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Milan Salone 2017: Mining stardust

13 : 04 : 2017 Milan Salone 2017 : Sustainability : Whole-system Thinking

Milan - Designers Kirstie van Noort and Xandra van der Eijk consider the potential of collecting extraterrestrial dust as a new resource.

  • As Above, So Below was presented as part of the Dutch Invertuals exhibition Harvest
  • The show proposed a collection of futuristic alternatives to the existing economic system
As Above, So Below by Kirstie van Noort and Xandra van der Eijk at the Harvest exhibition by Dutch Invertuals, Milan As Above, So Below by Kirstie van Noort and Xandra van der Eijk at the Harvest exhibition by Dutch Invertuals, Milan
As Above, So Below by Kirstie van Noort and Xandra van der Eijk at the Harvest exhibition by Dutch Invertuals, Milan As Above, So Below by Kirstie van Noort and Xandra van der Eijk at the Harvest exhibition by Dutch Invertuals, Milan
As Above, So Below by Kirstie van Noort and Xandra van der Eijk at the Harvest exhibition by Dutch Invertuals, Milan As Above, So Below by Kirstie van Noort and Xandra van der Eijk at the Harvest exhibition by Dutch Invertuals, Milan
As Above, So Below by Kirstie van Noort and Xandra van der Eijk at the Harvest exhibition by Dutch Invertuals, Milan As Above, So Below by Kirstie van Noort and Xandra van der Eijk at the Harvest exhibition by Dutch Invertuals, Milan

Expanding on themes explored during Dutch Design Week 2016, the exhibition featured works from 10 emerging and established designers who considered new forms of gathering, producing and distributing resources. Van Noort and van der Eijk’s project, which envisages new forms of mining, is a response to the depletion of natural resources on Earth.

The designers were inspired by NASA findings that reveal how an estimated 37,000–78,000 tonnes of extraterrestrial material falls to the surface of the Earth each year. After collecting matter from rooftops and gutters, they analysed its magnetic properties to verify its origin and identify potential micro-meteorites. Finally, they melted a verified meteorite to produce a metal cube that served to highlight the potential of the material.

Through their project, Van Noort and van der Eijk propose that the resource could be gathered in the future through ‘crowdmining’, opening the practice up to the public as a potential source of profit.

The Big Picture

Designers are combining the search for new materials with economic models such as crowdsourcing to prepare humanity for a future of depleting resources. For more on design-led solutions for the Anthropocene age, read our Whole-system Thinking macrotrend.