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MaDe Participant

Lara Álvarez

Veg 01

I studied Industrial Design and Materials Engineering, but during both grades I felt a lack of knowledge around sustainability and new circular materials. I had travelled quite a lot with my family when i was young and I think that gave me a high curiosity around the beauty and functionality of traditional products, tribes or construction materials in other countries. The use of soil, natural fibers, sand, natural colors extracted from plants, or even cereals for making some products are the root for my interest around circular and sustainable materials. 

After working some years creating products and managing projects, nowadays I work helping to other designers choose better material options to their projects.

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Project Information
Material Qualities
Color: Light green
Soft / hard: Soft
Shiny / matt: Matt with shiny options
Smells: Earthy grass light smell
Texture: Coarse textile/paper
Others: Honest appearance
Material Recipe
Ingredients: Fibrous vegetables
- Separate the fibers and join them again creating a soft dough similar to a wet felt. There is no need to add water or any other liquid since the vegetable has enough liquid.
- Extend them in a flat surface.
- Give them pressure and temperature a few times until you obtain the goal thickness.
- Let it dry.
Material Application
- Food Packaging. Nowadays one of the main problems with plastic is that although the vegetables can be acquired without a plastic film or box, we keep on putting them in plastic bags.
- Catering or fast-waste plates.
- Fast food.
- Leather accesories.
- Interior textiles.
Material Narrative
The idea comes from the extremely high percentage of vegetables discarted for its appearance or expiry date. Consumers buy the "perfect" appearance fruits and vegetables causing tones of useful discarted food on the preconsume phase of the process. Farmers cannot sell to the markets all the "ugly" products, and markets close everyday throwing vegetables that start their expiring date.

Thinking about the diversity of vegetables, I found interesting having a separation by the type of fiber structure to take profit of this characteristic: Asparagus, leek, onions or celery have very long fibers, while potatoes, beetroot or carrots have not. I have made this separation and created two different materials with both groups.

The fibrous ones are very easy to perform and transform into a new material and the result is strong and resistant, without needing any additives. Moreover they are totally biodegradable.
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MaDe, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of The European Union, aims at boosting talents towards circular economies across Europe partnering with design and cultural institutions, Elisava, Ma-tt-er and Politecnico di Milano.

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