Tailoring Composites

Celebrating Craftsmanship and Sustainability in Composites

Tailoring Composites is a project encouraging conversation around craftsmanship and environmental sustainability in composite materials. The development of this new composite material made from flax and bio-resin aims to become a substitute for other composites like carbon fibre – which is light and strong but not environmentally sustainable. The new material is shown here as hand-crafted archetypal vase forms, a deliberate choice to maximise awareness of innovations in material and process, function and form.

The Form

What something does, its function, can get in the way of the story. If we’d made a flax chair, you may have thought we’d just made a chair. So, we wanted to use a form that was ubiquitous and without a practical function, so it could be ignored and the materials and processes could shine through. We used a vase, an example of great design that has been around for centuries.

It was important to highlight the similarities and parallels between the processes in composites and those of bespoke tailoring. Many of the processes involved in composites are still done by hand: the cloth cutting, the laying of the cloth, the joining of cloth, they all have similarities to those used by bespoke tailors.

We also, of course, wanted to highlight the progress researchers are making in developing sustainable composites.

Date

2016 – current

Role

Research and Concept Generation

Project Partners:

National Composites Centre

Supported by:

University of Bristol ACCIS
Watershed

Funder

Bristol 800
National Composites Centre