Earth Matters is an extensive exhibition in the TextielMuseum in Tilburg, Holland, curated by Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano. Willow Project, by students at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, is one of over 40 international projects by designers, artists and manufacturers that contribute to this investigation of sustainable possibilities and ideas.
The exhibition title ‘Earth Matters’ refers to the worldwide development regarding sustainability and respect for earth’s resources. "By using the four themes, ‘Honouring Origins’, ‘Collecting Ingredients’, ‘Reinventing Materials’ and ‘Sustaining Production’, the exhibition Earth Matters, gives the visitor a better understanding of a sustainable cycle and the importance of material studies."
We spoke to Björn Steinar Jóhannesson, who is part of the Willow Group and has been to visit the exhibition. He told us that Earth Matters is a catalogue of innovative sustainable materials and processes. "The duo Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano gathered some of the most interesting and advanced designs of the moment to create a powerful exhibition looking for alternative materials."
And how does Willow Project fit into Earth Matters?
"Willow Project is pushing for a fresh perspective on materials in our wasteful contemporary world, and much like many of the projects on display at the TextielMuseum it generates questions rather than providing answers. Willow tells a story of careful investigation of the circulation of natural matter where no waste is left behind, and the overall focus of the exhibition is on showcasing realistic ideas to prevent next generation of designers making the same mistakes as others before us."
What is it that makes the project unique?
"Our working methods opened up research into many unforeseen qualities of the willow tree, and by sharing our working methods and publishing the results the project became a strong whole that appeals to a broad audience."
More about the exhibition: www.textielmuseum.nl
The project is made by the final year students in the product design department of the Iceland Academy of the Arts. It is an investigation into one of Iceland’s newly gained raw materials, the willow tree. For centuries wood has not been an accessible resource in Iceland. By deconstructing the tree into micro scale and reassembling the found elements, the students rendered new materials that could stand by themselves. Setting themselves a frame of adding nothing but water and heat, they further used all byproducts as a valuable resources. Inspired by the circulation of natural matter, the transformed materials are able to go back to the forest as nutrition.
Willow Project is an exploration, both artistic and practical, into Iceland's young forest culture. The result is a beautiful and careful reflection – a kind of material brainstorm – that revives the possibilities of an overlooked natural material and teaches us the value of careful investigation.
The workshop was led by Tinna Gunnarsdóttir, Friðrik Steinn Friðriksson and Óskar Kristinn Vignisson and the work was made by Birta Rós Brynjólfsdóttir, Björn Steinar Jóhannesson, Emilía Sigurðardóttir, Johanna Seelemann, Kristín Sigurðardóttir, Theodóra Mjöll Skúladóttir Jack and Védis Pálsdóttir
More about Willow Project: www.willowproject.is