APPLAUSE design workshop
Short description
Designing sustainable products from wood and paper from invasive non-native plants at the Academy for Fine Arts and Design of University of Ljubljana (ALUO UL).

Within a three-month workshop An Object of change Trajna collective has challenged students of Industrial and Unique Design at ALUO to test new materials and design products that are based on the use of the biomass of invasive plants. The students were encouraged to consider nature-friendly approaches to design and production, which are also prompted by the occurrence of invasive plants. As a consequence of fast-growing market economy and globalisation, these resilient species offer us the opportunity for consideration and change. Since products are usually associated with consumption and mass-production, the workshop tried to encourage participants to look beyond their commercial nature. The students were called to discover how they can become tools for shaping new community practises, encouraging solidarity with human and other living beings, as well as supporters of education and raising awareness. 
Trajna developed the workshop as a cooperative experience connecting students of Design to local organisations, who are working towards raising awareness about sustainable ways of living. Supported by the experts from organisations, students were looking into solutions for designing wood or paper products as agents to promote ecological and fair ways of farming (in collaboration with Slovenian Permaculture Society), urbanisation (in collaboration with Landscape Park Tivoli, Rožnik and Šiška Hill), eating (in collaboration with S.U.R.F. Institute) migration (in collaboration with Slovenian Philanthropy) and economics (in collaboration with Library of Things).      

Ideas developed by the students at UL ALUO:

  • a composting toilet as a space for education about the principles of permaculture (by Nina Škerjanc, Lin Gerkman, Simon Bregar, Jakob Koncut, Gregor Stražar)
  • a mobile kitchen to rent as an agent for reviving public space in Savsko naselje (by Tjaša Mužina in Miha Hain)

  • Povezek, a notebook that encourages intercultural integration and language learning (by Maja Grobler in Tamara Lašič Jurković, Valentina Arčan)


  • a recycling bin that promotes symbioses between humans and birds (by Eva Garibaldi, Neža Medved, Simon Izidor Rozman) 


  • a ‘take-away’ packaging that proposes the use of reusable packaging for warm meals (by Blaž Skodlar, Jera Tratar, Maruša Dolinar, Andraž Rudi Vrhovšek). 

The workshop evolved during the course of the subject Development and Theory of Industrial Design lead by Assist. Prof. Dr. Barbara Predan of the Department for Industrial and Unique Design (UL ALUO). The classes were facilitated in cooperation with Izidor Ostan Ožbolt from Ekokolektiv, Ana Kyra Bekš from Servis8 and Assoc. Prof. Dr Maks Merela from the Department of Wood, Science and Technology of Biotechnical Faculty in Ljubljana.

Other news from this project

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Removed invasive alien plants in Slovenia are currently composted or incinerated, but in the pilot project of processing Japanese knotweed into paper ...

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