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MaDe Participant

Sarah Maria Schmidt

Agata (ital. „the Good“)

Sustainable fashion designer and material researcher based in Berlin. Sarah focuses on creating garments with responsibility and healthy materials inspired by Cradle to Cradle. She helps brands in improving their material portfolio and sustainable design strategies.

Since 2008 Sarah has worked as a designer with a strong focus on craftsmanship and unconventional materials, such as for Iris van Herpen and Wunderkind. Sarah holds the degrees Sustainability in Fashion (MA), Design/ Fashion Design (BA) and a Bachelor of Culture & Arts.

Sarahs focus is on Cradle to Cradle methodology, circular design strategies, material experience and material health combined with her fashion design background and knit experience.

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Project Information
Material Qualities
Color: pure white, takes up colour of natural pigments or additives such as avocado grains well
Soft / hard: soft and spongy during drying; stays flexible and spongy when dry, soft and dry handfeel
Shiny / matt: matt surface, with a bit of natural shine
Smells: neutral, depending on soap used
Texture: uneven and leather-like, with lines and pores
Others: keeps spongy and soft character when dry; beneficial additives for skin care or cleansing can be added; shrinks during drying process
Material Recipe
For 1 petri dish, size ø 200 mm (shrinks to ø 140 mm) :

240 ml water
3 g agar agar (grinded flakes)
3 g potato flour
1,5 g sorbitol
2,7 ml glycerin (vegetable, 85% solution)
1 g cacao butter
1 g beewax
15 ml liquid soap (eco liquid soap without colourants, perfumes, preservatives)
2 small tablespoons of ground avocado pits (or similar beneficial additives such as ground algae powder, healing earth, fleur de sel, etc.)

The recipe is based on several Open Source recipes and was modified during the workshop.
Further development: replacing liquid soap with natural handmade soap will potentially make added glycerin redundant as glycerin is bound within the natural soap.
Material Application
Agata could be used in the cosmetic industry as a replacement for peeling/ shower gloves, cotton pads and sponges. This would require further analysis of the material health and skin friendliness to ensure its safety and beneficial properties for human skin.
Slightly modified it could be further used as a sponge for cleaning and dishwashing or used as a packaging material due to its stability and flexibility.
Material Narrative
Agata is a bioplastic foam based on Agar. Agar is a vegetable substance from red algae, consisting of polysaccharide agarose and agarpectin. Agar forms the supporting structures of some algae species and is used due to its jelly-like binding properties as vegetarian alternative for gelatine. The specific agar used, which was pre-grounded into flakes, originates from certified organic farming of the algae Gelidium in Spain, wild-grown in the Atlantic. It was mixed with glycerin, an industrial waste material, and grains of avocado pits.
Creating with agar based bioplastics resulted in diverse bioplastics and material qualities. Algae are a relatively abundant resource, are easily accessible and economically viable.
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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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