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Live Stream

This is the Live Stream of our degeneration tank, part of the Seaweed Cycle. It shows the live decomposition of museum pieces we selected from the Boijmans van Beuningen museum design collection, produced out of our eco-compatible seaweed biopolymers for the online exhibition de afbreekeconomie, accessible here:

Object: KLM Servies by Copier in 1946. This cup, as part of a dinner set, were the first disposables used in aviation, introduced after the second world war, when commercial aviation started in the Netherlands, it simultaneously created the need for lightweight dinner sets (plastic, melamine), commissioned by KLM, designed by Copier. We found the original steel production molds in the 'Polyplasticum' (plastic) museum in the Netherlands and successfully re-used and re-introduced with our seaweed biopolymers.

Hereby a timelapse of how its degradation started:

Seaweed Cycle by Studio Klarenbeek & Dros for The Breakdown Economy, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

In the exhibition The Breakdown Economy our newest project Seaweed Cycle presents a world without plastic, placed centrally in the exhibition. We have developed a material called weed-ware which is a natural soil and marine degradable alternative to plastic.

The Breakdown Economy is an exhibition about making and destroying things. Its not about economic growth and efficient production, but about the limitations of this model. How do we destroy everything that we, as humans, have made? In this discussion you can assume a radical position and lump everything together or adopt a more pragmatic attitude whereby a breakdown economy is in balance with nature. What connects all these ideas is not just that things can be done differently, but that they must be done differently.

The recordings for The Breakdown Economy were made at Foundation AVL Mundo. The concept of the online exhibition was conceived and executed together with Koehorst in t Veld and film-maker Roel van Tour. Exhibitors: Studio Klarenbeek & Dros, Atelier van Lieshout, Koehorst in t Veld.

Thanks to Boijmans van Beuningen, Polyplasticum, Basse Stittgen, NIOZ, WUR. Lennart Engels, Friedrich Gerlach, Klarenbeek & Dros 2020

Learn about our restorative materials
Studio Klarenbeek & Dros is developing and stimulating a new closed carbon production chain, in order to achieve CO2-binding and biocompatible materials that restore ecology, stimulate biodiversity and break the current destructive cycle of production. Algae (or Seaweeds) are very suitable for this: Firstly because of the versatile properties and possible applications, and secondly because they are able to convert CO2 into oxygen and biomass from the beginning of evolution. Ever since they provide the most oxygen production on our planet (>60%), more than all trees.

The seaweed cycle, is a chain that the studio has been working on for over 5 years. We have initiated many collaborations and built a network of vital partners with which we can implement this new network. This highly innovative chain, which goes far beyond single and the often one-sided CO2 discussion, is already demonstrably, and offers a solution for multiple and current problems: It offers a solution for CO2 reduction in the form of CO2 binding, the Plastic soup, Nitrogen problems, excessive algae growth in open waters, and the use of fertilisers and pesticides becomes unnecessary when applied on land crops.

The Process
At this moment we experience a movement from agriculture to seafarming, the new blue farmers. In the sea, excessive nutrients from agriculture, such as nitrogen and CO2 are bound in seaweeds, which can be mown or harvested. This reduces the chance on excessive algal blooms, that we see occur more and more these days, reinforced by the global rise of temperature. Subsequently, the seaweeds are processed in a refining line, where the cells are separated, resulting in four streams of raw materials:

- 1 The fiber, which we use as a biopolymer.
- 2 Liquid, or Bio-stimulant, which has been successfully applied in agriculture for three years now by the largest and one of Netherlands' first organic tulip farmers. This Bio-stimulant replaces the current fertilisers (fertilisers and the associated nitrogen problems) and makes the plant stronger, hence makes the use of pesticides unnecessary (as well a much discussed and controversial problem).
- 3: Proteins. The proteins present in seaweed can replace animal proteins (which are globally deficient). Our partners have successfully completed the large-scale research into the use of these proteins as fish feed (fish feed is still made from fish meal and soy).
- 4: Water, Fresh water / demineralised water is a waste stream from the cells of the seaweed. This water is now used to water the land. Potentially, this 'waste stream' which currently saves fresh water use, can be of interest for locations where little fresh water is available, such as remote areas e.g. deserts.

Background Studio Klarenbeek & Dros
In 2018, Klarenbeek & Dros won the New Material Award with their five-year research on biopolymers from algae and seaweed, and were nominated for the Beasley Design Award and the German Design Award. Recently their work is included in the permanent collections of Centre Pompidou in Paris, MoMA New York and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam. In January 2020 the World Economic Forum in Davos presented the Algae Lab project, developed together with Atelier Luma in Arles in 2019 ( business-51229544/davos-2020-algae -proposed-as-an-alternative-to-plastic). As early as 2013, Klarenbeek & Dros succeeded in being the first to 3D print with living organic materials, based on fungal threads, called mycelium. This led to The Mycelium Chair, an armchair that is printed and grown with minimal raw materials and energy, when matured the material gains strength through the root structure of the fungal threads. The chair has recently been included in the permanent collection of the Center Pompidou. With the project Seaweed Circle the designer couple wants to get ahead of the crowd again. In order to really stop plastic pollution, the focus has shifted to a step earlier in the production chain. Their 3D Bakery project previously proposed a decentralised production system (Winner: Strawberry Earth Academy Award) like the patisserie on the corner of the street, where objects can be printed in 3D from locally sourced organic materials. This concept was shown as a test setup at the exhibition Change the System, by demonstrating this principle on the basis of the antique glass collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, objects were reproduced with a homemade biopolymer from algae harvested from the museum's pond. This as an example of this hyperlocal material and production system.

Why seaweed
The raw materials from this new plastic substitute is grown in the sea. The seaweed can bind a lot of CO2 during growth. By focusing on utensils (instead of disposables or single use products), the products of Klarenbeek & Dros form a long-lasting carbon bonding, so the redundant CO2 in the atmosphere is stored.

The end product is recyclable, compostable and circular. In addition, the cultivation of seaweed does not take up valuable agricultural land. It does not pollute, but actually restores our surrounding, because it binds the redundant of CO2 from the atmosphere into hard carbonaceous material. In addition, biostimulant (organic fertilizer) and drinking water are released when processed into a biopolymer material. The cultivation of raw materials in the sea is also referred to as sea-farming. Because land for agricultural use is limited, there are many opportunities for farming at sea, and we are working on this new network daily to make it happen. By setting up the Seaweed Circle we are telling a story about water, the environment and climate change, but also gives insight in a future where we can grow and innovate within a new, circular and sustainable market.

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