Seaweed, Sawdust, Paper, Coffee Grinds, Steel, Concrete
In Australia, around 20 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste are produced every year. To tackle this issue we found a circular solution from the most unlikely of spaces, the seaweed industry. Seaweed absorbs nitrogen and heavy metals and alleviates eutrophication and acidification while building habitat and diversification within the marine ecosystem. By utilising this fast-growing biomass responsibly and using this as a material for making, the resulting objects can be truly regenerative and sustainable.
The idea of using existing construction waste in combination with biomaterials embodies this radical change of what we envision in the future. It displays new material capability and beauty while having an artistic yet functional approach. The concrete rebar footings add a rustic and raw texture, while still embodying its intrinsic robust and structural properties as the support for our chair. The seaweed biomaterial with its warm, light and organic cork-like appearance is used in the seat to highlight our transition to sustainability.
This conceptual artifact contrasts traditional and emerging materials and technologies to tell our story of a regenerative future with seaweed in architecture. The material and process were designed to have a significantly lower embodied energy than the existing construction materials in the market and its organic texture and colour give a unique character to interior design.
The seaweed biocomposites we’ve created consist of 100% biodegradable elements sourced from the seaweed farming process in Tasmania, as well as other locally available waste resources collected from nearby cafes such as waste sawdust, coffee grinds and cardboard.
Born in Hong Kong. Artist, designer, maker currently base in Melborune (Naarm). Finished his study at RMIT (BA. hons)& an exchange study at TU/e (Netherlands). Hin’s multi-cultural background has been a platform for his diverse and empathetic design style with a primary focus on furniture and object designs to express ideas. His design objective is to create artefacts using sustainable practices and challenge traditional material use assumptions. Hin’s work is inspired by emerging materials in their local context as he endeavours to utilise sustainable materials with developing technology. Through his designs, Hin aims to raise awareness of cultural, environmental and ethical issues through the lens of material novelty. Hin’s craftsmanship and wide range of material/fabrication knowledge in object design, enabled him to explore the possibilities of utilizing seaweed as a bio material.
Shimroth John Thomas is a cross-disciplinary designer whose practice sits at the intersection of architecture, photography, system, and climate. Shimroth completed his master’s from RMIT’s School of Design and is now working on developing innovative biomaterials to tackle the climate crisis. In 2020, he cofounded Untwine, a unique material/product/service/system solution aimed at eliminating single-use packaging waste in the food and beverage industries. In 2021, he founded Phycoforms, to tackle the unsustainability of the construction industry by tapping into Australia’s rapidly emerging seaweed industry. Using circular economy thinking, the Phycoforms product range consists of 100% biodegradable architectural products which are derived from the residues of harvested brown seaweed and other waste resources.