Politics, ecology, crowdsourcing, resource recovery, and resilience are some of the concepts that inspired recent Royal College of Art graduates assembled for this year's SustainRCA exhibition. Part of the bustling London Design Festival, the show explored sustainable materials and alternative living scenarios responsive to world issues like climate change. Click through the images to discover textiles made from unusual materials like pineapple fibers and jellyfish, as well as Daniel Durin's 'Waterbed', a mobile, floating tent that can be transported with a bike.
Nana Asafua Dawson‘s AwiaHene (Sun King) is a fumes-free, low-tech casting machine for making traditional lost-wax jewelry in Ghana. It provides a new, solar-powered and affordable way of casting metal objects using an old box TV as a lens and scrap metal.
Spanish designer Carmen Hijosa unveiled a new textile made from pineapple leaf fibers called Piñatex™. Crafted in the Philippines after 5 years of thorough research, the versatile material uses a by-product of the pineapple harvest and offers a kinder, more sustainable alternative to leather.
Japanese designer Yurii Kasao tackles the increasing numbers of jellyfish with her 100% Jellyfish Leather. Born as an alternative to leather, the organic, biodegradable and translucent material can be cut, sewn and remolded like cow’s skin.
Taiwanese designer YunTing Lin takes MDF to a new dimension with his Nanocellulose Fiberboard. Made from a composite of plant fibers such as flax, it is naturally bound together using a substance made from fermented cellulose.
Seongil Choi & Fabio Hendry from Studio Ilio explore alternative processes for making solid bodies with line structures. The process consists of a nichrome wire structure that when placed in a container with a material mix, based on waste nylon powder, and fed an electrical current, heats up allowing the material to bond with the wire into a bone-like structure.
Kathryn McGee‘s Junkan draw inspiration from Japanese design, utility wear and craft techniques. As its name implies, Junkan (‘cyclical’ in Japanese) aims to engage wearers in upcycling, customization, recycling and reuse of their own clothes through different craft techniques.
South African Charlotte Slingsby‘s Moya is an energy generation system involving sheets of plastic with wave-like filaments and LEDs. The light low-cost dynamic material can harvest small amounts of wind energy and can be used as a hairy building façade.
Scientist and designer Ellie Banwell created Metablaze, a machine for collecting and recovering precious resources through waste incineration. Designed for a circular economy guided by natural laws, the project looks at incineration for obtaining high-tech materials like composites from waste.
Parsha Gerayesh‘s MonoFrame Glasses are made from one continuous piece of wire that allows for easy recycling at the end of its life. As opposed to traditional glasses made from multiple components and varied materials, these eco-friendly frames are crafted through a CNC wire bending technology used in spring manufacturing,
Bulgarian designer Zarya Vrabcheva traveled to Japan for her project eArth to explore rammed earth as a building material. Low-energy, locally sourced and low-cost, the project embraces the beauty and fragility of the material through the making of a ceramic workshop model from an old excavated playground.
British designer Henry Sykes deals with London’s rise in property prices through his project called Fleet Vs Street. It consists of canal boat-homes that can be stacked in a highrise-like tower for living on London’s canal waters.
Architecture graduate Alice Theodorou‘s The Future Will Just Have to Wait is a critique to the over redevelopment abuse in London. It consists of a tower with human statues that support the floors of a building in a context where architectural style is considered the most important feature.
Adam Guy Blencowe blends digital technology with traditional felting techniques for his Fuzzy Logic concept. Using a hacked tool in combination with CNC, the British designer bonds textiles together with the resulting marks are incorporated as patterns and pockets.
Photos © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat