Designer Robert Johnson presents a panel discussion around his Fatconomy system, which explores using London's wastes a sustainable material, as part of VDF's collaboration with the Design Museum.
The third event for today's Design Museum takeover is chaired by writer and curator Priya Khanchandani. She will be joined by Johnson, Purefuels directors Tom Lascia and Paul Fraser, researcher at material innovation studio Materiom Zoe Powell.
His project examined the waste produced by restaurant in London to explore how a production system could be established within pre-existing waste recycling models.
It featured a takeaway restaurant-inspired display of fat samples taken from 144 London restaurants, as well as objects created from the waste fat. These included an apron, a Crocs-style shoe, cable ties and packaging materials.
The designer also created a fat map of London. "This is basically taking a more nuanced approach to the fat waste of London, in methods of extraction," Johnson explained.
"It's taking a close look at the detailed landscape of 'what does this fat data say', and what can we do with it from a material perspective."
Lascia and Fraser from PureFuel will expand on this concept of Fatconomy to show how fat can be recycled for new use. Their company collects used cooking oils and fats in London and south east England and processes them into environmentally-friendly fuels.
The fuel produces virtually no waste, and can be used in cars and other vehicle engines, to generate electricity, and as boiler heating oil.
Powell will join the discussion on behalf of Materiom, which provides open-source recipes and data on materials made from natural ingredients including agricultural waste. She will explore how local waste can become a resource for new materials, and how this can help us change our habits and reliance on standard plastics.
Following the discussion, Johnson will screen his short film Of Material and Labour, which shows a day in the life of Cooper, a fictional fat miner based in south London, to highlight the human-centred side of a "waste system design".
About Design Museum
The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary architecture and design. Its mission is to make the impact of design visible through its exhibitions and collection, as well as its learning and research activities.
Designers in Residence is an annual residency programme run by the Design Museum and supported by the Arts Council of England. It provides emerging designers with time and space away from their regular environment to reflect, research and consider new ways of developing their practice. Previous residents include Asif Khan, Bethan Laura Wood, Yuri Suzuki and Legrand Jäger.
The 2020 cohort of Designers in Residence will be announced shortly.