Dutch scavenger design

During Dutch Design Week 2019, graduates from Design Academy Eindhoven showcased their work. One group of projects, grouped under the header ‘The Scavengers’, used the world’s only truly renewable material: trash.

As more and more people are born, the finite resources on Earth are growing scarce. One resource, however, keeps piling up, the undifferentiated mass of things also known as trash. The students used waste materials for a variety of projects.

Sonia Bemelmans, for instance, used oven polypropylene ropes to make sunshades that provide partially shadow. By partially heating the ropes, the density is varied locally. “Thus, the sunshades provide different shade patterns, comparable to a tree’s foliage that gives shelter from the sun while still letting the light come through.”

Lena Winterink found a way to weave and knit a copper thread into bleached cotton and to silkscreen it with copper ink, yet keeping it suitable for wear. By turning the material into clothes, water and sweat will gradually introduce shades of green, changing the appearance of the clothes over time.

Bottom ash is the non-combustible residue after house-hold waste is burned in incineration plants. In the Netherlands one person’s household waste produces an average of 57.5 kg of bottom ash per year. Carissa ten Tije turned this ash, which is usually discarded, into a terrazzo-like stone material ad wood stain.

Flax, a natural fibre used to make linen, is mainly grown in Normandy, but exported to China for further processing, like spinning and weaving. Pauline Esparon explored the possibilities for local processing and production, using scutched flax to make interior pieces.

Most glazed ceramics end up on the landfill, as there are little recycling possibilities, mostly because of the glassy and toxic ingredients in glaze. Seok-Hyeon Yoon rediscovered Ott, a traditional lacquering material made from wood resin in Korea. This glazing does not need to be baked and it evaporates at high temperatures in kilns, which means the ceramics can be recycled. Thus, Yoon created a fully recyclable ceramic tableware set.

Caterina Tioli wanted to make the most of the natural qualities of wool, as spinning reduces its natural softness. Potato starch has long since been used in the textile industry to stiffen spun wool. Instead, Tioli used starch to stiffen unspun wool and washed out the starch after the wool is woven, leaving the natural luxuriance of the wool intact.

With Rebloom, Jetske Korenromp gives leftover flowers from the flower auction and withered bouquets a second life. Korenromp designed a process that resembles handmade paper to create an all-natural gift wrap for fresh bouquets, eliminating the need for plastics paper or tape. The flowers are cooked, milled and processed into a lightweight material that “proudly shows its origin”.

Photos: Design Academy Eindhoven