With growing scarcity of materials and lengthy process of developing and testing new technologies we observe how some designers adopt mind-sets to the fact that using existing materials is just as valuable as using the ‘new’ materials. These creatives are able to skilfully repurpose a production process from one industry to another and present it in a form of an innovative and surprising product.
Acknowledging how important it is to understand what we already have access to, which in turn can help us to utilise great opportunities across other sectors in a more responsible way, this week in “Material Monday: Series 2”, we asked Seetal Solanki of Ma-tt-er to discuss this on an example that ‘excites’.
“Aura Tropicale” is a scent diffuser designed by Outofstock studio, who for this project found value in, and repurposed, an automotive exhaust fume filters made in a ceramic extrusion process. These purifiers are most commonly found in cars, motorcycles and trucks.
This inclusive approach has played a role in the way Outofstock approached the materiality of this product. They have selected an industrial process that uses an extrusion technique, which is able to create irregular cylinders with a honeycomb-like structure. In exchange, this gives a larger surface area for the oil to be soaked in and aids even scent distribution across the space.
In order to incorporate scent into this product, the creative production is designed to start with dip-dying and shaping the ceramic, while at the end it is crucial that it is never fully fired. This way, the substrate remains porous enough to absorb aromatic oils. At this stage of product development, once this scent diffuser is produced, it is able to slowly release the fragrance over a period of up to three days.
Further to the olfactory value, designers chose to translate this automotive element for its air purifying qualities. Firstly, the ceramic filters carbon monoxide that circles the air. Secondly, a chemical reaction takes place within the filter that transforms original molecules into carbon dioxide. Having this added benefit of purifying the air, this product is a higher performing one, rather than just embodying a pretty aesthetic.
Link to the automotive industry remains to resonate as the ceramic filters are directly sourced from the manufacturer that produces them on an industrial scale, specifically for the aforementioned vehicles. Maintaining this close relationship, Outofstock was able to use a variety of sizes for “Aura Tropicale”. The smaller sizes use the substrate, which was originally designed for motorcycles, whilst the larger ceramic filter was produced for trucks. The varied sizes could be placed within different sized rooms to create an ambiently scented environment.
This exciting case study proves that taking a somewhat invisible product from the automotive industry and making it more visible within the product design industry, while adopting Outofstock’s interdisciplinary way of working, can achieve great results.
The studio is now in the process of expanding this product by using nanotechnology that is specifically used within scent diffusion. It is also worth noting that Aura Tropicale was part of “The Alchemists” exhibition during Milan Design Week in 2015 at the Triennale di Milano design museum.
If you are excited about exploring ways to add scent to your products, or you would simply like to visit our exhibition launched during London Design Festival 17 titled “London in Seven Scents”, which was released to coincide with “Perfume” exhibition at Somerset House and “Material Monday: Series 2”, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We would love to hear from you!
Above: Aura Tropicale with Lemongrass scent.