Red Ochre and a Wise Man
Ochre, gelatine, glycerine, and water. With these four natural substances, Soowon Chae has developed a sustainable and biodegradable material that he calls 'Ocragela'.
With red ochre, early human beings had incorporated various functions for the natural colouring agent: curing wounds, tanning leathers, and protecting their skins from the sun. Chae not only uses ochre as a colouring agent but also as a tribute to the curiosity and creativity of the prehistoric man and the respect early human beings showed for nature.
How different is the story behind gelatine, often regarded as a kind of ‘inferior’ residual product of the meat-processing industry? That is precisely why he chose it as a main ingredient to create a sustainable material with completely new possibilities. Aiming to twist the commercial value of gelatine, in a society dominated by the principles of capitalism.
This first edition of furniture made from Ocragela questions the value of standardised mass-produced products of today. As anima, an origin word of animus which means rational soul, life or intelligence, signifies ‘breath’, this design is inspired by nature and inherently intelligent animals and processed in a one-of-a-kind way from carving the wood to upholstering the structures with Ocragela.
Ocragela was created by mixing gelatine and ochre with glycerine and water. By varying the proportions, temperature and methods of casting, Soowon Chae created different patterns, colours, textures, thicknesses and flexibility.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Future Materials Encounter
Future Materials Encounters are a series of workshops and conversations around the materials of the Future Materials Bank. Each event in the series focuses on a specific material, staging a conversation between the maker and the audience.
Ochre, gelatine, glycerine, water.
Accessible to visitors of the Future Materials Lab