Where once choosing more eco-friendly designs came at a cost, circular design, recycled raw materials and sustainable design are now becoming the status quo.
Made of Air
Made of 90% atmospheric carbon, this radical material system is energy positive, customisable and beautiful. As more cities around the world demand lower carbon footprints from buildings, Made of Air can significantly reduce the CO2 footprint of buildings and help real estate developers, architects and cities achieve their climate targets. Because it is made of carbon from the environment, Made of Air removes more CO2 from the air than it emits, but it’s a versatile enough material that it can be made into cladding, furniture, or flooring – the more it’s used in a building, the better it is for the environment.
Indian artists have been turning air pollution into street art with a paint made from carbon soot. Air-Ink is an innovative product by Delhi-based Graviky Labs that uses pollution to create paints and inks. Inspired by Delhi residents who complained about the heavy air pollution staining their clothes, the unique technology identifies particulate carbon as a recyclable waste and uses it as material for safe-to-use dyes. Founder Anirudh Sharma developed the technology to capture, purify and repurpose carbon soot first as a researcher at MIT and then back in India with Graviky Labs. Though not commercially available yet, Air-Ink is definitely setting a precedent when it comes to rethinking pollution.
Flooring company Aectual is really pushing the envelope when it comes to sustainable manufacturing – its robotic 3D printers and software tools produce smart building products that are shaped in a most efficient way to ensure zero waste, and less CO² emission. Aectual’s terrazzo-like flagship flooring is made from a unique bioplastic that is 3D printed into shape. The newest addition to the family is a line of multi-dimensional structural wall elements, which debuted at Clerkenwell Design Week this year. With acoustic properties, the pattern and shape can be entirely customised to function as room dividers, wall panels, and exterior cladding.
Canadian studio Dear Human has dedicated its practice to thoughtful material use, and projects often begin with playful experimentation with industrial castoffs and scrap materials to see where they can go. Standout among its creations is the Papertile system, made entirely from recycled paper. Jasna Sokolovic and Noel O’Connell developed a technique to create tiles that are as hard as board but as light as cork, and can be painted or dyed like paper. They have great soundabsorbing qualities and are easy to install. Dear Human works with Montreal businesses to use 100% post-consumer paper that is collected locally.
Recycled plastic products are usually recognised as greyish, dullish and not very attractive. Belgian-based design studio ecoBirdy is working hard to challenge this. The studio has developed ecothylene – a recycled material that looks a lot like a colourful terrazzo finish, but is actually made from post-consumer plastic. Thanks to advanced sorting technologies, ecoBirdy is able to produce recycled plastic with similar qualities to virgin plastics. The sorting process is labour intensive, but the ecological and aesthetic benefits make it worth doing. So far ecoBirdy has launched a line of children’s chairs and toys, as well as a line of lamps, but more products are expected.
From cladding made from CO2 waste to recycled paper tiles, there is no shortage of intelligent green materials today – OnOffice has selected some of the most exciting products at the cutting edge of design’s green revolution.