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Biomaterials for Sustainability That is Both Cool and Eco-frien

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Environmental issues are a big concern in every industry around the world. Many green designers are seeking alternative materials that are both eco-friendly and functional to reduce waste and pollution. Yale – Anya Muangkote is also a part of this green movement. While studying at Royal College of Art (RCA) in London, UK, Yale have focused her study on Biomaterial, became the starting point of the Regen Districts project, funded by the Connections Through Culture (CTC) program and collaborated with Materiom, an organisation who has created an online library platform of biomaterial recipes from designers and scientists around the world. 


Open door to the Biomaterial world

 

“I found out about Materiom while I was studying in London. This is a platform that is well-known among many design students in Europe, textiles students especially are the group of people looking for materials that serve sustainability goals. As for me, I studied product designs, most of my classmates are focused on societal designs such as designs for disabilities. Fashion and textile students are greatly interested in biomaterials. A lot of fashion students have signed up for the biodegradable materials workshop I hosted because they want to know more whether these materials can be useful for their design.”

 

Yale compares the process of making these biomaterials to cooking food, you know what ingredients to put into the menu but it still takes trials and errors to perfect the recipes. Having the Matriom platform is very useful for those who are interested in making the materials themselves. Consulting the platform, sharing the recipes and developing from it reduces the experiment time and expands the boundaries of biomaterials.

 

“When I started to seriously work on (biomaterials). It dawned on me that we create a lot of waste in a day. Every day I crack an egg, I will wash the shell, dry it, and crush it in preparation for the biomaterials. The process is not complicated, all can be made with kitchen appliances and what you found around you. It’s something that everyone can DIY at home without much effort. I would recommend anyone to start using ingredients that we consume the most.”


Collaborative Workshop with the New Artists

 

At first, Yale intended to host workshops for the general public to participate and to share the knowledge from Materiom, having a basic 101 lessons from the fundamentals on biomaterials, the binding agents, and so on but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a big gathering is not ideal for the time being. So, Yale started to collaborate with Thai artists and set up online showcases. “People frequently ask what biomaterial can do? So, I thought I should invite artists from various fields to collaborate and showcase the samples of biomaterials’ potential, so interested people can gain a better idea.” 

 

After collaborating, there is overall positive feedback from the artists that they are excited to get to know more about biomaterials. But there are still limitations to biomaterials like the muted colours and numerous making steps, “I want to share the information on all the properties of biomaterials, to show that there are still challenges. If it’s not dried properly, it can get mouldy. I’m not pushing everybody to use it because it might not fit every artist’s working style, an artist with a busy lifestyle might want a different outcome than a minimalist who wants the pieces to come out precisely as measured from the beginning. Through the process of testing and making, some pieces may come out crooked, some love this kind of unpredictable outcome and view it as the charm of biomaterials.


Expansion of Sustainability through the Network

 

Besides collaborating with artists and designers, Regen Districts also partnered with the restaurants and cafés in Wattana district where they provide the organic ingredients for biomaterials production. This is not only giving value to waste, it also gives people who are interested in biomaterials convenient access to ingredients as well as a network of environmentally conscious people. “The intention for the project is to have the network everywhere, with the initial start at Thonglor, Ekkamai, and Onnut with the café and restaurant partners that understand the idea and have available space for ingredient pick-up walk-in with little hassle. You may need to call in advance because some ingredients such as fruit peels will become mouldy if stored for too long.”

 

You can check out the list of participating café and restaurant partners on the website : regendistricts.com/community. In the future, Yale plans to expand the network of partners as well as hosting collaborative workshops with them about biomaterials from their ingredients or have a small pop-up showcase when people know more about Regen Districts. 

 

“Conceptually, this is a very big project but we’re starting small. We don’t see it as much of a business opportunity. We want Regen Districts to become a space for conversations and collaboration between those who are interested in the materials. I recently went to Thailand Coffee Fest and people were interested in the phone stand I made out of coffee bean skins, this is just a part of my personal work as a designer, but as Regen Districts, I am focused on communication. I want the biomaterial ideas to be widespread knowledge, because there is so much waste produced daily that causes the strain on our environment with pollution, waste, and overconsumption. So , we want this to inspire people to take this knowledge and idea to develop further. This, in turn, would support sustainable economic development in Thailand as well.”  

 

Regen Districts joined Bangkok Design Week 2022 with both on-site exhibitions and online events, more details on the website regendistricts.com Yale will also be a guest speaker at the online talk “Material Futures 2022” on 11 February 2022 at 14.00-16.00 via Facebook : Bangkok Design Week. Let’s find out new creative ways to help the environment !



Regen Districts

Website : regendistricts.com

Facebook : facebook.com/regendistricts




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