German Design Award Newcomer Finalists 2019
Luisa and Rasa, as a team, you are Newcomer Finalists at the German Design Awards 2019. What does this award mean for you and your work?
We are very excited by this recognition from the German Design Awards, as it is an encouragement of our collective way of working. As the design and architecture collective THEY FEED OFF BUILDINGS, we unite a network of producers, technologists and creatives. This integrative way of working allows us to realise our ideas with regard to sustainability.
With your project Urban Terrazzo, you present a building material that reinterprets and updates classic terrazzo stone using modern technology. As a team, you approached the conceptual development from different sides. Who is responsible for which idea behind the product?
As developers and founders, we form the core team of TFOB and are responsible for the development and marketing of Urban Terrazzo. When dealing with the technological demands regarding self-developed building materials, we draw upon the knowledge of experts and work in cooperation with a lab for concrete technologies. When it comes to the preservation of architectural heritage, the collaboration with other creatives also plays a decisive role for TFOB’s extended network. We set great value on establishing new and local material cycles of production with Urban Terrazzo. Therefore our German manufacturer uses demolition materials from the area around Berlin. In Italy, on the other hand, we cooperate with a factory that processes our resourced building waste from the region around Verona. Our Urban Terrazzo products are as unique as their place of origin.
By transforming the traces of old architectures into new materials, we pursue a sustainable material development throughout the disciplines of architecture and design.Luisa Rubisch & Rasa Weber, German Design Award Newcomer Finalists 2019
The themes of recycling and sustainability obviously play an important role in your work. Which other issues are also relevant here?
We are inspired by architecture as a dynamic process. Old houses live on in new houses. By transforming the traces of old architectures into new materials, we pursue a sustainable material development throughout the disciplines of architecture and design. The preservation of architectural heritage and the process of architectural transformation serve to inspire one another. We call this a new form of progressive preservation.
In your opinion, what constitutes a good material in the 21st century?
As designers we strive to give new life to disposed architectural remains. In Berlin alone, around 5 million tonnes of building waste are produced each year. With Urban Terrazzo we transfer these remnants of old architecture into a sustainable material cycle. By that we do not only create a new up-cycling material, we close the life cycle of a building.
Rasa Weber (*1989) & Luisa Rubisch (*1990) are the founders of the young design and architecture collective TFOB-THEY FEED OFF BUILDINGS, based in Berlin. The team is made up of creatives from the fields of design, architecture, film and photography. Their project Urban Terrazzo connects research into materials with design: a new construction material is produced from the existing remains of building materials and construction debris. Their goal is to create a closed material cycle and to demonstrate new applications for contemporary building materials.
The project has already been implemented in Berlin, Prague and Verona, with support from political and cultural institutions as well as from companies within the construction industry.
First published in the German Design Awards 2019 catalogue
Article picture: TFOB | They Feed Off Buildings – a new collective for material research, architecture and design © Hannes Wiedemann