Building and materials

languages: ennl

Prior to the industrial revolution, we only had the materials that people in the immediate vicinity could make at our disposal. We built with local materials and traditional construction techniques. The formation of guilds led to specialists who built connections specialists from further afield. Since the industrial revolution, small companies have formed, and now there are mainly large multinationals that mass produce globally.

In 200 years of industrial society, goods and raw materials have been distributed across the globe. The places where you can efficiently mine raw materials are becoming increasingly scarce, cutting down trees for paper may no longer be such a good idea and growing cotton consumes more water than is feasible.

Meanwhile, treasures lie hidden in discarded equipment and packaging. Garbage dumps full of electronics, plastics, metals and textiles are the mines of the future.

New digital techniques enable us to build things ourselves which, until recently, were the products of specialized laboratories or factories. This gives us the opportunity to make something exactly as we want it to be, to make small productions ourselves and to do our own material research. Individually we can also make use of local waste facilities more easily than large companies.

Some raw materials are now collected separately in order to be able to reuse them more efficiently, and more and more attention is being paid to the concept of cradle-to-cradle, which means that when designing a product, you already think about how the raw materials of a product can be easily separated for reuse once it has reached its lifespan.

A solution that is not yet prevalent is to design products in such a way that they can be used for another purpose after their intended lifespan. As such raw materials are not extracted from the item, but the item receives an entirely different function. While small companies find it increasingly difficult to compete with the multinationals, a new trend is emerging with the upcycling and short-chain food production in local mini-factories. Designers and inventors play a major role in this.