John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Thanks to Swedish designer Ola Giertz, the stuff that sprouts from your head now can be a place to rest your butt.
Human hair is sort of a wonder material when it comes to sustainability. You can wad it into mouse holes for a chemical-free pest deterrent, spread it over the ocean to help clean up oil spills, use it to give structural stability to compost. And thanks to the hard work of Swedish designer Ola Giertz, the stuff that sprouts from your head now can be a place to rest your butt.
For his "Bare Hair Project," Giertz has created a pair of translucent, hair-filled stools for his local salon, Studio Västra Sandgatan, whose owners cut both bangs and rugs if their website is to be believed. The designer, who lives in the city of Helsingborg on the southern dangle of Sweden, was inspired to create his "poufs" after noting that his country's populace grows an estimated 1,000-plus miles of hair each year, the bulk of which gets destroyed. (What kind of hair, he doesn't say.)
While others might see horror in these sacks of human waste material, he sees promise, writing:
The project is essentially about finding possibilities and functionality in that which would otherwise be considered ugly. The transparent poufs, highlighting the originality of the stuffing, makes the product dynamic: its colour and shape can be changed depending on the stuffing, lending uniqueness to each pouf.
These pieces of far-out furniture would no doubt keep your posterior toasty, given the natural insulating qualities of hair. And the containing material is made from recycled plastic bottles, another boon for the environment. I could see some people getting freaked out that they're in the presence of a severe hoarder. Maybe sticking prominent furniture tags on the hair bags might help avoid that.
Hair's looking at you, Giertz.