Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has produced a series of objects using chicle, a natural latex from the Yucatán Peninsula similar to chewing gum.
The objects were created for Design for the Living World, an exhibition of designs made of sustainable materials from around the world that opens at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York tomorrow.
Jongerius was one of ten designers commissioned by The Nature Conservancy to create objects for the show.
The exhibition runs until 4 January 2010.
Here's more information from Jongerius:
Design for a Living World
Commissioned by: The Nature Conservancy
On view May 14, 2009–January 4, 2010
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 2 East 91st Street New York
The Nature Conservancy invited ten designers to create new objects from sustainable materials sourced from around the world. Wood, plants, wool and other organic materials were transformed into intriguing objects, revealing extraordinary stories about regeneration and the human connection to the Earths lands and waters. Together, designers and consumers can reshape our materials economy and help advance a global conservation ethic by choosing sustainable materials that support, rather than deplete, endangered places.
Hella Jongerius traveled to the Yucatán Peninsula with The Nature Conservancy to observe the harvesting and preparation of chicle by local chicleros. The Mayans have chewed chicle for thousands of years, and today, small amounts of natural chicle are still used for chewing gum. Chicle latex flows from the chicozapote tree, which grows in the rainforests of Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua.
Back in her studio, Jongerius explores melting, molding, stretching, winding and shaping the material into stable objects. In a series of ceramic vessels, she used chicle’s elastic and adhesive properties to create tactile surfaces and planes of connection between diverse materials. Chicle is extremely fragile, however, and for all its strange beauty, it is not well suited for industrial use.
More information, also about the other 9 designers and their projects, can be found at The Nature Conservancy.
More Dezeen stories about Hella Jongerius:
Sign up for a daily roundup
of all our stories