Algae

Algae

The Seaweed Archives

Studio Tång consists of two architects, Joline Schikan and Barbara Gwóźdź, who created The Seaweed Archives project as a part of their master thesis at Chalmers University of Technology.

This project aims to offer an alternative to current conventional materials and move from carbon emission to carbon storage by focusing on an abundant, underutilised and, if harvested right, highly sustainable material: Seaweed. Seaweed, or macroalgae, is easy to grow, requires no land, fertilisers or fresh water and grows about thirty times faster than land-based plants. Seaweed, and algae in general, have long been used in coastal regions as a food source, fertiliser, energy source and for a variety of industrial applications. What if seaweed could also be grown for the purpose of creating sustainable materials?
The main focus of the project lies in exploring the potential of seaweed as a building material. Apart from investigating macroalgae, the investigation also includes studies on microalgae and seagrasses. The thesis’s approach to the material investigations is mainly from an aesthetic point of view and the durability of the material. The materials are implemented in real architectural elements and tested in relation to different aspects like tactility, visual appearance and water resistance. The material experiments include bioplastics sheets, bioplastic inflatable structures, seacrete panels and seaweed shingles serving as both interior and exterior materials.

BIOPLASTICS: The bioplastic experiments are made using agar agar/carrageenan kappa, glycerine, water and different additives. The work focused on experimenting with different methods, ratios and algae-based additives like spirulina, astaxanthin and seaweed flakes. This resulted in thin bioplastic sheets with a large variety of colours and patterns.

SEACRETE: The Seacrete samples consists of grinded oystershells, alginate and additives of micro- and macroalgae. This batch of experiments focused on creating a material with thickness.

KELP: The kelp is treated to remain flexible when dried and the material was then made into kelp shingles.

Ingredient list

Seaweed, microalgae, glycerine, oyster shell, algae derivative

Maker

Studio Tång

References

Isola to harness and celebrate togetherness at Milan Design Week 2022 (Article)
‘Materialized’ to pave new paths in biomateriality at the Milan Design Week (Article)

Photo credits

Joline Schikan, Barbara Gwóźdź