Wood. Metal. Cotton. Plastic. You’re guaranteed to hear about one of these materials when it comes to furniture design on the continent. And hey, we’re not complaining. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the tried and tested avenue. But then we watched this:
The idea that you can create décor accessories from something in any other context would be ordinary. But hair in a dresser, now that’s a change in perspective! London-based Studio Swine created Hair Highway documentary and Collection to explore the unique culture in Shandong, China’s hair industry. By combining the human hair with natural resin they were able to create a range of ornate items with a unique patterning and grain. Which got us thinking, what other unconventional resources where being incorporated into furniture design? Here are just a few to motivate you to think outside the box:
Product designer from Italy, Francesca Gotti, worked on this olfactory design project for perfume house, Oneofthose. Named ‘The Inaccessible Perfume project’, the idea was to make the user break through the shell to reach the perfume. She took a concrete looking material known as Glebanite, which is basically recycled fibreglass, and enclosed perfume within it. Gotti created a limited-edition packaging that comes in three different colours that have their own textures. There’s the curium scent in the White block, Oxygen scent in the grey-toned block and sulphur in the black. The project was purely conceptual but it’s a captivating blend of art, design and architecture with brand identity. Just imagine translating this into an interior decor situation!
Who knew flax could be used to create furniture? Christien Meindertsma did. The Flax chair, which has won two Dutch Design Awards, combines long and short flax fibres with a polylactic acid produced from corn starch or sugarcane. Both materials are fully biodegradable. The design method was created to ensure that nothing is left over or wasted for eco-friendliness purposes.
Designer Tamara Orjola created Forest Wool stools and carpets by sourcing pine needles discarded by the timber industry. By tapping into research on the value of plants and techniques, she was able to create benches that are made from processed pine needles left over from the timber industry. A technique that the designer believes could be vital resource to furniture companies that rely on wood. A solution that recycles the less utilised resources in furniture mass production.
Another designer that looked at the leftovers of the timber industry is Korean designer – Oh Geon – who combined sawdust and resin to create stools. Once the leftovers of oak and walnut chips settle with the resin, the mould is peeled off, another resin layer is slapped on and the chair is sanded for a smooth finish.
Reusing discarded fabric isn’t new, but incorporating them in stools is. Designer Ammar Kalo also uses resin to create repurposed seats. Under his design studio, KALO, the low-tech creations are known as [Fabric]ations, and boosts different textures, colours and fabrics for unique finishes. The resin works to refract the fabric within for an added visual dimension.
Šimon Kern’s Beleaf, a Slovakian designer, made a chair from leaves. Leaves! Sure they sit on a tubular steel skeleton, but the only thing holding them together is a bio-resin derived from leftover cooking oil. This design which seeks to make the most of natural waste, is actually designed to last
When the coast gives you thousands of tonnes in washed-up seagrass, German designer Carolin Pertsch decided to make stool seats. Also known as seawrack or eelgrad, this aquatic plant is often collected and discarded in landfills to keep the beaches tourist-friendly. Pertsch saw this as a challenge, and set out to give the plant a new purpose. Hence the creation of three types of four-legged stools. By sorting out the different shades of the seagrass, Pertsch is able to create different shades for this material that looks a lot like cork.
These designers looked at their immediate environments or experiences to view resources from a new perspective. Could you do the same or know someone on the continent who is already making moves in this direction? Share with us below.