The Bone Project by Andrew Ross



New Designers 08: At New Designers in London last week Andrew Ross exhibited a collection of objects made of waste cow bones, which he collected from an abattoir.


The range of possible applications for the material included jewellery (top), containers in which to bury used batteries (above) and casings for disposable electronic products (below). Ross claims that bone is able to neutralise certain toxic chemicals and could allow products to be thrown away without the risk of causing environmental problems.


Ross, a graduate of Dundee University, was awarded the New Designers Swarovski Crystal Palace Award (see our previous story for details of all the award winners).


Cow bones used to be ground up for animal feed but the process was outlawed after the BSE crisis, and now truckloads of bones are thrown away every day.


More from New Designers 08 in our previous stories.

The following information is from Ross:


The Bone Project

My initial research explored agricultural by-products. The idea was to give farmers the ability not only to farm food but also to farm products. I desired to create some form of local production, which would be beneficial to both the local environment and the economy.


This research led me to an abattoir where I encountered a strange yet wonderful opportunity to use waste cow bones. I immediately set about the problem by dividing my research between three different areas: perception, properties and fabrication.


Perception: could bone be made as acceptable as red meat or leather?


Properties: does bone possess any useful structural, chemical or electrical properties?


Fabrication: how are bones currently disposed of? Could they be used for high volume applications?


It soon became apparent that bone was not immediately suitable for mass product design. Further work and research would be required to integrate it fully into society. Therefore a range of scenarios was created and sources of further funding were identified. As a collection they become a mainstream material for product applications.



Posted on Monday July 14th 2008 at 3:59 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Germol

    Really bizarre Andrew gRoss!

  • boz

    Dogs will love it ;)

  • Tyler

    boz rotfled me away with these dogs! crazy stuff, does it stink? :D

  • i thought cows were sacred -what will this mean for cow karma –

  • Azeem

    Innovative,Green& one of the reasons why I would like to on dezeen everyday!!

  • xtiaan

    the jewelery was beautiful

    but whats the point of encasing a battery in bone only to top it with a cork?

  • DrMom

    There is still question about how the prion which causes CJD is passed on… and we do not know how to rid tissue of it… how can we be 100% sure there is not prion left in the bone of these pieces (which are innovative and masterfully worked).

  • Katika

    Awesome!!! has this been continued? extended or transfered. I am an art student in Melbourne Australia, and am working with bone right now. I am making adornments, specific to an indivdual. also practical things like cutlery. I have no problem to use this material. I know the cruelty and waste. If we are to kill then why not use every part of a the body. like american indian philosophies. I have been searching the net for contemporary artist using the stuff…. any clues?
    Would love to see some more of your works, a website or so.