Guest Contribution by Katerina Biliouri
“The Organic Factory” is not linked to any series of organic food in your local supermarket. Think ahead. Think eco-friendly design. Think of the talented French product designer Gilles Belley.
In 2001 Gilles Belley graduated from the École nationale supérieure de création industrielle ENSCI in Paris. Last year he won the Bourse Agora award, which enables young design professionals active in France to realise a personal, uncommissioned project. Since then his work ranges from his current collaboration with Metalarte and furniture designs to museographic projects and graphic art work. Throughout his overall work one fact is undisputable; simplicity, style, minimalism and respect to nature and its resources are the common denominators of his work.
Yatzer focuses on Belley’s Organic Factory, a series of elegant and eco-friendly products. The research project was initiated for the art center la Cuisine, in collaboration with the Laboratory of Agro-industrial Chemistry (LCA).
The Organic Factory offers domestic objects whose design is intrinsically linked to the use of agromaterials, meaning materials that are made from agricultural waste and are biodegradable under the action of water. Due to their "sustainable" label, agromaterials are usually confined to replace petroleum-based plastics. That is exactly what Gilles Belley does in these objects.
Taking a closer look at Gilles Belley’s research and sketches, it is clear that he has been influenced by natural forms. The Organic Factory plays with continuities and similarities between artificial and natural to propose a set of objects whose shapes and functions are manufactured from nature.
Colline and Plaine [meaning hill and plain respectively] are organic fertilisers both made of agro-materials [sunflower] and tinted glass. Colline is named after the after the erosion phenomenon. Partially buried in its pot this small form erodes under the action of water. Its base, finer, contains seed mixed with the agromaterial. After several days of watering, the decomposition of the base releases the seeds and organic nutrients.
In Plaine, once the seeds are planted, it is located on the pot above the earth. When watering, water slides over the plain, loading organic compounds, and flows to its edges where it can seep to moisten the lower strata. By eroding its surface, water will dig furrows in the Plain to finally make it disappear, leaving room for plants fed by the organic compounds.
Apart from organic fertilizers Gilles Belley suggests home fragrances and bath aromas based again on agromaterials.
Made of aromatic soluble agromaterials and stone, Brindille [meaning twig], is an elegant and different way for a continuous subtle home perfume. A small branch that dissolves releasing aromatic molecules, the twig lands on its plate, in contact with water. Alternatively, if you prefer a more rapid and intense perfume, there is Rameau [meaning branch]. The “rameau” used as a whip in the water is gradually dissolved. Heated by the fragrance, water evaporates disseminating aromas. The Rameau is made of aromatic and soluble agromaterials, marble, tinted glass and candle. Fruit is inspired by cypress. Once wetted, it emits essences with antiseptic properties that neutralize unpleasant odors. Once again it is made of aromatic and soluble agromaterial.
Finally, for those of you who like indulging themselves with bath aromas Gilles Belley has designed Inflorescence. As an object it combines geometry, as it looks like a muscari flower. The buttons stand out to be immersed in water bath where, by dissolving, they release perfumed oils with aromatic characteristics of the flower buds of clove that contain antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic oils.
Gilles Belley Organic Factory is a successful example of environmentally sustainable design products that add elegance to our everyday lives.