4 examples of Ukrainian material design

In an exhibition called Affair with Earth, displayed at Dutch Design Week 2019, 4 Ukrainian designers showcased their sustainable material design.

Hosted by Art-East + Art-West Foundation, Affair with Earth aimed to re-evaluate the meaning of Ukrainian crafts. Ukrainian mythology and traditional pagan rituals, based on equal human-nature co-existence, served as a kick-off for a new swing of discussion about human-nature co-habitation.

Re-leaf Paper
Most paper is made from wood-based cellulose, which means the trees are used to make a relative low-value material, rather than in for example wood construction.

The problem of fallen leaves is solved differently in each city. In Kyiv, for instance, city utilities collect all leaves from the streets and move them to dumpsites. Sometimes the leaves are burnt, polluting the air.

Since wood is not nearly the only source of cellulose, designer Valentyn Frenchka turned to fallen leaves to create an alternative type of paper, whilst also offering a solution for fallen leaves in cities.

Hemp Fur
More and more fashion brands turn against real fur, but most fake fur alternatives are made from petrochemical plastic. The company DevoHome developed a plant-based fur alternative, made from hemp, a fast-growing plant that desires little water and no pesticides. Hemp Fur is smooth to the touch, natural, hypoallergenic, warm and tough material. (Find the material in our collection here).

Yuriy Ryntovt has created the original surface with black earth in its base to use it on facades of his furniture collection. The designer elevates and rotates the horizontal surface of the soil into a vertical position to look into its face and touch its wrinkles.

Growing Fur
Graduated from Eindhoven Design Academy, designer Dasha Tsapenko created ‘living fur’. Made of sprouted chia seeds. The material created on the base of chia roots and sprouts is not a ready product. Currently, Tsapenko is developing her project and is testing characteristics and possible applications of the Growing Fur.

Not a material, but still interesting: the final participant of the exhibition was the Chernobyl Spirit Company, a team of Ukrainian and British scientists who developed vodka made with crops grown in the Chernobyl Zone, contaminated with radioactive strontium-90.

Photos via Art-East + Art-West Foundation