A biodegradable shoe that also looks good is reason enough to celebrate, but the real genius came from Maats’ desire to give the recycler a “tangible reward” for their efforts. Wildflower seeds are hidden within the shoe’s tongue. When the shoes wear out, bury them and flowers will grow, turning disposal into an act of rebirth.
Maats knows how attached people become to their shoes. The Virgin Collection offers the chance to have a permanent memorial. Will the flowers actually grow? “Definitely,” says Maats, who is already planning different seed mixes for future versions. (top image)
Jakubik is inspired by the idea that “a user can create his own object, product or artwork, all depending on his skills”. In an accompanying video he challenges others to make their own version, using an axe and chainsaw. But Jakubik insists his chair is not a critique on mass production, DIY or our wastefulness of resources. “I am not a person who critiques such questions. It is just an ironic interpretation of open source principles.”
Their charming shapes belie a more serious social commentary, though, and Husky bristles at the idea that they might make a nice garden shed. “This is a site-specific proposal for a sustainable lifestyle,” she explains. When finished (she is still in the process of constructing the final one), they will form a small village at the Hays Valley Farm in central San Francisco. She sees her work as a form of resistance against our environmentally unsustainable ways, getting closer to nature and returning to the primitive. Husky’s drawings imagine forests filled with these strange structures – “free hotels for travelling people or activists”. It is difficult to tell if her Sleeper Cells are intended to be utopian or dystopian, but they will certainly make an attractive place to sit out the environmental apocalypse.
Bas van der Veer
In some countries, “almost a third of tap water is used for the garden,” explains van der Veer. Struggling to fit a watering can under the tap, only to carry it outside again, seemed to him to be a waste of both effort and water. Raindrop’s convenience is as important for van der Veer as its green credentials. Only by making products “easier, cheaper and more fun”, he argues, will people become environmentally responsible. The aesthetic is certainly fun too; its striking, pop-plastic form suggestive of a heavily pregnant drainpipe as much as a raindrop. Both designs have recently been put into production by the Dutch pottery firm Elho.
Marielle Van Leewen