4th Oct 2019
This year, the organisers of the London Design Fair (LDF) chose bio-materials as its material of the event and, as a result, product designers worldwide have been seeking out sustainable materials to influence and inspire their creative journeys. This practice is evolving, it seems, as its own discipline; the experimental merging of design, technology, and science to produce high-performance materials from organic substances and agricultural waste.
LDF held up four examples of industry figures doing just that. They worked with product inventors to translate their bio-material into functional, aesthetically engaging, sustainable products, which were unveiled at the Second Yield exhibition last month.
Above; High Society makes plant-based lighting from the byproducts of hemp, tobacco and wine production. Credit: High Society
The manufacturers included Chip[s] Board Ltd who make hard-wearing surfaces produced from amongst other things potato waste (starch) and coffee ground shells and High Society Studio whose innovative plant-based lighting range is illuminating in more than one way. Jet-black resin produced by honeybees is blown like glass into otherworldly vases by Marlène Huissoud and multi-coloured husks of heirloom Mexican corn take on a new life as jigsaw-patterned furniture by Fernando Laposse.
Above; French Designer Marlène Huissoud creates silkworm cocoon sets with London Bronze Casting. Credit: Marlène Huissoud.
Above (Left); Fernando Laposse creates furniture using native corn husks and loofahs. (Right); The Swedish Design Pavilion by architectural practice, Förstberg Ling, using highly-sustainable Swedish pine.
The fair's director, Jimmy MacDonald, hopes that these types of materials will transform industrial supply chains, discouraging people from accepting waste as inevitable and providing a "second yield" from otherwise discarded by-products. We are right behind you Jimmy!
Above; Liqui Contracts sustainable diagram on how they intend to play their part in considered design, manufacture and recycling.
The Barr Design team were there, of course, weaving their way across London Design Festival’s plethora of fabulous events and venues. Rachele Bowley of Barr Design says “having absorbed so much exciting creativity across 100% Design, Design Junction & London Design Fair the overall takeaway was without doubt: Reduce, re-use, recycle… everywhere! Natural materials, sustainability and recycled plastic bottle galore! There was a real buzz of positivity – proof that the design industry really can take the sustainable lead.
Above; Liqui Contracts display their new product range at 100% Design.
Rachele continues “There were so many great new and established participants. We were particularly taken with both the products and ethos of Liqui Contracts. Taking sustainability right through from great product design to materials, manufacture, packaging and delivery. Liqui Contracts were just one of so many great producers and manufacturers which caught our eye. For an introduction to a few more of them follow Barr Design on Instagram where they will be cropping up on our posts over the next weeks and months”.