Designer as a global thinker
Architects and designers, as global thinkers, are best able to think the world of tomorrow. We do not need an ecological transition but an ecological disruption. For this, one must be able to deconstruct what is existing to rethink it again. Go back to the fundamental principles defining design, architecture, the construction sector or the industry, to no longer approach them within the restricted framework of their associated problems, but in a much broader way, as part of a global vision. A wider vision, questioning the relationship of Man with the Earth.
Gwilen uses materials at our disposal, the port muds. Designing from these materials implies taking into account its variability and its properties. This requires designing from existing things, and composing with them. This approach characterizes the Levi-Straussian handyman, as opposed to the Levi-Straussian engineer, who conceives in autarky and subjects nature to his thought. The twenty-first century will be a century of handymen, in the noble sense of the term, those who know how to think with waste, with what we have already extracted, with neglected architecture, with nature. How to transform rather than create.
Marine sediments accumulate in ports. This accumulation is inevitable. Indeed, when a current slows down, the particles in suspension in the liquid settle at the bottom. This happens downstream of dams in particular, but also in all of the world’s ports. This material must be evacuated to ensure the infrastructure’s proper functioning. This resource is available anywhere in the world, all along the coast. Yet 60% of the world’s population lives within 60km of the coast. By 2045, 75% of the world’s population will live in that same lane. To develop this resource is to allow the local use of a readily available resource.
The construction industry
The construction sector is one of the most polluting industries. It accounts for 41% of global energy consumption, 23% of air pollution, and 40% of global consumption of raw materials. Concrete is the most consumed material on Earth after water, but it is also one of the most polluting. Producing 1T of cement requires a firing at 1450 ° C, and rejects 900kg of CO2 in the atmosphere. Producing 1T of brick requires a firing at 1150 ° C and rejects 300kg of CO2. If alternative solutions exist, such as raw earth or straw for example, they are unsuited to the industrial character of construction sites. There is a need to find new construction materials, suited for massive production in order to meet the needs of a growing population, but more ecological than the current ones. Gwilen produces ecological, industrial and easy-to-use materials, made from a readily available resource.
The Gwilen project is to leverage what our infrastructure generates on the environment. A port disrupts the natural balance of current and sedimentation. The consequence is the production of sea mud. Rather than treating this siltation as a mere disturbance and the vases as waste, Gwilen turns it into a new resource. Using this resource is by extension limiting the consumption of finite resources extracted in careers. The objective is to develop balanced human activities with no impact on the environment, in which waste becomes a resource, which underlies the development of the circular economy. This becomes possible through the design of the movable factory. It is no longer materials that are moved, but factories treating the resource locally.
The process used by Gwilen leverages the intrinsic properties of marine sediments. This process is inspired by diagenesis, which is the natural process by which sediments turn into stone. To be inspired by nature is indeed the best way to conceive harmoniously. This process operates without firing at high temperature. This considerably reduces the energy consumption during production, and therefore the gray energy associated with the material.