StoneCycling, founded in 2013 in southern Holland by Tom van Soest and Ward Massa, transforms local waste into sustainable building material. Each of its WasteBasedBricks is made from waste materials gathered within a radius of 150km of the factories StoneCycling works with. Variations in local supplies and differences in production methods result in a range of bricks that reflect the character of their location.
Dutch architect Pieter Stoutjesdijk and his ECOnnect firm have created a prototype for a self-build, environmentally friendly house, made of 122 ‘eco boards’ that can be produced locally, anywhere in world, from readily available, sustainable resources such as crop residue and agricultural waste. The original concept was developed in response to the devastation of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which left the residents of Port-au-Prince in dire need of shelter. The self-build house is constructed of modular elements that can be cut anywhere with a CNC (computer numeric control) machine. It is designed to be very easily erected, requiring no more equipment than a rubber mallet.
Reconfiguration of a Tree is a design research project by Studio Thomas Vailly in celebration of bio-based materials and the Pinus pinaster (maritime pine) tree, which grows in the Mediterranean region. Believing that, faced with abundant, cheap synthetic material, we have been overlooking the potential of natural resources, Vailly wanted to illustrate how basic materials derived from the tree can be used as building blocks for new design processes and products. Vailly defines the result as an ‘abstraction of the tree’. In collaboration with designers David Derksen, Garder Eyjolfsson and Lex Pott, various products, from clogs to a table and stools, were developed.
As part of its ongoing Granby Workshop project, socially conscious architecture and design collective Assemble Studio has created tiles and doorknobs using a barbecue. Mimicking the aesthetic of raku, a Japanese ceramic style, the collective used a barbecue to scorch bisque tiles and ceramics. The result is an engineered organic surface pattern that is unique to each piece, demonstrating that interesting new treatments and effects can be created through pragmatic exploration of established processes and modest low-fi equipment.
Founded by agricultural entrepreneur Gianantonio Locatelli (read more in this issue’s Opinion section), the Museo della Merda (Museum of Shit) is located at a dairy farm in Lombardy, northern Italy. It procures more than milk from its bovine residents. Locatelli has created a process that extracts methane gas from their manure – the facility is capable of generating up to three megawatts of energy per hour. The remaining material becomes Merdacotta, a clay composite of the processed cow dung, which is used to create products such as flower pots and tableware. By putting the organic matter through multiple processes, waste is transformed into energy and also functional and cultural items