As part of our coverage of 2022’s graduate season, we’re talking with a selection of graduates from around the UK about their work, practice and future plans.
Constantina Elia is a 21-year-old BA Product and Furniture Design graduate from Kingston University. Her final project is Eggs-Like.
Design Week: Can you briefly explain what your final project was about?
Constantina Elia: Eggs-Like is a project which aims to demonstrate the qualities of an eggshell-based biomaterial. A collection of storage vessels was made using eggshells, water, gelatine and coffee grounds. By compression moulding the eggshell mixture into 3D printed moulds, the products were shaped and dried into a stone-like material. Almost 13kg of eggshells were used for the development of this project, which “translates” into almost 2,500 eggs.
Once the eggshells were collected, there was a specific process that had to be followed. The eggshells had to be boiled to kill all the bacteria and then put in the oven to fully dry. They were then crushed in a blender and passed through a sieve to get the finest powder. The bonding material was gelatine and the coffee grounds, which were sourced by cafes, were only used for the different colour shades.
The shell of the egg is a material full of calcium, which allows it to be developed into a stone-like material. The fact that this project was created around waste materials makes the product fully sustainable which can do no harm to the environment. If left in soil, it would turn into compost.
DW: What was the most challenging aspect of the project?
CE: The most difficult aspect of my project was sourcing the main waste material which was the eggshells. Even though eggshell waste reaches up to millions of tons yearly, it was quite challenging for me to find my eggshell providers. However, after contacting many cafes, restaurants and bakeries, I managed to source eggshells on a daily basis.
DW: Where do you see your design career in five years?
CE: Although I loved the diverse BA degree I have just completed, I will now pursue a a master’s degree in UI/UX Design. I believe that we live in a fast-growing throwaway society, and design at the moment is not as sustainable as it should be. We as designers contribute to pollution too. In my final year at Kingston University, I tried to create design solutions that are as sustainable as possible. However, the digital design industry is a field where I would like to see myself thrive in the upcoming years.
Of course, product design is a field I will not leave behind. The eggshell project has opened a pathway in my design career that I want to explore further. I would like to research new biomaterials and different ways of using waste for new-innovative design solutions/products. In five years’ time I see myself working in the digital design industry, while exploring/making new bio-material products.
You can find our guide to 2022 graduate design shows here.
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