Inspired by Nature

Design on base of organic waste

GRID 4 – Magazine for Design
May 2013


Detail (Munich)

Animal Coffin - organic waste

Whether mussels, coffee granules, soya beans, flour or vinegar – designers are increasing looking to ingredients usually found in the kitchen in their search for new materials. And in doing so they are bringing our dream of a world made of biodegradable products that don’t leave piles of trash in their wake that little bit closer.

Two particularly fascinating examples were recently honored as part of the Adream ideas’ competition in Weimer, which focuses on sustainability in design and architecture. As the name suggests, Animal Coffin is a compostable burial case for animals that is made of a mix of starch, flour, cardboard, coffee grounds, vinegar and sufficiently stable hair. An additional feature that proves rather pleasant given the products somewhat morbid purpose: The designers have placed seeds into the lid such that it also gives new life in the form of a plant or tree as the coffin decomposes.

First prize in the competition was awarded to the Encafé design by designer Sanam Viseux. His flower pots are predominantly made using coffee grounds, which are held in shape using natural wax. As the pot begins to decompose in the soil, the coffee powder releases nutrients such as phosphorous, nitrogen and calcium into the soil, protecting the plant’s roots from attack by nematodes.

image: Animal Coffin (source: Louise Knoppert, Flore de Maillard, Amanda Österlin La Mont, Christian Frank Müller)