As the population grows, so does the waste we generate. Human hair is among the natural resources that are in abundance.
This universal material is an extremely elastic and resistant fiber, thermally insulating, highly resistant to traction, flexible, light and oil absorbent, which consists mainly of keratin, but by most people is not considered a raw material. Despite these great qualities, the hair we cut is rejected and has a smut connotation. It is a waste that is only recycled in small quantities for the production of wigs.
But designers and researchers are exploring the possibilities of this common material showing its beauty and breaking stereotypes of how we see our waste.
For many, it may come as a surprise, but the results of using human hair as a new material can be incredible.
Hair Highway by Studio Swine
Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves, the designers behind Studio Swine, have developed a sustainable alternative that can replace noble and rare materials such as tropical woods and exotic animals horns with natural biological resin and hair.
The design studio travels through the Hair Highway to explore the hair trade and its potential as a future resource.
Hair Highway is a collection developed for Pearl Lam Galleries, a highly recognized art space that stimulates the international dialogue on Chinese and Asian contemporary art.
Inspired by the Qing dynasty and Shanghai-deco style of the 1920s and 1930s the collection includes unique boxes, trays, and combs.
The project was selected as a highlight at Design Miami/Basel and won Wallpaper magazine award in 2014.
If you are interested in the project and would like to know more about the process, technique, and art pieces, you can find more details on the Studio Swine website.
The Colour of Hair by Fabio Hendry & Martijn Rigters
The Colour of Hair is a project by designers Fabio Hendry and Martijn Rigters that aims to create a treatment and decoration process on surfaces through the use of hair. The project proposes a new sustainable printing technique giving new life to this waste.
Under carefully controlled conditions the hair is applied over a heated surface then the keratin protein charts instantly making a permanent pattern on a diverse range of metals.
The hair offcuts are collected from London hairdressers. It is possible to play and create different patterns according to the length of the original fibers and the ethnic origin of the hair.
The objects are constructed out of 6mm hardened aluminum with a double-sided print. They until now include tables, beakers, and trays.
Surfaces are available in tile-sizes up 60x30 cm in aluminum or brass substrates. They are manufactured in conjunction with Solomon&Wu.
If you want to know more about the project check the website.
Concept & Design : Studio Swine- Alexander Groves & Azusa Murakami
Director & Camera : Juriaan Booij
Edit : Sally Cooper
Music : Titus Twelve
Production support : Danful Yang & Lily Xu
Photos: Studio Swine- Alexander Groves & Azusa Murakami
The Colour of Hair
Concept & Design : Fabio Hendry (Studio-Ilio) & Martijn Rigters
Film: Fernando Laposse
Photos: Fabio Hendry & Martijn Rigters