Written by Ginette Verstraete
On Tuesday 11 March 2019 our 2nd speaker in the MA Lecture Series on Environmental Humanities presented her work to us: Simone Post, who is a textile and product designer. She graduated with honours from the Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE) in 2015 and since then her work has received numerous accolades and been distinguished with several international awards and nominations including ‘Domotex Best Studio Artist Design’, ‘Dutch Design Award Product’. Simone strives for her designs to be sustainable, either in terms of material use or with reference to cultural heritage like traditions, storytelling, clothing and traditional skills and technologies.
In her lecture Simone Post talked about her participation in Ginette Verstraete’s (and colleagues’) NWO project Participation in RE-Framing Residual Materials. This research project investigates the contributions of creative designers – alumni from DAE – to the Municipality of Rotterdam’s circular economy, more particularly its reuse of residual flows such as pavement stones, street furniture, and in the case of Simone Post: grass. Whereas the Municipality normally mows the large quantities of grass in Rotterdam and then outsources them to be composted, Simone asked what else would be possible, such that the grass could be recuperated and brought back into the Municipality’s professional circles. Upon studying the various sorts of grass in the city, the modes of mowing on location, and the sites for composting, she developed ideas for reuse and experimented with the grass clippings in her lab. One of the end-results: grass-flowers as promotional gifts distributed by the Municipality.
For the academic researchers in the project a twofold question emerges: what do we still mean by ‘circular economy’ once we reframe it as a creative design intervention in urban residual flows; and what effects does this reframing have on the design practice itself.