With the WOOD-DESIGN project, BOS+, Flanders DC and Hout Info Bois want to initiate collaborations between designers and wood processing companies. In this way, we hope to offer designers more insight into the wood processing process and make them think of concrete, alternative uses for woody residual flows.
We selected five wood-processing companies willing to participate in the project, namely IDE Woods, Cohout, forestry operator Marc Goossens, Thys Hout and Vercruysse. In parallel, we launched a call for designers to participate in a sustainable design project, where five candidates were also selected: NAUWAU, Ellen Comhaire, Studio Plastique, Utilise.objects and Frederik Delbart.
After a preliminaryprocess, in which all companies were visited together and everyone could get to know each other's competences, duos were formed between designers and companies. Designers and companies were then given time to work together, develop their ideas, and eventually realise them. All this happened under the guidance of the partners, using feedbackmoments, interim evaluations and workshops.
The ultimate goal was the realisation of one or more products. These were presented at a closing event in the Thomas More Hogeschool in Mechelen and via an exhibition during DesignFestGhent.
During a preliminaryprocess, the designers visited all companies and were able to study the wood processing processes and waste streams up close. Interests, competences and opportunities were discussed, which significantly broadened the view of both parties.
The project led to a series of beautiful designs: '+52' by Studio Plastique, 'Tranquilitree' by Ellen Comhaire, 'The whimsical tree' and 'The edges of the tree' by Frederik Delbart, 'timbr' by NAUWAU, 'poplar research' and 'designs biodiversity' by Utilise.objects.
We organised an intermediate event, due to the corona pandemic via webinar, with fascinating talks by speakers from both the wood and design sectors. There were 53 attendees.
During the final event at the Thomas More campus in Mechelen, all the designs were presented. Lectures by two keynote speakers from BOSQ and switchrs also took place. It provided an excellent networkingopportunity, with 35 live and 25 digital attendees.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
Except for a few innovators, it was a challenge to enthuse the wood sector to participate in a project like WOOD-DESIGN, as well as in events organised within the project, even though they are an important target group in the circular story.
There is a lot of administration involved in scaling up a design: talks with buyers to bring the product into production and/or sell it, all kinds of technical checks, research work around patents ...
The success of a project depends heavily on a partner's reach, network and area of expertise. That is why it is important to think carefully from the start about a communication plan and which organisations to involve to increase the reach.
Creative insights can lead to very inspiring and sustainable results. It is very important to encourage this, not only financially but also through administrative support and a broad expertise network.
200online event registrations
84registrations final event
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The designerslearnt a lot during this project: new knowledge about materials (woody waste streams), new techniques for dealing with materials, the sustainability principle, new partners, organisations, expertise centres ... All this knowledge, as well as the contacts and networksestablished with partners and experts, will be taken into account when coming up with future designs.
Furthermore, the developed designs themselveshave a future within the design sector. Discussions are taking place for just about all the designs to expand ideas, put them into production and/or sell them.
In addition, some of the wood processing companies felt encouraged to look for other options for woody residual streams.
WOOD-DESIGN itself has no follow-up for the time being, but BOS+ is starting a two-year project with workshops and trajectories, to encourage companies and municipalities to make their (wood) purchasing policies more sustainable.