In the fu­ture, ev­ery­thing will be re­cy­cled and reused. Our an­nual trend watch is de­voted to those he­roes who are mak­ing cir­cu­lar economies the new normal

Azure - - CONTENTS - By David Dick-agnew, Tory Healy and Cather­ine Os­borne

Trends Re­port 2018: Our an­nual trend watch is de­voted to those he­roes who are mak­ing cir­cu­lar economies the new norm


Ne­ces­sity may be the mother of invention, but for the Dan­ish com­pany Re­ally – mak­ers of a new type of panel board com­posed of end-oflife tex­tiles – invention was the re­sult of over­abun­dance. Ac­cord­ing to Re­ally co-founder and long-time sus­tain­abil­ity ad­vo­cate Wickie Meier Engström, only 25 per cent of re­cy­clable fabrics ever see a sec­ond life, and there is zero mar­ket for used in­dus­trial laun­dry – think hos­pi­tal bed sheets and ho­tel tow­els. “We thought there must an­other op­tion,” says Meier Engström.

The ini­tial plan Meier Engström shared with co-founders Klaus Sam­søe and Ole Smede­gaard was to make fur­ni­ture out of re­con­sti­tuted of­f­cuts. That was fol­lowed by the idea of a com­pos­ite that could also work as acous­tic pan­elling. The trick was to find a way to break down cotton tex­tiles – which are typ­i­cally harder to re­cy­cle than metal or plas­tic – with­out cre­at­ing a whole new man­u­fac­tur­ing process. Af­ter ex­ten­sive test­ing, the team landed on air­laid man­u­fac­tur­ing (com­monly used in mak­ing nap­kins or di­a­pers), in which lay­ers of fi­bre are formed into a non-wo­ven, ho­moge­nous pad. For the Re­ally pan­els, a blan­ket of air­laid post-con­sumer cotton is sand­wiched be­tween two sheets of coloured cotton, mixed with plas­tic binder, and then com­pressed into dense, 7.8-mil­lime­tre-thick boards. These outer lay­ers give the planks one of four colour­ways. Re­pro­cessed wool roll-ends, for ex­am­ple, give the sur­face an ivory hue, while denim im­parts a fa­mil­iar blue.

The re­sult­ing boards are as durable as planks and com­pa­ra­ble to teak in weight and den­sity, but of­fer two dis­tinct ad­van­tages over wood: Be­cause there is no grain, the planks are more uni­form, and they don’t splin­ter. Even the sur­face feels soft and tac­tile, like washi pa­per.

Early in the de­vel­op­ment process, the founders sought out Dan­ish tex­tile man­u­fac­turer Kvadrat as a log­i­cal part­ner for sup­ply­ing pre-con­sumer tex­tile waste. Kvadrat now owns a ma­jor­ity stake in the com­pany and has been cru­cial in sig­nalling that, al­though the prod­uct is up­cy­cled, it doesn’t com­pro­mise on qual­ity. Dur­ing Mi­lan De­sign Week this spring, Kvadrat showed off Re­ally’s po­ten­tial by com­mis­sion­ing Max Lamb to explore the ma­te­rial. The Lon­don de­signer re­sponded with a cus­tom col­lec­tion of 12 benches fea­tur­ing, var­i­ously, sharply mitred edges, grids of half-lap joints, or routered grooves for gen­tly curved sur­faces. “It’s an in­trigu­ing ma­te­rial,” Lamb says. “At first, you don’t quite know what it’s made of, but once you know it’s tex­tile, it makes sense. There’s a warmth that comes from those ori­gins.” And at the end of its life, notes Meier Engström, “we can mill it all over again.” Re­ally is now avail­able in Europe and parts of Asia. re­al­ly­


A 1.2-me­tre card­board tube ar­rives in the mail. You pop the cork, pull out and un­ravel the elec­tri­cal cord and two sus­pen­sion ca­bles, pin the in­ter­nal LED bulb in place, switch it on, and voila: What was once a pack­age is now a prod­uct.

Called R16, this all-in-one fix­ture is a re­minder of one of Mcluhan’s most pop­u­lar max­ims – the medium is the mes­sage. De­signed by Waar­mak­ers of Am­s­ter­dam, it is the stu­dio’s lat­est en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious prod­uct that re­duces waste by a novel method. A few years ago, the stu­dio caught me­dia at­ten­tion for Goedzak, a half-yel­low, half­clear, bio-based polypropy­lene bag that can be used for items that are too good to be sim­ply thrown away. When left curb­side, the Goedzak’s bright yel­low pres­ence sig­nals to passersby that there might be some­thing in there worth tak­ing home.

“The Dutch word ‘waar’ means ‘truth,’ and it’s the sin­gu­lar term for ‘stuff’,” says stu­dio co-founder Maarten Hei­jlt­jes. “We loved the dou­ble mean­ing; it was also a way for us to put some pres­sure on our­selves: With a brand name like that you get called out if you’re not de­liv­er­ing on the prom­ise.” Hei­jlt­jes and part­ner Si­mon Akkaya, who met at

Delft Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, bonded over a shared dis­like of school as­sign­ments. “We both had dif­fi­culty find­ing in­spi­ra­tion de­sign­ing prod­ucts that we did not be­lieve the world needed.” Af­ter Goedzak, they came up with Be.e, a frame­less e-scooter built pri­mar­ily out of nat­u­ral fi­bres in­clud­ing hemp. “We try to sug­gest al­ter­na­tive views on mat­ters that are im­por­tant to us – sus­tain­abil­ity, so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, the mean­ing of ma­te­rial pos­ses­sions – and to ex­press those val­ues in our de­signs,” says Hei­jlt­jes. R16, which is now be­ing sold on­line for €200, ad­dresses the ex­cesses of pack­ag­ing. The stu­dio’s next mis­sion is to fig­ure out how to make rail travel more at­trac­tive by of­fer­ing trav­ellers a more pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. The so­lu­tion will be un­veiled this month, dur­ing Dutch De­sign Week. T.H. waar­


For all its dy­namism, the neigh­bour­hood of Ta­man Bima in Ban­dung, In­done­sia, strug­gles with il­lit­er­acy and a lack of read­ing fa­cil­i­ties. In an ef­fort to bring read­ing to the area, the gov­ern­ment asked Dutch firm SHAU, which has a lo­cal of­fice, to build a 160-square-me­tre mi­croli­brary that would be vis­ually strik­ing enough to lure peo­ple in, and that could be re­al­ized on a mi­cro-bud­get. To pro­vide both shade and crossven­ti­la­tion, SHAU con­ceived a lat­ticed fa­cade and, af­ter scour­ing the neigh­bour­hood, came up with an ideal, if un­likely, ma­te­rial: used ice-cream buck­ets. Roughly 2,000 of them, tilted to keep rain­wa­ter out, cover the box-like li­brary, which perches on stilts. Whole tubs are ar­rayed with ones that have had their bot­toms cut, spell­ing out a mes­sage from the mayor in bi­nary code: “Books are the win­dows to the world.”


Less than a decade af­ter Nike’s Flyknit train­ers in­tro­duced 3-D knit­ting to the main­stream, the dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy is now poised to trans­form the world of fur­ni­ture. Chairs with 3-D-knit backs be­gan ap­pear­ing last year, but it took Layer’s Ben­jamin Hu­bert to de­liver Tent, a chair pro­to­type that boasts a unified, 3-D-knit­ted seat, back and sides. Rather than stitch the up­hol­stery of these com­po­nents to­gether, Hu­bert worked with Moroso to weave 50,000 me­tres of re­cy­clable ny­lon into a sin­gle, seam­less piece with vir­tu­ally no ma­te­rial wasted – even the pad­ding is wo­ven di­rectly into the seat and back. The re­sult­ing gar­ment slips like a sock over a flat­pack steel frame, its sides ten­sioned by loops of high-per­for­mance sail­ing rope. lay­erde­,


To keep waste to a min­i­mum, Swedish rug maker Kasthall man­u­fac­tures all its yarns to or­der – but even this process re­sults in leftovers. “We make a few ex­tra spools in case we need to redo some­thing dur­ing the pro­duc­tion process,” says in-house de­signer Elli­nor Elias­son. “And our high qual­ity re­quire­ments mean we can’t risk even mi­nor colour dis­crep­an­cies.” Elias­son’s pro­posal for these resid­ual yarns takes cues from tra­di­tional Swedish rag rugs: Sorted into six colour group­ings, the spools are used to weave durable rugs, with a new spool added at ran­dom when the pre­vi­ous one runs out. The re­sults, launched at New York’s ICFF in May, are unique – un­planned fields of shift­ing colour trimmed with match­ing edges.


As part of his grad­u­at­ing the­sis, aero­nau­ti­cal en­gi­neer Ryan Mario Yasin of Lon­don has solved one of the most con­found­ing prob­lems fac­ing par­ents: how to keep a grow­ing child in clothes that fit. The av­er­age baby goes through six size changes by the time they start to walk. Yasin dis­cov­ered this when he bought cloth­ing for his nephew as a gift – by the time he gave it to him, he had al­ready out­grown it. That ex­pe­ri­ence led to Petit Pli, a patent-pend­ing pleated fab­ric that grows, keep­ing a child be­tween six months and three years old in wa­ter- and wind­proof pants and shell. The pleats have even been pressed in a way that lets crumbs fall off rather than lodge be­tween the folds. pe­tit­ KITCHEN CAB­I­NETRY THAT TAPS THE VAST SUP­PLY OF WA­TER BOT­TLES

Ikea is hardly the first global man­u­fac­turer to iden­tify plas­tic bot­tles as an un­tapped re­source. The trick has been to re-en­gi­neer the read­ily avail­able ma­te­rial on a large scale and still main­tain a con­sumer-friendly price point. Ear­lier this year, the Swedish fur­ni­ture com­pany broke through with a fully re­cy­cled kitchen cab­i­netry panel; each 40-by-80-cen­time­tre piece is made from 25 wa­ter bot­tles and re­claimed in­dus­trial wood. Called Kungs­backa, the pan­els and com­ple­men­tary Hackås hard­ware are by Form Us With

Love, who also aimed for a fash­ion­re­silient look – an­other in­gre­di­ent for ex­tend­ing the life of prod­ucts. FUWL’S creative di­rec­tor, John Löf­gren, com­pared the sys­tem’s fuss-free lines to a fash­ion ba­sic:

“We wanted it to feel like a black T-shirt, one that’s tuned to fit right, be prac­ti­cal and still be pre­cious.” Kungs­backa and Hackås hard­ware are now on the mar­ket.


No stranger to ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques, Ste­fan Diez moved to the other end of the spec­trum for a col­lec­tion made – at the in­vi­ta­tion of non-profit ini­tia­tive Ja­pan Creative – us­ing nat­u­ral bam­boo. Pro­duced with bam­boo mas­ter Yoshi­hiro Ya­m­ag­ishi at his work­shop on Kōchi Is­land in Ja­pan, the benches and tres­tles leave the ma­te­rial in its rawest pos­si­ble form. Two of the canes that form the legs are cut away in the mid­dle to leave strips, which wrap around the other legs to hold ev­ery­thing to­gether (a Kevlar rope, run­ning down the leg to a wooden peg, keeps the legs from splay­ing). While the bam­boo is raw, it’s any­thing but rough-hewn: Only metic­u­lous cuts at pre­cise an­gles, which al­low the pieces to fit snugly to­gether when tight­ened into po­si­tion, make the benches sturdy enough to stand up to years of use. diezof­, japan­cre­


When form­ing their epony­mous stu­dio in the French Basque Coun­try in 2016, Jean Louis Irat­zoki and An­der Lizaso made a com­mit­ment to sus­tain­able de­sign. But a chair com­mis­sion from French man­u­fac­turer Alki soon pre­sented them with a dilemma: To achieve their de­sired shape (a gen­er­ously pro­por­tioned shell atop an oak tres­tle), a light­weight, mould­able ma­te­rial – namely plas­tic – was re­quired. Re­search­ing al­ter­na­tives led to a pi­o­neer­ing com­pro­mise: the world’s first chair man­u­fac­tured in bio­plas­tic. Like petro-de­rived plas­tic, bio­plas­tic can be in­jected, ex­truded and ther­mo­formed into shape, and even re­cy­cled. Un­like tra­di­tional plas­tics, how­ever, it is de­rived from com­mon agri­cul­tural crops – a mix­ture of sugar cane, corn­starch and beet – so it can be in­dus­tri­ally com­posted at the end of its life.


Since its for­ma­tion in 1999, Plas­tique Fan­tas­tique has been con­struct­ing in­flat­able pav­il­ions that leave no phys­i­cal trace once the party is over and au­di­ences have gone home. The mas­sive bub­bles – usu­ally large enough to host spec­ta­tors as well as per­form­ers – have turned up on city streets and in par­kettes, even un­der­neath high­way ramps. As part of the Nether­lands’ an­nual Oerol Fes­ti­val (hosted on the is­land of Ter­schelling), the Ber­lin stu­dio set up mul­ti­ple stages com­posed of domed, soap­bub­ble-like forms, in­ter­locked and set within a for­est. The con­nected spa­ces cre­ated four per­for­mance ar­eas that gave way to na­ture: The first trans­par­ent sphere ac­com­mo­dated a tree; the sec­ond was squeezed be­tween branches; and the in­flated ring con­nect­ing the two stages looped around pine and oak trees to cre­ate the third stage in its void. The for­est it­self be­came the fourth stage. plas­tique-fan­tas­


In Kaza­khstan, an en­ergy mu­seum has opened with one floor given over to a pavil­ion called BIO.TECH HUT. The pavil­ion was cre­ated by Eco­log­ic­stu­dio, a Lon­don stu­dio run by Marco Po­letto and Clau­dia Pas­quero, who are de­voted to cre­at­ing self-sus­tain­ing build­ings us­ing al­gae en­ergy sys­tems.

AZURE: Al­gae is like su­per-na­ture; it can be turned into en­ergy and food. Is the world ready to em­brace it?

CLAU­DIA PAS­QUERO: Al­gae farms al­ready ex­ist. What we are propos­ing with BIO.TECH HUT is a way to em­bed the pro­duc­tion of al­gae into an ur­ban con­text. One of the main pur­poses of the pavil­ion is to ex­pose [al­gae] pro­duc­tion and let peo­ple vi­su­al­ize it in or­der to un­der­stand it.

MARCO PO­LETTO: Also, it’s to stim­u­late dis­cus­sion around how a build­ing could be made where the walls and ceil­ings – any sur­face, re­ally – are alive, cap­tur­ing oxy­gen and pro­duc­ing pro­teins and en­ergy, and so on. We’ve been able to re­al­ize that kind of sys­tem with BIO.TECH HUT, which is a pretty ex­cit­ing step be­cause it’s a real build­ing that could be repli­cated.

What does the hut ac­tu­ally do?

MP: It shows what a dwelling of the fu­ture might be like. In par­tic­u­lar, it’s or­ga­nized into three spa­ces: the Lab, the Liv­ing and the Gar­den. They are kind of in­ter­wo­ven, but they come in a se­quence. The Lab is the place of ra­tio­nal­ity, so that’s where you learn and in­ves­ti­gate dif­fer­ent types of mi­cro-or­gan­isms, us­ing mi­cro­scopes, for in­stance. We see it as a kitchen of the fu­ture. The sec­ond area, the Liv­ing, is a space of in­tu­ition and artis­tic ap­pre­ci­a­tion. It’s where you can im­merse your­self into this liv­ing sculp­ture. There’s an­other area in that room that is about re­vi­tal­iz­ing, a re­lax­ing space that is il­lu­mi­nated only by al­gae-fu­elled bio­chem­i­cal light. The Gar­den is where you ac­tu­ally learn how to grow and har­vest al­gae, ba­si­cally how you can trans­form it into some­thing us­able.

It’s also beau­ti­ful. That’s not what you ex­pect with al­gae.

MP: Its aes­thet­ics aren’t sim­ply about style; it’s an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for show­ing how ar­chi­tec­ture could come alive. We’re think­ing well be­yond the idea of a pic­turesque back­drop like a park. We’re not against that kind of use of na­ture, of course, but when you start to look at na­ture’s in­cred­i­ble abil­ity to re­gen­er­ate and to pho­to­syn­the­size, you think about how to at­tain that kind of com­plex self-suf­fi­ciency.

You’ve also made en­ergy vis­i­ble when it usu­ally isn’t.

MP: Yes, it’s a dif­fer­ent way of gain­ing knowl­edge that isn’t through read­ing books. Peo­ple get a vis­ual mea­sure of how much en­ergy can be pro­duced be­cause the sys­tem we’ve built is trans­par­ent.

What kind of re­ac­tions have you had?

CP: We’ve had many, as we usu­ally do with our pav­il­ions. Be­cause they are beau­ti­ful, peo­ple are gen­er­ally fas­ci­nated. They of­ten know some­thing about al­gae, too, but they tend to be shocked by the idea of us­ing it as a food source, even though most of the food we eat isn’t served raw – there is a whole cul­ture associated with cook­ing. So the ques­tion that is also evolv­ing with our in­stal­la­tion is, How do you eat al­gae? In the past we have col­lab­o­rated with chefs to spec­u­late on that. I’m Ital­ian, so it’s im­por­tant that we are look­ing at func­tion as well as de­sire. Some­one com­mented to us that the in­stal­la­tion ap­peared over-aes­theti­cized to be pro­duc­tive. Ac­tu­ally, the en­ergy sys­tems we have now are aes­theti­cized, too, but in a very bru­tal way. So I say: Don’t worry about our aes­thet­ics, we can just switch off the light if you don’t want to see it! For us, the more im­por­tant as­pect is to re­veal how the process is evolv­ing.

I’ve never eaten al­gae. Is it good?

CP: When we pre­sented at Expo Mi­lan a few years ago, we de­vel­oped a dessert that was sim­i­lar to a Panna Cotta, and it was very good. The taste is some­where be­tween grass and nuts. C.O. eco­log­ic­stu­


Not long ago, para­met­ric de­sign was the ex­clu­sive play­ground of star­chi­tects, re­served for big-bud­get air­ports and at­ten­tion­grab­bing con­cert halls. But as its tools be­come more ubiq­ui­tous, so­phis­ti­cated dig­i­tal de­sign is show­ing up even in smaller projects, en­hanc­ing ver­nac­u­lar ar­chi­tec­ture with bet­ter per­for­mance and fas­ci­nat­ing vis­ual ef­fects.

In Brazil, tra­di­tional stag­gered­brick screens, called cobogo, are used to fil­ter sun­light and to add ther­mal mass, prevent­ing hot out­side air from heat­ing up the in­te­rior. In São Paulo, lo­cal firm SUBDV shaded the full-height win­dows of a fac­tory and of­fice com­plex be­hind just such a screen, adding a unique twist: Us­ing para­met­ric de­sign, the ar­chi­tects de­vised a pat­tern of sub­tly ro­tated blocks for a gra­dated ef­fect that pre­cisely con­trols light and shadow in­side.

Dubbed COBLOGÓ, the screen ex­em­pli­fies what SUBDV calls its “trop­i­cal­ized dig­i­tal aes­thetic.” Us­ing Rhino soft­ware, the team used a dig­i­tal model to gen­er­ate mul­ti­ple con­fig­u­ra­tions of the ro­tated con­crete blocks. Then they stud­ied the ef­fects of each one on light­ing and heat gain. The fi­nal pat­tern, says ar­chi­tect Guil­herme Giantini, “was cho­sen for its com­bi­na­tion of pro­vid­ing 300 to 500 lux of day­light – ideal for an of­fice – while al­low­ing for nat­u­ral ven­ti­la­tion, and aes­thetic value.”

To trans­late the model into re­al­ity, SUBDV de­vised a sys­tem of CNC’D ply­wood tracks that hold guides laser-cut from cor­ru­gated card­board. Lo­cal brick­lay­ers in­stalling the screen needed only to set up the tracks, place the card­board guides in po­si­tion, and align the blocks be­fore lay­ing them as usual. “We used stan­dard three-cham­ber con­crete blocks, which gave us more flex­i­bil­ity in the align­ment,” says Giantini. “The abil­ity to ro­tate each brick, com­bined with a range of dif­fer­ently sized open­ings, lets this sec­ond skin pro­tect the in­te­rior from di­rect sun­light.

“Para­met­ric de­sign al­lowed us to try out vari­a­tions in­stantly. To con­duct these kinds of fit­ness tests and find the best con­fig­u­ra­tion would have been much more time-con­sum­ing with­out the soft­ware, if not im­pos­si­ble.” D.D.A.


Stephen Burks has built his Brook­lyn-based prac­tice over the past decade by part­ner­ing with tra­di­tional ar­ti­sans from around the globe, de­vel­op­ing on­go­ing re­la­tion­ships and mi­cro-economies in lo­ca­tions as far flung as Sene­gal, Colom­bia and In­dia. Most of his ob­jects, in­clud­ing out­door seat­ing for De­don and Roche Bobois, use weav­ing tech­niques that go back cen­turies. But Burks has brought a con­tem­po­rary lan­guage to the art, tran­scend­ing the bas­ket­ness of bas­kets by in­tro­duc­ing new in­ter­pre­ta­tions – along with new mar­kets – to an­cient tech­niques. “I’m not re­ally the kind of de­signer who just sends in draw­ings,” he says. “I be­lieve the closer a de­signer gets to the act of mak­ing, the more po­ten­tial there is for in­no­va­tion.” His lat­est col­lec­tion, called The Others, is a se­ries of out­door lamps for De­don, wo­ven in the Philip­pines at what he calls “hand fac­to­ries,” be­cause the end prod­uct, made by skilled ar­ti­sans, is just as re­li­able in con­sis­tency and qual­ity as goods man­u­fac­tured in­dus­tri­ally. stephen­burks­man­, de­

↑ One of Lamb’s bench pro­to­types. ← The pan­els are 70 per cent post­con­sumer cotton and 30 per cent ther­mo­plas­tic bind­ing agent.

Out­door lanterns for De­don are crafted in the Philip­pines us­ing tra­di­tional bas­ketweav­ing tech­niques.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.