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Issue 05/2022

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Highlights: Fibres / Textiles / Nonwovens Building & Construction Basics: Feedstocks K'2022 preview

Building & Construction

Building & Construction The future of construction is biobased The creative studio Biobased Creations was founded in 2019 with the main goal with to use storytelling, design, and imagination to tell the story of a changing value system. The founders, Pascal Leboucq and Lucas De Man, are neither architects nor builders, calling themselves “merely artists” artists trying to tell a story. A story about society at a pivot point in time, leaving a system of overproducing and under-reusing. This is not because we all, as a society, suddenly became green or good, but because the old system has reached its limits. Change never comes from innovation alone, it is driven by crisis and uses the innovation that is at hand to overcome that crisis. As artists, Pascal a designer and Lucas a storyteller, they are fascinated by this period of transformation we are in, especially because it is still unclear which way it will go. Are we going for a world where sustainability and vulnerability, solidarity and equality become the main values, or will we see a greenwashing of old values like greed, growth, and inequality? What they do know is that the current crisis is pushing us to build our homes, buildings, and environments more sustainable and that by doing so, we will have to change a bigger system of how we deal with our farming, our neighbourhoods, our health, and even our ideas of value. You can’t build truly sustainable without considering the whole chain around it. The journey towards biobased building In 2017 and 2018 Pascal and Lucas were the artists in residence of the Rabobank (Utrecht, Netherlands) where they discovered mycelium as a material. Mycelium are the roots of mushrooms and they form amazing networks under the earth’s surface. Mixing this mushroom with a dry carrier like hemp or reed makes it possible to grow, without much effort and in any mould you like, an amazing building material in just two weeks. Mycelium is light, fire retardant, water resistant, and has incredibly high acoustic insulation on top of that. The designer Eric Klarenbeek introduced the artists to the material, which lead to the request to make an art installation for the bank with them. They loved mycelium and its amazing qualities over traditional building materials. You can grow it everywhere, very fast, it takes up huge amounts of CO 2 , it’s not expensive, it’s light and healthy, perfect for insulation – so they thought “everybody has to be working with it”. But as it turned out, just a handful of small studios were experimenting with it and only on a very small scale. This was the beginning of a much bigger journey for the two artists. How could they show the (mostly conservative) world of construction that there are new, beautiful materials with the same and often better qualities as the old materials out there? Materials that come from nature and can go back to nature after use. Materials that take up CO 2 and can store it. Materials that take way less time to grow than wood and can be used on the inside and outside of buildings. Materials that might help farmers with new business perspectives when the meat industry dissolves. They wanted to scale up these innovations and build a proper construction. This led to a collaboration with the Dutch Design Foundation, taking them up on their request for a natural pavilion – born was The Growing Pavilion. Photo: Oscar Vinck It is a ten-tonne CO 2 -negative, five metres high, eight metres wide, 95 % biobased pavilion. They got six designers that already worked with biobased materials and challenged them to go bigger than ever. The growing pavilion was an ode to a new aesthetic, the beauty of nature, and building with nature. They created 88 panels of mycelium and coated them with a biobased coating. Each panel had its own mould and its own different level of mouldiness. Together they show the beauty of fungi in all its colours. Besides mycelium, they used Kerto Wood for the frame and created a roof of cotton that let the rainwater in to feed the plants. They also had a floor made from cattail, burlap, and potato starch and the benches were made from rice straw. It was not only a display of biobased materials and a new way of building, it was a place where people could come together to understand that the world is changing. Photos: Eric Melander 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/22] Vol. 17

By: By Lucas De Man and Pascal Leboucq Biobased Creations Amsterdam, the Netherlands The Growing Pavilion premiered at the Dutch Design Week 2019. An exhibition of different biobased designers was installed, there were musicians starting off each day and specially trained storytellers to talk to the visitors about the materials in the pavilion. The focus was on explaining how each material grows, can be harvested, holds CO 2 , can be materialized and after use can be composted. The story of a circular system was new but very enlightening to many people. The Growing Pavilion welcomed over 75,000 visitors and received international attention with a Highly Commended Dezeen award as an absolute highlight. After the Dutch Design Week 2019, Pascal and Lucas received so many requests from other biobased designers and producers to display their materials, that they decided to take the next step. They were tired of constantly hearing from builders and policy officers that biobased materials are cute but only a possible solution in the far future. “They are not good enough yet”, “they miss the right certificates”, “they are not tested yet, it cannot be used on a large scale yet”, and so on. At the same time, they saw the problems with the climate, with CO 2 and nitrogen levels growing exponentially. “Why don’t we build a house”, they thought. A house on a real scale that showcases what is already possible today and what will be possible tomorrow when it comes to biobased building. This way they could unite all the hardworking designers, producers, and builders that are inventing these materials and they could show the world that it is possible. And that it is possible already today. They could show the world that building sustainable can look and feel sexy as hell and that it is not only good for the environment but also good for people because biobased is healthy. That is when they started their project The Exploded View. In 2020, they first build The Exploded View Materials and Methods. A house, scale ¼ with over 40 different biobased materials, reused materials, and different building methods like urban mining, local mining, modular building, and detachability. Every room in the house got its own nature theme and the materials to match it. They had plants, water, earth, fungi, textile, food, and later they even added bacteria. They showcased the installation both live and online because the premiere at the Dutch Design Week happened during the lockdown. The exploded View Materials and Methods is a research installation that showcases the many possibilities when it comes to biobased building. It is built to travel, which it has been doing ever since it was showcased for the first time and there are still new rooms and new materials being added. Online they share all the information of every material and are openly asking for help with all the information that still needs to be researched. When they built the Growing Pavilion they got most of their funding from art funds and a few partners linked to design and art. This time they really wanted to involve the building world itself. So they became curators of the Embassy of Circular and Biobased Building at the Dutch Design Week and invited all kinds of organisations, institutions, and governments to become a partner and to share not only resources but also knowledge, network, and communication. This worked so well that they decided to continue this during the next step. In October 2021 the artistic duo introduced the visitors of the Dutch Design Week to The Exploded View Beyond Building, an exhibition in the shape of a real-sized house showcasing over 100 biobased materials together with over 100 partners. It was a rollercoaster of a ride to get this project done but they all together did. Pascal and Lucas had a few goals with this installation. First, they wanted to show what is already possible on a large scale when it comes to biobased materials. One-third of all 100 materials in The Exploded View Beyond Building are already available today on a mass scale and for a competitive price, one-third will be consumer ready like that in the coming five Building & Construction bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/22] Vol. 17 21

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