The New Age of Trichology
Can you image a future in which we will be building climbing cords, a swing and maybe even a suspension bridge with… hair? According to Sanne Visser, a designer who likes to push the boundaries of materials, hair has a lot of unused potential. Her innovative and sustainable research project The New Age of Trichology implements a closed-loop system to recycle human hair and make it applicable for material and product design. Human hair is a natural resource that will be increasing in the future since the world’s population is rapidly rising. To give an example: the UK alone ‘creates’ around 6.5 million kilograms of human hair waste annually, which mostly ends up in landfill or slowly decays in the environment. Visser explores the potential of hair as a raw material, while reducing waste, environmental problems and the pressure on other non-renewable materials.
The research focuses mainly on the high tensile strength of hair (an average strand of human hair can hold up to 100 grams of weight), one of a number of qualities. Human hair is also extremely lightweight, flexible, high in oil-absorbency and insulating.
Over the past three years, Visser has collaborated with expert spinners, rope makers and textile workers to develop a process for making rope from hair. The rope has been used to create an array experimental utilitarian products including bags, nets, baskets and belts.