28 September 2021 News

New directions for biodegradable plastic

The urgency of plastic as an environmental problem is evident. At the same time, a world without plastic is hardly imaginable. The independent research organisation TNO expects us to remain dependent on plastic for decades to come. For a workable and responsible future, designers are crucial. They bring new lines of thought, design opportunities and materials. In this Embassy Lab, three design studios get to work with TNO’s technology.

Enter Torwash, a unique technique and installation developed by TNO. It appears to be well suited to selectively dissolve PLA plastic from objects, composites and mixed waste streams. PLA stands for biodegradable plastic (thermoplastic polymers of lactic acid). The material can be degraded well at high temperatures, but this requires a clean water stream that may not be mixed with other materials.

The technology is there. What now?
To demonstrate how effective the process can be, we need good example projects that can be intensively tested in the Torwash installation. In this Embassy Lab, three themes are key: pressing, 3D printing and connections. Each theme is linked to one of the following design studios.

Studio laVina
Polina Baikina, founder of Studio laVina, will be working with the pressing technique. Studio laVina, is a research and art studio that serves to reconnect people with their environment. By designing objects and spaces that have a positive effect on mental and physical health.

Studio GROOVIDO consists of the duo Gianmaria and Giorgio. They will be working on 3D printing in this Lab. Their way of working is characterised by cunning and unusual digital manipulation. With this, they manage to achieve a totally new aesthetic. They believe in the poetry and narrative power of things.

In the area of connections, Sanne Schuurman of Envisions will start working. Envisions is a design lab that unites more than 20 multidisciplinary designers with a shared fascination for experimental material research. In cooperation with renowned industry partners, Envisions questions the current production processes, focusing mainly on the path that leads to the final product.

The Embassy Labs originated from a collaboration with World Design Embassies. Together with partners in the field, we work on impactful developments for the world of tomorrow. In this Lab, the designers test the Embassy’s vision of Rethinking Plastic in reality.

Polina Baikina - Studio laVina

Polina Baikina – Studio laVina

Gianmaria & Giorgio - GROOVIDO

Gianmaria & Giorgio – GROOVIDO