There's a bit of romantic idealism behind the whole do-it-yourself, build-it-from-scratch, buy-local movement(s). Is it realistic? Some have experimented with creating something as mundane as a toaster from scratch and have found that it is in fact, not as simple as it looks. Perhaps recycling parts may help, and that's what Eindhoven, Netherlands based designer Andrea de Chirico attempts to do with this fully functioning, "superlocal" hairdryer made out of recycled and local materials.
Seen over at Inhabitat, the "SUPERLOCAL, 0 miles production" project is an experiment in updating methods of production that must now take into account "social and environmental viability" instead of focusing just on efficiency and profits. De Chirico's aim is to create an hair dryer, a dressing table, a mirror, a lamp and a stool out of only locally found materials.
For the hairdryer, recyclable glass and cork were used, and electrical parts salvaged from the local junkyard. A professional glassblower, 3D fabricator and electrician from Eindhoven were recruited to help create the hairdryer's shell, joint and filter and circuitry.
In all, the project took 100 euros of funds, 15 hours of time, and 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) of travel distance to create. Not the cheapest, but as we've noted before, the true cost of most of our objects is hidden, and externalized elsewhere, as air pollution in China, or gigantic quarried holes for granite all over the world. The ultimate aim here is awareness of these externalized costs, and to engage people with object-making -- and to go through the process of making these "superlocal" items, recording the process, and making the information available online. Says de Chirico:
The goal of SUPERLOCAL is to provide an open production database for making everyday objects, and thereby give creative and critical tools to people for re-creating their world.
Perhaps making everything from scratch ourselves may be overly romantic and realistically difficult, but we've got to start somewhere. Production 1.0 of these items has finished, and now de Chirico is working on version 1.1. More over at Andrea de Chirico and Superlocal.