Design Through Making
Zhenjing Lang grew up in Haining and lived in Hangzhou, China - a region full of natural landscapes, rivers, lakes, hills and mountains. Her origins are what helps to develop her own version of her ideal landscape and eventually became a symbol of her design style at China Academy of Art, in industrial (furniture) design. Meanwhile, during her BA studies she experienced working in vehicle company ICONA, an interior design firm and a technology company which helped her to define her interests within the design field. Studying at the Royal College of Art has opened up more possibilities for Lang in various fields. She welcomes all kinds of project opportunities and loves challenges. This has become her philosophy for expanding her own boundaries. Lang has explored herself as a multidisciplinary designer throughout the projects she has done - experimental, conceptual, open-source and in the medical field.
The Royal College of Art has provided Lang with the most meaningful trip of her life so far, both personally and in preparing for her future career.
My work is mainly focused on New Chinese Style furniture design which was inspired and affected by the surroundings and the places where I've lived. The theme was mainly about the balance between nature, humanity and modern life. And the audiences I targeted were people aged from 30 years old and older who had experienced the huge switch of Chinese society from the 1990s to the present. This positioning helped me during my BA studies and my freelance experience to easily understand what my customer wants and constantly develop my own characteristics in furniture design.
Rebirth - Food packaging — Rebirth is a biomaterial made from agricultural waste sugarcane and rice straw in particular. The straw would otherwise be burned in large rural bonfires, decreasing air quality, contaminating groundwater tables and reducing soil fertility. China produces over 700million tonnes of straw waste in a single harvest season and only 3% is utilized as raw material. Rebirth would allow around 20% to be repurposed. Straw waste has been previously included in PP products but never extended to produce a 100% natural straw product.
Food packaging - rice straw — Street food gives a magnificent scene in Asian culture. However, most of the products used for street food packaging are either plastic bags, polystyrene boxes or other PP products. Rebirth provides a potential solution to this problem with an alternative made from waste but recyclable and biodegradable.
Food packaging - sugarcane —
Rebirth - material demonstration — Rebirth can be easily made into sheet material, also can be processed by basic carpentry machines. Different sheets exhibit various properties. Thinner sheets have cardboard-like properties, whereas thicker sheets can be equivalent to MDF and wood. It can be mould-pressed, laser-cut, and dyed.
Rebirth - surface material and possible applications — Properties of the material: 1. It is lightweight; 2.Releases significantly fewer fumes, when subjected to heat, driven processes like laser cutting; 3.decomposes without leaving any contaminants; 4.you can use high temperature(150C) to remould the material; 5. Can be stained or dyed; 6. Absorbs oils and reverts to the original state when it dries; 7. Flexibility reduces for thicker sheets. Restrictions noted for 2mm and higher; 8. Recyclable and biodegradable
Rebirth - life circle — Rebirth gives a better business model and provides an advantaged alternative which is more environmental-friendly to plastic. This also makes the agricultural waste depends on extensive support for straw collection, transportation, storage, and utilization at a regional or provincial level.
Raw material and adhesives — Natural and environmental-friendly adhesives have been tested in order to find out the best solution for Rebirth. Agar, dextrin, resin, casein, rice and finally PLA was chosen regarding the complexity of making Rebirth on a larger scale.
Rebirth was developed to contribute towards a circular bio-economy and offer an economical and environmental solution. Rebirth would allow for 20% of the waste to be reutilized as a resource. The straw would otherwise be burned in large rural bonfires, decreasing air quality, contaminating groundwater tables, and reducing soil fertility. The straw waste can be utilized in situ. It would also allow for removal from the field within a short window between harvesting and planting a subsequent crop. It can be manufactured in the form of sheets in micro-factories in rural areas. Thinner sheets exhibit cardboard-like properties, whereas thicker sheets can be equivalent to MDF and wood. It can be mould-pressed, laser-cut, and dyed.
The needs and challenges of farmers are not well considered when developing the funding structure for such a scheme. Environmentally friendly alternatives produced from straw waste depends on extensive support for straw collection, transportation, storage, and utilization at a regional or provincial level, which is mostly non-existent. The development of infrastructure requires large investment and expertise. There is a high risk of being found guilty but open-field burning remains an inexpensive and readily available option for farmers. They would rather be fined or detained as they can not afford to miss the plantation or other options.