The Future of Sustainable Design: Profile of Adital Ela

The founder of the Terra furniture project (mentioned in our earlier post) – Adital Ela – is a sustainability designer, social-entrepreneur and lecturer, founder and CEO of S-SENSE DESIGN, and a TEDfellow.

Adital Ela with Terra Stools Material ready for production

Adital Ela with Terra Stools Material ready for production

She dedicates her professional life to explore ways in which sustainability design can envision, illustrate and manifest a green reform in the encounter between man, object and environment.

Adital is also a sustainability design lecturer at the BA and MA programs of HIT – Holon Institute of Technology, and lectures regularly at conferences and lead workshops around the world.

Here is a video explaining more about the inspiration behind the Terra stools as well as the simplicity and abundance of sustainable design methods in our own history.

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.

Short clip:

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