Most of us know that compost makes a healthy garden, but did you know it can also play a part in making more sustainably-designed furniture? That's what Israel-based designer Adital Ela of S-Sense Design is doing with Terra, a line of furniture that's made entirely out of compost, which she actually cultivates and gathers near her studio.
Ela, who calls herself a "designer-gatherer," creates stools, cups, lampshades and other pieces of furniture by blending organic matter like plants, soil and various fibers in a proportional recipe, and molded using compression, provided by her feet. According to Ela's research, the foot-mixing technique for earth-based construction is quite old, being used in ancient times in places like Iran, Iraq and Palestine.
On FastCo.Design, Ela describes how she first got the idea for making these biodegradable works when sipping a cup of chai tea in a clay cup:
I was absolutely fascinated by the way those sun-dried clay cups were tossed to the ground and blended back to become earth again within minutes. Seeing this, I started asking myself, 'How can products, like people, come from dust, and to dust return?'
There are interesting implications in Ela's project -- not only are these materials available everywhere, the time-honoured technique is something that anyone can use to create their own low-impact and easily recyclable furniture. In developing her methods, Ela realized that her own grandmother built ovens in the past using similar techniques:
I was amazed to discover that this knowledge was actually in my family one generation away. It reminded me again how crucial it is to find ways to lean back onto the heritage taught to us by our ancestors and take it forward by applying current scientific and technological knowledge, towards a future in which also our products have grandchildren.
More over at S-Sense Design.