The future of urban mining: Salon hair waste as a material for the built environment
17 — 18, 20 — 25 Sept 2022
Architecture / Landscape, Materials, Education
Somewhere between a sculpture and a piece of architecture, our installation invites visitors to engage with hair waste both visually and tactically. It is strategically located inside a salon, the very setting from which it is "mined", confronting the public with new possibilities on what is generally considered waste.
Hair is a material that we perpetually, grow, stylise and cut. Yet, while we cherish the hair on one's head, once cut, clippings are quickly discarded as unwanted material. Despite this, if done intentionally, hair can also be clipped and made into a keep sake, a small key chain, ultimately a form being reminded of someone and something that is cherished. These paradoxical views point to the strange ongoing relationship we have with hair; it can be prized just as easily as it can be trashed. Parallel to this, we are currently in an era of over-production, over-consumption, resource over-mining and material waste. The question the installation poses is can cut and discarded human hair be intelligently intercepted from the waste stream? If so, what potential applications are there for this naturally recurring human grown product? And can we eventually recalibrate our relationship with these rejected follicles, turning it from waste, past a utilitarian object, and instead into something we affectionately value? The installation, designed and executed by leading architect-researchers at Pareid Architecture, Deborah Lopez and Hadin Charbel, aims to address the above questions by reutilising hair and integrating it into the built environment. Bridging design, architecture and environmental activism, the installation not only encourages an emotional response but also confronts the public with the future of materials and where we source them.