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The 100 Mile Design Challenge Asks Students To Think Local With Their Designs
The city of Baltimore has grown through its interaction with the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding marshlands, and raw materials that can be found in the region range from oyster shells, to invasive bamboo and vine species, and even driftwood and other industrial rubble. From this material palette, 100 Mile designs from the MICA contingent focus on creating products that capture the innovative spirit of this historically entrepreneurial trading port. The final product from these prodigious Environmental Design majors hint at the cultural and material variety of this Mid-Atlantic creative center.
Cindy Jian’s Oyster Soap is mixed from organic honey and oatmeal, with finely ground oyster shell particles mixed in to improve skin quality with its amino acids and calcium. Each soap is poured inside of a found oyster shell, and coated in wax and glycerin, giving it a unique shape and luster, and fitting neatly into a person’s hand. Jian continues to use found oyster shells in her Oyster Gardening Tools, which also utilize locally-sourced walnut wood in the form of ergonomically carved handles. As these tools are used, small pieces of the shells break off and into the ground, their high mineral content helping fertilize the soil.
Another student inspired by regional marine fauna is Renee Shen, who resolves many a seafood afficcionado’s dilemma with her Crab-To-Go seafood takeout container. This stylish, reusable wood and recycled canvas bag recalls the shape of a Blue Shell Crab, a local delicacy. Crab-To-Go has small pockets along the sides of its canvas lining where the user can insert bamboo charcoal to diffuse some of the fresh sea scent of its contents. Once the delicious meal is finished, composting of the shells is facilitated by the high mineral content of the charcoal.
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