LXTHR is not just a material: it comes from somewhere and goes somewhere
Dutch Design Week's all about innovation. And nothing sounds more like that than the experiments the women from Lasting Leather Lab are making.
[ Simone Post / Natascha van der Velden / Michelle Baggerman / Simone de Waart / Material Sense Lab]
If u think of leather n get concerned about the waste of materials ❌, then u came to the right spot. We had a chat w/ the designers behind this Material Sense LAB initiative and got to see up close the possibilities ahead 👁.
The team's all about changing the meaning of leather and how the world sees it.
We shed some light on thinking about how to reorganize the leather industry. Still we eat meat so we have already have the material. It’s a global production and a global challenge” says Simone de Waart, founder of Material Sense LAB.
The design researchers of LLL aim to find extra life for daily leather waste. Natascha van der Velden adds on its process: "If you cannot find the material, then design the material. There has to be this interdisciplinary cooperation between designers and scientists like me."
"When I started out with this project, I started to look at all the leather cut-offs that we got and they were so incredibly diverse. I started out just seeing if I could manipulate the material to see if I could make it more uniform but I realized that if I could cut it up and if I could make a smaller… I made it more uniform. So I had these little tiny cuttings and even a kind of powder leather that I was able to reconnect into new material.", says Simone Post. And if you can turn leather into powder you can change the whole perspective 'bout unused materials 👌🌱.
They've also extracted the protein of milk to recombine w/ leather, creating all sorts of tangibilities, u know 👀. Michelle Baggerman tells all 'bout it: "It was interesting because looking into this project, I realized this scale of wastage of this beautiful material of leather. It's just unacceptable that this goes to waste. Sometimes it's from overproduction. Sometimes it's because it's not suitable for consumption. So if you can get this protein out of the milk and recombine it with leather, it’s quite interesting to see. And I've been working with a chemistry professor — He's giving me advice on how to do this because it is chemistry. I'm not a chemist, I’m a designer."
& since they r basically the lthr queens, we asked Natascha van der Velden if she's always worked with leather:
"For me, it’s the first time working with leather. But, before, I did research on the fur industry. So I also made a life cycle assessment study of fur as a fashion material in products. It's a bit similar to leather, although here it’s only about leather waste and in the fur industry I did a full life cycle."
One of Lasting Leather Lab main goals is to present results & welcome everyone to a debate. They r showing up n close how important an approachable look at the industry is. Closing our case, here's an insight from Natascha van der Velden:
"As a designer, you really have to think through what you're doing and think through this process and understand what's behind it and your perspective. It's not just a material that you buy off the shelf and turn into nice products, but it comes from somewhere and goes somewhere."
Find more 'bout the LAB @materialsenselab and read here 'bout other design stories.