Recycling waste into new materials and products is one of the most favourable actions that we are willing to do in order to be more sustainable and protect the environment. Nevertheless, what if materials could be made using insects and their waste streams instead of recycling waste? Marlene Huissoud is an experimental designer fascinated with the creativity of insects and nature itself who has created From Insects: a project that consists in a collection of artifacts made using honeybee and silkworm. Honey bees, propolis and silkworm defines the creative universe of Marlene Huissoud. With her work she is both, promoting reflection and challenging the definition of environmental value.
Propolis —a black resinous mixture collected and used by honey bees to protect the hive— has been reported in biomedical literature as antimicrobial and immune system stimulant substance. However, Marlene Huissoud has found a new use of it. She has made from propolis a set of vessels using traditional techniques such as venetian techniques. From silkworm cocoon Marlene has shaped Wooden Leather: a new material made of hundred of layers of threads of raw silk and varnished with propolis to give it strength that can be used as a flexible surface or a piece of furniture.
Words by Lula Criado (Twitter @Lula_ClotMag)
What do you most like and dislike about the period we live in?
I like the way how design is in this period, because we can challenge our perception of materiality and illustrate a new vision into the making process.
I dislike the fact that it is difficult to pursue a higher education in the UK, and that everybody should have access to education.
What is your chief enemy of creativity?
Weather. I work a lot outside for the different pieces of the collection and winter is unfortunately coming very soon.
If you would have to give up one of your five senses, which one would it be and why?
Difficult question. I would say Smell. It is one of the sense that I use the less in my work.
What is the worst piece of advice you have been given?
“Listen to me I know how everything works in design.”
Do you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?
Introvert. I love to collaborate but I love to be by myself in the studio, working on the different designs especially when it is the stage of research because it is a stage of doubts and you can’t doubt in front of your audience. !
One for the ride… Who or what was the last person, place or thing that fascinated you?
My father. He inspired me a lot of course for the project because he is beekeeper, we worked a lot together recently and he discovered a lot of facette of him that I didn’t know. It has been a fantastic collaboration and it is only the beginning.