Adam Davies

Masters | 2016

MDes Masters Project

Material Design Using Naturally Occurring Substances by Adam Davies

Material Driven Design

Today we live in a society which is consumption orientated, where the way we live, the products and materials we use have a detrimental impact on the environment and natural cycles. Our lifestyles produce vast volumes of waste; a system which overuses oil based polymers and finite resources, to create products that have short life cycle and use materials that are harmful to both organisms and the environment.

This research aims to explore the possibilities of utilising a natural, abundant and sustainable material such as seaweed, through a non-linear and experimental exploration into materials and processes, the intention being to limit and reduce the negative impact that our current design practices have on the environment.

This relationship between myself, material and environment is a guiding factor within my design ideologies and process. Therefore, I wanted this research to express my belief that design should be a process where locally sourced materials and in situ manufacturing combine to benefit the local environment, society and economy.

By combining seaweed with recycled waste paper, I have created a biomaterial which is 100% sustainable and adds value to environments, rather than degrades it. The material formed from this combination is tough and durable with a texture similar to that of cork; tactile and possessing a natural warmth, with subtle smells that have hints of the sea remnant within. Differentiation in colour is achieved by altering the variety of seaweed used, and each type produced different desirable characteristics that I wanted to utilise.

The seaweed is harvested from the coast of Pembrokeshire, using the material and landscape to generate outcomes. Herein lies the beauty of this concept; there no longer needs to be friction between design and the environment. Instead, design can live holistically with the natural ecosystem, with products returned to the innate cycle of local environments from which it was produced.