Master Degree in Product Design - ESAD 2015


04 / 07 / 2016
Portuguese designer Marco Balsinha developed a domestic vermicomposter that processes household waste inside the home. This project was developed within the Product Design Master and is sensitive to environmental sustainability issues by transforming biodegradable urban waste into useful matter for floriculture.

The project’s design was inspired by the typology of trees and it uses natural plants, thus bringing the system closer to nature and forming a living system within the home. Marco used red clay as a mediator of moistness and odor filter, so he takes advantage from its perceptive qualities to emphasise the project’s earthy concept.

For the system to work, earthworms are used as an accelerating agent in the composting process. The precious humus is thus obtained together with its tea, which can feed the plant at the top of the system. Uroboro is a modular system with 4 different pieces that can be extended by adding further composting bins up (part B) without conditioning the earthworms’ mobility. The same part can be separated and replaced still with earthworms inside, which is an easy and safe boost for the number of Uroboro users in urban contexts.

The telescopic pot (part A) is placed directly over the waste and since its base is not glazed it allows moistness to cross the clay downward whenever the plant is watered, and upward when the decomposing waste becomes liquefied.

The waste’s volume loss forces the pot to move inside the composting bin (part B). The external wall of the pot was marked with a ruler showing the different decomposition stages of an apple to help the user become aware of the fine motions per day.

The interior’s excessive moistness flowing downward through the system is absorbed through the unglazed clay surface in the humus tea bin (part C). On the inside, the liquid is retained because the lower surface is glazed. The bin can be emptied by simply removing the cork stopper.

The prototypes were produced in Portugal and tested in several households. This allowed for the discussion of results, which proved to be surprisingly positive. The project was publicly presented in December 2015 in the final dissertation of the Product Design Master, at ESAD Caldas da Rainha - IPLeiria.


Designer: www.marcobalsinha.com 

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