Lobke Beckfeld and Johanna Hehemeyer-Cürten are completing their master’s degrees at the Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin, but in the meantime, they are also looking for manufacturers and industrial producers to collaborate with to make their project available on the market. In fact, the Berlin design students are also the creators of Sonnet155, a translucent handbag made with fruit waste, that dissolves in water and at the end of its life can be used to fertilize plants.
The project consists of two different industrial production waste materials: fruit skins left over from juice production and short cellulose fibers sourced from a local textile factory. Sonnet155’s key ingredient is pectin, a gelling agent that is extracted from the cell walls of the waste fruit and acts as a natural binder. This is reinforced with cellulose fibers shorter than five millimeters long, which are filtered out during the industrial textile production process because they are too short to be turned into fabric. The percentage of cellulose, as well as the length and density of the fibers, determine the structure, the level of translucency, and the resilience of the material. Combined with warm water, the mixture is left to cure in a mould for up to five days before it is sewn together.
The Sonnet155 handbag is available in different sizes. Each model has a unique texture created by natural pigments that offer a range of colors from light to dark, while the structure of the mold makes the material matt or glossy. Although it resembles a purse, the product has a lifespan closer to a disposable paper bag and is designed to degrade naturally with wear before it can ultimately be composted or recycled. Once it is too worn to be used, the material can be dissolved in warm water and re-melted to create a new bag of the same quality. Alternatively, the cellulose can be filtered through a sieve and reused, while the pectin can become plant food.