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robertogreco : upcycling   11

The world is poorly designed. But copying nature helps. - YouTube
"Japan’s Shinkansen doesn’t look like your typical train. With its long and pointed nose, it can reach top speeds up to 150–200 miles per hour.

It didn’t always look like this. Earlier models were rounder and louder, often suffering from the phenomenon of "tunnel boom," where deafening compressed air would rush out of a tunnel after a train rushed in. But a moment of inspiration from engineer and birdwatcher Eiji Nakatsu led the system to be redesigned based on the aerodynamics of three species of birds.

Nakatsu’s case is a fascinating example of biomimicry, the design movement pioneered by biologist and writer Janine Benyus. She's a co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit encouraging creators to discover how big challenges in design, engineering, and sustainability have often already been solved through 3.8 billion years of evolution on earth. We just have to go out and find them."
biomimicry  design  classideas  janinebenyus  biology  nature  trains  shinkansen  japan  birds  sustainability  biomimetics  form  process  plants  animals  2017  circulareconomy  ecosystems  systemsthinking  upcycling  cities  urban  urbanism 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Pressure Mounts to Reform Our Throwaway Clothing Culture by Marc Gunther: Yale Environment 360
"Americans dispose of about 12.8 million tons of textiles annually — 80 pounds for each man, woman, and child. In the U.S. and around the world, a growing number of environmentalists and clothing industry executives say it’s time to end the wasteful clothing culture and begin making new apparel out of old items on a large scale."



"London-based Worn Again began “upcycling” a decade ago by turning textile waste — including discarded McDonald’s uniforms, Virgin Atlantic airplane seats, and prison blankets — into clothes, shoes, and bags. But founder Cyndi Rhoades soon realized that making consistent products out of a variety of materials was “a very difficult business.” She turned her attention to recycling cotton and polyester, which poses a different set of obstacles. Mechanical recycling of cotton lowers its quality as chopped-up fibers get shorter and less soft, while recycled polyester costs more than new. Harder still is recycling clothes made from a blend of fabrics, which must be separated.

After several years of research, Worn Again joined forces with H&M and the PUMA division of Kering to develop chemical processes that will capture polyester and cotton from old textiles that have been broken down to the molecular level. Says Rhoades: “The holy grail is a process that can separate blended fibers, recapture the raw materials, and reintroduce them into the supply chain at a price competitive with their virgin counterparts.” The technology has been proven in a lab, but Rhoades declined to predict when it will be deployed more widely.


A partnership between Levi Strauss and Seattle-based startup Evrnu recently brought forth the world’s first pair of jeans made of post-consumer cotton waste. A preliminary lifecycle assessment of the product generated encouraging results, according to Paul Dillinger, vice president and head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss. “Cotton cultivation versus Evrnu, we’re looking at a 98 percent reduction in water use,” says Dillinger, noting that cotton is cultivated in places like China, India, and Pakistan that are — or could soon be — water-stressed.

Stacy Flynn, a former Target executive who is the co-founder of Evrnu, says its patented process purifies cotton garment waste, converts it to a pulp, and extrudes it as a clean new fiber that is softer than silk and stronger than cotton. Evrnu expects to announce partnerships with two more retailers soon, one of which wants to make knit shirts out of textile waste. The other will focus on footwear.

Flynn says: “Our goal — and we’re not there yet — is to use no virgin product in the creation of our fiber, and create no waste.” "
clothing  recycling  mending  textiles  us  fashion  environment  sustainability  wste  pollution  upcycling  levis  levistrauss  wornagain  glvo  h&m  puma  nike  patagonnia  zaa  thenorthface  eileenfisher  americaneagle  cotton  fabrics 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Making as an Act of Caring — Medium
"My friend Deb Chachra wrote a great piece ‘Why I am not a Maker’ in the Atlantic last year, about the problems with taking on the identity of a “maker”, especially in tech culture, as it assumes intrinsic superiority to other forms of repair, fixing and especially, care-giving. Around the same time, friend and collaborator Tim Maughan wrote about his journeys through Chinese factories, a deeply moving piece on the conditions and lives of the people who actually make most of the things we use. I believe that such critique that challenges the dominant understanding of the ‘maker culture’ and its implications on labour, geopolitics and consumerism is important and urgent.

On a personal front, Deb and Tim’s essays got me thinking a lot about what ‘making’ means to me, and I realised that my understanding of this term is coloured by Jon, whom I live and work with. It got me thinking about the amount of time and energy Jon spends ‘making’ things. It is the sort of making that requires him to find, forage, build or improvise tools and materials in order to make things work.

From quickly knocking up a set of ‘acrylic chisels’ from waste plastic pieces as a bespoke toolset for gilding, to building an enormous drone with his partner-in-crime Jon Flint, resurrecting his grandfather’s cherished lamp, fixing the neighbour’s bike, reconfiguring his mother’s phone, retrofitting his son’s electronic toys, creating a DIY bioreactor, applying ancient Japanese techniques of Kintsugi as a means of adding the history of repair to his bike, and most recently foraging the city for waste in order to build salvaged prototypes that might help mitigate the shock of climate change. But he is not trained as a carpenter, metalsmith, engineer, or product designer. Nor does he go to makerspaces, he probably feels bit overwhelmed by them. He is an artist and then a designer.

Most importantly, Jon is a maker because, over the years he has developed an uninhibited curiosity for found materials and their potential applications to either fix things or build new things in the future. This deep knowledge of materials embodied within the stuff we use in our daily lives, as well as the numerous tools and techniques of making, is critical to understand the impact the things we use have on our environments. It also generates a pattern of lateral and anticipatory thinking, as he constantly scours the environment looking for materials and tools, anticipating their potential (re)use in an entirely different context. It’s an attitude of mending, helping, and, most importantly, caring, that defies mainstream consumerism.

This sort of an attitude is neither new nor unheard of. There are hundreds of thousands of people who would not call themselves makers but would quite easily fit this bill of a ‘maker’. The recently visible projects by such makers include the brilliant Fixperts and Engineering at Home amongst others. These projects and activities are often packaged as ‘fixing’, ‘jugaad, or ‘up-cycling’, and remain on the periphery of the dominant maker-culture discourse. These approaches are often associated with resource stripped individuals and communities (especially Jugaad in India), or some sort of hippie do-gooders. No, they are not just fixing, not just doing some little bodging in the corner, they are mainstream makers. In fact, I would argue that they are more than makers, they are actually care-givers, who steadfastly push back against the dominant philosophy of planned obsolesce.

Maker-carers who may not use 3D printers to make shoes or dresses, but instead embody making as a way of life. They are quietly shaping the ethos and values of a 21st century maker — adaptive, crafty, anticipatory makers who care deeply about the people and environment around them. And this is the sort of making-as-caring that we need much more of. As we head towards increasingly precarious political, social and environmental crisis, we will all need to nurture the capacity to think through materials and the systems that these materials manifest within, so we can find the means to restore, revive, resurrect, rewire, and reimagine the physical world of consumption we are drowning in. Obviously this would mean we will buy less things, but it also means that we will know what we buy and mostly importantly have the skills to adapt and re-appropriate materials and tools for uncertain conditions.

If we are going to idolise makers and create large-scale foundries, incubators and educational programs to inculcate and embrace the love for making, then lets nourish this idea of making as care-giving too, and ensure that the ‘maker-culture’ we build is diverse and inclusive. And in doing so, encourage a relentless inquisitiveness, integrity, and pliancy that it can bring for us, those around us and the environments we live in."
anabjain  jonardern  making  care  caring  caregiving  repair  maintenance  2016  adaptivity  resourcefulness  sfsh  ingenuity  jugaad  consumerism  debchachra  timmanaugh  technology  climatechange  consumption  labor  geopolitics  reuse  recycling  superflux  jonflint  art  design  makers  openstudioproject  lcproject  repairing  mending  fixing  fixperts  engineeringathome  upcycling  makerculture  caitrinlynch  sarahendren  kintsugi 
july 2016 by robertogreco
What I’m working on lately: Practices of the minimum viable utopia (long) | Speedbird
"In the fusion of each of these three archetypal processes, el Campo de Cebada, Godsbanen and Unto This Last, we can see the outlines of something truly radical and terribly exciting beginning to resolve. What can be made out, gleaming in the darkness, is a — partial, incomplete, necessarily insufficient, but hugely important — way of responding to the disappearance of meaningful jobs from our cities, as well as all the baleful second-order effects that attend that disappearance.

When apologists for the technology industry trumpet the decontextualized factoid that each “tech” job ostensibly creates five new service positions as a secondary effect, what they neglect to mention is that the lion’s share of those jobs will as a matter of course prove to be the kind of insecure, short-term, benefits-lacking, at-or-close-to-minimum-wage positions that typify the contemporary service sector. This sort of employment can’t come anywhere close to the (typically unionized) industrial-sector jobs of the twentieth century in their capacity to bind a community together, either in the income and benefits they produce by way of compensation, in the conception of self and competence they generate in those who hold them, or in the sense of solidarity with others similarly situated that they generally evoke.

At the same time, though, like many others, I too believe it would be foolish to artifically inflate employment by propping up declining smokestack industries with public-sector subsidies. Why, for example, continue to maintain Detroit’s automobile manufacturers on taxpayer-funded life support, when their approach to the world is so deeply retrograde, their product so very corrosive environmentally and socially, their behavior so irresponsible and their management so blitheringly, hamfistedly incompetent? That which is falling should also be pushed, surely. But that can’t ethically be done until something of comparable scale has been found to replace industrial manufacturing jobs as the generator of local economic vitality and the nexus of local community.

So where might meaningful, valued, value-generating employment be found — “employment” in the deepest sense of that word? I have two ways of answering that question:

- In the immediate term, I believe in the material and economic significance of digital fabrication technologies largely using free and open-source plans, deployed in small, clean, city-center workshops, under democratic community control. While these will never remotely be of a scale to replace all the vanished industrial jobs of the past, they offer us at least one favorable prospect those industrial jobs never could: the direct production of items immediately useful and valuable in one’s own life. Should such workshops be organized in such a way as to offer skills training (perhaps for laid-off service-sector workers, elders or at-risk youth), they present a genuinely potent economic and social proposition.

There are provisos. The Surly Urbanist correctly suggests that any positions created in such an endeavor need to be good jobs, i.e. not simply minimum-wage dronework, and my friend Rena Tom also notes that the skills training involved should be something more comprehensive than a simple set of instructions on how to run a CNC milling machine — that any such course of instruction would be most enduringly valuable if it amounted to an apprenticeship first in the manual and only later the numeric working of materials. I also want to be very clear that, per the kind of inclusive decision-making processes used at el Campo de Cebada, such a workshop would have to be something a community itself collectively thinks is worth experimenting with and investing in, not something inflicted upon it by guileless technoutopians from afar.

- In the fullness of time, I believe that the use of relatively high-technology techniques to accomplish not merely the local, autonomous production of everyday objects, furnitures and infrastructures, but their refit and repair, will come to be an economically salient activity in the global North. In this I see a congelation of several existing tendencies, logics or dynamics: the ideologically-driven retreat of the State from responsibility for stewardship of the everyday environment; the accelerating attrition and degradation of the West’s dated and undermaintained infrastructures, and their concomitant need for upgrade or replacement; increasing belief in the desirability of densifying urban infill; the rising awareness in the developed world of jugaad, gambiarra and other cultures of repair, reuse and improvisation; the emergence of fabricator-enabled adaptive upcycling; the circulation of a massive stock of recyclable componentry (in the form of obsolescent structures as well as landfill-bound but effectively nondegradable consumer items), coupled to the emergence of a favorable economics of materials recovery; broader experience with and understanding of networked, horizontal and leaderless organizational structures; the creation of a robust informational commons, including repositories of freely-downloadable specifications; and finally the clear capability of online platforms to facilitate development and sharing of the necessary knowledge, maintain some degree of standardization (or at least harmonization) of practice, suggest sites where citizen repair might constitute a useful intervention, and support processes of democratic decision-making."
utopia  2014  adamgreenfield  openstudioproject  pocketsofresistance  resistance  institutforx  godbanen  aarhus  madrid  spain  españa  elcampodecebada  untothislast  london  making  makerculture  economics  production  fabrication  democracy  labor  upcycling  collectivism  collaboration  repair  furniture  agency  denmark  davidharvey  postcapitalism  sharingeconomy  sharing  libraries  lcproject  community  communities  cooperatives  anilbawa-cavia  renatom  airbnb  couchsurfing  kintsugi  seams  minimumviableutopia  douglasmeehan  idealism  practicalism  jeremyrifkin  self-reliance  murraybookchin  jugaad  fabbing  gambiarra  fixing  maintenance  cv  repairing 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Driving safely in the dark – BNO
"We are not in a recession", says John Thackara. "This is permanent. The industrial growth society is on its way out. The good news is that a new kind of economy is now emerging, and it's full of potential for design." For the jubileum of BNO, the professional association for Dutch designers, the self-styled 'optimistic doomer' will describe what he calls the restorative economy. 

"For life's real necessities, lighter alternatives are emerging," Thackara says. "This new economy is proof that we are creative enough to imagine sustainable and engaging futures - and take design steps to realize them".

In his lecture, John Thackara focused on inspiring stories from the new economy: peer-to-peer health care and i-medicine; product upcycling; ride-sharing platforms; alternative trade networks, transition towns, and digital local currencies. His talk concludes with provocative suggestions for BNO's next fifteen years - including a "BNO University".
2011  localcurrencies  digitallocalcurrencies  transitiontowns  alternativetradenetworks  ridesharing  upcycling  healthcare  peertopeer  economics  resilience  future  johnthackara 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Cork Chair - a set on Flickr
"Some very good friends have been collecting their wine corks for 12 years. When they showed me a basket full I said, "Hey, I can make something outta those!" They told me they had quite a few more. Approximately 2700. So I set to work. Initially I had in mind a figurative sculpture but they were luke warm to that idea. So instead I gave them the choice between two different styles of chair. One was a modern looking chair and the other a classic French Club chair. I have had a thing for leather club chairs from the '40's. Here is the process. I first made a rough "fit" chair. This helped me set the proportions. Then I made the basis chair from plywood and a luan skin. Each cork is glued with gorilla glue and pinned in place."
srg  furniture  chairs  cork  corks  unconsumption  upcycling 
december 2011 by robertogreco
My Father’s Teachings Part 1 | The Do Village
"He was difficult to please but always selfless. An old fashioned man whose family responsibilities subsumed all else…taught me that families should break bread & eat together as often as possible…taught me to cook well. To respect food, respect producers & labourers that create it, & be parsimonious with leftovers & waste…taught me that when a task is to be taken on…to plan, prepare, take time to accomplish it well, & do it w/ conviction…taught me how to upcycle…I saw him consume little but consume well. He taught me to consume nothing that that you cannot afford to pay for in cash…to avoid borrowing…taught me to be loyal to family. Family comes first, however difficult that can be at times. Period…his teachings were not overt. He did his stuff, & I watched. He used to say to me when I phoned to discuss cooking something I’d eaten with him, and I was in need of quantities and timings – why do you not watch learn. Learn by watching doing not studying"
parenting  advice  waste  upcycling  borrowing  cv  responsiblity  families  food  doing  do  dolectures  production  planning  preparation  consumption  well-being  learning  unschooling  deschooling 
november 2010 by robertogreco
unconsumption
"Consumption = word used to describe acts of acquisition...of things, in exchange for money. Unconsumption is a word used to describe everything that happens after an act of acquisition...an invisible badge...accomplishment of properly recycling your old cellphone, rather than the guilt of letting it sit in a drawer...thrill of finding a new use for something you were about to throw away...pleasure of using a service like Freecycle to find a new home for the functioning VCR you just replaced, rather than throwing it in garbage...enjoying things you own to the fullest – not just at moment of acquisition...pleasure of using a pair of sneakers until they are truly worn out – as opposed to nagging feeling of defeat when they simply go out of style...feeling good about simple act of turning off lights when you leave room...not about rejection or demonization of things...not a bunch of rules...an idea, set of behaviors, way of thinking about consumption itself from a new perspective...free."

[wiki here: http://unconsumption.pbworks.com/ ]
unconsumption  sustainability  consumption  consumerism  design  culture  trends  green  recycling  simplicity  luxury  value  unproduct  upcycling  beausage  plannedlongevity  thriftiness  thrifting  thrift  glvo  diy  make  dowithout  wabi-sabi 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Nokia remade - Raphael Grignani - Thoughts
"Remade offers a realistic and beautiful interpretation of upcycling and a tangible starting point for discussion. A discussion we have already started a few weeks ago when two designers from our team joined Jan Chipchase and a few others in Accra to disc
recycling  unproduct  nokia  janchipchase  mobile  phones  reuse  repairing  repurposing  business  cradletograve  future  sustainability  upcycling  repair 
february 2008 by robertogreco
textually.org: Nokia's Remade Concept
"The intent was to create a device made from nothing new....use of reclaimed and upcycled materials that could ultimately change the way we make things...designed to help inspire and stimulate discussion on how mobile devices might be made in the future."
nokia  sustainability  mobile  phones  reuse  recycling  materials  concepts  future  unproduct  repairing  repurposing  business  cradletograve  janchipchase  upcycling  repair 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect: Recycled, Upcycled: Remade
"Is it possible to make an upcycled mobile phone entirely from recycled materials? One that consumers want to buy? At a price that puts it within reach of the mass market? The discussion is well underway."
recycling  unproduct  nokia  janchipchase  mobile  phones  reuse  repairing  repurposing  business  cradletograve  future  sustainability  upcycling  repair 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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