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Midushi Kochhar – Material Research Resident at London Design Week

Research resident Midushi Kochhar tells of her experience working at the Lab and exhibiting at this years London Design Festival, 2019.

‘I spent 12 weeks at Green Lab as part of their research residency program, working in the Material Lab to experiment and create alternative material solutions, with a focus on food waste and biobinders. The project was part of my final M.A. Industrial Design studies at Central St. Martins, UAL and therefore was both challenging and exciting at the same time.

The research started by testing some initial recipes from Materiom, and after a lot of trial and error, I was able to derive my own concoctions that seemed promising. The team at Green Lab were always available to provide their input and feedback and the open-minded, multidisciplinary community played a crucial role in the way the project was framed. Continuous, casual and engaging discussions were a part of our daily routine there and the material lab gave me the right space and time to conduct my experiments.

Material Lab experiments

Kate Krebs said that “Waste is really a design flaw.”, a statement I agree with and ethos that directed my final outcomes. Therefore, on the quest for creating sustainable products, the project concentrated on a conscious material driven approach to upcycling food waste. Traditional resources are finite and expensive but waste is abundant and cheap. Identifying the by-products of the poultry industry and reimagining them in new contexts, I conceived an original and tangible collection called Eggware.

Made from waste eggshells that I collected from cafes around King’s Cross, Eggware products are biodegradable and locally made. The disposable tableware is ergonomically enhanced to support the act of eating whilst standing in a street food scenario. Once their use and function is over, you can literally crush and throw them in the compost as they are designed to degrade.

Eggware table ware

This project drives a positive change through value addition to a classed waste resource, spreading awareness and revising the common perception about discarded materials.

It was both fun and challenging to develop the material recipe for Eggware, but having gone through that process it enabled me to fully understand the material properties. The material is porous, naturally fire retardant and has a course texture, meaning it can be used for various applications, including interior wall panels, plant pots, high-end home décor objects and even construction material.

Designing and mastering material making can take years of research and development, but I am happy with the outcomes that I have achieved so far. I wish to continue my research to make Eggware more robust and long lasting. Eggware is now being displayed at various material libraries around London and with the support of Green Lab, was showcased as part of London Design Festival at Biodesign Here Now and the V&A Exhibition Road Day of Design.

Eggware on show at V&A Day of Design

Eggware on show at V&A Day of Design

I was pleased to have some really interesting conversations with well-informed and inquisitive people and was excited to share my learning and knowledge with them. Having recently graduated from university, these exhibitions gave me the opportunity to be more visible to a wider audience and gauge feedback from people from both design and non-design backgrounds. I am proud to have been part of design shows that highlight future thinking and I am grateful to Green Lab for fostering sustainability driven ventures that are determined to make a difference.’

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