years developing approaches and techniques for efficient and effective architectural designs. Their ‘Shell Lace Structure’ method, a sort of reverse engineering of the biomechanics of mollusc shells, has been over ten years in development. Working with structural engineers from Arup, and using digital modelling, the pair worked out how to twist, fold, curve and perforate thin steel sheets to create light but incredibly strong and organic-looking spans, beams and pillars. When they heard of red mud’s potential, they jumped at the opportunity to experiment. ‘Given the limited resources in our world, all waste materials should be regarded as valuable materials, simply in the wrong shape

and state, waiting for our imagination to transform them,’ says Liu. ‘This seems to sum up the spirit of Wallpaper* Re-Made.’ The pair did their research. ‘There are two distinct characteristics [of red mud],’ continues Liu, ‘its vast quantity, and its journey in the global landscape, where it is mined, processed, stored, and was in the past discharged into rivers, estuaries or the sea. We decided to home in on its intriguing relationship with water.’ The sea, it turns out, can offer a safe route for handling and using red mud, as the water neutralises its alkalinity – it just needs to be done in the right way so as not to disturb aquatic life. Tonkin Liu used its understanding of geometry and structure to come up with a new application for the material. The result? A tile-like product with numerous uses: for the creation of garden water features; as a roofing material; and to build an environment for plants and wildlife as part of coastal bioremediation. The design is scalable and modular. Each tile is profiled and they can be joined together to hold water and habitat or let planting push through. The architects got together with ThusThat for a series of brainstorming


Architecture

Above, a Google Earth image reveals vast red mud pits alongside an aluminium plant in Australia, containing some of the 150 million tonnes of the waste material that is thought to be generated each year. Below, a series of red mud ceramic and glaze tests by ThusThat

Aerial photography: Google Earth

sessions, following their usual design methodology of exploration and experimentation. ThusThat’s expert knowledge of the material has been crucial in identifying challenges ahead. ‘We need to understand the economy of scale,’ says Tonkin. ‘At the moment, we are aspiring to collaborate with ThusThat to develop not just another commodity for consumers, but something that tells red mud’s compelling story in the landscape.’ Red mud can be sourced from various places, from factories to research facilities.

ThusThat has been working on two main paths of treating the material. First the team soak, wash and sieve it to remove unwanted matter. They then run tests to understand the product’s ability to sinter as a ceramic, the highest temperature it will withstand, and its workability. From there, it can be treated like ceramic – processed like a traditional clay, formed or cast, and finally fired in kilns. But it can also work a bit like cast concrete, or geopolymers, where the technique is reversed by first firing the material, then working it mechanically,

activating it, and casting it. For the Re-Made project, the collaborators are exploring both routes and are now seeking manufacturing partners to help bring the results to life. ‘We’d ideally like to develop something that could make use of large quantities of red mud, alleviating the environmental burden of storing it in vast vats in the landscape,’ says Liu. ‘Having worked on research projects in coastal towns in the UK, we are aware of issues of rising sea levels, and seaside towns in need of greening and regeneration.’ Coastal revitalisation is dear to the architects’ hearts, but there are other exciting possibilities. ‘Ultimately, red mud will likely be used in large-scale applications of the construction and architectural sector,’ says Böckelmann. ‘But a material’s narrative takes a long time to develop; cement has been in use since Ancient Rome, but it took nearly two millennia before it was modified to the ubiquitous form we know today.’ To develop red mud, he says, ‘we need to create the pull, and designers and architects are key to this. Projects such as this collaboration are important to demonstrate the possibilities in form, function and aesthetics.’  thusthat.com; tonkinliu.co.uk


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Design

Portion plate by Jean-Baptiste Fastrez and Chipsboard Fostering a healthy approach to portion sizes and nutritional intake, Jean-Baptiste Fastrez’s plate was created in collaboration with London-based brand Chipsboard, which has developed a non-petroleum-based bioplastic from the by-product of McCain’s chip production. By adding further by-products, such as walnut shell flour or reclaimed coffee grounds, specifications and appearance can be altered. Using Chipsboard’s ambercoloured curcumin composite, Fastrez’s plate features playful geometric engravings and partitions on the base to suggest appropriate portions for each food group, and these partitions are further defined by a series of ridges, a play on McCain’s crinkle cut chips. ‘It seemed important not to simply offer an eco-friendly object to consume more, but a new object that helps us consume less and better,’ says Fastrez. For such an everyday object, this plate has the potential to make a long-lasting impact on our environment, chipping away at our need to be kinder, healthier and smarter with our planet. jeanbaptistefastrez.com; chipsboard.com

Chipsboard’s bioplastic, made from potato waste, can be altered in appearance with the addition of by-products such as walnut shell, pine and curcumin (above), which was used to colour Jean-Baptiste Fastrez’s portion plate (left)

Compost bin Photography/renders: Studio Fastrez, Chipsboard, Black Cow, High Society

by High Society and Black Cow

Reversing the stereotype of food waste disposal as something smelly and dirty that has to be hidden, High Society has chosen to place the compost bin centre stage. With its irregular bulbous form, the Italian studio’s design wittingly imitates the ubiquitous black bin bag, but this bin will honour its decomposing contents as it is made from a translucent material that allows for shapes and forms to be discerned within. The colour will be achieved by adding activated charcoal to translucent cellulose acetate. High Society has a history of using by-products of

stimulant manufacture as a principle resource (including waste material from hemp, tobacco and wine), so it chose to source its activated charcoal from British vodka producer Black Cow. After 300 years of cheesemaking, Black Cow turned to whey (a by-product from its dairy farm) to produce vodka. By filtering the vodka through coconut-shell charcoal, it found a use for yet-another waste material. However, this will be the first time that Black Cow’s used charcoal is repurposed, proving again that waste should never be a wasted opportunity. high-society.it; blackcow.co.uk

High Society’s shapely compost bin (left) will be 3D-printed from translucent cellulose acetate coloured with activated charcoal waste (far left) from vodka producer Black Cow

WRITER: SOPHIA ACQUISTAPACE

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Wellness The final form of the hand sanitiser, designed by Dutch studio Odd Matter, is yet to be decided, but it will largely be constructed using material made by Dust London, who recycle teabag waste to create their homeware range, and then covered in Kinfill’s biodegradable cleaning extracts

If 2020 has forced us to re-think cleanliness, 2021 will see us develop new technologies for achieving it. Pre-empting the needs of our hygiene-conscious future, biodegradable cleaning company Kinfill has teamed up with design studios Dust London and Odd Matter to create a new sanitation tool for Wallpaper* Re-Made. The idea was born when Els Woldhek and Georgi Manassiev, the duo behind Odd Matter, noticed unsightly hand-sanitising stations peppering their native Rotterdam. These objects were clearly becoming totems of a new global fixation, but their clunky, largely plastic forms were not easy on the eye. Hoping to create a more aesthetically pleasing alternative, Odd Matter, Dust London and Kinfill set about designing a new tool for instant sanitation. The sculptural object’s delicately textured surface will be covered in a nano-coating of Kinfill’s biodegradable cleaning extracts, though its final form is yet to be decided as the teams experiment with the possibilities of a rollerball-type structure or a block. Either way, it will be largely constructed using Dust’s unique material, which is made from tea waste. Visitors are invited to run their hands along the sculpture’s surface to quickly and effectively clean them. The gesture of touching this object is practical, but it is also symbolic. It transforms the commonplace hand-sanitising station, an object suffused with anxiety and fear, into a pleasurably tactile experience that welcomes physical interaction.  kinfill.com; dustlondon.co; oddmatterstudio.com


Odd Matter, Dust London and Kinfill’s tactile totemic tool gives instant sanitation and gratification WRITER: MARY CLEARY

Hand sanitiser

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Design

Solar harness Stefan Diez’s exploration of contemporary ways to utilise the sun’s energy in an urban context is packed with suspense WRITER: ROSA BERTOLI

Taking inspiration from an image of clothes drying between buildings on an Italian street, opposite above, designer Stefan Diez drew sketches, above left, for a hose-like structure containing water, that could be suspended outdoors and be warmed by the sun. Diez and his team went on to test prototypes in the courtyard of his Munich studio, above right and opposite below

German designer Stefan Diez’s response to Re-Made’s themes was to look to the sky to explore a series of ‘proud solutions for contemporary use of the sun in an urban context’. The industrial designer is better known for his no-nonsense, sleek furniture for the likes of Thonet, Hay and E15, and for clever thinking when it comes to details and functionality. One of his most successful pieces is the ‘D1’ chair, designed for German manufacturer Wagner. Since its launch in 2017, it has become a staple in offices worldwide. With its tubular steel frame perched on an aluminium joint, and a tilting and pivoting backrest, the chair responds to its user’s movements and offers a new level of comfort. Diez has ventured in a new direction for Re-Made, led by his solar inspiration. The amount of solar energy that hits the Earth is 5,000 times the energy we consume daily: with this information in mind, Diez researched low-tech ways that this energy is commonly used worldwide, from solar cooking in the desert to sun-drying tomatoes. In particular, an image of clothes drying between buildings on a street in southern Italy resonated with the designer. ‘I liked that it best illustrates how people have naturally made use of the sun,’ he says. It inspired him to consider an intervention in architectural structures, to utilise the sun’s energy in a functional, practical manner. ‘I wanted to use a pneumatic principle to


create sun-collecting structures that expand when the sun is shining on them, or in case shade is needed. Under cloudy conditions, these structures would collapse to a fraction of their expanded size.’ At his Munich studio, he and his team started testing, prototyping directly from his courtyard. His first tests feature a black hose hanging on a rope suspended across the outdoor space, collecting the heat of the sun to warm up the water inside. The initial design is a simple, intuitive solution, which will expand after further experimenting and testing. The project’s next steps will include collaborating with a specialist manufacturer to bring the idea to life. ‘I’d like to explore the potential behind the idea while moving towards insect wing-like structures made from 3D-knitted fabric and latex rubber tubes, which are woven into the structure,’ says Diez. For this concept, he was particularly interested in the ways architectural façades are used as functional

surfaces to regulate light and temperature, and his project is intended to similarly fit within an urban context and exist between buildings. He is intrigued by the idea of disrupting architectural structures. ‘When we go through modern architecture, we often have the feeling that it’s so antiseptic: how do people fit in this picture?’ he asks. He continues, ‘Looking at the purpose of a designer in society, it’s about much more than creating nice objects. That’s how I saw the invitation to Re-Made; it offered an opportunity to come up with something less expected and more ambitious.’ The project developed from a simple idea, and the simplicity of its roots is almost nostalgic in its reference to traditional uses of light and heat. It originates from a practical language that is sometimes forgotten: concludes Diez, ‘to make life convenient has led to almost a vanishing of semantics that we all used to understand very well’.  diezoffice.com

Photography/sketches: Diez Office

‘I wanted to use a pneumatic principle to create sun-collecting structures that expand when the sun is shining on them’

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F

or Wallpaper* Re-Made, British artist and designer Faye Toogood has been working on a sculptural lamp that offers a calming form of light and colour therapy in the home. Tagged ‘Kaleidoscope’, the lamp has a timeless aesthetic, in keeping with Toogood’s long-standing goal of creating pieces that are used and valued for many years. Toogood has centred her practice on materials, so we connected her with Londonbased material innovator The Shellworks, which has extracted a biopolymer called chitosan from shellfish waste, in order to create a bioplastic. As the second most abundant biopolymer in the world, chitosan reflects the company’s aim ‘to tackle the plastic problem at scale’, says CEO and co-founder Insiya Jafferjee. Shellfish waste is not often upcycled, but it has enormous potential. ‘We can create both amorphous (flexible) and crystalline (rigid) forms, which is quite rare for bioplastics, which typically tend towards one form,’ Jafferjee says. It was The Shellworks’ transparent and heat-resistant sheet material that caught Toogood’s eye. ‘With its slight rigidity, it’s not unlike some of the fabrics and canvases we have used in the Toogood fashion collection,’ she says. ‘Our signature “Oilrigger” coat has sculptural details created with folds and seam lines that inspired [the lamp’s] direction.’ The design of the lamp also draws on the natural inconsistency in the bioplastic’s tonal colours, caused by trace minerals left behind from the extraction process. ‘It reminds us of 1960s fibreglass in beautiful golden nicotine colours,’ says Toogood, ‘but now eco-friendly.’ By layering sheets and shaping them into different conical and cylindrical forms, she hopes to create a kaleidoscopic effect. ‘We’re excited to play with the material to create soft volumes with ever-changing light patterns and shadows.’ Toogood has previously created lamp shades in rigid materials such as fibreglass, but she has also worked with materials that need support, like Japanese paper – so The Shellworks’ material, both flexible and self-supporting, presented itself as an intriguing new middle ground to explore. Some of the shapes and forms achieved so far fittingly imitate the way light is refracted underwater. Like an ever-changing kaleidoscope, The Shellworks’ material also morphs over time, due to frequent exposure to light, or reactions occurring between the sheets and the environments they inhabit. Says Jafferjee, ‘We hope to harness some of these changes and celebrate them; it’s quite a magical part of the material’s behaviour.’  fayetoogood.com; t-o-o-g-o-o-d.com; theshellworks.com

Photographed at Toogood’s studio, sketches of the lamp and experiments with The Shellworks’ bioplastic sheeting, which will form the shade

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Design

Calming lamp The natural tones of a bioplastic derived from shellfish waste inspire a kaleidoscopic lamp by Faye Toogood and The Shellworks WRITER: SOPHIA ACQUISTAPACE


Shelving system Biocement, courtesy of Sharjah sand and material innovator BioMason, is a building block for designer Asif Khan’s locally inspired display case WRITER: ELLIE STATHAKI

Can a fairly new material be used in the same way as the conventional ones we have been building with for centuries? Would it be a viable option to replace, say, concrete, with an environmentally responsible alternative and still get the same results in terms of architectural performance? And how can a structure be intrinsically linked to its locale? It is questions like these that London-based designer Asif Khan set off to explore with his Wallpaper* Re-Made project, ‘Coral Reef ’, created in partnership with American cement industry innovator BioMason. The North Carolina-based company, co-founded by CEO Ginger Krieg Dosier and her partner Michael Dosier, is revolutionary in its field. It ‘grows’ sustainable cement by employing microorganisms, just as coral reefs are formed in marine environments. ‘Aggregate is mixed with our microorganisms, pressed into shape and fed an aqueous solution until hardened to specification,’ explains Krieg Dosier. ‘BioMason’s process enables materials to be formed in ambient temperatures by replacing the curing process with the formation of biologically controlled structural cement.’ The company is also researching marine biocement with the ability to self-repair. The idea for ‘Coral Reef ’ was born of one of Khan’s ongoing projects in the UAE – the new Museum of Manuscripts in Sharjah. The structure is currently under construction (with a view to completion in 2021), and its surface is made out of many small stone elements, referencing traditional local coral-stone buildings and the geometry of Arish, the region’s palmleaf architecture. ‘When we started working with BioMason, I wondered if we could recreate an element of our building from its biocement, and I wanted that product to use Sharjah’s sand as its aggregate material – a resource that is plentiful,’ says Khan. ‘It’s an experiment, but the idea of making a structure from what we find on site is very simple and poetic.

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We decided to create a prototype section of external wall as our Re-Made project to test this possibility.’ Creating the structure with Sharjah sand is not as straightforward as it may seem, even with BioMason’s strong, existing ties with this part of the world. ‘We first used the sands and indigenous aggregates in Sharjah in 2009 when we created the technology,’ says Krieg Dosier. ‘We will seek to bring this technology full circle by using Sharjah aggregates to produce our BioLith tile product [the company’s main product for commercial and residential applications] as a building façade material.’ The collaborators agree that a lot of research and strength testing will be needed to ensure the end product’s workability. For Re-Made, the team is hoping to reimagine an element from the museum’s structure as a shelving unit built from ingots of biocement. It’s a response that felt appropriate, says Khan. ‘Fish use coral reefs as places to graze and explore; I think a shelving system can have a similar feeling for people.’ The piece may even become part of the museum, when it opens. But the point of this project goes beyond its practical applications. There’s a deep, conceptual and symbolic value to the experiment. ‘BioMason was founded by two architects who worked in the UAE from 2007 to 2014,’ explains Krieg Dosier. ‘The Re-Made project continues that narrative, expressing regionalism and reverence to other building materials used in the UAE. This project, design and collaboration are a proud and compassionate statement to working with materials found on site and our responsibility to place and environment.’ Khan also feels ‘Coral Reef ’ is an exciting challenge: ‘I like that this project gave me the opportunity of remaking something that was precious to us [the museum’s original design]. Perhaps we should all challenge our design assumptions more often.’  asif-khan.com; biomason.com


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1. A render of Asif Khan’s Museum of Manuscipts, currently under construction in Sharjah. It features a latticed stone façade – inspired by local Arish (palm-leaf) architecture and coral stone walls – which provided the starting point for his Re-Made collaboration with BioMason 2. A model for the museum’s lattice structure 3. Khan’s sketch references the use of Sharjah sand, which BioMason will combine with microorganisms to produce environmentally responsible tiles. In turn, these will be used to build a screen-like shelving unit for Wallpaper* Re-Made

Images: © Asif Khan

4. Khan’s vision for the shelving unit, taking its cues from the museum’s façade. It incorporates open areas for plants and objects, and built-in seating

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Knife sharpener Designers Jenkins & Uhnger and Victorinox propose a mobile repair service

Below, from Jenkins & Uhnger’s moodboard, visual research into arrotini, travelling Italian knife sharpeners Opposite, their plans for a mobile sharpening station, in collaboration with Victorinox, combine a custom bike frame with a grinding wheel, and nod to the versatility of the blade specialist’s Swiss Army knife

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How often do we just discard and buy new, rather than turning to repair? We kicked off this dialogue with Norway-based designers Jenkins & Uhnger, who noted that repair shops are often tired and rundown, when they ought to be one of the most vibrant, important places on the high street and a service people take pride in using. Sverre Uhnger, who trained as a cabinetmaker, and Thomas Jenkins, as an engineering product designer, came together in 2015 based on shared principles. ‘We are passionate about building things to last, but with the understanding that you also need to care for a product during its life,’ says Jenkins. While Wallpaper* Re-Made takes a glimpse into our future lives, it was imperative to look back to the past for inspiration. Jenkins & Uhnger researched repair services through history, and one example that resonated was the arrotino, the travelling knife sharpener. Such workers

roamed the Italian provinces for hundreds of years, ringing their bells to get the attention of citizens who might need knives or scissors sharpened. They serve as a reminder that repair was once seen as an artisanal craft, not just a functional service. Starting off on foot, the arrotino became ever more mobile with the advent of bicycles and then motor vehicles. But the tradition died out in the late 20th century. With this in mind, we set Jenkins & Uhnger the task of creating something that similarly incentivises people to bring new life to old objects, and transforms today’s notions of repair into something more desirable and rewarding. To work on this modern interpretation of the arrotino, we also called on Swiss knife expert Victorinox, which has been perfecting the art of blade-sharpening for 136 years. Currently the largest knife manufacturer in Europe, Victorinox produces more than 20 million household and professional knives each year from its headquarters in Ibach, in the Swiss canton of Schwyz. Each knife comes with a lifetime guarantee. ‘We offer a repair service for all our products rather than supporting a throwaway culture. As a familyowned company, we strive for sustainability in everything we do. Not for nothing do we consider our products for life,’ says Veronika Elsener, the fourth-generation co-owner and chief marketing officer of the company. Overseeing the technical elements of our arrotino project is Erwin Müller, chief production officer and member of the executive board, who started at Victorinox as an apprentice more than 45 years ago. ‘All Victorinox kitchen knives are given the perfect cut by hand. It’s an interplay of the fineness of the grinding wheel, the right temperature that is generated with the cooling, and the expertise of the knife grinder, who places the blade at the right angle on the grindstone,’ he explains. Having explored both static and mobile options, Jenkins & Uhnger decided on the latter, reasoning that direct-to-customer potential is important. ‘In our factory we have rather big, heavy grinding wheels and sharpeners. So I am curious to see how the designers will pull together a compact and transportable design,’ says Müller. The proposed design features a grinding wheel set on a custom bike frame that, when not in motion, is propped up on a stand so that the pedals rotate the wheel. ‘It’s one

Images: Jenkins & Uhnger

WRITER: SOPHIA ACQUISTAPACE


Design

‘It’s exciting to work with such a specific function in mind. It really appeals to our inner nerds!’ thing to solve the technical challenge, another to make this look desirable, too,’ says Jenkins. The project is now entering the development phase, with technical details being discussed, such as the diameter of the grinding wheel and the optimal rotation speed. One challenge is the positioning of the handlebars and the grinding wheel so they do not get in the way of each other. ‘It’s exciting to work with such a specific function in mind. It really appeals to our inner nerds!’ says Jenkins. Inspired by the versatility of Victorinox’s original Swiss Army knife, the designers are exploring additional features, including a dynamo, which pedalpowers an LED light, as well as a built-in tachometer that measures the rotation speed of the grinding wheel. The next step would be to bring a bicycle partner on board to make the custom frame.

‘It’s been interesting to figure out how to relaunch a service that is in decline, by working out how it needs to be adapted to modern lifestyles,’ says Uhnger. ‘We’d like to see the sharpener used numerous ways, catering to the public at markets, as well as servicing restaurant kitchens. We also think it can be an educational tool, increasing awareness around making objects that last.’ Of equal importance is the reintroduction of the human element to services that are now often automated and anonymised. ‘We are not making a product, but a service,’ says Jenkins. ‘We hope that this will remind people that any old knife can be sharpened, be it one you got for Christmas last year, or your grandfather’s classic penknife. As we see it, more services like this can evolve in the years to come.’  jenkinsuhnger.com; victorinox.com


Textiles and dyes SaltyCo’s freshwater-free fabrics and Kaiku’s alternative plant-based pigments combine in a colourful show of sustainability

As one of the heaviest strains on the Earth’s natural resources, the textile manufacturing industry is ripe for a revolution. Leading the charge are two companies that have sprung from prestigious London universities. Kaiku, a material innovation studio established by Imperial College graduate Nicole Stjernswärd, provides a viable alternative to synthetic dyes through the extraction of pigments from agricultural food waste. SaltyCo is a start-up formed by Finlay Duncan, Julian Ellis-Brown, Antonia Jara-Contreras and Neloufar Taheri – postgraduate students in innovation design engineering from Imperial and the Royal College of Art – that is the first company to produce textiles without using freshwater. Cotton growing and processing is a thirsty business; producing a single cotton sock sucks up the equivalent of three years’ drinking water for a single person, claims SaltyCo. ‘We are passionate about tackling water scarcity,’ says Taheri. ‘In order to remove freshwater from textile production, we turned to seawater, which represents 97 per cent of the water on the planet. Working alongside nature, we grow salt-tolerant plants to produce natural saltwater textiles.’ Similarly, Kaiku’s disruption of the synthetic dye and pigment sector came from questioning why these chemicals remain ubiquitous, despite having adverse environmental and social effects. ‘In fashion, there are huge concerns about chemical use, but alternatives are limited in scope,’ says Stjernswärd, who researched how the Old Masters created pigments and observed how paint was used in contemporary art and design studios, before coming across a textile designer who used food scraps as dye. ‘I realised that although the textile and paint industries have been working independently in recent history, they both use plants to generate vibrant colorants.’ Kaiku uses waste components of agricultural products: shells, skins and seeds from mid- to largescale food producers and farmers, to extract the colours it needs. ‘The process involves different types of machines and boiling plant waste to extract its colour compounds,’ Stjernswärd says. ‘We then convert these compounds into shelf-stable powders that can be used for paints, dyes and potentially cosmetics. The remaining biomass can be used for biofuels. ‘Because we don’t rely on traditional dye plants, it’s a new frontier in discovering what works. I recently extracted a bright pink colour from aloe vera, which few could have predicted,’ she says. ‘Almost all plants

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Some of the natural materials, pigments and dye swatches from Kaiku’s experiments 1. Red cabbage-dyed SaltyCo fibres beside a dish of egg shell 2. Red cabbage dye, used to colour the adjacent silk square 3. Birch pigment and, in the dish below, birch bark 4. Onion-dyed silk 5. A dish of avocado pigment between two squares of avocado-dyed silk 6. Non-woven, undyed SaltyCo fabric, bottom, and fibres, in the dish above 7. Pine pigment and pine needles

can be used to dye things, but whether that turns out as an attractive, vibrant and lightfast dye is variable. There is a reason we cultivated plants such as indigo and woad over the centuries – they contain a large amount of the compounds needed for colour. Yet those compounds do exist in other everyday plants, albeit in smaller quantities. This is how we can get similar pinks from avocado as you would normally get from madder root, another traditional dye plant. They are different species, but the building blocks are present in both.’ SaltyCo is equally committed to re-examining overlooked resources. Its three-step process starts with saline agriculture, a nascent farming method that irrigates salt-tolerant plants with seawater. Not only does the robust nature of these plants eliminate the need for pesticides, the areas where they grow can also sequester CO2 up to 50 times more efficiently than a similar area in the rainforest. The fibres of these plants are harvested and extracted using proprietary methods specifically optimised for these varieties. They are then made into textiles using methods that meet industry standards to ensure seamless integration. While each start-up is re-thinking deeply rooted textile manufacturing processes in its respective field, SaltyCo and Kaiku are now jointly exploring how to put this into practical use for Wallpaper* Re-Made. They have been experimenting with applying Kaiku’s dyes to SaltyCo’s non-woven fibres, a 100 per cent plant-based, biodegradable material akin to wool felt. ‘The collaboration represents how we can reinvent the way we interact with nature,’ says Ellis-Brown. ‘Both companies look to utilise the disregarded and devalued natural world to build symbiotic connections with our environment. SaltyCo uses abundant seawater, undervalued land and hardy shrubs just as Kaiku looks to food waste-streams, invasive plant species and wild flowers. This enables us to align our visions of a more sustainable, more natural world.’ Stjernswärd adds, ‘We share the goal of challenging the current norm of extractive exploitation of nature. We both want to promote regenerative agriculture in our supply chain, and challenge traditional monoculture crops by using novel species. Now that we’ve proved we can use our materials together, we’re excited to apply this to the real world, such as with a furniture piece or fashion garment. I already see this material shift happening in the design community; we now need industry investment to achieve it at scale.’  saltyco.uk; kaiku.bio

WRITER: PEI-RU KEH PHOTOGRAPHY: NICOLE STJERNSWÄRD/KAIKU


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ReWe’ve gathered some of the most astute creative minds, a broad stretch but experts in their fields. All are convinced that positive change takes risk, research, experiment, trial, more than occasional error and a good measure of righteous indignation 082

Formafantasma Can we make fuller use of ephemeral things?

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Afterparti Who holds the power to shape our cities?

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Paul Dillinger Is fashion fixable?

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Map Project Office Can you create a perfect circle?

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Fernando Laposse What’s the problem with crushed avocado?

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Christien Meindertsma Can lino live forever?

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Nate Petre Is micro-making the future?

For more to re-think about, see our Re-Made reading list on page 114

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Can we make fuller use of ephemeral things? Formafantasma The Amsterdam-based studio has set a new course exploring the environmental impact of temporary installation and exhibition design

In just over a decade, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, of Amsterdam-based studio Formafantasma, have developed a powerful design language based on social, political and ethical themes, combined with diverse historical references and topped off with a sublime multidisciplinary aesthetic. Every project from the Italian pair has made us reconsider how we consume, produce, design and relate to objects and manufacturing. It’s a career trajectory that makes them a natural candidate for Re-Made. This year, the studio’s interest shifted towards exhibition design and temporary installations, a new direction that they first explored with a set creation for the Rijksmuseum’s exhibition ‘CaravaggioBernini. Baroque in Rome’, and later through their own solo show, ‘Cambio’, at London’s Serpentine Galleries. They have also been commissioned to work on the design of exhibitions coming up next year at Rome’s Palazzo delle Esposizioni, exploring the relationship between science and art, and at Utrecht’s Centraal Museum, focusing on the idea of the garden. So it felt appropriate to enlist the studio to also create the set in which Wallpaper* Re-Made will be presented next year in Milan. Though it’s still rather early to make concrete plans for the design of the space, we have

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spent the past few months in discussion with Trimarchi and Farresin, conversations that have allowed us to delve deep into the pair’s wider design approach. The duo graduated in 2009 from Design Academy Eindhoven (where they now also teach), presenting a project that looked at the influence of migration on Sicilian ceramics. They were spotted by London gallerist Libby Sellers, who later presented the concept in her gallery and worked with the designers on further projects over the years. ‘Andrea and Simone’s acute sensitivity towards design’s political and ecological responsibilities has been central to their work,’ says Sellers. ‘Like many great critical design thinkers, their investigative gaze has more recently turned inwards on the design industry itself in the hope that their forensic findings will be systemically applied to all areas of the practice – from research and development through to production and distribution. That they have managed to balance such value-laden advocacy with extreme elegance, and occasional wit, is truly admirable.’ Since their debut, they have worked on gallery pieces, objects and installations, collaborating with the likes of Fendi, Flos, Dzek (see W*242) and Alcantara, among many others. There is a fine balance between commercial commissions and

their self-initiated, ethics-driven projects, and the designers are increasingly trying to close the gap between the two. They first considered the environmental impact of temporary installations during a collaboration with Italian fashion brand Sportmax. The studio designed the backdrops for the brand’s S/S16 and A/W16 shows, creating sets inspired by deconstructed architecture and Giotto’s medieval paintings, and using materials such as terracotta pipes, coloured PVC film and foam towers. ‘When you work on an installation that lasts 20 minutes, you need to think of alternative solutions,’ says Farresin. He adds that their approach was to use as little material as possible, but also to devise alternative solutions so as to create less waste. For each temporary installation, the duo develops a long-term view of the project’s timeframe, asking themselves where the materials come from, how the design can involve the local community, and what will happen to the material once the project is dismantled. Location has also been a focus for the designers, who approach it both from a historical and a practical point of view – for example, looking at what can be recycled from within the archives. ‘The use of space to exhibit has always been a crucial element of our work,’ says Trimarchi. »

All collages: courtesy of Formafantasma

Writer Rosa Bertoli


Re-Think

Formafantasma’s set creation for the Rijksmuseum’s 2020 exhibition ‘Caravaggio-Bernini. Baroque in Rome’ drew on a contemporary, modular visual language, using Kvadrat fabric, plinths and display supports, leaving ample space for the Baroque artworks to shine, as well as allowing for the possibility of repurposing set parts


In 2012, Fendi invited Formafantasma to develop Craftica, a new body of work exploring leathercraft. The studio combined Fendi leather with fish and animal leathers from food industry waste, as well as vegetable leathers from tree bark and cork. The designs of each final piece bore a distinct trace of the animal, fish or tree it once was

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The work of architect Pier Luigi Nervi got the Formafantasma treatment at Rome’s MAXXI Museum in 2019, a collaboration with synthetic material company Alcantara. The designers created a series of structures built from work-site scaffolding, choosing to present his work in an unfinished state, thus inviting viewers’ interpretation


Re-Think Formafantasma’s preparatory collage of the set design for Sportmax’s A/W catwalk show for Milan fashion week in 2016, which was based on architectural elements in medieval paintings by Italian artist Giotto. The set was dominated by four foam towers, each of which was borrowed from a supplier and returned at the end of the show

A sketch of the set for Sportmax’s S/S16 catwalk show at Milan’s Palazzo delle Poste, the first collaboration between Formafantasma and the fashion brand. Taking cues from deconstructed architecture and the work of Russian Cubo-Futurist artist Aleksandra Ekster, the studio interspersed the set with terracotta pipes and coloured PVC strips


Re-Think uk £10.00 us $16.99 aus $16.99 cdn $17.99 dkk 129.95 fr €14.0 de €14.90 ita €14.50 jpn ¥2000 sgp $28.50 es €14.00 chf 18.90 aed 85.00

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*Architecture � Design � Art � Travel � Entertaining � Beauty & Grooming � Transport � Technology � Fashion � Watches & Jewellery

‘That Formafantasma have managed to balance such value-laden advocacy with extreme elegance, and wit, is admirable’

Their work for the Rijksmuseum is a fitting demonstration of the pair’s evolving approach. Trimarchi and Farresin created a contemporary, modular visual language with fabric from Danish brand Kvadrat, which they used to define plinths and other display supports. The modules were created ‘to emphasise the sculptural qualities of the works of Bernini and the idiosyncratic lights on Caravaggio’s paintings’, with a display created to highlight the two Baroque artists’ visual innovations. ‘Formafantasma chose an elegant, understated style that left ample space for the Baroque language of the artworks to fully manifest itself,’ says Frits Scholten, the museum’s senior curator of sculpture. The Kvadrat material was cut while keeping its height intact, so that it would be easy to use later in other projects: Trimarchi and Farresin are exploring possible options, but they mention this second life as something they now try to consider from the start of a temporary installation. The pair draw from their vast research into display designs, looking at long-lasting display solutions by the likes of Carlo Scarpa, Achille Castiglioni and Franco Albini. Among their inspirations is a radical 1968 design by architect Lina Bo Bardi for the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), featuring glass easels supported by concrete bases. ‘We are keen on displays that are very

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strong from a material point of view, so that they last,’ says Farresin. ‘Bo Bardi’s set was so sophisticated that it lasted well beyond its intended exhibition.’ Although the easels were discontinued in the mid-1990s, they were recently reintroduced by MASP’s artistic director Adriano Pedrosa as display elements and feel as contemporary as they had been half a century ago. (The displays were also an inspiration for British artist Isaac Julien, who recreated them for his exploration of Bo Bardi’s work, A Marvellous Entanglement, see W*243). Creating display supports that last was the studio’s focus for ‘Cambio’: Trimarchi and Farresin designed the backdrop to their research and thought process as a series of furniture pieces. Tables, stools, bookshelves and desks were made from the wood of a single pine tree sourced from Italy’s Val di Fiemme, an area badly hit by a storm in 2018 and one of the focal points of their analysis. It reflects their belief that design should not be motivated by aesthetics alone. ‘Design plays an important role in relation to the production, extraction and processing of materials,’ explains Farresin. ‘So whenever we can, we try to investigate this complex tension between the exploitation of the environment and design.’ The wood’s texture was enriched using a varnish normally employed in the manufacturing of

August 2020

Limited edition cover by Formafantasma

Above, Formafantasma’s limited-edition cover offers a microscopic view of paper fibres from eucalyptus, a fast-growing plant often using for paper production, and includes an estimate of the quantity of CO2 each magazine contains. Keeping the magazine for longer or for reuse will postpone the release of CO2 into the atmosphere when it is eventually incinerated. Limited-edition covers are available to subscribers, see Wallpaper.com

musical instruments, and the pieces will be available to purchase via Rome gallery Giustini Stagetti, ready for a second life. ‘The invitation from Serpentine Galleries to Formafantasma has been an opportunity for us to follow even more closely their interdisciplinary approach to design,’ says Giustini Stagetti director Michela Tornielli di Crestvolant. ‘What makes the theoretical aspect of their research so rich is the overlap and the cross-pollination between different areas of study that are usually distant from the design world. Through their exhibition design, Formafantasma demonstrate that they can allow contents to model their space, giving shape to theory both through a particular point of view and the use of a method: design follows material.’ The designers are now also experimenting with more temporary and immaterial solutions – for example, light, colour, smell, sound and atmospheric conditions – as different ways to define the space. Although each of their projects has resulted in a very clear formal language, they are still surprised by the physical forms of their work. ‘The result is always different than what we imagine,’ says Trimarchi. ‘And this happens because we don’t work formally, but through a process-based approach: processes are the guiding forces of our work.’ formafantasma.com


Photography: ©Hans Hemmert/VG Bild-Kunst/DACS, ©Katharina Grosse/VG Bild-Kunst, Jean Prouvé, courtesy of Galerie Patrick Seguin/Vitra, ©Ettore Sottsass/ADAGP/DACS, ©Tetsuo Kondo Architects

Formafantasma’s influences and inspirations include, clockwise from top right, Hans Hemmert’s sculpture Emergency; Katharina Grosse’s installation Mumbling Mud; Jean Prouvé’s ‘Demountable’ chair; Plastique Fantastique’s Blurry Venice installation; Ettore Sottsass’ Metafore series; and Cloudscapes by Transsolar and Tetsuo Kondo Architects


Re-Think

 Who holds the power to shape our cities? Afterparti Cities are unequal, and power struggles often play out in the arena of the built environment, say the London-based collective of young architecture writers. We asked them to take over the following pages to reflect on how we can make contemporary urban spaces more inclusive

From Failure to Power Afterparti is a collective of nine Londonbased writers founded in March 2019 to champion radical, underrepresented voices within the culture and criticism of architecture. We explore big ideas about contemporary urban space through the lenses of identity and race. Afterparti curates live events on themes like failure and power. These events are then followed by a zine, also called Afterparti, which acts as a platform to further develop the conversation and also as a space to document our thoughts and experiences. The on-stage discussions at our events become catalysts for the content of the zine and point us towards potential contributors whom we invite to expand upon them in a personal, playful or even provocative manner. Our zine is only available in print, as, since we are all swimming in PDFs, we think it’s important to switch off from the screen and have something that you can hold. Something that takes up physical space on your shelf. We hope that through our live events and our zine launch parties, we can build a closer relationship with our audience.

We love that much of our audience is just like us: diverse, passionate and energetic. But our zines and events are for everyone. We aspire for them to be as relevant to architects and designers as they are to wider society, because we all have a stake in the built environment. We have a desire to take the discussion outside of aesthetics. Architecture is political, architecture is social, architecture affects lives. So we deal with these issues in the zine. Architectural criticism may appear niche but in reality, it isn’t. Everyone has an opinion on the spaces and structures around them; it is the language and the platforms in which criticism appears that are niche and selective. That is what we are challenging by widening the conversation to include others. Taking the conversation outside of closed circles and exploring issues that resonate with a wider audience opens up urgent topics and valuable perspectives that aren’t typically heard. Whenever we write, we aim to take control of our narrative, to become agents of change. The relationship between architecture and media doesn’t flow in a single trajectory, it isn’t simply a relationship of one influencing the other; it is a

relationship of mutual exchange. Just as architecture influences and is reflected in media, it is influenced by it in turn. As writers, producers, architects, educators and designers, we recognise this. We are here to challenge the normative discourse around the built environment. We aim to unearth buried and neglected stories within the urban fabric that we believe have been purposely marginalised and excluded from the architectural discourse. In doing so, we hope to give power and voice to those in an unequal city, like London, who feel ignored and unheard. We feel that we have a responsibility as writers, as there is no doubt about the impact of discourse on architectural practice. Therefore, when we write, we do so with the intention of not only transforming the way people interact with or see the city, but also the practice of designing the city itself. We’re more interested in cities than buildings, and in their inhabitants than designers. When talking about architecture, we always want to take the discussion beyond beauty. And we want to invite as many people as possible to engage in that conversation with us.  »

Photography: Fiona Cuypers-Stanienda

Writers Afterparti


From left to right, Afterparti members Nile Bridgeman, Thomas Aquilina, Marwa El Mubark, Shukri Sultan, Tara Okeke, Aoi Phillips, Siufan Adey, Josh Fenton and Samson Famusan, photographed in front of London’s Barbican Centre in February

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Re-Think

‘A lot of times we talk about wanting to control the terms by which we’re participating and engaging in the city. That’s one of the real challenges for vulnerable movements, to find the language to articulate the power which we actually do have, as opposed to just using random acts or just violence’

Positive Disruption Afterparti was formed out of the first cohort of New Architecture Writers (NAW), a programme for black and minority ethnic emerging writers designed to disrupt the monoculture of architectural discourse. Architecture and architectural media can be perceived as inaccessible fields. The city and its narrative have long been represented by a range of voices that do not reflect the spectrum of its day-to-day users, much less its inhabitants. This is the context in which NAW was conceived in 2017: an open call heralding a younger, socially conscious range of voices. More importantly, a range of voices that represents the city today. Part of NAW’s success has been its selection of writing as a tool for critiquing the built environment. While it may not seem like the most relevant mode of expression in a visually dominant profession, it is important to recognise that the vast majority of architectural criticism exists in written form through a plethora of architecture magazines and journals. The critic plays an important role in contextualising what is being proposed for our city, and writing is a crucial tool for deconstructing and articulating this. It is also an accessible tool, able to reach a wider

audience who may not be familiar with the language of plans, sections and elevations. With this in mind, the open call fulfilled its ambition. Nine writers were shortlisted. The programme unfolded over the course of a year, covering a mix of writing and editing workshops, building tours, and even an introduction to publishing. Industry connections – often the preserve of the privileged – were recognised as integral, and consistently made available through regular mentoring on assignments. This facilitated an environment where discussions on identity and spatial inequality could transpire, culminating in our inaugural event ‘The Time for Failure is Now’, followed by our inaugural zine, Issue #00. The live event is key to our belief that architectural criticism is a conversation, not a monologue. Our events recognise the need to provide a platform for underrepresented voices. We see this as an important part of tackling monoculture. By definition, culture is an intersection of co-existing identities that together form a narrative. By providing a platform for these identities, we can begin to shape relationships and dismantle barriers to create an inclusive environment. The first step is opening up dialogue and providing an alternative perspective.

Photography: Afterparti

—   Julia King, designer and researcher


‘The voice is powerful. But it’s either here and never remembered outside of this venue, or if it’s recorded as a podcast, it’s only in the front of people’s minds for the first couple of seconds of the day, then it disappears. So physical print is important, because it allows that to stay at the forefront of people’s minds at all times’ —   André Anderson, designer and educator

Published last March, Afterparti’s prototype zine, Issue #00, championed the idea that makers of urban spaces need to ‘fail better’

Zine Making in a Digital Age In an age when the digital is valued over the analogue, and the transitory over the permanent, print becomes even more pertinent. And within a discourse littered with safe opinions, self-publishing becomes almost crucial for the preservation of one’s own voice. To write and publish our own content gives us the power to tackle uncomfortable truths; to open up conversations about important but insufficiently discussed topics; and to reach out to a mix of underrepresented voices, exciting upstarts and established figures alike. Our prototype zine, Issue #00, became an experiment in style, voice and collaboration, catalysed by our live debate in June 2018, ‘The Time for Failure is Now’. It was published in March 2019, two years after the Grenfell tragedy and a year after the Windrush scandal, which we felt to be a fitting time to discuss failure. For us, failure

had become the overwhelming sentiment that simmered under the surface of architectural discourse. From the housing crisis to the punitive regeneration projects carried out by the council of the London borough of Southwark, failure is what came to define the moment. It was also that said failure that we as a society feared the most. We addressed this feeling of failure in a number of ways. Each contribution in the zine responded to a quote from the previous event, building upon them, challenging them or subverting them. We explored the theme through essays, interviews and archival images, as well as more experimental formats, such as a playlist called ‘Sound Advice’, by Joseph Henry of the Greater London Authority and Pooja Agrawal, co-founder of social enterprise Public Practice. This has since grown into a platform exploring spatial inequality through mixing social commentary and music.  »

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‘Our identity provides us with that sense of agency or maybe even urgency in creating a different world. How do these perspectives connect to people who might identify in different ways, or connect to people who might be racialised, or categorised in different ways? How do we see the ways in which our ideas, our histories, our experiences, and our struggles are very much connected to those different identities?’ —   Adam Elliott-Cooper, sociologist

panel consisting of Julia King, a designer and researcher at the London School of Economics, Adam Elliott-Cooper, board member of anti-racist organisation The Monitoring Group, and André Anderson, headmaster of Freedom & Balance, a creative school ‘for the artist in everyone’. Over the course of two hours we spoke about feelings of despondency in the face of power, the lasting impacts of an education system that paints false narratives, the power in taking ownership of your narrative, spatial and environmental injustices, the lack of choice or visibility for marginalised communities, the portrayal of the working classes, police brutality, reclaiming power, black love, and the active role of citizens and cities in each of these. It has taken the murder of George Floyd to bring these conversations to the fore, but we’ve always been having them. So were our parents and grandparents. Now, more than at any other time, we are fighting to be seen and to be heard. We are fighting for an equal stake in our cities and societies. We are not powerless; we each have a part to play in the city. ∂ afterparti.co.uk, @afterpartizine

Above, Afterparti’s event at London’s Barbican Centre this March featured panellists (from left) Adam Elliott-Cooper, Julia King and André Anderson, responding to the question ‘Who and what holds the power to shape our buildings and cities?’ Opposite, Afterparti commissioned Nigerian illustrator Ojima Abalaka to create this artwork to bring together three quotes from the event

Photography: Brydn Webb Photography. Artwork: Ojima Abalaka

For the Love of Power Identity and personal perspectives are central to our work and to framing our conversations about cities. Our platforms become places we share with others to speak candidly about the built environment in a holistic manner, transcending a discourse more typically dominated by aesthetics alone. Cities are unequal, and power struggles more often than not play out in – and are intrinsically connected to – the arena of the built environment. At our most recent event, as part of the Architecture Foundation’s ‘Architecture on Stage’ programme, we invited a panel that didn’t consist of a single architect, in the hope that this would engender a fuller discussion around cities. At the beginning of 2020 – before the lockdown triggered by Covid-19 and before the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests – we took to a sold-out stage at London’s Barbican Centre. We posed the question: ‘Who and what holds the power to shape our buildings and cities?’ It became an evening of poems, recitations, debate, discussion and calls to action, accompanied by a distinguished


My call to action might be: begin to decolonise our curriculums, think about the language that we use, and don’t accept bullshit forms of bullshit participation. —   Julia King

These movements aren’t simply about a mother grieving for their child who has been lost. They’re not simply about any other family member, arguing that they want to know the truth about what happened to their loved one. They’re arguing against a system of injustice, a system of violence, which disproportionately affects low-income and black and other communities of colour within this country. They’re arguing against the system of injustice and violence, which is fundamentally the antithesis of the kind of love that they want to see throughout the world. —   Adam Elliott-Cooper

I feel that power is more felt than seen. —   André Anderson


Re-Think

Is fashion fixable? Paul Dillinger Levi’s VP of global product innovation is out to correct an industry behaving badly Writer Nick Compton

Paul Dillinger is so fast-talking, fiercely smart and in command of his subject that it’s hard to keep up. Shocking stats and damning evidence fly by. You can just about hold on to his key arguments though. Here’s one. ‘The demand for recycled polyester has exceeded the supply of recycled bottles, and brand new bottles are being melted down to make polyester fibres,’ he says. ‘The sustainability industry, when it gets going, with fashion marketing behind it and a willingness to never let the truth get in the way of a good story, will come up with some of the worst ideas imaginable.’ His point is that demand for the more sustainable materials and processes is being manipulated, and generating entirely novel bad outcomes. It’s not just greenwashing, it’s a new supply chain of false promises. And, Dillinger suggests, sustainability messaging in the fashion industry now has its own seasonal drive. Brands, big and small, feel the pressure to come up with one fresh planet-friendly pitch after another to push sales, circularity being the new recycling and marine plastic the new landfill. And this seasonal demand for fresh temptations for conscious consumers means that genuine but slow-growing innovation – new, more sustainable technologies, treatments,

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materials and fibres – can wither and die. ‘You have to have new ethics every season, reinvent your narrative around responsible production every season. And that innovation – that little fibre that could – only got a year to actually prove it was viable because a year on, it’s old sustainability news and the sustainability marketing strategy needs a new sustainability. But the expectation that anything can come out of the gate and achieve consumer experience parity, consumer price point parity and industrial viability parity in the first year is far too high a bar.’ It’s part of Dillinger’s job to trace useful innovations in the fashion industry, to see if they can make it onto the big stage and potentially pass the scalability test. And watching them falter for the wrong reasons hurts. Dillinger is vice president of global production innovation at Levi’s. He has a BFA in fashion design from Washington University in St Louis, and received the first ever Fulbright scholarship for fashion in 1994, studying at the Domus Academy in Milan under Philippe Starck and Andrea Branzi, among others. He then moved back to New York and, over the next 16 years, did design stints at Calvin Klein and DKNY. More than a little disillusioned, he returned

to Washington University as a visiting assistant professor at its school of design and visual arts, but soon after took up a position at the Levi’s-owned casualwear brand Dockers. Dillinger was committed to developing more sustainable manufacturing strategies and better treatment of workers in the apparel industry, and at Dockers he set up the Wellthread programme, producing small collections to explore sustainability solutions. In 2014, he moved to the mother brand (one of the biggest apparel manufacturers in the world, with 2019 revenues at $5.8bn, and hundreds of factories in more than 30 countries), taking the Wellthread programme with him. He now heads the firm’s Eureka Innovation Lab, based in San Francisco and committed to developing product that does better in terms of environmental and social impact at every point along the supply chain. Dillinger calls it a ‘proof of concept lab’, testing the viability of new ideas on a small scale, before they get bigger or prove to be wrong turns, in which case they can be refined or nixed with little harm done. Considering his position, Dillinger does not pull punches. He is a rare thing, a strident advocate working to change things from the inside, a senior figure within a fashion industry giant willing to air its dirty laundry in public while pushing to introduce real change on the ground. And the lacerating swipes at his own employer, and the openness about the battles he has within that company, make the message all the more powerful. But he is also quick to praise Levi’s openness to his agitation. ‘There is more willingness to sit and learn here than any place I’ve ever worked, and a real diligence around the claims we make and the things we choose to talk about.’ Cotton is what Dillinger talks most about. He knows a lot of bad things about cotton and cotton production, and particularly the staggering amounts of fresh water involved. According to Levi’s own lifecycle assessment, the production of a single pair of jeans requires 3,781 litres of water. And Dillinger says that’s maybe a significant underestimate. (Levi’s is not alone in its cotton dependency, of course. Cotton is currently estimated to be the most widely used material in the apparel industry, and accounts for about a third of global textile production.) Water waste is the issue that really drives him. Or perhaps the issue he can most easily leverage to get his wider points across. It’s what he calls a ‘carrier conversation’ for all manner of environmental damage and social impact the industry has to square up to.  »


Photography: Alexander Donka/Renewcell

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Re-Think ‘For me, it is a key driver, because it’s the most easily personalised, and the most easily measured and visualised.’ And being better with water almost inevitably means being better with other things. ‘I’ve found more often than not, if you do good in one area, there are all sorts of positive impacts in other places. These issues are so closely related.’ Levi’s actually launched its Water<Less programme back in 2011, and by next year 80 per cent of its jeans will be part of the Water<Less programme. The initial focus has been to reduce the amount of water used in finishing jeans, which has, it says, saved 3.5bn litres of water so far. Laudable enough, but finishing only accounts for one per cent of the water impact of producing a pair of jeans, while 60 to 80 per cent is in the growing. For Dillinger then, the ultimate solution is not transforming the way cotton is grown but in radically reducing the demand for virgin, ‘first-generation’ cotton, and developing a viable alternative that can work its way through the supply chain much like cotton can, and behave much like it in the end product. Circular production is seen as one solution and its appeal is powerful; it promises to stop drawing on virgin materials and stop creating landfill, a win-win. Dillinger, though, is aware of circularity’s terrible complications and contradictions, especially within the fashion industry. He believes that the promise of circularity is being overplayed because it lets consumers and brands off the hook; put simply, brands

can continue to throw new product at consumers and grow sales without feeling bad about it or getting a bad press. ‘A lot of the buzz around that optimistic presentation of the circular economy is actually people’s excitement about the idea of not having to be guilty of overconsumption. It has nothing to do with the actual unlocking of credible circular industrial ecology.’ And he suggests that ‘circular industrial ecology’ is never going to be able to cope with production levels as they are. ‘Brands see circularity as this multiplier of business, rather than what it should be understood as, a powerful constraint to business. And to produce something viable for circular redeployment is as hard a challenge as they come.’ A key part of the problem is that most apparel simply isn’t designed for circularity. The use of poly-cotton and nylon cotton blends, for instance, makes the decoupling of materials for recycling almost impossible, or at least, the technologies to do it are not yet commercially viable. The use of elastane to add stretch creates the same problem. And even products that claim to be 100 per cent cotton are usually saddled with polyester stitching and labels. Dillinger is for circularity as a ‘studious and scientific approach to tackling a real challenge’ but against it as a get-out clause. And that approach has borne fruit. Levi’s has just launched a recycled denim jean that Dillinger insists is the ‘first true expression of viable circularity in the apparel

industry’. The jean is made of 20 per cent recycled denim, treated by a Stockholmbased company called Renewcell. Established in 2012 by researchers from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the company has developed a process that shreds cotton and other natural fibres and dissolves them into a slurry. Dyes, as well as synthetic materials, buttons and zippers, can then be removed and the mush dried into a pulp called Circulose. That is then pressed into large sheets which are shipped to mills, which can then dissolve it and force it through nozzles to create a new fibre that acts pretty much exactly like cotton. The new material is recyclable and biodegradable. And crucially, Renewcell has industrialised the process and can now create 7,000 tons of the pulp every year, enough for 30 million T-shirts. The Circulose in the new jeans is a 50/50 blend of post-consumer cotton and lyocell, a man-made fibre made using wood pulp. Renewcell is working on increasing the cotton count. And this jean uses 60 per cent organic cotton, but Levi’s hopes to increase the Circulose content over time. Dillinger insists that, in terms of ‘strength, comfort, durability’, the new jeans are on a par with any other pair of Levi’s. The brand has even put a pair of these jeans through the same process again and made a ‘third-generation’ recycled jean. ‘Every other discussion of circularity ever has been conjecture based on a supply chain that doesn’t exist. But this is the first step of that supply chain.’

‘To deliver those extraordinary water savings, that’s the most successful design exercise of my career’

At the Renewcell factory in Kristinehamn, Sweden, a jeans waste bale, left, is waiting to be shredded and dissolved into Circulose pulp, opposite, which can then be turned into a new fibre that acts like cotton


Levi’s has just launched a recycled jean that is the ‘first true expression of viable industrial circularity’ Hemp is another of Dillinger’s passion projects. And he is determined to remove its whiff of patchouli oil and hair-shirt suffering and develop it as an alternative to cotton. As a crop, it requires far less water than cotton (the hemp he is working with is rain fed), is more resistant to pests, and grows more quickly. It also pulls in more CO2 than cotton. Dillinger has spent the last few years working with fibre technology specialists in Belgium, refining Wellthread’s cottonised hemp. Last year, they launched a white denim jacket made with a blend of cottonised hemp and cotton. ‘We needed the next season to figure out how to dye it, and the season after that to work out how to wash it and treat it like denim,’ Dillinger says. This year, they launched a pair of blue 511 jeans using a blend of the new hemp fibre, recycled cotton waste and lyocell. This jean used 30 per cent cottonised hemp, but Dillinger says a 55 per cent version should be out next year. ‘When you see the jeans and feel the jeans, you would have no idea the hemp was there. To do that and deliver those extraordinary water savings, with certainty about the health of the soil and the water systems in the community where that fibre was cultivated, that’s the most successful design exercise of my career.’ In some ways the design world has enjoyed and embraced its front-line role in the sustainability wars, the emphasis on design thinking as a possible cure-all, and the presumption that increasing sustainability is

fundamentally a design problem. But as much as he is a designer committed to science and process, Dillinger says that messaging and curbing consumption are the central drivers of a more sustainable fashion industry. It’s behaviours that really need to change. The fashion industry is producing far too much stuff far too quickly. And we are quickly getting rid this stuff: a 2017 McKinsey report said that consumers were keeping clothing items about half as long as they did 15 years before. ‘We have to design strategies that don’t intentionally teach the consumer that the thing they buy now, that could make them pretty now, is going to make them ugly and undateable next season. And in terms of sustainability messaging, we’re relying on guilt and science. I don’t think that’s how the orchestration and engineering of desire goes down’. His central sustainability message is very simple: buy less, buy better. ‘In the late 1950s, 12 per cent of discretionary household income was spent on apparel in the United States,’ he says. ‘Right now, it’s down to between two and three per cent, but the quantity of apparel bought has gone up eight-fold. Some value has had to be extracted in order to make that equation work, and that value is quality.’ The only time he sticks to anything resembling a corporate line is when he talks about the durability of a pair of Levi’s jeans. But he has a point. A pair of 501s has the unshouty sustainability of an Eames lounge chair or a Fender Telecaster; they have a

fixed, iconic, beyond-fashion design, they are easy to repair, get better with age, and people usually keep them and then pass them on or sell them. They retain, if not increase, their value. This is the sustainability of durability, of a thing treasured and cherished, that can get forgotten in the understandable rush to embrace recycling or circularity. Too much of our fashion is not durable, too fast, too cheap, too careless, and designed to be disposable. Some last guilt and science then: 50 years ago, the Aral Sea in Central Asia was the fourth largest lake in the world. The former Soviet Union decided to develop cotton farming around the lake, using the waters that fed it for irrigation. The lake is now all but gone, and an area the size of Denmark is desiccated mud flats. What was marshes and wetlands has also disappeared. The environmental and human cost has been catastrophic. ‘There are UK and US brands still sourcing cotton from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan,’ says Dillinger. ‘They are still participating in the system that took the Aral Sea away. It has turned it into a toxic desert that blows up plumes of dust laced with pesticide, herbicide and fertiliser. Our industry has delivered upon the people in the area some of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Where’s that in the price point? How is that reflected in the cost of goods? We’re totally unaware of these externalised costs, and if we did understand them we would want to cry.’ levistrauss.com; renewcell.com

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Can you create a perfect circle? Map Project Office The industrial design consultancy’s radical, wasteeliminating overhaul of mainstream mass production Graphics Studio.Build Writer Jonathan Bell

What is the circular economy? What does it look like? How can the cascade of consumption be redirected so that it turns inwards and forms a holistic, unbreakable circle, a virtuous loop that saves materials, saves energy, and cuts down on emissions, pollution and waste? Is it even desirable to disassemble systems that have evolved over centuries, wipe the slate clean and start from scratch? These were just a few of the questions asked by Map Project Office at the outset of its work for Wallpaper* Re-Made. To challenge this apparent lack of accountability, we wanted a team of designers with an intimate understanding of the complexities of modern industry. Map Project Office was set up by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby in 2012 as a counterpoint to the authored product design output of their own studio and the architecture and interior focus of their Universal Design Studio. Map focuses on crafted physical products for an increasingly virtual age. By bridging the gap between people and technology, the real world and the virtual, it looks to solve problems conjured up by the digital era. Through a series of online workshops, Wallpaper* and Map sought to find a new approach to solve endemic problems. As part of Re-Made, Map is

proposing a radical overhaul. ‘We want to challenge the way products are made, with new infrastructure, and new systems,’ says Map’s Will Howe. ‘As designers, we’re considering the whole lifecycle. It’s about designing for things to come apart and designing in an industry where some things are moving much faster than others, and how we negate the impact that has. Ultimately, the question is, can we develop a new terminology about product architecture that would be interesting and quite disruptive?’ As a first launch stage, Map is creating a speculative platform, Map Industries. Disruption can come from any direction. Only around 40 per cent of consumer electronics products are currently recycled in the EU. The majority of CE-certified products become landfill the minute they fail, become obsolete or are simply discarded. ‘If we’ve got to the recycling stage, then we’ve effectively failed,’ notes Map’s Jamie Cobb. Map believes that a tipping point is looming. Rather than perpetuating the well-worn cliché of ‘make do and mend’, mainstream mass production must learn to incorporate circular thinking. An idealised system would look like a closed loop, a true ‘ecosystem’ whereby all materials used are simply ploughed back into manufacturing once their usage cycle ends. »

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Rather than perpetuating the ‘make do and mend’ cliché, mass production must learn to incorporate circular thinking

Power Issues and Embedded Energy One element that is universal to every form of consumable, from smartphones and transportation to food, clothing and furniture, is power. The smart devices we increasingly rely on manage to sap relatively tiny amounts, while familiar domestic objects still make up a sizeable proportion of our daily power consumption. And yet power remains one of the most elusive of all commodities, measured in units that many people find hard to relate to. In the discussions and workshops with Map, the idea of promoting and accentuating the role of embedded energy came up again and again. Map points out that a key aspect of true cyclical design is how to accommodate the embedded energy contained within a product before it has even left the store. Together, materials, manufacturing, transportation and distribution consist of about 75 per cent of a typical small consumer electronic device, with the actual power consumed during its usable lifetime just 15 per cent and the energy and time devoted to end-oflife processes an even smaller percentage – around one per cent according to Apple. For larger or more energyintensive goods, like washing machines, fridges and kettles, the proportions are somewhat different. A Bigger Circle Circularity is an attainable and desirable goal. And the way to a more circular system is to massively increase the diameter of the ‘circle’ of ‘design-manufacture-

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consumption-reuse’ so that each segment effectively balances out the other and ‘reuse’ feeds back into the loop. This is a massive challenge to product designers and manufacturers operating in a longstanding culture of ‘sell and forget’. Map hopes that this preliminary research will ultimately confront these behaviours and direct talent to create better products. Some products appear better suited to looping than others, but design for disassembly needs to become the rule, not the exception. Companies are being more explicit about their ambitions in this area, like Apple, which states ‘we want to one day manufacture products without mining any new materials from the earth’. Ikea are ‘committed to designing all of our products to be 100 per cent circular from the beginning, using only renewable or recycled materials, and to developing circular capabilities in our supply chain’. Big as these companies are, they acknowledge this will be a collaborative effort between designers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and legislators. While a growing percentage of people identify strongly with moves to cut their personal consumption, this represents a tiny fraction of overall energy use; meaningful change must come from industry itself. Endurance and Wave Theory Time and time again, the question of ‘product endurance’ is raised. Map’s initial research suggested we treat products as if they have defined lifecycles, or waves. A taxonomy of these lifecycle waves might

Above, this speculative exploration of a product’s life cycle considers when its various individual components might eventually degrade and become unusable over time, and how these components could be separated to allow a product to last longer and yet stay desirable Source: Map Industries


Re-Think start with ‘long wave’ products like speakers, screens or radios, wherein the base technology isn’t expected to evolve significantly, ensuring that the use value remains constant throughout the product’s lifespan. We know that a traditional speaker can easily last for 30 years. But a smart speaker is also a computer, with all the in-built obsolescence and compatibility issues that entails. ‘Mid wave’ products might have half that expected lifespan, including regularly used domestic goods like washing machines, fridges and toasters. Finally, we have the ‘short wave’ category, the fastmoving gadgetry that is either engineered for a glorious but short lifespan or is designed to be made swiftly obsolete by a more powerful, desirable successor. These include the smartphone, certain toys, cameras, other smart devices and even batteries themselves. More From Less ‘Making do’ need not mean arresting progress, nor should it impact on our product experiences. As key technologies become more discreet and embedded, it’s theoretically easier to upgrade our experiences without resorting to all-new hardware; a simple, compact device transforms a TV into a smart device, or a high-quality speaker becomes an increasingly intelligent digital assistant. Some suggest that mass acceptance of overthe-air enhancements will result in the KonMari-ing of society and the creation of this fabled loop. This disregards the reality that sometimes it really is more sustainable to switch to a brand-new product. Better Ageing Some products will obviously age well because of their materials and construction, as well as the stability of their technology and function – a chair, for example. As Map points out, we’re now tied to an economic system based around rapid product evolution and diversification. Traditional characteristics of ‘long wave’ products – such as patination, upgrade, repair and renewal – are scarcely considered. Map’s experience is with design for mass production, not limited runs or one-offs. As a result, they are well placed to reshape the system. As designer Matthew Cockerill, working alongside the team at Map, points out, ‘How products

Designing for endurance, repair, upgrade and reuse will be the new benchmarks for mass production

are made is dictated not only by the designer but to a greater extent by the company tasking the designer and setting the brief. So we need to think like companies, not designers.’ Their response is to set up Map Industries as the antithesis of the dominant ‘sell and forget’ model. Designing for endurance, repair, upgrade and reuse will be the new benchmarks. Real Things in a Service Economy Circularity must also embrace desire; the long-life product is part of a service, not a disposable asset. This is one of the keys to a circular future: the more integrated the product is to a particular service, the more value can be attached to physical longevity. The emerging ‘access economy’ is already the mainstay of most media operations, where the idea of physically owning a copy of a film or album is anathema to millions of consumers. Companies as diverse as Philips, Citroën and FoundPop no longer treat their wares as physical objects; you pay for the amount of light you need, not the bulbs and fixtures, or you pay for access to a city car or the short-term rental of furnishings for a pop-up unit. Long Waves and Closed Loops Display, consumption and identity are tightly bound together in a closed-loop system of their own. Yet many of our current behaviours are driven by a product’s economic life – the point at which it is more expensive to maintain than replace. As Map suggests, we are at a point where the theories that have concerned academics for decades must rapidly relate to real life. The context in which we are creating, producing and consuming products must change. There is no sense in castigating the consumer if there is no genuine alternative. Map Industries wants to redefine the physical artefact for a long wave future and a truly circular product ecosystem, embracing creativity to ensure that desire drives us down the right path. If the most sustainable behaviour of all is to keep the product you already own, there is huge scope for shifting lifecycle waves to be made more explicit, more desirable and, most importantly of all, more achievable.  mapprojectoffice.com


Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the problem with crushed avocado? Fernando Laposse Exploring the devastation to local environments wrought by monoculture in his homeland, the Mexican designer harnesses his art to effect change Artwork Fernando Laposse Writers James Burke and Molly Mandell

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Above, monarch butterflies at El Rosario reserve in Mexico; their seasonal habitat is threatened by the clearance of land for avocado production Opposite, an illustration of avocados by Laposse, among his work highlighting the problems caused by the scale and manner of their cultivation

Fernando Laposse takes a whole-systems approach to design. His work extends far beyond aesthetics to take on the politics of food, the marginalisation of indigenous communities, biodiversity and globalisation. Scratch beneath the surface, and a table or bench can suddenly reveal much deeper meaning. ‘Design isn’t a magic wand that will solve all of our problems,’ the London-based Mexican designer says. ‘But it certainly can be used to communicate them in a simpler way.’ In other words, Laposse wants to make you think. Totomoxtle is a veneer material made from the husks of native Mexican corn, and perhaps Laposse’s best-known endeavour. The husks are heated, flattened and glued onto fibreboards before being laser-cut, and the resulting material is then applied to furniture and interior surfaces. After Nafta, the trade pact between Mexico, Canada and the United States, took effect in 1994, local production chains for native corn species were practically eliminated. Laposse is eager for his audience to see past bright, yellow corn, a result of monoculture farming and the homogenisation of crops, to the heirloom varieties from his home country that come in deep purples, pinks and delicate creams. Behind the scenes, the project takes on a more serious socioeconomic mission. In Mexico, there is a popular saying, ‘sin maíz no hay país’, meaning that without corn, there is no country. In producing Totomoxtle, Laposse partners with the Mixtec community of Tonahuixtla to offer corn farmers – some

of whom are descendants of the very Mesoamericans who domesticated the crop – an additional source of income, while also encouraging the long-term preservation of these endangered strains. Sustainability may be a key tenet in Laposse’s work, but he suggests that it’s time to readdress what that concept means altogether. We’re still fixated on a definition from three decades ago, Laposse explains, which essentially asks, ‘How can we develop while ensuring that the next generation will have the same access to and volume of resources that we did?’ He proposes going further, instead establishing a greater wealth of resources for the future. He believes that one pitfall of sustainability is its use as a means for production. Rather than pursuing technological innovation, Laposse rediscovers wealth in communities such as Tonahuixtla, whose knowledge and traditional methods have largely been cast aside in a modern world. On top of redefining sustainability, Laposse aspires to move away from humancentred design. ‘If you assume that the centre of the universe is man, and you’re only designing for the wellbeing of man, you’re not really taking into account the natural environment,’ he says. He advocates the pursuit of an improved system at a much broader level, and as such prefers to practise interspecies design. Laposse spent much of his childhood visiting his grandmother in the Mexican state of Michoacán, where high altitude and  »


heavy rainfall prove ideal for his upcoming focus: the avocado. The superfood, like corn, has also experienced a decline in crop diversity as its global market strengthens, but more so, its production in the area has led to oppression and ecological devastation. Laposse aims to expose these concerns in his next project, addressing the interplay between humans, other species and natural resources more head on. Currently, some five billion kilos of avocado are produced around the world each year, and Michoacán has become the leading global producer. ‘It was November in Reykjavik,’ Laposse recalls of a teaching stint in Iceland. ‘And I was seeing these mountains of avocados with their stickers from Mexico.’ In that moment, he realised the depth of the world’s extraordinary obsession with the fruit, now often referred to as green gold. ‘It became sort of like the hipster brunch, propagated by this idea of health and lifestyle and, to some degree, wealth.’ As demand for the avocado grew, so did local repercussions. Drug cartels quickly developed an interest in the trade and began to forcefully eradicate any hindrance to the industry. As orchards overflowed into protected forests, these criminal organisations stimulated illegal logging. While deforestation may aid the avocado trade, it poses a threat to one of North America’s most valued insects, the monarch butterfly. In the heart of Michoacán lies El Rosario reserve, home to pine and oyamel fir trees and, each winter, millions of monarchs. As more land is cleared to make room for farms, these trees that

protect the butterflies’ seasonal habitat continue to disappear. Laposse intends to guide the rhetoric surrounding the avocado industry in a similar trajectory to that of palm oil. ‘Awareness of palm oil’s impact has had a great deal to do with the story of orangutans,’ he says in reference to the tens of thousands of great apes that died as a result of palm oil deforestation. ‘It’s interesting that when you put the face of a wild species to a problem, it becomes much more relatable to people.’ Informing avocado consumers about the vulnerable monarch butterfly, Laposse posits, could serve as a gateway to discuss other industry-related issues, including violence. Laposse visited El Rosario sanctuary as a child but returned in January 2019 with his wife, a radio journalist reporting a story for the BBC. Their research granted them unprecedented access to the centre of the monarch cluster, as well as an introduction to Homero Gómez, a conservationist and fierce champion of the reserve. Gómez, who was outspoken about illegal logging’s threat on the butterfly habitat, was found murdered this past January, just one year later. His death only further fuelled Laposse’s desire to incorporate the avocado into his practice. While compiling photo and video documentation, Laposse is performing material research to create a collection of objects that reflect on his studies. So far, he has been dyeing textiles with avocado pits and skins, which produce a peach-pink hue. He also plans to create interventions with sick oyamel trees that are felled to maintain the forest, perhaps lacquering the wood with

an avocado soap. With the final products, he strives to inspire heightened consciousness. ‘Everything is connected,’ he says. ‘We really have to be mindful about what we consume and how we consume it.’ He doesn’t expect his project to overhaul the devastating consequences of the avocado trade, but with increased awareness, he hopes that people will demand transparency and make more informed decisions. Laposse harks back once more to the significance of the butterflies and Gómez’s tragic death in his efforts. ‘When you’re talking about topics like global trade, worldwide consumption, and violence, you forget that there are people involved in all of this,’ he muses. ‘Once you link it to Homero and his family, the rest of the rangers and the forest, you start to create more empathy for the topic. That’s something really needed in design – to truly create that personal and human attachment to a story.’ Thus far, 2020 has been a traumatic year, but Laposse reminds us that design can play a powerful and proactive role in effecting change. ‘It has this ability to synthesise very complex ideas and present them in a more palatable way to the general public,’ he says. ‘Design connects all of these different people and aspects that otherwise may be disconnected, or makes certain links that perhaps a journalist, scientist or farmer couldn’t.’ It becomes apparent that Laposse frequently transcends the role of designer to become an activist. ‘How do we repair all of these broken systems?’ Laposse asks. And then he dives right back into his research.  fernandolaposse.com

Left, Laposse’s study of a monarch butterfly and avocados; and avocado-oil soap, infused with avocado leaves. ‘I also envision creating large objects, carved out of solid blocks of avocado soap,’ he says Opposite, his ideas for creating objects from oyamel wood – from felled sick trees, for example. The tree is endemic to central and southern Mexico, and is the only tree in which the monarch butterfly nests. The objects would be sealed with avocado oil soap, which acts as a wax or varnish

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â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Design has this ability to synthesise very complex ideas and present them in a more palatable way to the general publicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;


Can lino live forever? Christien Meindertsma The experimental Dutch designer has been working with floor maker Forbo on processes that give new creative purpose to unwanted old product Photography Mathijs Labadie Writer Rosa Bertoli

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A colourful chart from Meindertsma’s research, showing the new material that could be created when applying her reworking process to the various hues of linoleum from a 1990s Forbo sample book

 ‘I am generally very much wowed by linoleum’, Christien Meindertsma says. The peculiar statement comes halfway through an intense chat that has so far touched upon pigs, flax farming and the nearimpossible task of producing paper from American prairie grass. By this point in the conversation, it is clear that the things that wow the Dutch designer are rather out of the ordinary. Since graduating from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2003, Meindertsma has developed a unique voice in the design world. Her projects dive deep into our relationships with objects and materials, our use of resources and the history behind our daily habits. Although she is generally comfortable with the label of designer (she has also been called an artist and researcher), Meindertsma’s approach reaches far beyond products and concepts. Among her most notable projects was a 2007 book titled PIG 05049, analysing the animal as a source of raw materials used in a wide range of products, from cigarettes to concrete.

Another project, and accompanying book, Bottom Ash Observatory, was subtitled An Incinerated Municipal Solid Waste Expedition, revealing the wealth of different materials found in a 25kg bucket of ash from incinerated household waste, which the designer sieved, separated and catalogued. ‘I like to go where the inventions are,’ says Meindertsma. ‘I don’t think I am very good at designing from behind a desk. I can only really learn through a process, and the shape automatically follows the research. Research is my way of designing.’ One of her passions, she says, is learning about things she can’t possibly find online. Among Meindertsma’s most notable projects to date is her ‘Flax’ chair, created in 2015. Five years earlier, the designer had bought an entire flax harvest, about ten tonnes, to find out if it could be processed into a new, environmentally friendly textile. The project developed into a collaboration with natural-fibre specialist Enkev and Label Breed, an organisation that promotes  »


Top left, old linoleum from a school provided raw material for Meindertsmaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experiments. She found that pressing the waste flooring in a machine called a calender, top right, produced a new material more like a ceramic Left, one of a series of tile compositions the designer has created using the technique to repurpose old Forbo linoleum samples, showcasing the colours

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‘I was standing next to this mini calender machine. I tried throwing old linoleum in. What happened then was magic: the machine started making new linoleum’

cooperation between designers and manufacturers. The resulting chair is a fitting example of Meindertsma’s approach: using a simple domestic object to convey the weight of in-depth research. She created a new composite material using layers of woven and felted flax, heat-pressed into the shape of a chair. ‘Within the process, the chair was the right product to present this material,’ she says. ‘You can sit on a chair, it’s quite an intimate, physical object.’ The ‘Flax’ chair brought attention to the designer’s sustainable approach and her ability to think circularly. Dutch company Forbo, maker of linoleum (which the brand refers to as Marmoleum, for its colourful, marbled surface) picked up on Meindertsma’s works and got in touch. ‘We felt a connection with Christien’s flax project because linseed oil [derived from flax] is an important element of linoleum, alongside other natural ingredients such as wood, pine-tree resin, limestone and jute,’ says Peter Albertz, Forbo’s innovation manager. In 2019, Meindertsma was tasked with researching the possibilities of recycling old linoleum and designing products that could be made with the resulting material. Forbo had already investigated the potential of circular manufacturing. A year earlier, design student Jaromir van Vliet (then an intern at the company), responding to a circular challenge from Rotterdam-based start-up incubator BlueCity, had developed a way of using heat to turn scraps of old linoleum into the endlessly recyclable Renoleum. In itself, linoleum is a fairly green material. ‘The weighted average of the Marmoleum product range has been independently assessed as CO2 neutral from cradle to gate, without the need for carbon offsetting,’ says Albertz. ‘It is one of the world’s most sustainable non-PVC, resilient flooring materials.’ The problem with linoleum lies in its afterlife: once removed from floors, parts of glue and cement stick to it, making it impossible to properly recycle (it is usually mixed in to make cement, or sent to landfill). Van Vliet’s Renoleum employed specialist machines to granulate the linoleum as well as the cement and glue parts; the resulting granules were then blended into a new board material. After experimenting with this new composite, Meindertsma wanted to go one step further. But first, typically, she wanted to go back to the source of the material. She took herself to a school in the Netherlands where linoleum was being torn off the floors. She also looked at an old sample book from the 1990s (a collection of shades titled ‘Rhapsody in Colour’), as she wanted to discover and recover as wide a range of linoleum as she could.

Her eureka moment came while she was experimenting in the Forbo factory. ‘I was standing next to this mini calender machine [a tool composed of two highpressure rollers to flatten materials into sheets], and just tried throwing old linoleum in. What happened then was magic: the machine started making new linoleum,’ she explains. ‘So we discovered that you can shred the material, but you can also put it in the calender, which blends it again.’ By doing that, she notes, the jute fibre becomes stronger and the oils are reactivated. The resulting material is drier and harder than the original, more like ceramic. ‘It’s a very simple thing, but they had never done it,’ Meindertsma says, as she likens her design process to a programmer’s work: ‘You just find the language that has the least steps but is the most elegant.’ The collaboration with Forbo is still in progress; although she has identified what to do with the old linoleum, she is now looking at where to take this new material. Her first designs are a series of tiles in different shapes, repurposing old sample books from Forbo to create compositions that show the colour range. But the possibilities are quite broad, as she is exploring different scales and manufacturing possibilities. ‘The material is a stepping stone towards other things,’ she says. Meindertsma’s diverse work has been recognised by design institutions globally, most recently with a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. Aptly titled ‘Everything Connects’, the exhibition focused on her Flax Project, and Fibre Market, for which she examined 1,000 wool sweaters to reveal how their material composition differed from the content on their label, before shredding them, using a fibre-sorting machine. ‘Christien Meindertsma is a fearless researcher and has been able to get behind the scenes of exceptionally proprietary industries to interrogate issues concerning social and environmental sustainability,’ says Zöe Ryan, the Art Institute’s chair and curator of architecture and design. ‘She asks questions and realises projects that help us engage critically with the world and open our minds to inventive ways of thinking about design and the role of the designer.’ To Meindertsma, this process is innate, built into her design thinking. ‘I like to be open to things, taking different turns than you expect; I work so there is space for this to happen,’ she says. Her collaboration with Forbo has so far given her the opportunity for discovery and has allowed her to freely experiment, and her approach has proven to fit right in with the company’s thinking. Says Albertz: ‘We see Christien as a passionate ambassador for linoleum.’  christienmeindertsma.com; forbo.com


Re-Think

I  s micro-making the future? Nate Petre The design engineer and maker of a compostable surfboard believes communities can 3D print their way to greater autonomy. He’s also planning his next board, exploring waste and enduring beauty with Atlein Photography / Writer Retts Wood

When Nate Petre’s girlfriend drove her motorbike off the side of a mountain in the summer of 2014, it was a eureka moment. ‘I’d customised the lights and front end using my 3D printer. Once I’d dragged my girlfriend back out of the bushes (thankfully unharmed), and looked at the bike, I realised that, with the CAD in the cloud, all I’d need to repair it was someone with a printer,’ says Petre. The idea of Disruptive Distributed Manufacturing (DDR) – individuals and communities manufacturing locally using 3D printers, rather than relying on international factories – had been rolling around Petre’s head for a while, but it was on that Basque hairpin bend that he first saw how smoothly it could work: instead of ordering new parts and waiting, he could simply print out the pieces he needed, anywhere in the world, with a 3D printer. Back at Imperial College in London, where he was researching his PhD, Petre realised that his interest lay in the socioeconomic and environmentally helpful possibilities of 3D printing. But he also found himself pining for the ocean. ‘I’ve always loved the sea, and surfing. I was trying to figure out whether it would be possible to print surfboards, and maybe make surfing more sustainable in the process.’ A chance meeting with Jeff Hamaoui, a like-minded Silicon Valley strategist, led to a

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grant from Nasa’s Ames Lab, and the pair set about sourcing a bio-based printing material. ‘We found a company called Algix, which was making a biodegradable filament from a mixture of PLA [a bioplastic made from corn] and invasive algae, which grow in bodies of water in the American South as a by-product of fertiliser pollution.’ After a few months slaving over a printer, Petre presented the world’s first fully compostable 3D-printed surfboard at a sustainability event in Portland, Oregon. His next step was to build a printer big enough to produce the surfboard in one piece. ‘I had so much to learn, but if I messed up I could easily get more material, as I had access to everything. I didn’t entirely address the question of DDR, which was more about being able to print in the jungle or in an impoverished country.’ His chance to further investigate his theories came when he met philanthropist Francesca von Habsburg (W*98), who invited him to continue his material research at Alligator Head, her marine conservation foundation in Jamaica. ‘My idea was to go to Jamaica, turn invasive seaweed into a bioplastic, and print from it – which was incredibly naive. I hadn’t realised how difficult it would be to work without access to the supply chain. Working in a tiny, ill-equipped kitchen, using household products like drain cleaner in  »

Nate Petre in Jamaica with sections of a surfboard 3D-printed using local recycled ocean plastic


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‘I’d started off printing motorbike parts, then a surfboard, but the endgame was always to print something useful – roof tiles, or water pumps’

Left and opposite, earlier this year, Petre worked with Makerversity to establish a micromanufacturing site at Somerset House in London. Working with a small team of Makerversity members and using open-source designs, 65 3D printers have been creating 1,500 face visors for health workers every day. The process uses bioplastic and Petre and the team have been testing tweaked designs to improve comfort and durability

lieu of the chemistry lab I needed, I managed to create a thin, encapsulating membrane from seaweed. But producing filament would have taken much longer, and required shipping in chemicals.’ To add to his woes, large chunks of his printer were lost en route to Kingston, and with no access to filament, he couldn’t use his desktop machine to reprint them. ‘I was in the local mini-market, despondently trying to figure out which products I could harvest chemicals from, when I spotted the reels of strimmer cable, looking very like filament.’ The strimmer cable turned out to be made from nylon – which prints well – and was exactly the right diameter for his print head. He’d found his material. ‘The next step was realising, in this very humid climate, that materials need to be super dry. This time the off-the-shelf answer was a food dehydrator.’ It also became clear that dealing with the waves of waste plastic washing into the

Caribbean was more urgent than creating an alternative material. Using machines built from the open-source plans of community recycling project Precious Plastic, Petre set up a micro recycling plant at Alligator Head, available for the community to use, alongside the printer. Petre was also introduced to Nachson Mimran, whose foundation To.org helps developing communities ‘challenge the humanitarian industrial complex’ and become self-sufficient. Mimran commissioned Petre to set up a similar hub in an impoverished neighbourhood in Kampala, Uganda. ‘In Jamaica and Uganda, I found endless like-minded souls – engaged and interested people who wanted to provide for their families and to change their communities through grassroots projects. Because I come from a background of privilege, I was armed with the knowledge to set up machines and teach people to use them. I’d started off

printing motorbike parts, then a surfboard, but the endgame was always to print something useful – roof tiles, or water pumps, things like that – and use the readily available plastic waste to do that. Polio is an issue in the area of Kampala where I was working, and people with lost or withered limbs make pads using discarded flip-flops, which are battered and ill-fitting. With the printer, they could custom-make pads to fit individuals’ needs. ‘You fly in with this stuff in your suitcase, set it up in a few hours, and transform a community’s ability to answer needs for itself. That’s the crux of this concept.’ While Petre’s experiences in Jamaica and Uganda highlighted the potential of his ideas, exposing flaws along the way and allowing him to iron them out, the real test came closer to home. He had just taken a space at Makerversity, a tech hub and studio complex in the basement of Somerset House in London, when it became clear that the new virus sweeping across Wuhan would not be


‘You fly in with this stuff in your suitcase, set it up in a few hours, and transform a community’s ability to answer needs for itself. That’s the crux of this’

contained. As Covid-19 reached Europe, he realised that his plans to develop DDR had a new urgency: with China in lockdown, a huge part of the world’s manufacturing capability was out of action – and without it, the UK was in trouble. Working with Dr Dominic Pimenta, who had co-founded the Heroes charity to support NHS workers, Petre set up 65 printers at Makerversity and refined open-source designs to create a CE-certified face shield, eventually printing 1,500 per day. With the print farm now running smoothly, Petre is considering his next move. ‘I’ve been cycling to Makerversity, and I look down and think – could I make the bicycle I’m riding? If not the bike, then parts of it? Here’s this essential mode of transport worldwide, pretty much always factory-made and shipped. But what if each key worker anywhere in the world was to get a free, locally produced bicycle made from locally sourced and recycled materials?’

Biomaterials remain at the forefront of his thinking, too. The most common material to print from is PLA, ‘but what people don’t necessarily realise is that it’s only commercially compostable. If you put it in your home compost, or send it to landfill, it takes, at the very least, 80 years to biodegrade. I spent my twenties and early thirties working as a cook, and thinking about food led me to look at kitchen waste, which has led me, a decade later, to look at how food waste could be used in manufacturing. Shrimp shells, chicken feathers, mycelium – they could all, theoretically, make bioplastic.’ He’s also thinking about surfboards again, this time in collaboration with fashion label Atlein’s Antonin Tron (W*252). ‘3D printing, particularly in plastic, is seen as disposable. It’s either used for prototyping or making something cheaply. Antonin and I want to create a surfboard from things like waste fishing nets, but allow it to age with beauty. Humans always had this appreciation for a

made object that would last for generations, gathering scars as it passes from hand to hand, but we’ve gotten so good at chemistry that we expect things to look flawless. We’re so used to everything being new and disposable that if something breaks we replace it, and that “Amazonisation” of our consumer spending habits has led to ridiculously short object lifespans, and ever more waste. ‘Antonin is interested in lacquer work – layers of protection that over time develop flaws and shadows and, with that, a story and value. I’m really looking forward to exploring depth and age as we mine waste resources, and printing something that eventually has heritage and patina. ‘At the moment, printing is seen as a novelty. Give it ten years and I feel like you might see a lot of locally manufactured goods in your house. Some of them might even end up being heirlooms.’  nathanielpetre.com; atlein.com

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ReOur Wallpaper* Re-Made reading list Design as an Attitude by Alice Rawsthorn Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by R Buckminster Fuller Happy City: Transforming our Lives through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas

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Beyond the New. On the Agency of Things by Hella Jongerius and Louise Schouwenberg How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi

The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior by Stefano Mancuso

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

You are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

The Age of Living Machines: How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution by Susan Hockfield

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells How to Thrive in the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today by John Thackara

Constructed Narratives by David Adjaye

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

The Life of Plants: A Metaphysics of Mixture by Emanuele Coccia

Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival by Paola Antonelli and Ala Tannir

Fewer, Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects by Glenn Adamson

Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her by Susan Griffin

connect ∑

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

The Beauty of Everyday Things by Soetsu Yanagi Design, Nature, and Revolution: Toward a Critical Ecology by Tomás Maldonado Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change by Victor Papanek For more, see Wallpaper.com ∏


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August 2020 Issue: Re-made  

August 2020 Issue: Re-made