Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials

In the first two decades of the 21st century, design has been redefined and reshaped, experiencing several revolutions, from digital fabrications, through innovative methods of craftsmanship, to the evolution of storytelling through design. The new book ‘Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future‘ by Kate Franklin and Caroline Till (published by Thames and Hudson) comes to reveal one of the most substantial of all of them: the materials revolution. Here, you will meet those designers, visionaries, and makers, who through their quest to create a sustainable world, and their concern with the future of our planet, have revolutionized the design world by using provocative materials, which they believe, have the potential to bring a brighter future to the world. 

We learn that the average citizen generates half a ton of waster every year and that most people recycle less than half of that rabbish;  that many designers are revisiting forgotten substances and raw materials, looking into the bio by-products of existing agricultural and industrial entities to find functions in renewable resources; we learn that the quest for sustainability and an ecological approach for design leads to biological manufacture where designers are mimicking the circular systems found in nature in their search for biodegradable materials.  

The authors present projects and people who take proactive approach when proposing alternative and innovative ways of productions that eliminate waste and benefit the environment. In ‘Radical Matter,’ You’ll meet Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw, who discovered a foaming reaction between bio resin and waste wood shaving, utilizing this material to make chairs; Jorge Penadés from Madrid who, by utilizing only recycled leftovers from the leather industry, makes furniture and lamps; Mieke Meijer, who turns newspaper into wooden blocks, reversing the conventional process with his ‘NewspaperWood;’ Tamara Orjola from Latvia, who creates furniture out of discarded pine needles.

In this book, you will meet creative people, working across the globe, turning waste (natural and man made), hair, dust, seaweed, plastic, fibers, and other materials into objects, making the world a better place. Another layer that this publication provides is an inspiration to us all to live responsibly. Above: Material made of the waste of corn, by Apilada Vorachart of Thailand. .   

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Chair by Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw

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Christien Meindertsma, Flax Chair for Label/Breed, 2015. Courtesy the Artist.

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Lamp by Jorge Penadés

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Newspaper Wood by Mieke Meijer

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Stool in pine needles by Tamara Orjola

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Olivier Van Herpt, Sediment Vases, 2015 – 2016, Photo: Femke Rijerman

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