CLAYERCLAYER AN INNOVATIVE BLEND OF WORLD HERITAGE WITH TODAY’S TECHNOLOGIES TO CRAFT ETHICAL & SUSTAINABLE EARTHWARES
The Clayer project is an effort to design an urban building module that
reduces air pollution. By using a local clay material and structural 3D
printing, we developed a brick that reduces dust particles as air flows through it.
Based on a database of more than 100 Slovenian local clays, we identified a clay from the Soča river as the one with the most appropriate features for 3D printing. The outcome is a design that aesthetically references traditional architectural motive while providing very contemporary look, especially when used in an urban environment.
Partners: Mashoni, Noumena, Wasp;
Clay database: Magusar;
Support: Anže Rogelja.
MASHONI is a design studio creating timeless, fresh, clear, elegant and comprehensive design solutions. They cover the entire aspect of research, product and brand development for hi-end audio, lights, wood production, fashion and press.
WASP is the brand name of CSP srl, a company producing custom 3D printers for specific applications and accuracy, from large industrial printers to domestic printers with local materials to a wide range of Delta printers for House, Food, Healthcare, Energy, Art, Digital Craft, Education.
NOUMENA is a company focused on design, research and education. The studio investigates the boundaries of new digital paradigms and design strategies applied to architecture, robotics and advanced materials, through a hands-on and experimental approach.
The main idea emerged through reading of Bruno Latour’s books, Down to Earth and Becoming Gaia, that among others rethink new ecological narratives, where the nature is no longer an inert background from which resources are extracted for human activities; rather, it has reclaimed its role as an active agent in the fate of the planet. In such context, we found the qualities of the local earthenware for “breathing” the polluted air, the same way microbiome in the soil breaths together with the forest.
As we are the designers working with local narratives, we wanted to experiment with the earth as an innovative material, especially in combination with emerging technologies of 3D printing.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
Project was born out of the capacities of core partners. Design approach that appreciates qualities of local materials and traditional forms, technological partner with expertise in clay 3D printing and newly published catalogue of Slovenian clays. All partners were eager to experiment, and not only to learn from the experience, but also to develop a methodological case that would benefit not only the market but also communities in urgencies.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
Main contribution to the creative process were lifetime experiences and mastery of involved partners. With such capacities we exchanged experiences, discussed benefits of clay as a local material, stories of developing the nationwide catalogue of clays, etc. As designers we are aware that crucial part of the process is experimentation with the material—including dirty hands-on digging of a clay at a riverbank.
No one individually has a capacity to develop project as we did as a group. Furthermore, our point of departure was a community driven innovation that benefits local communities and not ourselves. On such foundations, the rest is a pure joy.
Based on a proof of a concept, that demonstrated benefits and limitations of a such approach, we aim to find a concrete local community with which we would build the first application. So, we will approach some municipalities with air-pollution problems and develop first onsite pilot case.
You are never alone. There are always mutual interests, you just need to share your ideas and discuss opportunities. Through some work, mutual satisfaction is more than just your own.
KICS was born during the development of an innovative project for the T&C sector, TCBL. This project was a great melting pot of ideas and during one of several meetings, the crew of the project started to think:
• Why not use sewing kit to get people involved?
• Why there are tons of kits in the textile market, but nobody suits with the different
skill levels of people?
From that two questions KICS started to take shape but it was not easy to answer these questions, the difficulties have been many and it has been hard to find the right environment for developing the idea and focusing on what steps to develop. While trying to find the crux of the issues, the solution came almost by accident and involuntary from a TCBL affiliated lab, Gullo Filati. This historical haberdashery in the centre of Palermo (Italy) had been organising sewing café for several years where people could, within a collaborative environment, create garments, also exchanging skills and knowledge about the textile field. The second partner, TCoE, was found within the partners who made up TCBL project, seen their pluriannual experience in the textile field. All this was perfect for the developmentt of the idea, but one thing was still missing, who would finance the idea? Fortunately, while the crew was looking for possible financiers, the Worth project began its funding program and in this way the idea could go ahead.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
There is a market around the art of sewing, that is returning to be a fashionable activity. Unfortunately, in Europe this craftsmanship has been lost and those who approach sewing must struggle hard to reach an acceptable level of knowledge, such as being able to make their own clothes. In parallel there are many people who would like to sew at home but who do not find sewing projects at their levels. The main problem for those experts who prepare sewing kits is that they can hardly put themselves in a beginner & shoes. Furthermore, more time is spent on packaging and promoting the package than on experimenting with groups of sewers at different skill levels. So, it happens that a beginner buys an appealing kit that promises the realization in a short time of an article or a garment, when then the buyer is faced with complicated explanations and obstruse terminology, taken for granted that certain steps are clear to the user. This generates frustration and hardly the customer will buy another kit from the same
seller. KICS overcome these obstacles, introduced a new approach: co-design sewing kits with groups of beginners and intermediate sewers in a social sewing environment, before proposing them to the market. The different skills levels have allowed for qualitative upgrade from small items to simple garments and then moving on to propose articles of increasing difficulty. In addition, it has been very important to provide instructions that are well written, to avoid user frustration for an incomplete or badly done task. This has been achieved by preparing kits that included the garment already cut into pieces, step by step sewing instructions and everything needed to do the job (yarn, needles, zippers, buttons, ribbons, elastic-band and so on). In addition, the kits have included a guide for the managers of sewing cafés, identifying difficult aspects or the type of support that may be needed in-house.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
After several skype conferences Gullo Filati and TCoE designed a simple garment (a skirt), in different sizes to choose from. As design we mean: the sketch of the garment, the sewing pattern, a real prototype, and the basic instructions with the sequence of the necessary steps for its realization. TCoE and Gullo Filati also decided the kind of fabric to be used. TCoE was the first to test the kit in a sewing cafè, organising this collaborative environment inside their structure with a box with a very raw design. This first test was really important, and it gave to the partners an effective analysis on the feasibility of the entire project, resulting a very precious segment for the pursuance of the path. Gullo Filati, with the useful feedback from this first test, started to design the definitive box with the help of a designer, this because it was important that the kit had a well-designed, elegant, and captivating; in the meantime, they started to organise others sewing cafè, for a better understanding of the aspects to improve (instructions, possible changes of the type of garment, design of the box, etc). At that point, the project had to face its first slow down. One of the pillars in the organisation of sewing cafè is the reduced number of participants for a better management of the sewing cafè itself. This principle clashed with the industrial production of boxes of all the companies contacted by the partners. How to solve this obstacle? Fortunately, one of the several TCBL Labs (Consorzio ARCA) gave partners the opportunity to use the laser cutting machine inside of its structure and in this way the project had the chance to produce just the boxes necessary to continue the tests. At that point, while Gullo Filati was ready to test the definitive design of the box, attempting to start the selling too, the project had a heavy setback due to corona virus.
The whole structure of the project is based on collaboration. The main tool used by the project, the sewing cafè, it is a collaborative environment where all the participants are
able to exchange skills and knowledge on textile field. The partners, in this context, worked side by side, improving each other. The entire project could not have started without a close collaboration and for this reason the partners know perfectly well that working together is the best way to develop things.
When the partners will have the opportunity to finish the project, they will try to sell the kit box through different channels as e-commerce platforms or directly through the
organisation of sewing cafes. Moreover, they would like to spread the pillars of this project to others subjects within EU that want to organise sewing cafès and boosting the principles of collaborative environments.
Why work alone when you could collaborate? Shaping the future with collaboration!