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December 4, 2023

Year of Sustainability presents its ‘Material Lab’ sustainable production programme


(WAM) — The Year of Sustainability team presented its programme “Material Lab”, a collaborative model for sustainable production, through which it engages UAE-based creatives, innovators and businesses to rethink production and design, from conception to manufacturing.

The programme’s two-tiered approach consists of Sustainable Production and Repurposing Materials, two programme components that emphasises on material innovation and reusing existing resources and materials.

Heading production and design at Year of Sustainability, Creative Manager Ayesha Hadhir said, “Our Material Lab programme is driven by our vision and deeply rooted cultural values: How do we give surplus waste a new purpose? We always want to encourage and support creatives and business owners, while providing tangible examples on how they can shift their focus towards sustainable production using existing resources. This programme helped us in accessing materials for consideration and further understanding, while also allowing the space for academics, designers, scientists, and engineers to begin their journeys into sustainable production.”

Material Lab programme collaborated with local creatives and innovators to experiment with materials found in the UAE’s landscape, excess waste, and more to develop a sustainable, biodegradable, or environmentally friendly material that holds the potential for reinventing production in the UAE. Material innovation presented through case studies details the research, techniques and experimentation undertaken by Mohamed Rowaizak, Nuhayr Zein, Maitha Alomaira, Christine Wilson, Khaled Shalkha and Sara Abu Farha, Hind Rais, Hala Al-Ani and Mahy Mourad, Shamma Almarzooqi, Alyazia Alfalasi, and Fatma Kharbash.

These participants have created samples and products using various resources, including palm fronds, sand, and date seeds. These have been used to manufacture an array of products, from small-scale merchandise to functional furniture.

The Year of Sustainability presented “The Sustainability Pin,” the culmination of the collective vision, research and collaboration with local designers, embodying the UAE’s vision for holistic sustainable production. Driven by the growing need of sustainable materials, the Year of Sustainability team turned to working with UAE-based design studios Asateer, ARDH Collective and MAKE along with the innovative architect Mohamed Rowaizak.

The designers worked with “dateform” by ARDH, a material made of wasted date seeds that provides a solid surface material that is sustainable. Using the crushed mother of pearl dust and Dateform, Asateer produced the Sustainability Pin, which was then packaged by Dubai-based architect Mohamed Rowaizak, using repurposed shredded paper that individuals can plant in their garden after use.

In collaboration with A FRND of Mine, the Year of Sustainability team launches its official merchandise created through upcycling the pre-existing UAE Year of the 50th range of products. The upcycled merchandise serves to inspire production practices for local businesses to utilise existing surplus materials to redesign, upcycle, and repurpose. Emphasising the values of local sustainable production and manufacturing, the official Year of Sustainability merchandise includes multi-functional products, such as jumpers, tote bags, jackets, and vests.

The products will be available for purchase on the Year of Sustainability’s official website and in COP28 at the UAE House of Sustainability (previously UAE Pavilion at Expo City).

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