Designer Merel Karhof recently unveiled Windworks - an incredible collection of wooden furniture that is produced from start to finish using only wind energy! Karhof teamed up with the De Kat color mill and the Het Jonge Schaap sawmill to use wind power for all of the woodwork, upholstery, dying and knitting of the yarn. The collaboration between a saw mill, a color mill and a knitting mill allows the designer to produce all parts of the furniture using the wind - a completely inexhaustible source of energy.
Set against the backdrop of the world-famous windmills in Zaanse Schans, Netherlands, the Windworks project took place from May 15th-19th. Zaanse Schans is located on the Zaan River in North Holland and it’s home to a collection of well-preserved historic windmills. Each one of these produces a different kind of raw material. There is a color mill called De Kat (the Cat), which has been fitted out to grind coloring materials, as well as a sawmill called ‘Het Jonge Schaap’ (the Young Sheep), which saws planks from trees.
Karhof created a ‘Wind Knitting Factory’ in 2010 that knits scarves and other textiles using energy from passing breezes. Windworks expands upon this idea to create a complete collection of furniture. Karhof began by designing a collection of upholstered furniture pieces. Each pillow of the upholstery represents the amount of time required by the wind to make it. The sawmill cuts up the wood, which is then transported to the color mill. There, yarn is dyed with natural dyes and handed over to the knitting mill, where the upholstery is constructed. The Windworks project illustrates how windmills working together can create a complete holistic industry.
Images courtesy of Merel Karhof