Over the past several years I’ve featured a whole slew of young and talented urban scavengers-cum-industrial designers coming out of Israel, all with a certain flair for crafting home furnishings from cast-off materials including reclaimed wood, salvaged clothespins, and straight-out garbage plucked from the city streets.
Self-described “designer-gatherer” and TED Fellow Adital Ela of Tel Aviv-based sustainable design firm S-Sense Design also works in this fine tradition to a certain extent. Instead of turning toward urban refuse, however, Ela has sourced raw materials of a decidedly more barnyard nature for her latest work: compacted dirt, agricultural fibers, and cow poop.
The above materials are the base "ingredients" in the Terra line of stools (feel free to insert cow patty jokes here) and lampshades, a collection that, following an extensive R&D phase, just made its debut at the grand dame of international furniture fairs, Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan.
Harnessing a laborious, “unique compression process that combines indigenous knowledge and contemporary production methods,” these 100 percent organic waste-based furnishings require no energy to produce and are fully renewable and biodegradable. And by renewable, I mean that if you ever tire of your bollard-esque brown seat you can simply dose it with water and remold it into an entirely new product.
More on the design philosophy of these "organic ‘living’ artifacts that add a unique and rare natural sense and scent to every room":
TERRA strives to create a reality in which products, like people, come from Dust, and to Dust return.Through researching ancient techniques and mixing them with contemporary ones we are developing old-new materials and methods that touch upon a future of truly organic products.
Leaning on the heritage taught to us by our ancestors and re-inventing it we are creating a future in which also our products have grandchildren.
You can learn more about the process behind the Terra collection in the video below. Ela further elaborates on the inspiration behind Terra bio-furniture in the TEDxJerusalem talk which I've also embedded below. It’s also worth checking out Ela’s past projects that include portable wind-powered LED lamps shaped like whirligigs, residential rainwater collectors, and rather lovely home textiles made from secondhand clothing.