The materials and the processes of their application, can strongly affect and define the final outcome. As a result the designed object or an idea can be surprising, innovative, delightful or engaging. The important aspect during my research was to consider ‘How have this affected the physical and emotional qualities?’.
Even when we believe we have a knowledge about something and what is it made of, we are still missing out the emotional and physical material connection.
The designer Christien Meindertsma has spent almost 3 years investigating one pig with the number ‘05049’. At first I thought this is pretty odd, but at the same time it was intriguing. I immediately started asking myself, what is this for? And why? There must be a good reason behind it, driven by some passion.
All of this began with her curiosity of what happens with the Dutch pigs (12million) which is almost the same as the number of people living in the Netherlands (16million), and how is it possible that it is hard to see any of them in freedom?
The outcome of the research was surprising, this one pig, was the material being used for around 185 products. Christien also confirmed, that the whole animal is still used up until the last bit as it happened for generations, where nothing would be wasted.
The project ended up in the form of a book with a duplicate of this pig ear tag on the back. It contains seven chapters such as: skin, bones, meat, internal organs, blood, fat and miscellaneous (in total 103,7 kg). The most surprising facts about some of the products described in the book are:
– Greek cigarettes, which contain pig’s haemoglobin in the filter. Apparently, this application allows to create an artificial lung in the filter
– heart valve, literally a pig’s heart valve mounted in a memory metal casing. It’s a great combination of low-tech and high-tech products.
– ammunition, contains gelatine for the gun powder transportation into a bullet
More known founded products are paint brushes, where pig’s hair is used because, their hardwearing nature or deep-fried nose as a snack for a dog.
Her investigation contributed to create an educational material, which shows the story behind commonly known products and realise us that we do not have a clue of what are they made of. Also, according to Ch. Meindertsma ‘It’s at least to say odd that we don’t treat these pigs as absolute kings and queens’. Pigs are valuable materials often for luxury product creation.
Whether it will be a small or long one, each cardigan assumed to be made of 1 sheep until the last bit of the wool. Where the size and its colour is predetermined by the sheep.
What fascinates me, is the fact that the sweaters come with their own ‘passports’, which include the animal information on it, such as: the name, date of birth, gender and sheep’s identifying ear tag – a closing bit for the document. In addition, each of the cardigans comes with the trophy ribbon. The rosette is a type of an award given to each individual sheep by the maker, as a symbol of their beauty appreciation (beauty of the wool they’re providing).
The idea shows that, there is not always a need for a new marketing story, this product has its own one – good enough by itself.
Christien Meindertsma shows how fascinating can be the link occurring between us, products and materials they are made out of. She says ‘When I look at a couch, I think about which cow is behind this leather, or if I see a wooden panel, what tree is this or what are these curtains made of’. This is an exciting way of looking around and to explore the surroundings.