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clockwise: Ineke Hans, Rex, 2021, first Dutch deposit chair, made from recycled polyamide (old office furniture, fishing nets, carpet and industrial waste), coll. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, donation Circuform, De Meern, 2022 / Simón Ballen Botero, Suelo Orfebre (Goldsmith’s Soil), 2018, glass made of jagua, a waste product from goldmining / Marjan van Aubel, Sunne, 2022, lamp with Sun Power solar cells, aluminum, recycled plastic, coll. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam / Diana Scherer, InterWoven – Exercises in Root System Domestication, 2021-22, grown textile from oat roots / Audrey Large, MetaBowl #6, 2021, recycled 3D printed plastic, coll. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Alaa Abu Asad. Nilufar Gallery-Far Edition / Space Available X Peggy Gou, Peggy Chair, 2021, chair made of recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE), coll. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, donation of Space Available, Bali, Indonesia, 2022.

Designers use all kinds of waste materials for new products and harness the power of nature to develop unusual materials. The design studio Bentu, for example, makes furniture from ceramic waste, Tamara Orjola makes textiles from pine needles, Basse Stittgen has developed tableware from cow’s blood. Claudy Jongstra has introduced medieval natural dye recipes into Viktor & Rolf’s fashion designs, and Maartje Dros and Erik Klarenbeek are experimenting to make glass with diatoms that bind CO2. Other projects and initiatives focus on less polluting energy production or aim to get users to think differently.

With the exhibition “It’s Our F***ing Backyard”, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is devoting itself from 26 May to 4 September to the contributions that designers can make to overcoming the climate crisis and achieving greater climate justice. To this end, 80 selected projects by designers and companies from all over the world will shed light on strategies for the innovative use of materials. Experiments and prototypes will be presented, as well as products already on the market. The innovations range from experimental research to new applications of old craft techniques. The aim is to present design that acts responsibly and is aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and accessible. In addition, the exhibition looks at how the exploitation of the land is linked to the practices of colonialism that are still perpetuated by some multinational companies. “The first global climate strike in 2018,” say exhibition curators Amanda Pinatih and Ingeborg de Roode, “reflects the growing awareness that we need to change the way we live. After small initiatives at the end of the last century, more and more is happening in the world of design. This exhibition shows how makers and manufacturers can create a multitude of new possibilities through creative practices and how consumers can play their part through their choices. Climate change concerns us all – it is happening in our own backyard”. The exhibition, they say, is also an opportunity for the Stedelijk to expand its design collection.

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