Vacuum - temporary objects
The technique of creating a vacuum allows the construction of temporary objects in a sustainable way. The different filling materials are non-permanently bonded together since the stability is created solely by the evacuation of air. Thereby the use of new material is minimised. As filling materials, even ever-present ordinary objects can be used, which reduces the amount of new materials needed. Due to the non-permanent connection, the components are fully separable. The foil is recyclable and the filling material is even reusable.
Different use-cases are demonstrated:
a fully functional hammer using some spaghetti, some lentils and a fifty-cent coin in a vacuum foil - nothing one does not have at home anyway
„The funny thing about sustainability is you gotta sustain it.“ Ron Finley
Wegwerfen, recyceln oder dieses System in Frage stellen?
Einige Produkte leben ewig, werden sogar von Generation zu Generation weiterverebt. Andere Produkte haben eine kurze Lebensdauer, werden kein zweites Mal benutzt, sondern landen im Müll. Nur selten entsteht erneut aus ihnen ein gleichwertiges Produkt. Doch ist das lange Leben immer besser? Oder gibt es Anwendungen und Situationen, in denen Wegwerfprodukte sinnvoller, nachhaltiger und sogar besser als dauerhafte Produkte sind? Entstanden sind eben solche bewusst kurzlebigen Nutzungskonzepte, die dennoch bzw. gerade deshalb nachhaltig sind.
Umdenken, verschwenderisch Produzieren, Konsum als Nachhaltigkeitsstragie – Provokation oder Antwort
Mit externen Partnern wurden anhand tatsächlicher Life Cycle Analysen Konzepte, Materialien, Services und Anwendungsszenarien gegenübergestellt und hinsichtlich ihrer Nachhaltigkeit bewertet, neukonzeptioniert und sinnvolle Szenarien entwickelt, die überraschen – nicht nur weil sie zum Wegwerfen gestaltet sind.
In Zusammenarbeit mit Prof. Dr. Christa Liedtke, Wuppertal Institut und Conrad Dorer, Umweltbundesamt
Herzlichen Dank an Kay Politowicz, Chelsea College und Martina Prox, ifu - Institut für Umweltinformatik
Throwing away, recycling, or questioning this system? Some products live forever, are even passed on from generation to generation. Others have a short life, are not used a second time and end up as garbage instead. Only rarely an equivalent product emerges from them. But is a long life always the better one? Are there applications and situations where disposable products are more sensible, more sustainable and even better than durable products? We made it our task to develop deliberately short-life usage concepts, which are still, or precisely for this reason, sustainable. With external partners, we compared concepts, materials, services and application scenarios and assessed them with regard to their sustainability. We developed new conceptions and sensible scenarios that are surprising – not just because they are designed to be discarded.
In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Christa Liedtke, Wuppertal Institute and Conrad Dorer, Federal Environment Agency
Special thanks to Kay Politowicz, Chelsea College and Martina Prox, ifu - Institut für Umweltinformatik
with the following projects:
Valena Ammon & Edda Rabold: Verblasst – information with an expiry date
Marcel Bohr: monoscale – a monomaterial approach
Fabian Hütter: soak – printing body fluid
Sophie Thurner: Pose – a wedding dress grown of mycelium
Johannes Voelchert: Vacuum – temporary objects
Ferdinand Hinz: Self-Check – to monitor nutrition
Lukas Unertl: aFan – designing a sustainable fan
Julia Ernst: ToToGo – toast that needs no toaster
Jonas Jentsch: LivingLight – a handful of light
Kevin Strüber & Max Michael Stalter: activity packs – social sustainability
Netta Nahardiya: MudBud – a clean way to play with dirt
Martha Sophie Kikowatz: downhill – a sledge made of ice and snow
Vacuum - temporary objects
construction without permanent connections
Conical filling material enables curved surfaces with high static load capacity similar to the round arch principle. The construction assembles itself during vacuuming.
A suitcase stands around a lot of its time and takes up a lot of space.
My alternative uses a light and stable semi-finished product made of nylon fabric and loose plastic rings. When the suitcase is not in use, the structure can be filled with air and the suitcase can be rolled up to save space. Before the next use the vacuum is generated again with the help of a hand pump, giving the suitcase its stable form.
Verblasst - Information with an expiry date
Valena Ammon & Edda Rabold
Verblasst is a speculative concept that focuses on temporary information within the context of advertising in public space. It plays with the idea of generating information through the medium of light. The focus is on surfaces which are coated with photochromic pigments. As a result, advertisements and offers can be projected onto these surfaces. The exposed areas change their colour – like exposed photographic paper. Yet, after some time the information vanishes again. The surface is ready to be exposed again.
To formulate our concept, we asked two questions: What if the fading could be slowed down and the information vanished after one day or one week? What if we could adjust the kind of light the pigments react to? Both are not yet possible with standard photochromic pigments but technically not impossible.
monoscale – a monomaterial approach
We want to own and consume without limits. But what approach prevents products such as electronic devices from having a large ecological footprint?
One possibility is to replace electronics with a monomaterial that replaces electronic functions by material-immanent properties. This is how the idea of a kitchen scale was developed.
The shape of monoscale allows the residual stress of the material to be used as a measure: The more the scale is loaded, the more it deforms, which is indicated on the scale in grams. The material used is PETG, a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) modified with glycol, which is characterised by high viscosity and impact strength. It can be bent at any angle without breaking. Also, it complies with food safety standards to be used in the kitchen. The monoscale can be produced by injection moulding. This allows it to be manufactured in a single piece in a very cost-efficient way.
a FAN - designing a sustainable fan
"This is a fan – well designed, functional and good looking. But is it sustainable?
I tried everything to create the perfect solution for a fan. I changed material painting techniques and improved the efficiency grade. I tried alternative technologies and turned the fan into a modular system, where every component is accessible to the user and can be replaced if needed. That was already quite an improvement. Yet, I thought the fan still wasn't a sustainable product. I removed unnecessary parts like the pole and the main electronics. That solution allowed me to install the fan with a regular E27 light bulb socket, but that was not enough. I turned the fan into a collapsible object. During the cold winter months, when any fan becomes an obsolete object, this one can be reduced in size. Textile is placed on top. Once blown up it turns into a light emitting surface. Wow! I got it. I finally turned a seasonal everyday object into one that can be used the entire year. However, the fan still wasn’t really a sustainable product.
So, I suffered the summer temperatures without a fan. I ended up sleepless and sweating away for an entire season. No, that wasn’t the best idea. So, what is the perfect sustainable fan? I think it doesn’t exist. There is always a hitch. When you buy your next electronic device, think twice, buy it smart."
ToToGo - toast that needs no toaster
Do we need to rethink sustainability?
Some facts: Thin and small foil packaging is not being recycled. Neither is the packaging of toast. After use, it is transported by a truck to a waste incineration plant, where it is burned in order to at least regain the energy from that foil. At the same time, we plug in a toaster at home to toast the toast. The toaster is made of an enormous amount of precious materials, which are processed in a such way that hinders recycling and it uses electrical energy when toasting.
So, what if we use the energy of the packaging directly and burn it on the table and thereby toast the toast? Why not save all the hassle, materials and transportation?
This proposition is truly possible – by using PE, a common packaging plastic, that burns without toxic by-products. From an environmental point of view this concept makes sense: According to the MIPS concept the estimated environmental impact potential of a toaster toasting 100 toasts is about 60 times bigger than for 100 ToToGo toasts. (considering the material inputs for the production of the toaster, the used energy to toast the 100 toasts, the packaging and the transportation of the toaster and the packaging of 100 toasts – not including the toasts themselves.)
What does this venture mean for us as consumers, for the toaster industry and for our general perception of sustainability?
Soak – printing body fluids
The concept of soak features a way to eliminate the effort and the negative environmental effect of printing by letting the product print itself during the course of use.
The first idea deals with a children’s plaster: The flowing blood is used to "print" the image of a dolphin just by using a blind pressed padding. Blood, that usually has an unpleasant character, is transformed into having a positive, surprising and thereby cheering effect.
The same principle is transferred to a sports shirt: While doing sports sweat can be used to "print" a logo on one’s shirt. This effect not only motivates to sweat more, it is also more sustainable. A combination of two different cellulose fibres allows for this effect. The resulting monomaterial shirt can be easily recycled in comparison to those with prints.
LivingLight – a handful of light
Imagine a light without a bulb or fixture; a light that does not need fire or electricity. A light that can't burn or destroy; a light that doesn't need switching on or off. A light that grows. A light that lives.
What would change if the development of luminescent bacteria was so advanced that they could complement or even substitute our ordinary lighting? If they could be grown not only in laboratories by specialists but by everybody at home? If we could use them whenever and wherever we want, take them with us or spray them without fear of doing any harm?
In what way would our relationship to the use of light change, if it was a living organism cared for by ourselves instead of this technical thing? Would the rate of light pollution grow as steadily as it does at the moment? Or, is it possible to start a change in the way we deal with light?
activity packs – social sustainability
Kevin Strüber & Max Michael Stalter
This project deals with the aspect of social sustainability. Activity packs help you on your path towards a healthy mind by harmonising you with yourself and the environment. Every pack includes instructions and materials necessary for a certain choreography. Every pack concerns itself with a topic of mental health. Every user makes his/her own experiences. We act from the assumption that every human being needs to be at peace with themselves and their environment to be able to turn towards their planet and their fellow human beings with true empathy.
abstract of instruction, pack #5
Find a quiet place. Spread out the cotton sheet. Weigh the sheet down with the four stones. Now put everything you have with you and on you onto the sheet. Take your time to find the right space for every item. Now lie down, naked as you are, with the items on the sheet. Take as long as you need. After you are more than you have, stand up. Look at your belongings for a while. Now roll up the sheet with the items inside. Grab it at both ends and lift it up as high as you can.
This is what I carry,
I am more than I have.
Pose – a wedding dress grown from mycelium
Weddings have a big impact on our natural environment. From the many guests, who travel to the location, over large quantities of food, to loud music, the rings and the wedding dress. Considering the fact that often the dress is used for just one day and then spends a life time in a closet, I propose a concept for a disposable wedding dress. The dress is made of mycelium – the “roots“ of fungi – a highly sustainable, fast-growing material. It does not require many resources and can be harvested almost everywhere without infringing on the space we need for growing food.
Aside from the obvious economic benefits, the dress is perfect for the latest trend, the post-wedding photoshoot, at which you are likely going to destroy the dress, but have great wedding pictures in return. The mycelium dress comes with special effects, for example, it could glow in the dark, it could lose some patches when in water, creating a new pattern, or include the bloom of flowers as the dress comes into contact with water. After a photoshoot in a lake or in the sea the dress can't be used again, but that's alright. The wedding is over and there are breath-taking pictures as a memory. These added extras in combination with the fact that the dress is grown only for oneself give the garment a tremendous personal attachment.
MudBud – a clean way to play with dirt
There are many qualities to mud for children other than being advantageous to the immune system. It encourages creation and imagination, develops the brain, and more. Many kids these days don't get to play with mud. The main reason is that mud is outside and the outside might be full of unpleasant dirt. As parents, we want to keep our kids safe, or "clean", we would rather buy the "clean" brand new plastic car toy than let our kids play with dirt. MudBud is dirt that suits parents.
Self-Check – to monitor nutrition
Malnutrition is a worldwide problem due to industrially processed food and due to a lack of knowledge. In order to enable people, especially children, to check the quality of their food, I developed a simple and playful self-test to check one’s own vitamin C levels. Tests for other vital vitamins and minerals are to follow. The concept is based on the fact that the body excretes surplus vitamins in urine. If the body is saturated the rest ends up in the toilet. A toilet gel serves as a colour indicator to show possible saturation. The gel dissolves with each refill, just like ordinary toilet gels. Yet, its colour changes from blue to transparent in the presence of vitamin C in the urine. Through the immediate, everyday self-test an awareness of balanced nutrition can be generated.
downhill – a sledge made of ice and snow
Martha Sophie Kikowatz
From the idea of shortening the lifespan of a sledge to its actual service time, two solutions emerged. The use of ice and snow limits the existence of the products to the time and place of use.
The sledge made of ice:
Fill the reusable moulds with water. Add fir needles to the water for reinforcement (e.g. from a Christmas tree). Put the moulds in the freezer.
When it is cold enough outside, assemble the individual parts and connect them with water. After sledging, the sledge can be left behind at the end of the slope.
The sleigh bag:
The sleigh bag is perfect for a hike in the snow. It can be carried up the mountain almost unnoticed in a pocket. At the top, it is unfolded and filled with snow. At the end of the track, the bag is emptied and fits back into the pocket.
– a one thousand mile shoe
by Louis Möckel
The average walking distance a human walks within one year is about one thousand miles. This shoe is designed to not last any longer than this. Considering, that we attend to buy a new pair of shoes each season and so create huge amounts of non-recyclable waste, this model offers a sustainable alternative to modern sneaker footwear. It consists of only two materials and can be disassembled into its raw materials by just one step. Through the reduction of materials, the manufacturing process is broken down to one injection moulding process and no glue is used. The shape of the shoe adapts to the customer’s feet by tightening the shoelaces individually. By distributing it through a modern selling-concept, it allows the user to buy only one pair each by handing in his worn out one to create a circular material flow. The modular design serves the opportunity to individualize the model to each customers needs and taste.
by Luis Kucharski
Sneakers are disposable products that usually do not survive more than one season. Nevertheless, they are not designed to be recycled easily.
Paper shoes should be a sustainable alternative without directly appealing to the consumer's behaviour. After use, they can be thrown into the paper bin.
stable - instable
a table for short-time use made of recycled plastics. It is made to be recycled after an average use of three years, which is the normal lifespan of students' furniture.