Recycled Yarn and Fabric Fibres

There is a lot you can do with used or discarded fabric fibres and yarn. For example, you can make new clothes out of them, or you could turn them in wall panels. Below you will find three design projects that make efficient use of these discarded materials. All of these projects were exhibited during the Dutch Design Week 2016 (22-30 October).

Christian Fokkert: ‘Yarn Chair’
Christian Fokkert, student Product Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam (NL), used leftover material from the carpet company Desso for his project ‘Yarn Chair’. Usually, this synthetic yarn is melted down and used to make new yarn.

Fokkert used this leftover yarn to experiment how the material worked when heated and how the colours blended. The material needs to have a certain temperature to be processed; if it becomes too hot, it turns black and cannot be processed, but when it is a little too cold, it becomes hard right away.

The seat of the stool is made entirely of yarn. The material is woven into a long string and then rolled up until it forms a flat surface. After that, one side of the seat is solidified by melting the yarn. You can watch the process here. The result is a stool slash side table. The soft side can be used to sit on, while the hard side can be used as table top.

The yarn that is wound around the legs is molten slightly to emphasise the plastic properties, but also so that the structure is still visible.

Frederike Top: ‘Soft’
For her project ‘Soft’, designer Frederike Top made use of the backings of linoleum and bulletin board, which are made of jute. This leftover material is the only thing that is not commonly recycled in the production process of these products. Commissioned by Forbo Flooring, Top’s aim was to find a new use for the jute, while using as few additives as possible.

When pressed together, the jute forms a fabric-like substance. Using this technique, Top developed semi-finished 3D (or rather 2.5D) materials that can be used as acoustic panels indoors.

Top has experimented with different additives, such as water or a binding agent. She also added pigments used by Forbo, or dipping the materials in an indigo bath. Additionally, she experimented using waste from old mattresses. Each ingredient gives the panel a different look, from a fluffy to a smooth surface. Top’s aim is to maintain the natural look of the material.

Other projects commissioned by Forbo have been done by Albert Lieuwe, Martens & Visser, and Studio Mieke Meijer.

30 per cent of produced clothes never reaches someone’s wardrobe. In the Netherlands, the amount of discarded clothes amounts to 235,000 tonnes, of which 70 per cent is burned.

The Dutch company Loop.alife is a truly circular lifestyle brand. Set up by Ellen Mensink, it uses discarded sweaters from the Netherlands to make new ones.

The old sweaters, which are obtained locally, are sorted by colour and material, before they are turned into fibres and blended. Because of the initial sorting process, there is no need to re-dye the materials. The materials are then woven into yarn, before they are made into clothes. There are no chemicals or water used in the process. The company also produces zero waste.

Photos: Christian Fokkert / Frederike Top / Loop.alife