Products made from Sea-Grass Mat Production Waste

This collection was developed for Viet Trang, a sea-grass SME in Vietnam. The company manufactured sea-grass mats in different designs and sea-grass baskets woven on metal frames. Viet Trang used to supply to Japan, but their export had reduced over time, as they could not meet stringent Japanese quality standards. The brief was therefore to create innovative products aligned with sustainability for this manufacturer. The project was carried out under the umbrella of two institutions—SPIN and UNIDO. Rebecca Reubens repurposed the waste generated by mainstream sea-grass mat processing to create new products.

Sustainable Innovations

The final collection for the Viet Trang comprised three basic concepts. The first concept used waste seagrass as bundles, which could be assembled to make surfaces and products. The seagrass reed is thickest at the bottom and narrows at its apex. This is the reason why only the middle section of seagrass is used by the sector, and the top and bottom are discarded or, at the most, used as fuel. The seagrass ‘bundles’ collection comprised 2 mirrors, 3 trivets, 1 carpet, 1 planter, and 1 lamp. Of these, the trivet and the carpet were prototyped.

The second concept used the same sea-grass waste, this time in the form of a rope. A special machine to make the rope was developed by the Future Living Studio in Hanoi. This rope was used, as it is labour-intensive to produce and consumes low energy during spinning. A rug and a planter were developed using this concept. However, these were not prototyped due to paucity of time.

The third concept was to develop a range of yoga mat products using traditional Vietnamese mat stencilling. 3 sets of mats and mat bags were designed, of which one mat was prototyped. The idea behind the collection was to leverage the health and wellness sector’s connection with traditional Eastern therapies and natural materials. The final collection was exhibited at the Lifestyle Fair 2012 in Ho Chi Minh City, in both the One UN space

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