the ultimate form of recycling? Yes, without a doubt. The latest edition of the “Grand Positive Détournement by Design” competition confirmed it. Co-organized by the Montpellier National Higher School of Architecture
(ENSAM) and Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole
, this competition shows how architecture students can apply their inventiveness to find new uses that add value to leftovers from farming and industrial activities. Instead of simply recycling some types of waste, it can be given a second life for another purpose.
During the previous edition held in 2018, students stretched their imaginations by transforming old metal box-spring mattresses into shades to be fixed on walls, and turning cinder-block gravel into decorative flooring slabs. This year, their worthy successors took up the challenge with a focus on upcycling different types of waste.
The four finalist teams revealed their work on May 25 in Montpellier’s French Tech space
. Each one was as surprising as the others.
The first team, Clément Féménias and d’Amélie Bernard, used grape stalks (the part of the grapevine that holds the clusters) as a construction fiber to integrate into clay and cement bricks, or to replace straw in cob walls. What’s the purpose? Technically speaking, the grape stalks made of fiber, tannins, and mineral matter, provide strong mechanical properties while also being waterproof. In environmental terms, this material can be found in abundance on vineyards, and is therefore a readily available bioresource.
The second team, Léo Coste and Garance Jeanmet, chose to collect PVC wastewater tubing scraps from MP Jet d’Eau
, a local company. The shape of the tubes inspired the team to assemble them in rollable pedestrian pathways, similarly to using wood to make walkways at the beach, or to provide shade.
The third team, with Margaux Carcassonne, Marie Jankowski, and Tom Brini, found a way to reuse metal frame scraps from walls and ceilings, fitting them together to create metal sidings.
Lastly, Lucas Dory and Victor Temin, the two students in the fourth team, decided to transform residual polyurethane resin from Sÿnia
, the European leader in embossed adhesive labels, based in Lavérune, into translucent facing blocks. The company was quite pleased with the project. In fact, CEO Sylvain Maillard offered them an opportunity to continue their work after the competition. He made the announcement at noon on the day of the competition, proving that Hind Emad was correct.
The Montpellier Métropole Vice President in charge of Economic and Digital Development had just congratulated the “creativity and energy” demonstrated by the students, adding that the projects had the potential to “bring them other opportunities.
One came up right away!