TERRA by Adital Ela: Cradle to Cradle Furniture

Terra is a brand that produces cradle to cradle furniture and objects from compressed earth and agricultural waste. The project also seeks to generate income and capacity building for women in BOP (bottom of the pyramid) communities in developed and developing countries. The Terra project is run by Adital Ela and seeks to create a model of local production for local use, based on locally available organic waste. The project plans to operate through independent Terra production workshops in a franchise-like model; with the first workshops aiming to generate income for Arab women in Israel and Palestine.

Terra Stools by Adital Ela, 3 terra stools, one down, photo by Shay Ben-Efraim

The objects are 100% organic and are made from earth and natural fibres. They can be produced everywhere in the world using local soil and agricultural residue, require zero energy, create no pollution and are fully renewable.

Terra Stools by Adital Ela, 3 terra stools at studio landscape, photo by Maya Hasson

Terra’s objects are made by using a unique compression process that combines indigenous knowledge and contemporary production methods. At the end of its lifecycle the objects can be either re-moulded or dispersed in every garden returning to their origins.

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The project is modelled upon Gandhi’s ideas of a fair economy “Let the owner of the field get hold of a spinning wheel and turn it, until his cotton field has clothed him, his family and the whole of his village.

raw material

Terra is creating a blueprint model towards a viable future of sustainable production and consumption patterns. It’s purpose does not only focus on environmental factors but also takes on a strong social and ethical role towards development. It enables the local production of artifacts for local use and applies methods developed by a centralized research team through a distinctive blend of indigenous and contemporary techniques.

Terra stools with ingridient tubes, photo by Shay Ben-Efraim

Terra’s core business is based on a method developed for improving the characteristics of mud and straw mixtures adapting them for moulding mobile standalone 3D articles. The products vary according to needs identified locally with relevant stakeholders. For example, workshops in the developed world will produce furniture and other home décor, while workshops in the developing world will produce healthier ovens, cooling storage systems etc.

Terra Stools Production Process

“Terra strives to empower communities to establish and run their own businesses with our guidance and support. To fulfill this vision we operate on two levels:

1. Terra’s R&D base sustains an on-going research developing the method towards additional applications and adapting it to materials available in the various locations.

2. Enabling the establishment of independent local production workshops by providing a ‘set-up mentoring’ service through a local NGO or other relevant stakeholder to enable the establishment of sustainable social enterprises.”

Terra stools at Slow Design exhibition

The project has high hopes in putting the power of design in the hands of BOP communities; and aims to guide their local partners through a co-design process to use their knowledge and skills to design products for their peers.

TERRA stools at the BIO23 exhibition

Around the World in 80 Chairs: Terra Stools, Israel

Terra Stools by Adital Ela, photo by Shay Ben-Efraim

Terra Stools made from earth and natural fibres by Adital Ela, photo by Shay Ben-Efraim

Shredded Furniture by Jens Praet

 Shredded Collection. Manufactured by Wandschappen for studio Jens Praet.  All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

Shredded Collection. 
All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

Studio Jens Praet has developed an innovative and unique approach to the use of waste materials in furniture design. The Shredded Collection uses paper from discarded Elle Decor Magazines to create steady and practical furniture. We first spotted his work at Design Miami in December 2012.

SHREDDED TABLE ( Elle Decor Collection ) Materials: Shredded Elle Decor Magazines magazines, clear resin. Dimensions: 750 x 1800 x 800 mm (h x w x d). Production: Edition of 8 + 2AP + 2P 2012, studio Jens Praet for Industry Gallery DC & LA Manufactured by Wandschappen for studio Jens Praet. All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery


SHREDDED TABLE ( Elle Decor Collection ) Materials: Shredded Elle Decor Magazines magazines, clear resin. All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

Jens Praet is a Belgian designer based in Panzano in Chianti, Italy. His design studio works from a conceptual and artistic angle and focuses on contemporary culture while incorporating traditional hand crafting and avant-garde techniques.

Shredded Library

SHREDDED LIBRARY ( Elle Decor Collection ). Materials: Shredded Elle Decor Magazines magazines, clear resin. All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

SHREDDED LIBRARY ( Elle Decor Collection )All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

SHREDDED LIBRARY ( Elle Decor Collection )
All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

As a reaction to the huge amounts of waste paper produced in offices, Shredded seeks to transform this abstract concept of re-purposing waste materials into a reality. Non-useful documents and leftover magazines are transformed into valuable and useful objects.

SHREDDED LOW TABLE ( Elle Decor Collection ). Materials: Shredded Elle Decor Magazines magazines, clear resin. Dimensions: 160 x 1200 x 400 mm (h x w x d). Production: Edition of 8 + 2AP + 2P 2012, studio Jens Praet for Industry Gallery DC & LA. Manufactured by Wandschappen for studio Jens Praet. Photography Credits: All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

SHREDDED LOW TABLE ( Elle Decor Collection ). Materials: Shredded Elle Decor Magazines magazines, clear resin. All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

The paper strips are being mixed the confetti from shredded paper and resin into a mould and letting it harden to become rigid objects. This allows the waste materials to be reused and gives them a new purpose as practical building components.

Materials:Shredded Elle Decor Magazines magazines, clear resin Dimensions: 450 x 900 x 350 mm (h x w x d) Production: Edition of 8 + 2AP + 2P 2012, studio Jens Praet for Industry Gallery DC & LA Manufactured by Wandschappen for studio Jens Praet Photography Credits: All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

SHREDDED TABLE AND HIGH BENCH. Materials: Shredded Elle Decor Magazines magazines, clear resin. All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

The paper-resin composite boasts a firmness similar to wood and has a unique appearance. The collection demonstrates the diverse use and reuse of common materials such as paper, proving that there are a huge range of options available in terms of recycling.

SHREDDED HIGH BENCH ( Elle Decor Collection )Materials: Shredded Elle Decor Magazines magazines, clear resin Dimensions: 450 x 900 x 350 mm (h x w x d) Production: Edition of 8 + 2AP + 2P 2012, studio Jens Praet for Industry Gallery DC & LA Manufactured by Wandschappen for studio Jens Praet Photography Credits: All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

SHREDDED HIGH BENCH ( Elle Decor Collection ). Materials: Shredded Elle Decor Magazines magazines, clear resin. All image credits: Theo van Pinxteren, Courtesy of Industry Gallery

Paper waste returns to our living or working area as functional furniture, bringing to mind just what little thought we give to general use of paper. All the pieces in the Shredded collection are available through Industry Gallery.

Around the World in 80 Chairs: Wooden Bench, New Brighton Beach – New Zealand

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Around the World in 80 Chairs: #29 Chairs in Eindhoven, Netherlands

Vij5 Chairs, Einhoven Netherlands.

Vij5 Chairs, Eindhoven Netherlands.

The Lost Gypsy Gallery: Shells, Sculptures and Salvage

Driving along in the tumbling hills of the Catlins on New Zealand’s South Island you can stumble across some ‘curios’ places (sorry for the cheesy wordplay – the bay close by is called Curio Bay). The Lost Gypsy Gallery in Papatowai is an incredible little place.

The Lost Gypsy Gallery

Pretty much stuck in the middle of nowhere on one of the most Southern tips of the world, surrounded by astonishing landscapes and secluded beaches is a little caravan with mechanical sculptures and handmade fountains. Coming closer you realise that most of these objects are made of recycled materials, such as scrap metal, old bottles and Paua shells.

Metal mechanical whale. When you turn the handle the whale moves gracefully as if it's swimming in water.

Metal mechanical whale. When you turn the handle the whale moves gracefully as if it’s swimming in water.

When you step into the small bus housing the Lost Gypsy Gallery, cluttered with fantastic tiny little machines or mechanical toys, it is like entering the world of an eccentric genius which is exactly what it is. The walls are covered in small circuits and retro posters of old cartoons and advertisements.

Photo courtesy of Judie Wells (her blog is available here)

Large rounded pearly shells are connected to one another with wires and suspended over a small dish of water, as you turn them they scoop up the water making trickling sounds as the water splashes out again. There are small machines operated by tiny motors or complex mechanical functions everywhere and a little train track reaches all around the little bus on which you can watch a tiny train whizzing past you.

Steps to the Lost Gypsy Gallery

Steps to the Lost Gypsy Gallery

Outside there is a small aluminium caravan which sells delicious coffee, next to it are seats and benches made of reclaimed wood and decorated with glass bottle parts, shells and other discarded materials.

Small bench made from recycled materials

Small bench made from recycled materials

Next to the old gypsy bus is the entrance to the Winding Thoughts Theatre which is full of fun ‘toys’ for grown ups. The star attraction being the piano – each key is connected to an object that makes a sound.

One is connected to a mannequin head covered in dreadlocks fastened with bells, another to a drum while one is connected to a tape recorder running on a circuit.

The Piano Shooting Gallery. Photo courtesy of My Year On A Whim (blog available here)

The complex structure allows you to create a one man band which screeches along and often triggers moving objects. The whole experience is a lot of fun mainly because of the creative energy the place exerts and all the eccentric and brilliant inventions surrounding you.

You can find the creator Blair Somerville working away in his workshop attached to The Lost Gypsy Gallery surrounded by circuits and small tools building numerous mechanical objects. He has been working on this project for the last 15 years adding more and more ambitious pieces to it as he goes along. Each piece is like a work of art, created from discarded or found materials and brought back to life with Blair’s impressive skill and vivid imagination.