Gabriela, Senko Kabbes

Trash Lab

In the Trash Lab we gave a new life to materials that were regarded as waste. Using our design expertise we experimented and researched how we could transform these “trash” materials into new design products that could be easily handcrafted, produced by hand driven machines or evolve into DIY kits. Through the Trash Lab activities we would like to encourage people to look at “trash’ differently.

The Trashlab is doing three different projects at this moment"

- Cherry Pear Project: We invite visitors to the Favela and TrashLab to donate their broken chairs and ideas to repair them or transform them into a new “Cherry Pear“ product. Visitors can buy these new products in the TrashLab.

- Touw maken (rope making): Visitors can try-out our rope making machine, and use different materials to get surprising effects. All ropes will be used to create different design products. 

- (Logo)Scavenger: This ‘ Super Hero’ rescues plastic discarded items and materials to create new design products from them. Scavenger facilitates people with ideas to transform their own discarded materials into new products.


Trash Lab at Freezing Favela - Erik Diekstra

Garbage and waste have been a recurrent theme in my design practice, this experience has allowed us to better understand what the perception of waste and trash is in our society, how people interact with it and its potential. In the Netherlands 84.4% of the trash is industrially recycled, 12.3% is burned and partly transformed into energy, 2,7 % of that goes to landfills and 0,6 % is discharged into the water. Many of these materials can be transformed into new products through the combination of design and handcrafting skills. Our proposal for the Freezing Favela is to create a Trash Lab and workshop where we research which used materials are available in the neighborhood and then to design and produce new design products that can be easily handcrafted, produced by hand driven machines or DIY made. Part of this plan is to encourage the local neighborhood to participate through workshops and other activities. We see many design possibilities that could be turned into a business model to create awareness, stimulate the separation of trash and in even generate jobs (amongst other benefits), especially in localities where the trash collecting systems are inefficient or don’t exist at all.

A Trash design Lab could be set up @ the Freezing Favela to:
1. Explore new possibilities to transform local garbage and waste into new design-handcrafted products (and other utilities).
2. Apply the results of this exploration into possible business models that could contribute to the economy of the community. Since Slum Sessions 2 and 3 we have been thinking about how we can collaborate and share space with the other initiatives related to “making” products.

To set up and run the Trash Lab we see different phases which we think they could grow in an ‘organically guided’ way:

  • Set-up phase (slum sessions, agreements, collaborations, defining, build, set up)
  • Research Phase (research the neighborhood, local organizations, communities, garbage streams and routes, garbage materials properties, similar initiatives in the neighborhood)
  • Design Phase (design research through workshops, try outs, experiments, product development, models, prototypes, samples)
  • Pilot Production Phase (Start 1st production pilot based on research, design phase and business model)
  • Production Phase (set up of production line)
  • Marketing and Communication (important role in every phase of the project)

We’d like to start to set up this project in February. To start with we would like to have support in:

  • Set up: Create a Hands on team together with other initiatives to set up the Trash Lab.
  • Communication: 2 people passionate about communication and marketing who can support the project in doing the research on the neighborhood and garbage streams and routes amongst other activities.
  • Financing: help setting up financing would be great! We’d like to learn more about the role of Mediamatic in this aspect.
  • Design: 2 Industrial designers who are willing to be part of the team to help us build and set up the Trash Lab Workshop. Students and volunteers: Hands on students always open to dive into different design/non design tasks.