Marlène Huissoud Uses Insect By-products To Develop New Materials

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Marlène Huissoud utilizes insect by-merchandise
to build new materials

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: French designer Marlène Huissoud explains how she produced a selection of “glass” and “leather” objects utilizing resin collected from beehives and silkworm cocoons in this movie from Eindhoven.

From Insects by Marlène HuissoudVases made from propolis by Marlène Huissoud

Huissoud’s task From Insects aims to showcase the “exclusive” and “precious” materials that can be designed from insect by-products.

“I’m exhibiting two distinct materials that come from two various insects,” Huissoud says in the film, which was filmed at Dutch Style Week final 12 months. “It’s a celebration of the properties of these materials.”

From Insects by Marlène HuissoudVases produced from propolis by Marlène Huissoud

Huissoud, who comes from a family members of beekeepers, has produced a series of vases out of a variety of biodegradable resin called propolis. The resin is created by bees from plant matter and employed to fill little gaps in a beehive.


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“The bees gather it and use it as a sealant,” Huissoud explains. “After a 12 months the beekeeper has to get rid of this material in buy to extract the honey.”

From Insects by Marlène Huissoud

Huissoud discovered that by purifying and heating the material, she could blow it like glass.

“[Propolis has] distinct properties dependent on the trees [the bees make it from],” she explains. “The a single that I’ve been exploring is from rubber trees. It has a genuinely special glass-like element.”

From Insects by Marlène Huissoud

With a considerably reduced melting level, the materials is less complicated to manipulate than glass, Huissoud says, but produces equivalent – if slightly smellier – final results when set.

“The smell comes from the beehive and is very powerful,” she says. “It will final a extended time, so if you want a piece [in your house], you are going to have a smell with it as nicely.”

From Insects by Marlène HuissoudRug manufactured from a leather-like material by Marlène Huissoud

The second materials Huissoud has developed is produced from the cocoons of a species of Indian silkworm, which is bred primarily for the meals industry rather than silk production.

From Insects by Marlène Huissoud Silkworm cocoon

The cocoons contain a all-natural glue known as sericin that binds the fibres of silk together when heat and water is applied.

“[The cocoon] is like an onion it has various layers of fibres and it includes an wonderful organic glue,” Huissoud explains. “You can make a actually powerful paper out of it.”

From Insects by Marlène Huissoud

Huissoud discovered that by combining this paper-like material with propolis, she could make a materials with many of the properties of leather.


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“I utilised the bee bioresin as a varnish on prime of it,” she says. “This new material is quite related to leather and it can be utilized in style or furnishings.”

From Insects by Marlène HuissoudVases manufactured from propolis by Marlène Huissoud

Both materials are made from the natural by-items of insects, but Huissoud isn’t going to think the processes could be scaled up to produce a lot more sustainable resources in future. Propolis is in fact really rare, with a single hive generating no more than one hundred grams a yr, she says.

“It is truly a craft project,” she explains. “I do not see it possessing industrial prospective simply because bee bioresin is so valuable.”

From Insects by Marlène Huissoud

This movie was filmed in Eindhoven at Dutch Layout Week 2014. The music in the film is a track known as Loved ones Music by local hip hop producer Y’Skid.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers is an ongoing collaboration with MINI exploring how design and technology are coming collectively to shape the potential.

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