7 out-of-the-box designs at Dutch Design Week 2019 - Red Mud tableware by RCA designers
7 out-of-the-box designs at Dutch Design Week 2019 – Red Mud tableware by RCA designers.

Eindhoven 2019If not now, then when? is the pressing theme of Dutch Design Week 2019. We have picked 7 out-of-the-box sustainable designs showing the propelling power of creativity to shape a better future.

Materialism – The Bag Project by Studio Drift

Materialism - The bag project by Studio Drift - Photo by ©Ralph Roelse
Photo by ©Ralph Roelse.

As ambassadors of Dutch Design Week, Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn of Studio DRIFT have reduced plastic bags exiting each AH supermarket on an average day in Eindhoven into blocks “to allow visitors to visualise and physically feel the amount of materials we use.” Titled Materialism – The Bag Project, the installation at van ABBEMUSEUM featured a landscape of 3,000 blue plastic cuboids,  each one made of one recycled AH shopping bag. Video clips shot in front of AH stores displayed the rhythmic movements of doors opening and closing to an abstraction that shows our habit of laziness.

Tableware made from byproducts from the metallurgical sector

Red Mud by RCA Designers - Courtesy of Dutch Design Week
Courtesy of Dutch Design Week.

Royal College of Art designers Joris Olde Rikkert, Guillermo Whittembury, Kevin Rouff, Luis Paco Bockelmann created a series of tableware pieces and structural elements that hint to the potential of Red Mud – a.k.a. bauxite residue – is a byproduct residue of the alumina industry. Over 150 million tonnes are produced each year, and left unused in giant pits. “This project questions our notion of ‘waste’, and shows the value of secondary materials in a world of finite resources.” The designers teamed up with factories, research labs, and ceramicists across Europe.

Blowing plastic like glass to challenge the material’s negative perception

Dorian Renard - Photo by Ronald Smits, courtesy of Design Academy Eindhoven
Dorian Renard – Photo by Ronald Smits, courtesy of Design Academy Eindhoven.

Design Academy student Dorian Renard has blowin and melted plastic as if it were glass to you see plastic as you see glass. The Beauty of Distortion series is a study on how our prejudices about materials can be altered through subversive use of crafting techniques, resulting in a series of elegant plastic objects. “Today, plastic increasingly has a negative connotation. Is it possible to shift perspectives towards a new understanding of what this material could evoke?

Rethinking moths as fashion’s natural recyclers

Courtesy of Chiara Tommencioni Pisapia
Courtesy of Chiara Tommencioni Pisapia.

On a side there is fashion, one of the most polluting industries on a global scale, on the other there are moths which are quipped with digestive enzymes to break down keratin-based fibres. Chiara Tommencioni Pisapia has investigated the potential of farming the insects with a lateral-thinking attitude: “what if we see them ad natural recyclers instead of destroyers?” Their dust-like bio waste can further be used as a material in crafting biodegradable objects.

Upcycling stone masonry industries’ by-products

Lithoplast by Shahar Livne - Courtesy of Design Academy Eindhoven.
Courtesy of Design Academy Eindhoven.

The Rethinking Plastic exhibition showcased the works of 25 designers and companies tackling the status quo on plastics. For her Lithoplast project Shahar Livne dug up waste plastic from beaches in the Netherlands and Israel and layered it with minestone and marble dust, by-products from the coal mining and stone masonry industries. With heat and pressure she mimicked the geological process that changes the form and texture of existing rock. “In the far future, when we have stopped producing plastic, we can mine this ‘Lithoplast’ from deep down.”

The Plastic Mine

The Plastic Mine by Studio Thier & van Daalen - Courtesy of Dutch Design Week.
Courtesy of Dutch Design Week.

We became fascinated by the shapes and colours of the residual material from a plastic processing factory,” say Dutch designers Ruben Thier & Iris van Daalen of Thier & Van Daalen studio. This is how the idea arose to make interior products out of it: for example, a side table or a shelf in the bathroom. “A kind of mining of industrial plastic waste”. The designs were exhibited at the Rethinking Plastic exhibition.

Plant-based paint resins for healthier homes and cities

Detail of the Bosco Verticale skyscraper by Stefano Boeri Architects in Milan - Photo by Maurizio Abbiateci, CC.
Detail of the Bosco Verticale skyscraper by Stefano Boeri Architects in Milan – Photo by Maurizio Abbiateci, CC.

Switching to plant-based paint can have a positive impact on both humans and the environment. This is what believe at coating resin manufacturer DSM which has launched Decovery, a series of plant-based resins used for plant-based paint. Decovery contains fewer Volatile Organic Compounds – chemicals which evaporate from the paint and can cause long- and short-term health issues – significantly improving indoor air quality. The innovative paint is designed to be used externally on facades, walls, panels, doors and window frames, while internally the paint is suitable for use on walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture.