The designs of Souhaïb Ghanmi recycle discarded bones
Our Next Generation 2022 showcase shines a light on 22 outstanding graduates from around the globe, in seven creative fields. Here, we profile ECAL graduate Souhaïb Ghanmi
Swiss-Tunisian designer Souhaïb Ghanmi graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from ECAL and is currently working with Danish ceramics brand Raawii. Ghanmi grew up with a passion for art and fashion and studied law, economics and art before being introduced to the world of design.
Light switches and electric sockets made from bone powder
Ghanmi’s diploma project is titled Elos, and features a series of light switches and electric sockets made with a bone powder composite material. The socket’s design subtly nods to the material’s origins, its shape inspired by the articulation of a femur, while the switches are inspired by the form of bones.
The designer wanted to look into the possibilities of a new, less explored material with sustainability credentials. As he observed his father’s family taking care of cattle, he explains, he noticed the amount of waste produced after the slaughter. This led to further research, and he discovered that in the Swiss meat industry, there are more than 230,000 tonnes of waste each year from slaughterhouses. This includes bones that, he says, pollute as they disintegrate, and became the focus of his project after he saw that his uncle had been using the waste material to create knife handles.
The bones from slaughtered cattle are rarely transformed into other products, such as animal feed supplements or porcelain, but mostly collected and incinerated. A mineral material with no present commercial value, bone has been used historically as an equivalent to today’s plastic, so it felt obvious to Ghanmi to transform it into a ubiquitous, everyday object.
‘I am looking into the recycling of this material,’ he says. ‘For me, bone is a forgotten material and not exploited enough in spite of its numerous properties – it’s an electrical insulator, a thermal insulator, and is biodegradable.’
Dream collaborators: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Pierre Charpin, Naoto Fukasawa, Sabine Marcelis and Mathieu Lehanneur, and many more. §