26 mei 2021

Hemp product design

The first time Jory Swart heard of Dutch hemp cultivation, he immediately thought of soft drugs. “But when I looked into it, I found that hemp was already used in the VOC era to make sails and clothing. It’s a fast-growing crop, needs no pesticides and produces an exceptionally strong fiber. A great material to work with.

While studying product design at Groningen’s Minerva Art Academy, Swart got to work with locally grown hemp. “The felt made of Hemp is soft and flexible, while I wanted to make something sturdy and strong. I experimented for months to find the right natural glue to harden the felt, and eventually found one. If you use the glue to press two layers of felt together, you get a solid sheet, which I used to make a conference table with, among other things.”

” a nice, environmentally friendly alternative
to the plastics
that are more commonly used today.”

When Swart received an order to design an office interior, he began to investigate the possibilities of hemp for light fixtures. To him, It seemed to be a nice, environmentally friendly alternative to the plastics that are more commonly used today. Not only that, in addition, the single layer of hardened felt is partly transparent, especially if you pull the fibers apart a little. The translucency lets light pass through, revealing a beautiful pattern, filtered into a warm, diffuse glow cast below the surface.

“First, i designed a cube lamp, with six straight sheets in a steel frame. Then came a wide, oval-shaped pendant lamp. Reaction from the public was overwhelmingly positive, but the lamp was enormously labor-intensive and therefore unaffordable for many. I’ve now discovered a new way to produce up to five a day.”

Since then, Swart’s studio in De Hoop in Zaandam (a breeding ground for creativity) has functioned as a small solo factory. The lamps he made there are now on display at the Dutch Design Hotel Artemis, as part of a group exhibition around the theme of ‘earth’. “It’s very satisfying to be able to make a difference as a designer with environmentally friendly products,” Swart believes. “My lamps are one hundred percent recyclable. The glue can be dissolved in water and, together with the hemp, can be disposed with the rest of the organic waste.”
Check more about Jory Swart on joryswart.com
And want to buy products? joryswart.com/shop
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Het Parool


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