11th December 2014
Issues surrounding plastic in our waste streams and ways of breaking it down using fungi is an ongoing point of interest and discussion between designers, materiologists and scientists and one that is creating some intriguing propositions.
The Fungi Mutarium Incubator which was showcased in Eindhoven last week is the latest and mixes decomposition with future food. Designed in collaboration with Livin Studio and Utrecht University it cultivates mycelium within egg shaped pods made from agar (FU) whilst breaking down plastic as it grows.
Plastic is placed in the incubator along with diluted mycelium cultures which develop over the agar pods whilst slowly digesting the plastic and filling the space within them.
A slow process, it can take several months for the plastic to be fully digested by the fungi and research continues to speed this up, but what is interesting is that the agar pods can be removed at the end of the process and eaten.
The team have also come up with a recipe to create flavoured FU which can then be filled with other ingredients to make a full meal.
They have also designed a set of cutlery that has been designed specifically for eating the fungi from the pods.
Martin van Strien
5th December 2014
Its been well documented Fashions love affair with food and now the design world are getting in on the act. Commissioned by Chamber for a launch party at Design Miami a series of designers imagined cakes showcasing their design credentials.
Studio Formafantasma created a simple geometric cake in keeping with their aesthetic, whilst Floris Wubben recreated his extruded ceramics pieces into cake form.
Emerging fashion designer Martjin van Strien who crosses boundaries between product and fashion design used the icing as if it were fabric draping it over his monochrome creation.
In keeping with their aesthetic Studio Job's creation was flamboyant inside and out with a strawberry and vanilla filling and a three tiered cake decorated with gold and silver and quilted icing.
4th December 2014
Inspired by topical research into the impact of man on earth and the new geological epoch that we are living through - 'The Anthroprecene', textile designer Emily Marsh is exploring a future aesthetic whereby artificial materials are merging with the organic environment resulting in hybrid materials.
The natural world is already redefining our future materials palette with these new material hybrids known as Plastoglomerates.
These new materials are disrupting nature with their unexpected collisions and are providing inspiration for a rash of designers including Marsh who has created a range of textually engaging and unsettling materials explorations – her Material Stories.
2nd December 2014
“Substitute what causes harm” is the mantra from Studio Tjeerd Veenhoven.
One of the pioneers of the nature trend that is growing momentum, Tjeerd Veenhoven is interested in the process equally to the outcome which has resulted in the studio creating and exploring ecological projects that express the beautiful journey from concept to implementation.
Known for their palm leather project their pursuit of the alternative resulted in a stunning exhibit 'Wishful thinking, Wishful doing' during Dutch Design week.
One of the projects on show and in its infancy and yet to be named takes the waste tulip heads that are cut off the bulbs - one of Hollands most famous exports.
Extracting pigments from the heads they have found a pigment that has properties that aren't found in synthetic alternatives. Initially they planned to use them as an alternative to synthetic inks for printing on bio-plastic bags to make them truly biodegradable, but according to the studio the possibilities of the pigments are endless.
Alongside this an array of projects hint at how nature is being re invigorated into design with beautiful outcomes with stunning colour inspiration. Similarly to the Algaemy project and the Colour Provenance as well as Urtica Nettle Fabrics we are seeing a return to nature for its beautiful pigments.
1st December 2014
Synesthesia is a fascinating condition that affects the way that people see, taste, experience and engage with things around them leading people to hear colours or taste numbers.
Arising from mixed up brain signals it opens up another layer of experience in the way that we engage with stimuli and something that is of real interest in the way that we experience and engage with colour.
As part of my Practitioner in Residence at Chelsea I ran a series of colour workshops asking the students to open up their minds to 'The taste of colour, the smell of colour, the touch of colour: A workshop to explore how colour is not just a visual sense'.
The results were a much more thoughtful approach to colour which were captured in a series of colour studies, but what is more interesting is that a group of scientists at the University of Sussex think that it is actually possible to teach synesthesia.
The results were temporary, but it appears that the brain can perhaps be re conditioned to experiencing on different levels and therefore letting us into the wonderful world of synesthesia.