For those of you who are unaware of Blaine Brownell’s Transmaterial website, books and emails, it is all well worth your time. Blaine sends out a weekly email blast about new materials, building processes, or innovative uses of an existing material. Lots of the materials are more architectural in nature, but there have been many that would be useful in the world of product design as well.
This week’s entry is Peter Trimble’s Dupe. Dupe is a micro-scale, microbial manufacturing plant that produces sandstone objects from bacteria, sand and urine. The process results in concrete-like, sandstone objects, but has no toxic emissions unlike the production of concrete, which produces 5% of the world’s man-made CO2 emissions. Dupe reveals a future where microbes may produce architectural and designed products. Sustainability should be much more than reduce, reuse and recycle, and Dupe shows an innovative process for creating useful objects from readily available sources without harmful emissions.